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Users say Snapchat filter is racist, call it 'yellowface'

Snapchat is in trouble again. And his time, it's over another photo filter that critics are calling racist. The app allows users to warp their faces while taking selfies or photos with friends. Some filters show users spewing rainbows, others change the appearance of their eyes and one can even make users look like a pineapple. >> Read more trending stories But some people weren't OK with all of Snapchat's creative choices. The app released a filter that gave users the appearance of having slanted eyes and enhanced cheeks. Critics on Twitter called the filter a racist caricature of Asian people, dubbing it "yellowface." Related: Snapchat under fire for Bob Marley filter on 4/20 And this is coming from an app that only a few months ago received backlash for a Bob Marley filter that channeled the late musician's dreads and face on the stoner holiday, 4/20. Many said the filter was digital "blackface." And in May, the app was accused of "whitening" users' faces and favoring lighter skin tones. Related: Snapchat under fire for appearing to whitewash in filters On top of that, Snapchat has also been accused of stealing artistic designs. Snapchat responded to critics by saying the filter was inspired by anime and was intended to be fun. But don't expect to see the filter again. <iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VX3sIFLXBh4?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> This video includes clips from Snapchat and images from Twitter and Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.  

Olympic gymnast racks up $5,000 phone bill playing 'Pokemon Go'

Japanese Olympic gymnast Kohei Uchimura could really use some gold right now -- not necessarily a gold medal, but just some gold coins to pay off his steep phone bill. 

And he supposedly has "Pokemon Go" to blame.

>> Read more trending stories

While in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Uchimura reportedly racked up a nearly $5,000 phone bill while playing the game, thanks to data overages. 

Uchimura, a six-time world champion, reportedly downloaded the augmented reality game when he flew to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for training, and he instantly got hooked. 

But the odd and possibly amazing part of this story is that Rio de Janeiro doesn't even have "Pokemon Go" right now. 

Olympians have already griped that they're stuck in Rio with no PokeStops to visit or Pokemon to catch. 

Despite pleas from Rio's mayor, Niantic Inc., the company that created "Pokemon Go," has yet to set a release date for the app in Brazil. So we're still not totally sure how Uchimura got on. 

It wasn't all bad news for Uchimura, though. His phone company graciously agreed to reduce his bill to a $30-a-day unlimited plan. Whew. 

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Instagram is starting to look more like Snapchat

Instagram's new Stories feature looks like an effort to compete with Snapchat.

Instagram is calling the feature one that lets users "share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile."

>> Read more trending stories

The goal of the feature, according to Instagram, is for users to not worry about over-posting and clogging up their followers' feeds.

But Instagram ignores the similarity of Stories with Snapchat: Both allow users to take pictures or video and edit them with drawing and text tools.

What's the most similar between the two is the fact that those photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and replies or comments to the shared content can be sent by a private message.

This is not the first time Instagram has seemingly followed in the footsteps of another app.

In 2013, Instagram introduced video, allowing users to record 15-second videos with the app's signature filters. The move was an effort to compete with Vine, which is notable for six-second videos.

Both Instagram and Vine have since moved toward longer videos.

It really just comes down to user preference: Instagram Stories or Snapchat?

'Batman' starts taking on Gotham's villains this week in Telltale's new game series

New video games out this week: 

"Batman: The Telltale Series, Episode 1, Realm of Shadows." Telltale has done well translating existing franchises like “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” into compelling, story-driven adventure games. Now we’ll see how they do with their take on Batman, which features voice actor extraordinaire Troy Baker as the caped crusader. Rated M for Mature. $25-$30 for all five episodes. PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows PC, Mac, iOS and Android. 

"Abzû." From some of the creators of the masterpiece “Journey” comes a mythological undersea adventure focused on swimming. For PC and PS4. Rated E for Everyone. 

Also out this week: “Livelock” (PC), “Near Death” (PC), “Rising Islands” (PC), “Gal Gun: Double Peace” (PS4, PlayStation Vita), “Dead Island: Retro Revenge” (Xbox One), “System Crash” (PC), “Strange Night” (PC), “Intrude” (PC), “Valkyrius Prime” (PC), “Zombie Camp” (PC), “Corpo Tale” (PC), “The Orb Chambers II” (PC), “Overcooked” (Xbox One), “Case: Animatronics” (PC), “Snow Horse” (PC), “Voodoo Garden” (PC), “Mystery of Rivenhallows” (PC), “Genius Greedy Mouse” (PC), “The Fallen Kingdoms” (PC). 

Apple to swap out gun emoji for squirt gun

Video includes clips and images from Apple. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

A lot of iMessages are going to look less threatening soon.

Apple announced Monday that it is replacing its controversial gun emoji with an orange-and-green squirt gun.

The swap will be made when iOS 10 is released.

>> Read more trending stories  

The announcement didn't come with an explanation. 

The new emoji is listed among several other emoticons that will also be released with iOS 10, including a rainbow flag and female athletes and professionals.

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But the move comes almost exactly a year after anti-gun group New Yorkers Against Gun Violence started the #DisarmTheiPhone campaign in an effort to convince Apple to remove the gun emoji.

The group wrote an open letter to Apple saying: "We ask that you stand with the American people and remove the gun emoji from all your products as a symbolic gesture to limit gun accessibility. We understand taking the emoji out will not end gun violence, but this act will show Congress that gun-owning and non-owning Americans have come together to demand required background checks for all gun sales."

Members at a Unicode meeting in June also voted to remove the rifle emoji, Buzzfeed reported.

Not long after the emoji announcement, the group's executive director told CNN: "Apple has stood up to the bullying tactics of the NRA and gun industry by showing that there are many more life-affirming ways to express oneself than with a gun."

The gun emoji and other weapon emoticons have landed several people in hot water.

middle-schooler was charged with threatening her school by posting an Instagram message with gun, knife and bomb emojis.

teen was arrested for posting a police emoji with pistol emoticons pointing at its head.

The updated iOS featuring the squirt gun emoji is expected to make its debut this fall. 

Instagram to allow users to filter hateful comments

Video includes clips from Instagram and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

Instagram will soon launch a new filter for its estimated 500 million monthly active users to combat harassment online.

The new security feature will reportedly allow users to screen comments that appear on their photos and videos and even let them disable comments completely.

>> Read more trending stories

Instagram already has policies in place to flag certain words and phrases, but the new feature will give users the ability to control what appears on individual accounts.

An Instagram executive told The Washington Post, "Our goal is to make Instagram a friendly, fun and, most importantly, safe place for self expression."

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The new feature isn't available for everyone yet. The Post reported Instagram is rolling out the security measure for "high volume comment threads." Eventually, Instagram hopes to introduce the feature to the broader public.

The Pew Research Center estimates that 73 percent of adult users have seen someone be harassed online, and 40 percent of users have experienced it personally.

Rumors swirl that new iPhone is being released in September

Consumers could be getting the new iPhone in a matter of months, if one Twitter user is to be believed.

CNET reported that Evan Blass, who the site said is a "known and generally reliable leaker," tweeted Saturday that Apple will release the latest iPhone Sept. 16.

>> Read more trending stories

Fortune reported that although Blass did not cite any sources, information he has shared has been right more often than it has been wrong, so it's possible that the date is true.

Whether this new iPhone -- if in fact it is released this year -- is the iPhone 7 or another incarnation of the iPhone 6 remains to be seen.

Apple rumor websites like 9 to 5 Mac and AppleInsider claim that the new iPhone may be called the iPhone 6SE, but as of now, that is simply speculation.

Time reported that the new iPhone may also have a single jack for both the lightning connector charger and headphones, meaning no headphone jack. The solution, according to CNBC which sites a note Deutsche Bank sent to clients July 21, is that the new iPhone may come with an adapter for traditional earbuds, but that also remains to be seen.

Speculation aside, Apple and iPhone fans will have to wait and see what is to come.

First solar-powered plane makes it around the world with no fuel

Video includes clips from Solar Impulse. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

A solar plane attempting to fly around the world just completed a successful mission.

"If this works, of course, everybody can do it on the ground to make a cleaner world," one of the pilots said in a Solar Impulse video.

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Solar Impulse's voyage started in March 2015, and a little more than a year later, the plane landed back where it first took off in Abu Dhabi. 

The record-setting flight is an important development in the exploration of solar energy, but there have been some challenges along the way. The trip was stalled in Hawaii last summer after the plane's batteries overheated.

>> Read more trending stories

In the last leg of the trip, there were concerns about how extreme heat in the Middle East could affect the plane.

Before the landing, Solar Impulse's final pilot said in a statement: "I'm excited to come so close to the goal, but unfortunately, there are still so many people we have to motivate before having a world running on the same clean technologies."

Apple patent blocks iPhones from recording at concerts

Apple was awarded a U.S. patent in June for a system that can force iPhones into disabling video-recording functions at concert venues.

>> Read more trending stories  

The system uses infrared signals to send messages to the smartphones to force them to shut down video recording capabilities. Apple's patent illustration shows a phone at a concert with the words "recording disabled" on screen. 

Various artists have been outspoken about fans filming their shows, with many claiming that it spoils the experience for other fans.

During a show this summer, Adele publicly told a fan who was filming the performance: "You can enjoy it in real life, rather than through your camera ... I'd really like you to enjoy my show because there's lots of people outside that couldn't come in."

It's not known whether Apple plans to put the patent into use. 

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Yondr is another company with a mission to eliminate cellphone distractions at concerts.

The company creates "phone-free spaces" at events where attendees must seal their cellphones in one of the company's lockable pouches. The pouch stays locked inside the phone-free zone but unlocks once you leave it.

"If you haven't been to a phone-free show, you just don't know what you're missing. There's something about living in real life that can’t be replicated," Yondr founder Graham Dugoni told The Washington Post.

Man suffers second-degree burns when iPhone explodes in pocket

A Seattle man says he's considering suing Apple after he was burned when his iPhone exploded in his back pocket.

Jason Matt says he was working in the kitchen of 88 Keys Piano Bar in Pioneer Square Saturday morning when he smelled something on fire.

“I started seeing smoke and I thought the kitchen was on fire,” Matt said. “Then I felt intense searing pain in my back pocket.”

He then realized his iPhone 6 Plus had exploded and was burning right through his pants.

>> Read more trending stories  

“I reached under my pants. I felt flesh bubbling up. It was one of the most intense pain(s) I have ever experienced,” Matt said.

Just last year a man in New York says his iPhone 5 exploded in his pocket, giving him third-degree burns on his leg the size of a football.

Tech experts have reported that even minor damage to a phone’s circuit board, or the use of third-party charging devices, can cause the battery to overheat and spew lithium lava.

Documents uncovered by KIRO 7 linked the problems to lithium batteries in other investigations.

Matt says his phone incident caused him second-degree burns. It also affected him mentally.

“As a former Marine, I really have bad anxiety,” Matt said. “This triggered one of the worst anxiety attacks I have ever had.”

He is now considering hiring an attorney to help file a lawsuit against Apple.

“They need to be held accountable. Obviously, there’s a flaw in the phone,” Matt said. “This is not a cheap phone. It’s one of the top phones in the world so I think it needs to be evaluated.”

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