Welcome back to The Weekly Download! Here’s what you might’ve missed this week:

Apple unveils its latest tech at its spring event, Instagram launches new tools to filter abuse, Canada’s “vaccine hunters”, potential changes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, and Friday Fun.

Apple Unveils its Latest Tech

From AirTags to the Purple iPhone 12, Apple had a few interesting updates to share at its spring event earlier this week.

Did any of them pique your interest?

Check out the full suite of new products here.

Instagram Launches New Tools to Filter Abuse

Good news for Instagram users – the platform unveiled new tools this week to filter out abusive DMs as well as the ability to prevent a blocked user from reaching out from a new account.

When turned on, the tool will automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases and emojis, so users never have to see them. The tool focuses on DM requests and works in a similar way to existing comment filters, which allow users to hide offensive comments and choose what terms they don’t want people to use in comments under their posts. Users can turn both comment and DM request filters on and off in a new dedicated section of the app’s Privacy Settings called Hidden Words.

Instagram is also making it harder for blocked accounts to contact users again through a new account. With this feature, whenever you decide to block someone on Instagram, you’ll have the option to both block their account and preemptively block new accounts that person may create. 

According to Instagram, the new features will be available globally in the next few weeks.

Canada’s “Vaccine Hunters” Use Social Media to Help Protect Against COVID-19

As we continue to battle a deadly third wave, a few tech-savvy volunteers are looking for new ways to help thousands of Canadians secure vaccination appointments.

According to CBC, Vaccine Hunters Canada to help Canadians navigate the sometimes confusing patchwork of vaccine eligibility and availability.

The group, which follows the latest vaccine information from local health units, was founded by four volunteers but rapidly expanded over the last month to incorporate people from across the country. In a short amount of time, the group has amassed more than 142,000 followers on Twitter, plus thousands more on Facebook and Discord.

Sabrina Craig, one of the group’s founders, said that the new project has been rewarding – especially in the case of those who face language and technology barriers.

We love a feel-good social media story!

Facebook Tests Changes to its News Feed Algorithm

Facebook may be making some changes to its News Feed algorithms. 

According to TechCrunch, a new series of ranking tests will allow users to provide feedback about the posts they’re seeing, which will later be incorporated into Facebook’s News Feed ranking process. Among other things, Facebook will specifically be looking to learn which content people find inspirational, what content they want to see less of, and what other topics they’re generally interested in.

To facilitate the tests, Facebook will show users a survey directly beneath a post and ask, “How much were you inspired by this post?” The goal is to help show more people posts of an inspirational nature closer at the top of the News Feed.

You can learn more about the test and what other initiatives Facebook is taking to make the News Feed a better place here.

Friday Fun

Nama-stay home this weekend and practice some yoga with your favourite pooch!