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CES 2023 Shows Off "Flops"

FILE: People enter the Las Vegas Convention Center before the start of the CES tech show on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023,
FILE: People enter the Las Vegas Convention Center before the start of the CES tech show on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023,

A "Gallery of Flops" including a handset just for tweeting and a failed Apple stereo system warned entrepreneurs at CES on Thursday that dreams of market glory can crumble. VOA's Hassuna Baishu is attending CES 2023 and is livestreaming and reporting from the convention floors. Stay here at VOAAfrica.com for continual updates.

The annual CES consumer electronics extravaganza has thrown open its doors in Las Vegas as the industry looks to the latest innovations to help cure the pain from an ailing global economy.

But some "bright ideas" dim out before they get to maket, or make money.

Iconic product failures put on display at the CES consumer electronics show included a skin-toning face mask reminiscent of a horror film; eyewear embedded with therapeutic magnets and a model of failed 80s sports car DeLorean.

"Many founders have this bias where they think they're geniuses and everything that they are doing is super right," the gallery of failures organizer, Prelaunch founder Narek Vardanyan told AFP.

"(But) you can burn a lot of money and lose a lot of years."

The annual CES consumer electronics extravaganza threw open its doors in Las Vegas on Thursday as the industry looks to the latest innovations to help cure the pain from an ailing global economy.

Failures on display in the cautionary Gallery of Flops also included Zune MP3 players launched by Microsoft and the defunct Pippin game console from Apple, which never became popular.

About 80 percent of new products launched every year fail, often because founders failed to assess whether people were really willing to spend money on what they were selling, according to Vardanyan.

While tech giants can afford to have products occasionally bomb, such an outcome can be the end of a young startup.

"I think it's great to consider failures because failures are valuable learning experiences," said Brad Holliday of ID8 Innovation, which advises big companies launching startup projects.

"If you can speed your process of understanding when something is not going to be successful, you can save yourself money in the long run," he added.

- 'Waste money' -

Flop show organizer Armenia-based Prelaunch specializes in checking potential demand for new products early in the creation process, according to its chief.

"For a starry-eyed entrepreneur, this type of idea could probably help them not waste a lot of money or time chasing something that isn't reasonable," said MH3 Collective founder Mark Harrison, whose group of ventures in Canada includes marketing agencies and nonprofit organizations.

"It's interesting; you could have a whole museum," Harrison added while surveying the flops on display.

Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi told AFP that gadget makers showing off innovations this year will be keen to get products to market quickly.

Given the tough global economy, startups don't have the five years they might have once expected to perfect their projects and avert failure, she said.

Startups today need to be "banking on money coming into their coffers in the near future," Milanesi said.

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Meta Toughens Content Curbs for Teens on Instagram, Facebook

FILE - Woman holds smartphone with Meta logo in front of a displayed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration picture
FILE - Woman holds smartphone with Meta logo in front of a displayed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration picture

WASHINGTON — Meta on Tuesday said it was tightening up content restrictions for teens on Instagram and Facebook as it faces increased scrutiny that its platforms are harmful for young people.

The changes come months after dozens of U.S. states accused Meta of damaging the mental health of children and teens, and misleading users about the safety of its platforms.

In a blog post, the company run by Mark Zuckerberg said it will now "restrict teens from seeing certain types of content across Facebook and Instagram even if it's from friends or people they follow."

This type of content would include content that discusses suicide or self-harm, as well as nudity or mentions of restricted goods, the company added.

Restricted goods on Instagram include tobacco products and weapons as well as alcohol, contraception, cosmetic procedures and weight loss programs, according to its website.

In addition, teens will now be defaulted into the most restricted settings on Instagram and Facebook, a policy that was in place for new users and that now will be expanded to existing users.

This will "make it more difficult for people to come across potentially sensitive content or accounts in places like Search and Explore," the company said.

Meta also said that it will expand its policy of hiding results to searches related to suicide and self harm to include more terms.

Leaked internal research from Meta, including by the Wall Street Journal and whistle-blower Frances Haugen, has shown that the company was long aware of dangers its platforms have on the mental health for young people.

On the platforms, teens are defined as being under eighteen, based on the date of birth they give when signing up.

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