Facebook Developing AI To Flag Offensive Live Videos

Facebook is working on automatically flagging offensive material in live video streams, building on a growing effort to use artificial intelligence to monitor content, said Joaquin Candela, the company’s director of applied machine learning. Reuters ad…

Facebook is working on automatically flagging offensive material in live video streams, building on a growing effort to use artificial intelligence to monitor content, said Joaquin Candela, the company’s director of applied machine learning. Reuters added: The social media company has been embroiled in a number of content moderation controversies this year, from facing international outcry after removing an iconic Vietnam War photo due to nudity, to allowing the spread of fake news on its site. Facebook has historically relied mostly on users to report offensive posts, which are then checked by Facebook employees against company “community standards.” Decisions on especially thorny content issues that might require policy changes are made by top executives at the company. Candela told reporters that Facebook increasingly was using artificial intelligence to find offensive material. It is “an algorithm that detects nudity, violence, or any of the things that are not according to our policies,” he said.

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Facebook’s Latest Experiment: Helping You Find Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

Users of the social network’s iOS app report seeing a new feature in the More section that lets them find nearby public Wi-Fi access points. From a MacWorld story: The feature does not appear to be widely available at the moment, which means this is pr…

Users of the social network’s iOS app report seeing a new feature in the More section that lets them find nearby public Wi-Fi access points. From a MacWorld story: The feature does not appear to be widely available at the moment, which means this is probably something Facebook is only testing. The social network tests numerous features all the time but this one is particularly notable. Helping users find public Wi-Fi could enable more people to use Facebook Live. If your cellular connection isn’t strong, a nearby Wi-Fi location can be a big help — unless, of course, your Facebook Live broadcast is dependent on your specific location. There could be other uses for finding Wi-Fi beyond live video broadcasts. If you’re desperate to upload a photo or recorded video, then locating the closest public Wi-Fi point helps. On top of that it’s just one more reason to open the Facebook app, which Facebook obviously wants to encourage as much as possible. Check where the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot is, see that unread notifications indicator at the top of the screen, and before you know it you’re engrossed in the news feed.

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Facebook’s Latest Experiment: Helping You Find Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

Users of the social network’s iOS app report seeing a new feature in the More section that lets them find nearby public Wi-Fi access points. From a MacWorld story: The feature does not appear to be widely available at the moment, which means this is pr…

Users of the social network’s iOS app report seeing a new feature in the More section that lets them find nearby public Wi-Fi access points. From a MacWorld story: The feature does not appear to be widely available at the moment, which means this is probably something Facebook is only testing. The social network tests numerous features all the time but this one is particularly notable. Helping users find public Wi-Fi could enable more people to use Facebook Live. If your cellular connection isn’t strong, a nearby Wi-Fi location can be a big help — unless, of course, your Facebook Live broadcast is dependent on your specific location. There could be other uses for finding Wi-Fi beyond live video broadcasts. If you’re desperate to upload a photo or recorded video, then locating the closest public Wi-Fi point helps. On top of that it’s just one more reason to open the Facebook app, which Facebook obviously wants to encourage as much as possible. Check where the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot is, see that unread notifications indicator at the top of the screen, and before you know it you’re engrossed in the news feed.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook’s Solar-Powered Drone Under Investigation After ‘Accident’

Facebook has hit a hitch in its plans to use a solar-powered unmanned drone to provide internet access to developing nations, after it was revealed the American National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has opened an investigation into an accident on…

Facebook has hit a hitch in its plans to use a solar-powered unmanned drone to provide internet access to developing nations, after it was revealed the American National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has opened an investigation into an accident on the drone’s first test flight in June. From a report on The Guardian:At the time, Facebook described the flight as “successful”: the drone, called Aquila, stayed aloft for 96 minutes, three times the planned duration. “We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Jay Parikh, Facebook’s head of engineering and infrastructure, wrote when Facebook revealed the test flight, in late July. “In our next tests, we will fly Aquila faster, higher and longer, eventually taking it above 60,000 feet.” In a second, more technical, blogpost published that same day, Facebook’s Martin Luis Gomez and Andrew Cox acknowledged the failure in passing. “Our first flight lasted three times longer than the minimum mission length, so we were able to gather data on how the structure and autopilot responded under a range of real-world conditions to help verify these predictions,” they wrote.Reporter Casey Newton mentioned on The Verge that at the time, Facebook had led them believe that everything was alright, and there were no hiccups.

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‘Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It.’

The New York Times ran a strong opinion piece that talks about one critical reason why everyone should quit social media: your career is dependent on it. The other argues that by spending time on social media and sharing our thoughts, we are demeaning …

The New York Times ran a strong opinion piece that talks about one critical reason why everyone should quit social media: your career is dependent on it. The other argues that by spending time on social media and sharing our thoughts, we are demeaning the value of our work, our ideas. (Editor’s note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source.) Select excerpts from the story follows:In a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable. Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable. Any 16-year-old with a smartphone can invent a hashtag or repost a viral article. The idea that if you engage in enough of this low-value activity, it will somehow add up to something of high value in your career is the same dubious alchemy that forms the core of most snake oil and flimflam in business. Professional success is hard, but it’s not complicated. The foundation to achievement and fulfillment, almost without exception, requires that you hone a useful craft and then apply it to things that people care about. […] Interesting opportunities and useful connections are not as scarce as social media proponents claim. In my own professional life, for example, as I improved my standing as an academic and a writer, I began receiving more interesting opportunities than I could handle. As you become more valuable to the marketplace, good things will find you. To be clear, I’m not arguing that new opportunities and connections are unimportant. I’m instead arguing that you don’t need social media’s help to attract them. My second objection concerns the idea that social media is harmless. Consider that the ability to concentrate without distraction on hard tasks is becoming increasingly valuable in an increasingly complicated economy. Social media weakens this skill because it’s engineered to be addictive. The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to be used — persistently throughout your waking hours — the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of boredom. Once this Pavlovian connection is solidified, it becomes hard to give difficult tasks the unbroken concentration they require, and your brain simply won’t tolerate such a long period without a fix. Indeed, part of my own rejection of social media comes from this fear that these services will diminish my ability to concentrate — the skill on which I make my living. A dedication to cultivating your social media brand is a fundamentally passive approach to professional advancement. It diverts your time and attention away from producing work that matters and toward convincing the world that you matter. The latter activity is seductive, especially for many members of my generation who were raised on this message, but it can be disastrously counterproductive.

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Snopes.com Editor on Fake News: Social Media Is Not the Problem

“Honestly, most of the fake news is incredibly easy to debunk because it’s such obvious bullshit…” says Brooke Binkowski, the managing editor of the fact-checking at Snopes.com. “It’s not social media that’s the problem. People are looking for somebo…

“Honestly, most of the fake news is incredibly easy to debunk because it’s such obvious bullshit…” says Brooke Binkowski, the managing editor of the fact-checking at Snopes.com. “It’s not social media that’s the problem. People are looking for somebody to pick on.” mirandakatz shared this article from Backchannel:
The problem, Binkowski believes, is that the public has lost faith in the media broadly — therefore no media outlet is considered credible any longer. The reasons are familiar: as the business of news has grown tougher, many outlets have been stripped of the resources they need for journalists to do their jobs correctly. “When you’re on your fifth story of the day and there’s no editor because the editor’s been fired and there’s no fact checker so you have to Google it yourself and you don’t have access to any academic journals or anything like that, you will screw stories up,” she says.

I found this article confusing. Snopes seemed to be trying to steer the conversation back to erroneous stories from “legitimate publications,” which erode the public trust in all mainstream outlets. (Which I guess then over time hypothetically makes people more susceptible to fake news stories on Facebook.) But her earlier remarks suggest it’s not really credibility that’s lacking there — it’s the absence of someone convenient to pick on. So what is the problem? Is it the news media’s lack of credibility? Algorithms that disproportionately reward alarming stories? A human tendency to seek information that confirms our pre-existing biases? What do Slashdot readers think is causing what this article describes as “our epidemic of misinformation”?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Snopes.com Editor on Fake News: Social Media Is Not the Problem

“Honestly, most of the fake news is incredibly easy to debunk because it’s such obvious bullshit…” says Brooke Binkowski, the managing editor of the fact-checking at Snopes.com. “It’s not social media that’s the problem. People are looking for somebo…

“Honestly, most of the fake news is incredibly easy to debunk because it’s such obvious bullshit…” says Brooke Binkowski, the managing editor of the fact-checking at Snopes.com. “It’s not social media that’s the problem. People are looking for somebody to pick on.” mirandakatz shared this article from Backchannel:
The problem, Binkowski believes, is that the public has lost faith in the media broadly — therefore no media outlet is considered credible any longer. The reasons are familiar: as the business of news has grown tougher, many outlets have been stripped of the resources they need for journalists to do their jobs correctly. “When you’re on your fifth story of the day and there’s no editor because the editor’s been fired and there’s no fact checker so you have to Google it yourself and you don’t have access to any academic journals or anything like that, you will screw stories up,” she says.

I found this article confusing. Snopes seemed to be trying to steer the conversation back to erroneous stories from “legitimate publications,” which erode the public trust in all mainstream outlets. (Which I guess then over time hypothetically makes people more susceptible to fake news stories on Facebook.) But her earlier remarks suggest it’s not really credibility that’s lacking there — it’s the absence of someone convenient to pick on. So what is the problem? Is it the news media’s lack of credibility? Algorithms that disproportionately reward alarming stories? A human tendency to seek information that confirms our pre-existing biases? What do Slashdot readers think is causing what this article describes as “our epidemic of misinformation”?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

LinkedIn-Russia: US Says Concerned Over Decision to Block Professional Networking Site

The US government said on Friday it was deeply concerned over Russia’s decision to block public access to networking site LinkedIn, saying it created a precedent that could be used to justify blocking other sites operating in Russia. From a report: Lin…

The US government said on Friday it was deeply concerned over Russia’s decision to block public access to networking site LinkedIn, saying it created a precedent that could be used to justify blocking other sites operating in Russia. From a report: LinkedIn, which has its headquarters in the United States, is the first major social network to be blocked under a new law that requires firms holding Russian citizens’ data to store it on servers on Russian soil. Internet services analysts say other tech firms, including Facebook and Twitter, could also find access blocked unless they move data onto Russian-based servers. Maria Olson, spokeswoman at the US Embassy in Moscow, said Washington urged the Russian authorities to restore access immediately to LinkedIn, and said the restrictions harmed competition and the Russian people. “The United States is deeply concerned by Russia’s decision to block access to the website LinkedIn,” Olson said in a statement sent to Reuters. “This decision is the first of its kind and sets a troubling precedent that could be used to justify shutting down any website that contains Russian user data.”

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Facebook Stops Collecting WhatsApp User Data in Europe After Government Pressure

Facebook has stopped collecting WhatsApp user data across Europe, bowing to pressure from privacy watchdogs across the continent. The shift in policy means that European users of the messaging app will no longer have information — including phone numb…

Facebook has stopped collecting WhatsApp user data across Europe, bowing to pressure from privacy watchdogs across the continent. The shift in policy means that European users of the messaging app will no longer have information — including phone numbers — relayed to Facebook, but the social network says it may only be a temporary suspension while the laws are debated. From a report on The Verge: “We hope to continue our detailed conversations with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office and other data protection officials,” Facebook says, confirming that it “remain[s] open to working collaboratively to address their questions.” Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, but only started to collect data from its users in August this year. That move drew criticism from Europe’s data collection authorities, 28 of whom signed an open letter sent last month in which they urged WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum to suspend data collection until the legality was worked out.

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Twitter Suspends American Far-Right Activists’ Accounts

Twitter has suspended the accounts of a number of American “alt-right” activists hours after announcing a renewed push to crack down on hate speech. From a report on The Guardian:Among the accounts removed were those of the self-described white-nationa…

Twitter has suspended the accounts of a number of American “alt-right” activists hours after announcing a renewed push to crack down on hate speech. From a report on The Guardian:Among the accounts removed were those of the self-described white-nationalist National Policy Institute, its magazine, Radix, and its head Richard Spencer, as well as other prominent alt-right figures including Pax Dickinson and Paul Town. Spencer, who according to anti-hate group SPLC “calls for ‘peaceful ethnic cleansing’ to halt the ‘deconstruction’ of European culture”, decried the bans as “corporate Stalinism” to right-wing news outlet Daily Caller. “Twitter is trying to airbrush the alt right out of existence,” Spencer said. “They’re clearly afraid. They will fail!”

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