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This week at WWDC 2022, Apple announced a ton of new features, improvements, and hardware technologies that have the world drooling in unison.
However, the new message editing and unsending functionality could have dire consequences outside of the tech realm.
Apple proudly announces that it has issued three of the most popular requests when it comes to iMessage: unread markAnd the Cancellation option and amendment Feature. And people are elated.
Unfortunately, I have concerns.
Messaging, autocorrect, the business, and the dangers hiding within
Lockheed Martin would probably be thrilled with the release button idea. It probably saved them $70 million 1999 When the company misplaced a comma, forcing it to honor an unintended discount rate.
Taylor & Sons was working for 124 years old When a press release was issued notifying the public of Taylor & Son’s bankruptcy. The UK government was eventually found liable and ordered to pay an estimated $17.2 million, but the damage had already been done.
In 2021, for example, Simon Selwood claimed that Auto correction He changed the word “buffoon” to “baboon” when he was jailed for a post on Facebook.
These weren’t across messaging apps, but they could have been.
Facebook and Instagram sparked many heated discussions when they originally announced their editing features. Recently, Twitter announced its long-awaited editing feature to much cheers and criticism.
Will it be used for deceptive purposes?
How misleading can editing tweets be compared to simply deleting and reposting them?
Will the edits make it easier for Tweeters to see updates?
Will it increase or decrease misinformation on the platform?
Some have suggested that Twitter could avoid many of these issues by allowing users to see history of changes and edits, but this comes with its own set of issues. For example, users generally edit a tweet or message with the intention of not seeing the original.
It would also open the door to the “slander” defense — send a hateful or false message, claim it was a mistake, and then release it. While it may seem innocent, the damage may already have been done.
Think of some individuals tweeting about stocks and how that affects the price, for example. Or change the last two letters in “kiss” to Ls and the meaning behind the letter turns into something completely different.
Personally, I like the idea of finally being able to avoid the embarrassment of work-related texts when using the word “evaluation,” but it’s not worth the cost that feature might cost.
Because in some cases, it may cost lives.
I was once in an unhealthy home situation that led to a trip through the court system. Texting became crucial when viewing my status.
Here’s the scariest part:
Those text messages were the only real form of proof I had. Without them, there would have been a lot more said-she said-she said, with only a few witnesses on both sides attesting that the other person was lying.
If I didn’t have months of text messages and minute emails, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
The dark side of texting
Messages and texts have played a vital role in our daily lives for nearly two decades. Sometimes, with disastrous consequences.
In 2008, for example, Kwame Kilpatrick, then-mayor of Detroit, was convicted false testimony and breaking whistleblower laws. He was ordered to pay $6.5 million in damages.
In 2015, Inflategate became infamous almost instantly when it was discovered that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots had intentionally manipulate it Air pressure in soccer balls to give them an edge in the AFC Championship match.
In each of these cases, investigations, charges, and convictions were launched by text message.
Someone will always find a way to abuse the system
In 2012, iMessage already had more than 140 m Users send more than 1 billion messages per day. In Apple’s own words, “It’s an integral part of how we connect with the people who matter most.”
We use it to discuss business deals, coordinate parenting activities, market a product, discuss intimate partners or arrange a date, and even call 9-1-1.
In that context, the idea of not sending the drunken texts you accidentally sent to your mom at 2 a.m. feels great. But what about other situations?
Apple has at least thought of this to some extent. It is possible that you can see that a message has been edited with a small comment at the bottom. However, it is not clear if you will be able to see how to edit messages.
The tech giant has also put a time limit on the feature, making comments editable to just 15 minutes. However, this is enough time to send an outrageous or threatening message, get the victim to read it, and liberate them into something extraordinary.
(It is enough to read it once so that it will be burned in your memory for a long time. Provided that the offending party does not follow through with threats that you cannot prove, of course).
Some might argue that you simply need to take screenshots while reading messages, but here’s the thing:
Sometimes, you don’t know how important the message is at that time. And no one plans to be double-crossed, abused or stalked by a business partner. It may simply be He is is very late By the time you realize the importance of something.
Even if you see signs of a possible problem on the horizon, it’s human nature to ignore it and explain it away.
as one expert In other words, “…when a woman feels her relationship is spinning out of control, she is less likely to think that her partner is the abuser.”
The general public needs to care about editing too, especially when it comes to social media and mass text.
In March 2022, for example, Snopes.com found one fraudster kidnapped Account and edit 10 years of messages and posts to include links and ads for their scams to make the account look legit.
And because these accounts are from people you know and trust, they give legitimacy to ads and scammers.
Other dangers in the palm of your hand
The dangers of technology have gone beyond messaging.
Online harassment has also skyrocketed, with an appreciation 41% of all adults in the United States reported being victimized at least once.
In 2019, for example, 75-year-old James Taylor shot and killing 70-year-old Katherine Taylor after he found her at her son’s home. Katherine had run away from him after a domestic violence incident and thought she was safe until Taylor tracked her down using iCloud.
Apple tried to solve this problem with today’s announcement of an emergency kill option that disconnects everything and prevents you from being tracked through your phone. At least by the people associated with your accounts.
Why wasn’t this option added right away with the original feature?
For better or worse, texting has changed human behaviour
Text messaging has been an important part of disease prevention, management, and public health campaigns for more than a decade now.
Health providers of all kinds use text messages to submit test results, send appointment reminders, check in on individuals with addictions, offer diet or smoking interventions, and more.
Schools use text messaging to help reduce information gaps between teachers, institutions, and parents.
You may also have heard of Google effect. This means that we now forget information that could be easily searched on Google or found on our mobile devices including birthdays, facts and even directione. On the other side of the equation, studies have found that simple texts can make you feel more trusted in your performance.
How would all of this change with the ability to unsend and edit already sent messages? Will we trust less? Are we going to go to other means? I don’t know, but I will definitely be more careful in the future.
Featured image: antoniodiaz/Shutterstock