What in the World—Week of November 29

IKEA’s tiny stunt is a perfect fit for Tokyo
IKEA Japan came up with a tiny idea to prove how much it can make very small spaces comfortable. The Swedish furniture giant has created a fully furnished 10 sq. metre (107 sq. feet) apartment in Tokyo that it’s renting for about $1 a month. Making the most of small spaces is a big deal in the densely populated city of 14 million, and the stunt is being promoted in videos starring Blahaj, a “small space real estate agent.” In a release introducing the tiny apartment, IKEA said the key is to use the vertical space. That includes a ladder-accessible bed on the second level, shelving that converts to a dining table, and a one-seat sofa that is also a bed, and storage on wheels. The apartment can be rented by members of IKEA’s loyalty program until January 2023.

Works of art made from Cheetos dust
Miami Art Week, which gets underway Nov. 30, will feature original pieces from street artists Lefty Out There that are made from Cheetle, aka Cheetos dust. The art has been commissioned by Frito-Lay and LL Cool J’s hip-hop lifestyle brand Rock the Bells. “Over the years, fans have used Cheetos as inspiration for so many different things—from fashion to beauty to culinary and more,” says Jessica Spaulding, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay North America, (as reported by TimeOut). “Now, we’re excited to see how Cheetle—the orange dust that our fans wear proudly on their fingertips—is brought to life at Art Basel through the incredibly talented Lefty Out There’s artwork.”

Italy fines Apple, Google for improper data usage
Italy’s competition and market authority has fined both Google and Apple 10 million Euros for failing to provide users with adequate information on commercial use of their data, a violation of the country’s consumer code. The regulator said that the tech giants used “aggressive” tactics to guide users to accept the commercial data processing, said TechCrunch. Google is said to have omitted relevant information both at the account creation phase and when consumers are using its services. Apple, meanwhile, is accused of failing to provide users with clear information on how it uses their data when they create an Apple ID or access digital stores such as the App Store. TechCrunch called the latter “rather more surprising,” given how Apple has been championing consumer privacy. Both companies said they plan to appeal.

Americans are turning to gift cards this holiday season
Consumer concerns about product availability in the midst of global supply chain issues is leading to a rise in gift card-giving this holiday season. According to Morning Brew, citing research from branded payment service Blackhawk, Americans plan on buying an average of 15 gift cards this year—a 50% increase from last year, and a 200% increase over 2019. “[Consumers are] leaning towards gift cards, specifically digital cards, because they know they’re always in stock,” said Theresa McEndree, Blackhawk’s head of global marketing and brand. Gift cards are a boon for retailers, with consumers’ perception of them as “free money” subliminally encouraging them to spend more. According to Blackhawk research, 60% of consumers spend more than the value of a gift card at retailers.

Australia proposes new laws for unmasking online trolls
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is introducing new defamation laws making social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter accountable for defamatory comments made against other users. According to ABC News Australia, the new laws would require social media companies to collect users’ identity and empower courts to force them to be handed over to aid in defamation cases. The companies would also be legally on the hook for the content published by users, rather than the individuals and companies that manage pages. “The rules that exist in the real world must exist in the digital and online world,” ABC news quoted Morrison as saying.

David Brown