Facebook, Twitter Turn to Algorithms to Weed Out Bad Actors

Facebook revealed a ratings system it has been developing over the past year, assigning users a “reputation score” that estimates their trustworthiness on a scale from zero to one. The idea behind the system is to weed out bad actors, according to Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons who is in charge of the battle against fake news. Up until now, Facebook, like other tech companies, has depended on users to report problematic content, but discovered that users began to file false reports about items they said were untrue. Continue reading Facebook, Twitter Turn to Algorithms to Weed Out Bad Actors

Apple Bans Developers From Sharing Data Without Consent

For years, developers for Apple’s App Store have been able to ask users for access to their phone contacts and then share or sell the data of everyone listed in those digital address books, without their consent. That practice has recently been getting a lot of negative attention, and now Apple plans to ban developers from using that information. The updated Guidelines nixes the creation of databases of address book information collected from iPhone users as well as selling or sharing it with third parties. Continue reading Apple Bans Developers From Sharing Data Without Consent

Facebook’s Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress Next Week

In light of Facebook’s latest revelation that data from as many as 87 million users — not the 50 million figure originally reported — was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted he made a “huge mistake” by not paying more attention to the potential for abuse. Facebook further revealed that marketers, using a now-disabled feature that distributed profile data connected to email addresses and phone numbers, could have harvested data from “most people on Facebook.” Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear before federal committees next week. Continue reading Facebook’s Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress Next Week

Twitter to Hire Experts, Accept Proposals to Stop Bad Actors

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey has brought his own company to task, for what he said is a less-than-stellar performance in handling malicious activity. More specifically, he said that he did not move quickly enough to take action against the Russian efforts to create divisions between Americans. Dorsey, who has previously expressed contrition for his slow reaction, has now made it clear that the company needs to take actions to prevent this from happening again, rather than just reacting after the fact. Continue reading Twitter to Hire Experts, Accept Proposals to Stop Bad Actors

AT&T Chief Exec Calls for Creation of an Internet Bill of Rights

AT&T, one of the winners in the recent end of net neutrality rules, is clarifying its stance. In an open letter that was published nationwide, including in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, chief executive Randall Stephenson called on Congress to establish an Internet Bill of Rights that would apply to all Internet companies and guarantee “neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all Internet users.” Continue reading AT&T Chief Exec Calls for Creation of an Internet Bill of Rights

CES Offers Global Look at How to Compete in Tech Innovation

HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Business France’s Pascal Cagni, and IBM Global Technology Services CTO Bridget Karlin discussed how countries and companies around the world leverage capital, talent and the markets to gain an edge in today’s global innovations. In a conversation at CES 2018 led by Time Inc. chief content officer Alan Murray, both Europeans were quizzed on how their countries create an entrepreneurial culture. Prince Constantijn pointed to his country’s focus on tech education and open migration policies. Continue reading CES Offers Global Look at How to Compete in Tech Innovation

Instagram Feature Brings Transparency to Sponsored Posts

Instagram has taken a step to increase transparency, giving Internet celebrities on the site an easier way to let viewers know if their posts are sponsored. Users and sponsors can work together to decide whether or not to tag a post as a “paid partnership” at the top. This new feature is currently being tested with a few celebrities and businesses. If it proves successful, Instagram will launch it more widely. Parent company Facebook already uses a similar method of disclosing such paid partnerships. Continue reading Instagram Feature Brings Transparency to Sponsored Posts

IBM, Microsoft Execs Promote the Ethical Development of AI

Many in the artificial intelligence community have called for ethical guidelines for the burgeoning field, and IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty is the latest to add her voice, which she did at the World Economic Forum in Davos. MIT, Harvard and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman have established a $27 million fund to analyze the impact and implications of AI; the IEEE has proposed ethical guidelines; the Obama administration issued a report on AI’s impact on jobs; and Carnegie Mellon studies the future of AI. Continue reading IBM, Microsoft Execs Promote the Ethical Development of AI

CES 2017: An Argument for Opacity in Our Next Technologies

As noted by Bolter and Grusin in their seminal work Remediation: Understanding New Media, there is a trend towards transparency of the supports that underlie media content. For example, consider the current obsession with grinding down smartphone bezels so that all that remains is a gleaming, five-inch window into the world of “Angry Birds.” Or, look to the excitement of panel manufacturers who boast of new color spaces, dynamic ranges, and resolutions. Virtual reality presents the possible apotheosis of this kind of mediation: a technology where content has no borders, instead utilizing the totality of one’s senses, the net cast by its content so wide that the machinery which deploys it becomes eclipsed. Continue reading CES 2017: An Argument for Opacity in Our Next Technologies

IEEE Publishes First Draft Guidelines for ‘Ethically Aligned’ AI

The IEEE just published the first version of a 136-page document that it hopes will help technologists build ethically designed AI systems that can benefit humanity and avoid the pitfalls inherent in the new field. Ethics, says the IEEE, is something that technologists should consider when building autonomous systems, and it lists recommendations in the new document, titled “Ethically Aligned Design,” which are based on the input of more than 100 specialists in AI, law, ethics, philosophy and policy. Continue reading IEEE Publishes First Draft Guidelines for ‘Ethically Aligned’ AI

How Sponsored Content Transforms as It Moves to Facebook

Publishers have gravitated to sponsored content — stories, videos and podcasts that mimic journalistic content — to cope with rapidly changing online advertising. The Atlantic, Slate and The New York Times are among the publications that count sponsored content as a significant portion of their revenue. Companies such as Vice and BuzzFeed have created businesses centered on focused content. But the definition of sponsored content is shifting as viewers move from news sites towards Facebook and other social media platforms. Continue reading How Sponsored Content Transforms as It Moves to Facebook

Periscope Update Allows Users to Sign Up with Phone Number

As Meerkat and Periscope battle for the lead in live broadcasting via smartphones, Periscope is rolling out a version 10.4 update to make it easier for users to sign up. No longer requiring a Twitter account, users can now use the streaming app by simply entering a phone number. However, Periscope still recommends that Twitter users sign up for the app through its microblogging service since it is easier to identify other interesting users to follow. The update also makes it easier to reply to comments during a broadcast. Continue reading Periscope Update Allows Users to Sign Up with Phone Number

Tech Groups Express Their Support for the USA FREEDOM Act

Technology trade groups — including TechNet, the Internet Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association — have joined the Reform Government Surveillance group in support of the USA FREEDOM Act. The bill intends to limit federal government bulk surveillance programs in an effort to protect privacy while still addressing national security. The consortium supports more transparency and a change to the collection of bulk data. Continue reading Tech Groups Express Their Support for the USA FREEDOM Act

T-Mobile Adds Music Streaming, Stops Hiding Slower Speeds

Cellular company T-Mobile announced last week that it has added 14 new streaming services that will not count towards its customers’ data caps. Google Play Music and other specialty music services are now part of the Music Freedom program, but the deal raises questions about T-Mobile’s role in net neutrality. The FCC also told the company that it needs to be more transparent about throttled Internet speeds for customers who have exceeded their data allowance. Continue reading T-Mobile Adds Music Streaming, Stops Hiding Slower Speeds

Twitter Sues U.S. Government Over Surveillance Disclosures

Social network Twitter filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government on Tuesday, seeking to bring more transparency to government surveillance. Twitter wants the government to ease restrictions on what tech companies can publicly disclose about the government’s national security-related requests for user data. The company alleges that these restrictions violate the company’s First Amendment rights. This is the latest in a series of battles over online national surveillance. Continue reading Twitter Sues U.S. Government Over Surveillance Disclosures

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