Snapchat is launching a mentorship and funding program for 25 Black creators

25Black Snapchat creators will receive funding, mentorship, and other resources through a one-year accelerator programme, the company recently announced. The programme follows similar efforts at other major platforms to provide support to emerging creators from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. “Black creators face unique systemic barriers across the creator industry – from disparities in compensation and attribution, to toxic experiences and more,” Snap says. “We believe one of the ways we can help remove some of those barriers is to provide mentorship and financial resources to emerging Black creators in the early stages of their professional career.” The resources Snap says it will offer selected applicants range from monthly stipends and mentoring to early access to product updates. First, Snap will give each participant $10,000 per month for 12 months ‘to support the applicants’ creative endeavours’. They’ll also get an upgrade to Snapchat Star status, be invited to provide feedback on new Snapchat features, and receive a Google Pixel 7 Pro. Earlier this year, YouTube announced it had selected grantees for its #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund – a continuation of a 2020 promise to spend $100 million to “amplify” Black creators over the course of three years.

Instagram is testing an AI tool that verifies your age by scanning your face

Instagram is testing new methods for users to verify their age, including an AI tool built by a third-party company, Yoti, that estimates how old you are just by scanning your face. After being raked over the coals by privacy and child safety experts, though, Instagram has introduced more and more age-verification features, as well as methods to separate younger users from adults. To verify their age, users can send in pictures of various ID cards, and, from today, users in the US will have two additional options: social vouching and AI estimation. For the first method, social vouching, Instagram will ask three mutual followers of the user to confirm how old they are. The mutual followers will have to be over the age of 18 themselves, and will have three days to respond to Instagram’s request. The second method, AI estimation, involves sending a video selfie to a third-party company, Yoti, which uses machine learning to estimate a person’s age. It’s not clear how these figures will translate for Instagram’s use case, or whether the system is really secure enough for this purpose.