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Instagram is Introducing Private Likes 👍 on Stories 📱
Instagram is introducing a new feature that will allow users to respond to others Stories’ without sending them a direct message (DM).
Earlier, any response sent by a user to someone’s Story- whether an emoji or a message- showed up as a response in their DM inbox.
However, with the feature called “Private Story Likes,” users can respond to a Story without making interacting with Stories messy.
“Private Story Likes. Starting to roll out today, you can now send some love by liking people’s stories without sending a DM. Likes on stories are private and do not have counts. Rather, they appear as hearts next to people’s handles in your Stories view sheet,” said Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri.
Once the update gets rolled out, users will be able to find the feature between the ‘Send Message’ text box and the paper airplane icon while watching Stories on Instagram.
Here, you will find a new heart-shaped button, which you can tap to like a Story, just like liking a post in your Instagram Feed.
Microsoft to Fully Reopen Its Headquarters 🏢 on February 28
Microsoft has announced to completely reopen its offices in Washington State by end of this month.
The tech giant had earlier closed its offices due to the coronavirus pandemic, but now it plans to reopen its offices in Washington State (its headquarters) on February 28.
“Based on this approach and improving local health metrics, our Washington state work sites will move to our sixth and final stage of the hybrid workplace model, effective Feb. 28, 2022. From this date, employees will have 30 days to make adjustments to their routines and adopt the working preferences they’ve agreed upon with their managers,” said Microsoft in a statement.
This decision of Microsoft signals confidence that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic has passed, reflecting changed expectations of companies.
The company has justified this move by pointing to high vaccination rates in the county as well as declining hospitalizations and deaths.
Microsoft also said that it will set up all possible local testing solutions and that it is aligned to all government guidance for businesses like them.
Crypto Platform BlockFi Will Pay $100 Million 💰 in Settlement With SEC
BlockFi, a U.S.-based crypto platform, has agreed to pay $100 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and several state regulators to settle charges related to its popular crypto lending product.
BlockFi will pay a penalty of $50 million directly to the SEC and the remaining $50 million fine to 32 U.S. states to settle allegations of illegally offering a product that pays customers high-interest rates to lend out their digital tokens.
The crypto platform offers an annual percentage yield as high as 9.25%, which is much higher than the average savings rates offered by incumbent financial institutions.
BlockFi says that offers higher interest rates as large institutional investors are willing to pay more to borrow the deposits.
SEC Chair Gary Gensler said, “This is the first case of its kind with respect to crypto lending platforms.”
The SEC has charged BlockFi for failing to register its retail crypto lending product, BlockFi Interest Accounts, and for violating the registration provisions of the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Plant-Based Food Startup Next Gen Raises $100 Million in Series A 💰
Next Gen Foods, a Singapore-based maker of plant-based food, has raised $100 million in its Series A funding round.
The funding saw participation from new investors including Alpha JWC, EDBI, and MPL Ventures. Existing investors Temasek, GGV Capital, K3 Ventures, and Bits x Bites also participated in the funding round.
Founded in 2020 by Andre Menezes and Timo Recker, Next Gen Foods is a food-tech startup offering plant-based meat products.
The company uses plants to create delicious and satisfying meat products that will make forget animal meat even exists.
The startup’s flagship product- TiNDLE, is a juicy, plant-based chicken that offers mouthwatering taste, texture, and versatility. This product is made without animals and with a fraction of the land, water, and energy used to produce meat from birds.
Next Gen Foods plans to use the fresh proceeds to swiftly increase its global footprint this year. In addition, it will use the capital for research and development, education, and to build up its supply chain.
Around the Web 🌐
Texas Sues Meta Over Facebook Facial Recognition: Ken Paxton, Attorney General of Texas, is suing Facebook’s parent company Meta for capturing and using the biometric data of Texas citizens for commercial purposes without their consent. The lawsuit filed in the state district court claims Facebook’s photo-tagging system violated the Texas Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier (CUBI) Act.
Travel Streaming Startup Heygo Raises $20 Million: Heygo, a UK-based travel streaming startup, has raised $20 million in its Series A funding round to fuel the growth of its platform. The funding was led by Northzone and also saw participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Point 9 Capital, TQ Ventures, and Ascension.
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