Inside the black market where people pay thousands of dollars for Instagram verification

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The product for sale isn’t a good or a service. It’s a little blue check designated for public figures, celebrities, and brands on Instagram. It grants users a prime spot in search as well as access to special features.

More importantly, it’s a status symbol. The blue emblem can help people gain legitimacy in the business of influencer marketing and bestows some credibility within Instagram’s community of 700 million monthly active users. It cannot be requested online or purchased, according to Instagram’s policies. It is Instagram’s velvet rope.

But it’s clear from people who spoke on the condition of anonymity, many of whom have their own blue checkmarks, that a black market for Instagram verification is alive and well.

And it’s an open secret in the influencer community.

“It all comes down to money and who you know,” said one seller, who agreed to go by his first name, James. “It’s sad, but it’s kind of how life is, you know?”

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Boston Red Sox Used Apple Watches to Steal Signs Against Yankees

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For decades, spying on another team has been as much a part of baseball’s gamesmanship as brushback pitches and hard slides. The Boston Red Sox have apparently added a modern — and illicit — twist: They used an Apple Watch to gain an advantage against the Yankees and other teams.

Investigators for Major League Baseball have determined that the Red Sox, who are in first place in the American League East and very likely headed to the playoffs, executed a scheme to illicitly steal hand signals from opponents’ catchers in games against the second-place Yankees and other teams, according to several people briefed on the matter.

The first social media suicide

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The enterprise of “sending out a message” seems to have given her a renewed sense of energy and purpose. She made a detailed plan, and one that was, as events would show, well conceived. She made it known that she would broadcast some unspecified and sensational event at 4.30pm on 10 May 2016…

Just before 4.30pm, she took her phone, still broadcasting, went out of the house – leaving her cat for the last time – and walked to Égly’s RER station, which took just a few seconds. As she got close, the mood among her followers began to change…

Océane’s death was the first suicide to be broadcast live on today’s social media platforms. During the hours I spent watching her online videos, however, I never got the feeling that she was, in other respects, unusual. I saw traits in her common to a lot of people these days – and possibly to myself, even if they are most pronounced in the young: she was subdued, serious, intermittently funny, distracted by constant electronic tics, slightly unavailable to herself. In so many respects, Océane seemed entirely normal, and I sensed that her online exploit, too, would become more customary over time.

Instagram Your Leftovers: History Depends on It

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Today we have Instagram, overflowing with glamorous images created not by professional photographers but by home cooks in kitchens around the world. What an opportunity! With its vast reach and the technological savvy of its users, Instagram could go beyond mere glamour and open up a domestic world that has always been elusive. I’m talking about ordinary meals at home — the great unknown in the study of food.

Sure, we have agricultural statistics and marketing surveys; we have household records from 18th-century castles and charts showing the average consumption of Popsicles in the United States from 1953 to 1982. But there’s nothing to tell us what a schoolteacher in Connecticut served to her family on a Thursday in 1895. Or what she was thinking when she boiled the string beans for 45 minutes, put ketchup in the salad dressing and decided to try her neighbor’s recipe for rice pudding, the one with a little cinnamon.

Could Instagram capture today’s version of that story? Could it zero in on the third consecutive night of frozen tacos or the mug of milky Sanka that makes you feel like somebody’s grandfather but has become an unexpected nighttime addiction? Next time you eat a meal that’s certain to be forgettable, that’s the very moment to pull out your phone and hit “share.”

Signs of the Times

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Who run the world? Collaborative filtering recommender algorithms. Also known as ‘Customers who bought this item also bought…’ suggestions. They’ve become ubiquitous in the online world, determining what we look at, buy and like…

Hopefully, you are now. Which was the point of putting these giant signs up in locations around New Zealand.

See also this video on BBC.