The robocalls have (finally) been shaken

Hey, are you Heard your car’s extended warranty is about to expire? That’s what the disembodied robotic voice on the other end of the phone wants you to think, anyway. Fortunately, these incessant spam calls may soon become less frequent.

This week, the US Federal Communications Commission closed a policy loophole requiring voice carriers 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 the very long and cumbersome title of the federal calling standards). It’s a way to identify legitimate operators and allow them to connect calls, while blocking those who try to spam you.

Major carriers were already using the standard when the FCC announced the 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 through those smaller companies, and this week the FCC said it requires everyone to comply with the Stir/Shaken standard regardless of size.

As Ars Technica points out, it’s not a perfect plan and won’t completely eliminate unwanted calls. Standard Stir/Shaken doesn’t work on landlines, so old-school scammers can still make house calls. Also, the standard only applies in the US, so anyone spoofing numbers overseas can find a way around it. You still tend to get some real weird text scams. In the meantime, our best advice is, when in doubt, don’t get involved – even if your car’s warranty is really is it will expire soon.

Here’s some more gadget news.


If you’re an iPhone user who at one point decided you were done with Instagram altogether, it was probably quite a challenge to delete your account. You can’t do this in the app itself; instead you had to log in via a web browser. It’s now possible to delete your Instagram account on iOS right there in the app.

The move comes in response to a new policy Apple implemented in its App Store on Thursday, which requires any app that asks users to create an account to also give them a way to opt out. Still not a clean break, at least not right away. The app tries to get you to “deactivate” the account instead of deleting it, which would just put it in a suspended state. And if you do delete it, there’s still a 30-day grace period before the account is completely deleted, and logging back in will automatically restore the account. Sounds like… deleting Facebook.

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

Like any other app, TikTok is all about shopping now

Get ready to buy more stuff on TikTok. Last year, TikTok partnered with Shopify to allow creators to sell goods on the platform. It’s now testing a feature to make those store features more visible in the app.

TechCrunch discovered screenshots of the Shop feature, which appears to allow people to browse product categories and add items to a shopping cart directly within the app. The Shop tab is featured prominently, up top with the TikTok main tabs Following and For You.

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