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Digital Trends Live: WhatsApp security flaw, Alexa Guard, and more

On the latest episode of Digital Trends Live, Drew Prindle, DT’s senior editor for features, joins host Greg Nibler to discuss today’s top tech stories. Topics include a WhatsApp flaw that left phones open to spyware, Alexa’s new home security features, Netflix’s foray into gaming, Japan’s bullet train trial, Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite launch, and more.

Later, Nibler welcomes Dr. Julie Albright, digital sociologist at the University of Southern California and author of Left to Their Own Devices: How Digital Natives Are Reshaping the American Dream, to talk about how our devices impact both society and our personal lives.

Heather Corcoran, director of design and technology at Kickstarter, the joins the show to discuss the company’s 10-year anniversary, and how Kickstarter has changed product design, marketing, and strategies for thousands of companies.

Finally, Anita Badejo, executive editor and co-host of Pop-Up Magazine, talks about turning a magazine into a compelling live show that includes storytelling, a band, and digital media.

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WhatsApp to end support for older iPhones in coming months
WhatsApp messaging app icon.

If you’re still rocking a decade-old iPhone 5 or 5C and use WhatsApp, you should be aware that the Facebook-owned company will soon be ending support for those devices.

A WhatsApp notification spotted by WhatsApp specialist site WABetaInfo reveals that the company will end support for iOS 10 and iOS 11 in the fall. The iPhone 5 and 5C are unable to deploy iOS 12 and later, which means WhatsApp on those two handsets will stop receiving the latest updates for security, features, and general functionality.

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Emoji reactions hit WhatsApp as Meta fights the competition
Person texting on a smartphone using WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is gaining a slew of new features some would consider overdue for a messaging app of its size. The company is adding support for message reactions, larger file shares, and bigger groups in an update that's slowly rolling out across iOS and Android. Many of these features are present in other apps, notably Telegram, so WhatsApp is under pressure to keep up.

Message reactions are the most noticeable feature for users on a day-to-day basis. They're already present on Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Google Messages, Instagram, and Snapchat, so WhatsApp is a pretty late addition. At the moment only a limited number of reactions are present, but the WhatsApp team notes that a broader range of expressions is coming.

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WhatsApp Communities want to be your private social media
Whatsapp Communities on Samsung smart phones.

WhatsApp is adding a Communities feature to the eponymous instant messaging platform, adding a social media aspect to it that will have all group conversations protected by end-to-end encryption. Unlike the new community feature on Twitter that brings together like-minded users, the core idea of Communities on WhatsApp is that it allows multiple groups to be aggregated into one super-group.

But unlike social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, a WhatsApp Community won’t be openly discoverable. The phone numbers of users also won’t be publicly visible to all Community members. Only the admin and other members of a group can see them.

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