Robocalls are (finally) being shaken up

Hey, have you heard that your car’s extended warranty is about to expire? At least that’s what the disembodied robotic voice on the other end of the phone wants you to think. Fortunately, these incessant spam calls will soon become less frequent.

This week, the US Federal Communications Commission closed a policy loophole that would require voice service providers to adhere to a standard that would help block robocalls. All carriers in the US are now required to use a technology known as Stir/Shaken (an acronym for a very long and impractical title of federal calling standards). It’s a way to identify legitimate providers and allow them to forward calls, while blocking those trying to spam you.

Major airlines were already using the standard when the FCC announced this policy last year. But there was an exception for landlines and companies with fewer than 100,000 customers. It turns out that a surprising number of spam calls are filtered by those smaller companies, and this week the FCC said everyone should adhere to the Stir/Shaken standard, regardless of size.

As Ars Technica points out, it’s not a perfect plan and won’t completely eliminate spam calls. The Stir/Shaken standard doesn’t work on landlines, so old-fashioned scammers can still call home. The standard also only applies in the US, so anyone who forges numbers abroad can find a way around it. And you’re still prone to some really weird SMS scams. In the meantime, our best advice is not to intervene when in doubt, even if your car’s warranty is about to expire.

Here’s even more gadget news.


If you’re an iPhone user who at some point decided you were all done with Instagram, it was probably a bit of a challenge to actually delete your account. You couldn’t do it in the app itself; instead, you had to log in via a web browser. Now it is possible to delete your Instagram account on iOS there in the app.

The move comes in response to a new policy Apple implemented in its App Store on Thursday, under which any app that asks users to create an account must also give them a way to terminate it. It’s still not a clean break, at least not right away. The app tries to direct you to “deactivate” the account instead of deleting it, which would just put it in a suspended state. And if you really, really delete it, there’s still a 30-day grace period before the account is completely wiped, and when you log back in, the account is automatically restored. Sounds a lot likeā€¦ Delete Facebook.

Speaking of which, did you know that you can also delete your Facebook account?

Like any other app, TikTok is now all about shopping

Get ready to buy more stuff in TikTok. Last year, TikTok partnered with Shopify to let creators sell merch on the platform. Now it is testing a feature to display those store features more prominently in the app.

TechCrunch dug up screenshots of the Shop option, which allows people to browse product categories and add items to a shopping cart within the app. The Store tab is prominently displayed, at the top with TikTok’s main tabs Follow and For you.

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