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If you’re a Battlefield player, it’s possible that you’ve noticed the game 2042 is no longer in the top 50 most-played games on Xbox.
The top 50 games are those with the highest number of players in a single hour.
The game has been performing poorly since its launch with reported glitches and a revamped progression system.
The Battlefield franchise has been a mainstay of the Xbox Live charts for years but it seems the luck is changing if the latest reports are anything to go by.
When the official date and game requirements were announced, things seemed to be moving swiftly in the right direction.
However, the recent release of Battlefield 2042 has not only been a disappointment for fans of the Battlefield franchise but it’s also brought down the series’ ranking in the top 50 played games on Xbox Live.
The game suffered from technical issues at launch, including rampant crashes and memory leaks. The game also featured a revamped progression system that turned off many fans of the classic Battlefield experience.Drop from the top
Battlefield 2042 is not in the top 50 most-played games on the system, despite releasing just about three months ago. Battlefield 2042 has been on a downward trend for months, with many users complaining about bugs, glitches and boring gameplay.
This is pretty surprising, considering that Battlefield 2042 was once the most played Xbox game on Steam. Now, Battlefield 5 seems to be progressing at a faster rate leaving Battlefield 2042 behind.
In fact, according to data from Steam Charts, Battlefield 5 is now more popular than Battlefield 2042 on PC. Server issues aren’t the whole story here, though. The game’s retention numbers are also low, with about half of all players who try the game giving up after just one match.A fall from grace
Battlefield 2042 is no longer being played by many people and has fallen off a major leaderboard that tracks the most popular multiplayer games on the Xbox One. The slip from charts is not a good sign as reports also indicate the numbers on Steam are also not doing so well.
This isn’t a good sign for the game’s future, because if there aren’t that many people playing it, then it’s probably on its way towards going free-to-play.
A quick glance at the top 50 most-played games on Xbox includes; Halo Infinite, Apex Legends, Grand Theft Auto 5, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Fortnite, with the number 50 slot going to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.Free or not, problems are still there
EA hasn’t made any official announcements about Battlefield 2042 going free-to-play, but this move would make a lot of sense for them.
If Battlefield 2042 is going to make a comeback, it’s going to need to do more than just make its premium content free – it will need to overhaul the game’s core mechanics.
EA has been under a lot of pressure recently due to the loot box debacle and some other decisions that upset their customers. This is mostly because the last Battlefield game did not meet expectations within the company.
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Here is a complete guide to fix the FPS drops and stuttering issues on Battlefield 2042 on your Windows PC. Battlefield 2042 is a multiplayer-focused first-person shooter game and is a recent addition to the Battlefield series. However, some gamers have already started experiencing performance issues with the game including FPS drops and stutters. To fix these issues, you can follow the fixes we have mentioned in this article.
Before the fixes, let us try and understand that may cause low FPS and stuttering issues with the Battlefield 2042 game.What can cause FPS drops and stuttering on Battlefield 2042?
Here are the possible reasons due to which you might experience FPS drops and stutters on Battlefield 2042:
Outdated or faulty GPU drivers are most likely to cause performance issues with your game. So, you should make sure that you have up-to-date graphics drivers on your PC.
If you enabled the in-game overlays function in voice chat or graphics applications, it may trigger compatibility issues and other performance issues with the game. If the scenario applies, you can try disabling it to fix the problem.
The corrupted cache files associated with the game can also cause issues and deteriorate the gaming performance. In that case, you should be able to fix the problem by deleting the game cache.
Your default in-game settings can also performance issues with the game. So, try adjusting your -in-game graphics configurations and see what works the best for you.Why is my PC FPS stuttering?
The game stuttering issues with FPS drops can be caused if your system doesn’t meet the minimum requirements to play a specific game. On the other hand, it can also be a result of outdated graphics drivers, poor internet connection, conflicting background applications, and more. You can try changing your graphics card settings, updating all your graphics and other drivers, running an SFC scan to fix system corruption, etc.How do I fix FPS drops and stutters?
You can fix FPS drop and stutter by making sure your PC meets the minimum requirement to play the concerned game smoothly. Apart from that, you also have to make sure that you have up-to-date graphics drivers. Try adjusting in-game graphics settings to check what works the best for you. In the case of Battlefield 2042, we have discussed the detailed fixes below; so checkout!Battlefield 2042 FPS Drops and Stuttering Issues on PC
Here are the solutions to fix FPS drops and stuttering issues on Battlefield 2042 on your Windows 11/10 PC:
Enable game mode on Windows.
Disable In-Game Overlays.
Update your graphics driver.
Enable hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling.
Verify the integrity of game files (for Steam users).
Clear the cache for the game.
Change in-game settings.
Let us elaborate on the above solutions now.1] Enable game mode on Windows
There is a dedicated Game Mode feature on the latest Windows that prioritize your gaming experience. This feature basically deactivates all the unessential background activities and helps in boosting in-game FPS. So, if you are dealing with FPS drops on Battlefield 2042, try enabling Game Mode and see if the issue is fixed.
Here are the steps to enable Game Mode on Windows 11/10:
Firstly, open the Settings app using Windows + I hotkey.
Now, go to the Gaming section from the left pane.
After that, relaunch the Battlefield 2042 game and see if the low FPS or stuttering issue is fixed now.
If this doesn’t fix the problem, we have some other solutions that will help you fix the problem.
Read: Gaming Lag & Low FPS in games all of a sudden with good computer.2] Disable In-Game Overlays
If you have enabled overlays in your voice chat or graphics application to improve the gaming experience, it might do the opposite and cause compatibility or some other issues. So, you can try disabling the overlays to fix the problem.
On Discord, you can disable in-game overlays using the following steps:
Now, go to the Game Overlay section present under ACTIVITY SETTINGS.
Next, disable the toggle associated with the Enable in-game overlay option present in the right-side pane.
For Twitch users, here are the steps to disable in-game overlay:
Firstly, launch Twitch studio and go to your profile and then choose Settings.
Now, navigate to the In-Game Overlay section present at the left side pane.
Next, turn off the Enable In-Game Overlay toggle.
Try launching Battlefield 2042 and see if the problem is fixed now.
See: Games crashing after upgrading to the latest version in Windows.3] Update your graphics driver
FPS drops, stuttering issues, and other issues with your games are often triggered due to out-of-date or faulty graphics drivers. If you don’t remember updating your graphics drivers in a long while, you must make sure that you have up-to-date graphics drivers.
Other ways to update graphics drivers are via the official website of the device manufacturer and using third-party driver update software.
After updating your graphics drivers, reboot your PC and launch the game. This should fix the stuttering or FPS drops issues in case your GPU drivers were at fault.
Read: Mouse Pointer lags, stutters or freezes on Windows 11/10.4] Enable hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling
In case you are the latest version of Windows and a Geforce 10 series or later/ Radeon 5600 or 5700 series GPU card with an up-to-date driver, you can try enabling this handy feature called hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling. This feature basically gives a performance boost to your game. Here is how to enable this function:
Now, scroll down towards the end of the page and tap on the Graphics option.
Next, hit on the Change Default Graphics Settings option.
On the next page, enable the Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling toggle.
The game will appear in the list; simply tap on it and then hit on the Options button.
Now, select the High Performance option.
After that, relaunch Battlefield 2042 and see if the problem is fixed now.
Fix: Fix Battlefield 2042 DirectX Errors.5] Verify the integrity of game files (for Steam users)
You are likely to experience stutters and FPS drops with your game if your game files are broken, damaged, or missing. The good thing is in case you have purchased and downloaded the game via Steam, you can use its native feature to check the integrity of Battlefield 2042’s game. Here are the steps to do that:
Firstly, launch the Steam client and then go to the LIBRARY section.
Next, select the Properties option from the newly appeared context menu.
After that, move to the LOCAL FILES tab and then tap on the Verify Integrity of Game Files button.
Now, let Steam verify the game files from its servers and replace the bad ones with clean and updated game files.
Once done, launch the game and see if the stutters/ FOS drops are fixed now.
Read: Bloodhunt crashing, stuttering, or lagging on PC.6] Clear the cache for the game
If the above methods didn’t work for you, you can try deleting the cache for the Battlefield 2042 game. You are likely to experience stuttering issues and FPS drops with your game if you are dealing with the bad or corrupted game cache. In that case, clearing the game cache should fix the problem. Here are the steps to do that:
Firstly, open File Explorer using WIn+E hotkey and navigate to the following (default) location: C/Users/username/Documents/Battlefield 2042
Now, open the Cache folder and press Ctrl+A to select all the files.
Next, press the Delete button to clear all the cache files.
Try launching the game now and see if it helps you fix the problem.
Read: COD Warzone Lagging or having FPS Drops on Windows PC.7] Change in-game settings
In some instances, the default in-game settings may not help you get the best performance out of your game. So, you can try adjusting the in-game graphics (Display) settings and analyze which one suits you the best. For example, try disabling the Future frame rendering and Vertical sync features and see if works for you. Likewise, you can adjust Mesh Quality, Effects Quality, Terrain Quality, and more and see what works best for you.Did Battlefield 2042 fix FPS?
In the initial days, some people encountered FPS drop issues while playing Battlefield 2042 on Windows PC. However, things have changed a lot in the recent past. Now the FPS drop issue is almost gone, and it runs smoothly if you meet the minimum system configuration.
Now read: Fix Far Cry 6 Stuttering issue on Windows PC.
Online privacy experts say Facebook, Instagram and Spotify are the most commonly hacked account types in the United States.
Hackers use leaked credentials to break into accounts or steal login details via phishing emails.
Businesses can secure their accounts with strong passwords, multifactor authentication, password managers and VPNs.
This article is for business owners and IT administrators who want to secure their accounts and increase overall cybersecurity.
Few things are scarier for a business than learning an account has been hacked. A compromised account can quickly balloon into a massive problem involving data breaches or even business closures.
Hackers have clear favorites when targeting accounts – and employ various techniques to breach them. Fortunately, businesses can take measures to boost account security and protect their vital data, including customer information. We’ll discuss the 10 most commonly targeted account types and share best practices for securing all your business accounts.Top 10 accounts hackers target
Like most theft, cybercrime is heavily focused on opportunity versus payoff. While hacking a bank account may be highly profitable, it is typically much better protected than other accounts. Instead, hackers will target a range of accounts that may not be immediately profitable but still have significant worth if exploited correctly.
According to a VPN Central study, here are the most commonly attacked account types:
Facebook accounts: Facebook accounts were the most commonly hacked account type in the United States by a wide margin. The study found that Google hacking-related searches for Facebook accounts numbered 67,940 on average per month.
Instagram accounts: The second most-hacked account was Instagram, with 36,220 searchers on average per month.
Spotify accounts: Spotify rounded out the top three, with 25,920 hacking-related searches conducted per month.
Twitch accounts: Twitch was in fourth place, with 10,800 average monthly searches.
Amazon accounts: Amazon took fifth place, with 6,170 average monthly searches.
Snapchat accounts: Snapchat landed in sixth place, with 6,100 average monthly searches.
Coinbase accounts: Coinbase followed Snapchat closely to reach seventh place, with 5,900 average monthly searches.
Twitter accounts: Twitter took eighth place, with 5,190 average monthly searches.
Gmail accounts: Gmail accounts were in ninth place, with 4,920 average monthly searches.
Microsoft accounts: Microsoft rounded out the top 10, with 4,000 average monthly searches.
Facebook’s preeminence as the most targeted account type isn’t surprising. Facebook is extremely popular in the U.S., with 239 million users in 2023. Such popularity significantly increases the gross number of accounts vulnerable to malicious compromise. Facebook’s integrations with Facebook Pay and general business Facebook uses mean hackers can find considerable value in taking over accounts.
This rationale largely holds true across all the most targeted accounts. Instagram’s business uses are powerful, while Twitter for business and Snapchat for business are growing in popularity, making them attractive hacker targets. Additionally, if your Amazon store or Amazon Business account is compromised, hackers can use your credentials to purchase high-ticket items. And Gmail and Microsoft accounts can provide access to broader company networks, leading to additional compromises.
To recover from a data breach, hire a forensic expert to analyze the damage, talk to a lawyer specializing in data security breaches, inform the affected parties and implement robust security measures to prevent future attacks.Everyday actions that lead to compromised accounts
Hackers compromise accounts in myriad ways. While some tactics may be as simple as getting lucky and guessing a weak password, other actions can be more involved.
Cybersecurity studies have pinpointed the most common causes of compromised accounts:
Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report: According to Verizon’s 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report, stolen credentials were the top cause of data breaches, as attackers compromise accounts using leaked login information. Login information is often compromised when account holders use the same email and password combinations across numerous accounts. Once login details for one account are leaked, hackers can often use this information in their other accounts.
IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report: IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach Report also found compromised or stolen credentials to be the primary initial vector through which hackers can breach accounts, cited in 19 percent of all cases. Phishing (16 percent) and cloud misconfiguration (15 percent) were the second and third most common initial attack vectors. While an average user can’t do much to secure their accounts against a business’s cloud misconfiguration, everyone should learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails designed to steal credentials.
Other typical sources of account compromise include the following:
Weak passwords: Using common or weak passwords, such as “password” or “123456,” can compromise accounts. These passwords are easily guessable by humans, and hacking software can break into accounts using these passwords in a matter of seconds.
Unsecured Wi-Fi networks: Logging in to accounts on unsecured or public Wi-Fi networks is also dangerous. Hackers can set up malicious, lookalike public Wi-Fi networks that record user data, including login credentials.
Malware: Specific types of malware can record a user’s activity and send it to a hacker, including any typed passwords or websites visited.
Unsafe password storage: Storing passwords in an unencrypted file or cloud storage account can be dangerous. If a hacker can access this file, they will have complete knowledge of every account login.
Did You Know?
Signs your computer is infected by malware include poor performance, unexpected pop-up windows, strange sounds, and unexplained file and folder changes.How compromised accounts can impact a small business
Account compromise can cause more than an inconvenience for a small business. While some accounts are quickly recovered, the compromise can last for a significant amount of time on other occasions – often without the account owner’s awareness.
Depending on the compromise’s length and severity, a business could face a range of consequences, including the following:
Compromised accounts reduce productivity. One compromised account can lead to business productivity losses, depending on the account’s importance and how long it takes to recover control of the account.
Compromised accounts may be lost entirely. Hackers may compromise a trusted business account, particularly on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, to distribute spam or malware. In such cases, the platform may permanently suspend the account. This can be particularly painful for businesses that have invested significant time to earn followers or rely on high social media engagement levels.
Compromised accounts can cause lost sales. Compromised accounts related to sales or payments can cause financial distress. The business may struggle to reclaim the account or find new workaround methods to conduct operations. Business or system downtime could also cause customers to go to a competitor.
Compromised accounts can damage a business’s reputation. A significant or highly public account compromise can cause long-lasting reputational damage. For instance, losing a high-profile Twitter or Facebook account to hackers could make a brand seem untrustworthy.
Compromised accounts can lead to more account compromises. Sophisticated hackers who compromised one business account may use that as a stepping stone to compromise additional accounts in a business.
Compromised accounts leave the network vulnerable. If a hacker manages to compromise an internal account, such as a Microsoft account, they could use this intrusion to try to compromise a business’s entire network.
Compromised accounts can lead to lost money. Hackers could use compromised accounts to access financial accounts or payment systems. This could lead to significant financial losses, along with the costs associated with system repair and potential downtime.
Compromised accounts can cause prolonged business disruption. Hackers may also deploy ransomware on a target’s network, encrypting all business data and causing significant downtime, losses and system recovery costs. According to Statista, ransomware attacks led to an average of 20 days of system downtime in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Compromised accounts can lead to sensitive information theft. In severe cases, hackers could use a compromised account to conduct a data breach. Hackers may steal sensitive intellectual property, customer information or other valuable data. For businesses with fewer than 500 employees, a joint study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute found the average cost of a data breach was $2.98 million.
Compromised accounts can create regulatory or legal consequences. Depending on the type of information breached, businesses may have to pay regulatory fines. For instance, the breach of any personal information belonging to EU citizens could lead to fines through the GDPR. Likewise, a breach of payment card data could lead to fines due to noncompliance with PCI.
Compromised accounts can cause business closure. In a worst-case scenario, account compromise could lead to business closure due to significant reputational damage and loss of sales, financial theft, or high costs due to regulatory and legal fines, ransoms, or data recovery costs.
Did You Know?
Account compromises and data breaches can happen to businesses of any size, not just big players. According to the Verizon data breach report, at least 14 percent of recorded data breaches affected SMBs. That number is likely even higher because 81 percent of data breaches affected companies of unknown size.How to protect your accounts from hackers
While account compromise can lead to significant business disruptions, a small business can take numerous concrete steps to increase its overall security. Consider the following best practices:
Use strong passwords. Mandate the use of unique, strong passwords throughout your organization.
Store passwords with password managers. Instead of storing passwords in text files or using easy-to-remember passwords, use password managers to generate and store unique passwords for each account.
Use multifactor authentication. Use multifactor authentication (MFA) on all accounts whenever possible. MFA requires a second level of authentication to log in to an account, such as a code sent to your phone or a biometric element like a fingerprint.
Use a VPN. Have your team use a VPN (virtual private network) when using public Wi-Fi or accessing work accounts outside the office.
Stay updated. Regularly update your apps and operating system. Regular updates can help prevent attackers from using discovered vulnerabilities to hack into an account.
Train your employees in cybersecurity. Host regular cybersecurity training sessions for all employees. In particular, educate employees about how to spot and avoid phishing emails.
Change passwords regularly. Change passwords across accounts on a regular schedule. If you learn that an account that shares a password with other accounts has been compromised, immediately change passwords on all accounts.
Monitor accounts for suspicious activity. If you notice anything suspicious, immediately contact the platform, use its security features to log out of the account in all locations, and immediately change the account’s password.
Poor access management can lead to data breaches. Create a robust access management policy by taking a zero-trust approach, auditing employee accounts and staying on top of compliance regulations.Business security through account security
Accounts – particularly public-facing accounts like social media or email – can be a cybersecurity weak spot for businesses. These accounts are easy for hackers to spot and target.
While most account compromise attempts don’t lead to catastrophic scenarios, sophisticated hackers can exploit account access and cause tremendous damage to a business. Fortunately, by following the outlined cybersecurity steps, businesses can go a long way toward protecting their accounts and overall business security.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, finally sustained a breach of its 2023 ATH on the 16th of December on the back of exponential price appreciation on the charts. However, it wasn’t done, not by a long shot. In fact, at the time of writing, BTC was valued at just over $34,000 on the charts, having risen to as high as $64,000 less than two months ago.
Now, while the degree of corrections in the said case has been understandably significant, the fact of the matter is Bitcoin, at press time, was still giving YTD returns of over 35%, with the 1Y change v. USD as high as 246%.
What this means is that brushing aside the obvious, exaggerated complaints of volatility, Bitcoin has once again proven its credentials as a store of value asset. This narrative is particularly powerful for crypto-holders in countries where citizens might not necessarily have access to high-performing assets.
The aforementioned report found that investors based in the United States made over $4 billion in realized Bitcoin gains over the course of the year, over 3x more than China, a development that probably came on the back of U.S-based exchanges noting huge inflows in the early part of the year, most of which appeared to have been realized by the end of it.
The more interesting findings, however, were down the charts. While everyone expected the United States and China to lead from the front, what wasn’t really expected was the contradiction in well-to-do economic metrics and Bitcoin investments, and by extension, Bitcoin realized gains.
Consider this – according to Chainalysis, countries like Vietnam and the Czech Republic are punching above their weight. Vietnam, a low-middle income country, while ranked 53rd on the GDP charts, was ranked as high as 13th for Bitcoin investment gains with figures of $351 million. Similarly, while the central European country was 54th on the GDP charts, it was 18th when realized Bitcoin investments were looked at.
On the contrary, there was some variation to this juxtaposition too, with India being the prime example. The world’s fifth-largest economy with a GDP of $2.9 trillion was ranked a “lowly 18th.” Chainalysis attributed the same to,
“This may be a result of the Indian government’s historical unfriendliness to cryptocurrency.”
Here, it should be underlined that such unfriendliness was seen in countries like Turkey too, with the Erdogan-led government and the central bank regularly cracking down on crypto-holders and entities dealing with them. Even so, the nation-state was ranked 16th with respect to realized Bitcoin gains for 2023. It can be assumed that this might not be the case in 2023, especially since recent actions have shaken the local community’s confidence in the asset class.
The aforementioned findings should be read in the context of recent development, however – El Salvador’s decision to make Bitcoin a legal tender.
The Central American country doesn’t have strong GDP figures to boast of, with the same growing by over 3% just twice this century. What’s more, a World Bank report last year hypothesized that the country’s economy could contract by almost 9% on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For such a country, especially a country where financial inclusion is a struggle, the acceptance of Bitcoin as legal tender is a huge step, one that underlines the value associated with the world’s largest cryptocurrency.
With the aforementioned Chainalysis report also doubling down on BTC’s credentials as a credible store of value, given the fact that the crypto is expected to hike even more, these realized gains are likely to grow greater this year.
The Trump Administration just laid out their plans to gut one of the most important laws protecting birds in the United States. On Jan. 30, wildlife officials unveiled their new rule for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which chops out language from the legislation that has been crucial to conservation efforts.
The new rule would release individuals and companies from being held accountable for what’s called “incidental take,” in which birds are unintentionally harmed in the course of other activities, as opposed to literally going out and shooting them. This clause has been an important tool in protecting avian species for decades.
The act was passed in 1918 and was initially an effort to curb the hunting and poaching of birds for the feather trade; feathers were a major fashion accessory at the time, used to adorn women’s hats. Crucially, the act was part of an international treaty between the United States and Great Britain (on behalf of Canada, which it then controlled). Finer-scale legislation, including state laws, weren’t effective in allowing birds to recover from hunting because so many species are migratory—about 40 percent of global bird species. According to the National Audubon Society, today the MBTA protects 1,026 bird species, which is almost all of the species native to the United States.
While the law initially targeted hunters and poachers, in the 1970s it pivoted toward other industries, including mining, timber, and oil. In these cases, the incidental take provision became powerful. An oil company may not intend for birds to drown and die in oil pits, but the incidental take clause made it possible to require that such activities try to reduce their impacts. Oil pit operators now had to put netting over the pits to protect birds, for instance, and other industries had to take similar precautions.
The MBTA has also been instrumental in cleaning up environmental disasters. “In the Exxon Valdez and BP oil spills, they had massive consequences because of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act,” says Arvind Panjabi, an avian conservation scientist with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. After the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP paid $100 million in fines due to violating the MBTA, and that money went towards restoring bird habitats. Without the MBTA’s incidental take language, Panjabi says that wouldn’t have happened.
The rule change would broadly exempt companies from being held accountable for similar impacts. “No corporation is setting out to harm birds,” says Panjabi. “But many activities are potentially harmful to birds. So this essentially takes out 99 percent of the teeth from the law.” Mark Hostetler, a wildlife conservation scientist at the University of Florida, agrees: “Most impacts to birds are incidental.”
Aside from oil, the change would affect the activities of numerous other industries, including long line fisheries unintentionally hooking albatrosses, wind energy accidentally taking out birds midair, and various construction projects that disrupt nesting sites. Now developments, big or small, wouldn’t be federally required to try to avoid harming birds.
Even though the rule isn’t technically official yet, it’s already having effects. In Virginia, a nesting site for 25,000 birds was paved as part of a bridge expansion project, and transportation officials didn’t face penalties from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for not replacing the lost habitat. Federal wildlife officials are now apparently complying with the Trump Administration’s interpretation of the law, and treating mitigating impacts to bird habitat as voluntary.
There may be some hope in other pieces of legislation. Some birds are safe thanks to their listing under the Endangered Species Act, for example, and state and local governments can still enact their own legislation to avoid incidental harm. Also, a new bill in Congress with bipartisan support would reinstate a process for wildlife officials to regulate and reduce the impacts of various activities hurting birds.
But the rule change would still affect many birds that are already in decline. In September, a study in Science announced that North America had lost three billion birds since 1970. This loss is due largely to habitat destruction; chemical exposures, window collisions, and prowling cats. Incidental take has historically been important for helping these species try to bounce back, says Hostetler. “If you reduce the amount of impacts with this broad factor [of incidental take] it can significantly improve the ability of populations to recover.”
While the press release about the rule contains a long list of industry representatives cheering the change, former wildlife officials argue that enforcement of the MBTA was not as antagonistic as the current administration paints it to be. Daniel Ashe, who led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service between 2011 and 2023, told National Geographic that officials would only fine a company after warning them. “The idea that there was some kind of battlefield conflict between the service and industry over migratory bird conservation is just wrong,” he told National Geographic. “[The MBTA] has been interpreted for decades as applying to the incidental take of migratory birds, and the service would enforce that in a very cooperative way.”
In one of the most dramatic, rapid rise and falls in recent music history, the rapper FN Meka has been dropped by his record label less than two weeks after Capitol Music Group first announced the deal, citing a horrendous online paper trail of racist, offensive, and culturally insensitive content. FN Meka garnered a massive social media presence since his debut in 2023, garnering over 220,000 Instagram followers atop another 10.3 million on TikTok, but it only took a few days’ worth of viral backlash for the performer to fall from digital grace.
[Related: How artificial intelligence exploded over the past decade.]
FN Meka isn’t “real,” in so much that he is a sentient person He’s an AI-generated rap avatar created by Anthony Martini and Brandon Le back in 2023 that relies on proprietary music technology from an industry development company called Vydia to generate beats, melodies, and even lyrics “created using thousands of data points compiled from video games and social media” that are subsequently rapped by anonymous human for actual songs. Singles like “Moonwalkin’” and “Florida Water,” the latter of which even has a music video featuring guest spots from actual, human rappers, have garnered millions of listens.
But while FN Meka’s data points derive from human emotions and experiences, the end-result has long been an uncomfortable, socially tone-deaf project whose avatar raps and posts to social media about its “experiences” with the prison industrial complex, police brutality, and racism. After Capitol’s announcement earlier this month, one of FN Meka’s Instagram entries in particular went viral due to its absurdly insensitive content clearly designed to explicitly reference real Black men’s trauma.
Industry Blackout, a nonprofit dedicated to pursuing racial equity within the music business, called out Capitol’s decision to enter into a partnership with Martini and Le’s Factory New imprint via social media earlier today. “While we applaud innovation in tech that connects listeners to music and enhances the experience, we find fault in the lack of awareness in how offensive this caricature is,” the group said in a statement. “It is a direct insult to the Black community and our culture. An amalgamation of gross stereotypes, appropriative mannerisms that derive from Black artists, complete with slurs infused in lyrics.”
[Related: This new AI tool from Google could change the way we search online.]
Capitol, for its part, is taking a more apologetic tone during the fallout. “We offer our deepest apologies to the Black community for our insensitivity in signing this project without asking enough questions about equity and the creative process behind it,” the company said in a statement. “We thank those who have reached out to us with constructive feedback in the past couple of days—your input was invaluable as we came to the decision to end our association with the project.”
It’s unclear what will become of FN Meka moving forward, along with the technology behind him. Even devoid of its problematic underpinnings and culturally appropriative foundations, creating a completely artificial artist and brand has huge implications for both the entertainment industry and creative labor in general. The discussions surrounding integrity, originality, and innate humanity within AI-derived art are as endless as its possibilities to go horribly, uncomfortably awry.
“The question was: How do we break an avatar as if it was a real artist and not a spectacle? It unfortunately turned into a spectacle anyway,” Martini said in his discussion with The New York Times. “… Some of the early content, now if you take it out of context, it obviously looks worse or different than it was intended.”
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