Week In Tech: Facebook, Finance and…Flamethrowers?

At long last, after approximately 6293716 days, the cold, long and gruelling month of January has finally left us for another year. Enter February – while dubbed as the ‘month of love’ by many, the tech world seems to be in disagreement in 2018. The past week has seen major public divorces, embarrassing app launches, and the announcement of privacy settings to deter the romantic inclinations of social media stalkers worldwide. Romance is dead, folks.

Elon Musk sells all 20,000 Boring Company ‘flamethrowers’

When I said ‘romance is dead’ a mere sentence ago, I lied – Elon Musk has swooped in to quite literally reignite the flame of passion in us all. While more commonly known for his Tesla car series and his audacious attempts at interstellar travel, Musk is back with his most ground-breaking innovation yet – flamethrowers. This is not a (fire) drill – despite criticism from almost everyone in a position of power, all 20,000 units of the Boring Company’s flamethrower have already sold out at $500 apiece. After all, nothing says unconditional love like setting fire to your crush’s cat.

Samsung enters the Bitcoin mining business as it becomes the world’s largest chipmaker

If flamethrowers are the narrative for February, Bitcoin was certainly the equivalent for January. Will the Bitcoin bubble burst? Even more importantly, will journalists and ‘influencers’ ever stop tiresomely speculating over whether the bubble will pop? All these questions remain unanswered, but Samsung are evidently confident enough to throw their hat into the ring, as they have this week entered the Bitcoin mining business. Expect Apple to swoop in with some $1000 iMiner soon to avoid being left out of the action.

Facebook revamps privacy settings ahead of strict new EU laws

If you’re on Facebook in 2018, it’s likely Mark Zuckerberg already has that embarrassing picture of you from the work Christmas party stuck on his fridge – for many of us, the complete lack of personal privacy in the social media age has become something we’ve just had to accept. However, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is swooping in on May 25th, and has in turn caused Facebook and its contemporaries to belatedly sort out their whole approach to privacy. Best of all, despite being implemented by the European Union, Brexit will likely have no impact on the GDPR. Who even needs the EU! (just joking, please take us back)

PayPal slammed after eBay snubs it for another payment partner

PayPal and eBay have been the most famous power couple in eCommerce for almost sixteen years now, but there have been signs that the relationship has been strenuous over the past few months. In 2015, PayPal was spun-off into an independent company, and the company made steps to try and establish itself as an independent payment provider ever since. While still an option for purchases on eBay until at least 2023, the auction website has announced it has now instead partnered with Dutch payments company Adyen for its global payments processing. It’s not you, PayPal, it’s me.

‘Hi I’m Matt Hancock’ – culture secretary launches own app

I’ve come to the realisation over the past few years that, just maybe, the internet is actually A Bad Thing. Twitter is giving a frankly insane man a platform and power to influence millions (talking about Piers Morgan, of course), and Facebook has since been compromised by parents, old people and memes from 1996. To solve this problem, Culture Secretary Matt Hancock has inadvertedly created an app that – despite its initial noble intentions to give constituents a look into his life – has become a safe haven for anonymous troublemakers to post nonsense undeterred. There may be some glaring privacy issues, but out of all the faceless social media corporations out there, I’d much prefer to give revealing pictures from Corfu ’06 to a bumbling and culturally-oblivious MP.