Russia Pushes More Disinformation via Facebook and Twitter

Facebook and Twitter reported that the Internet Research Agency in Russia, which reportedly interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, is again using fake accounts and created Peace Data, a fake left-wing website. With the likely goal of influencing the 2020 election, it is believed to be spreading disinformation about Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden. U.S. intelligence agencies have warned for months about Russian meddling. Both social platforms have already taken steps to address such disinformation; most recently, Facebook announced plans to block political ads one week before the November election and Twitter is adding more context to Trending Topics. Continue reading Russia Pushes More Disinformation via Facebook and Twitter

Twitter Debuts Reply Feature to Prevent Chronic Harassment

After testing earlier this year, Twitter has introduced settings that allow users to control who can reply to tweets. Twitter is responding to widespread pressure to combat chronic hate speech, misogyny and harassment. Twitter director of product management Suzanne Xie wrote that, “we’ve seen people use these settings to have conversations that weren’t really possible before,” adding that, “starting today, everyone will be able to use these settings so unwanted replies don’t get in the way of meaningful conversations.” Continue reading Twitter Debuts Reply Feature to Prevent Chronic Harassment

Twitter Bans Accounts Promoting QAnon Conspiracy Theories

Twitter removed about 150,000 accounts disseminating QAnon right-wing conspiracies for violating the social platform’s policies and distributing harassment and misinformation that could potentially lead to harm. The company added that it will no longer recommend QAnon-related accounts and content, including that contained in email. Twitter also stated it will make efforts to limit these theories from appearing in trending topics and search, as well as users posting links affiliated with the theories. Continue reading Twitter Bans Accounts Promoting QAnon Conspiracy Theories

AMC Expresses ‘Substantial Doubt’ About its Chain’s Survival

AMC Theatres told its investors that “substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time.” In a new 8-K filing, ahead of its earning call next week, the company described how it is trying to survive but also stressed how badly the coronavirus pandemic is eroding its financial stability. The movie theater chain had $5 billion in debt by the end of 2019 and continues to borrow more. Adding to its woes is the worry that distributors will postpone new film releases. Continue reading AMC Expresses ‘Substantial Doubt’ About its Chain’s Survival

Facebook Pressured Over Fact-Checking and Hate Speech

After Facebook vice president Nick Clegg said that the social media company would not fact-check politicians’ speech and allow them more latitude with using offensive speech, the company’s former head of content standards Dave Willner called the move “foolish, wrong, and a significant betrayal of the original democratizing ideals of Facebook.” He noted that hate speech is not acceptable from anyone. Facebook will also permit opinion pieces or satires found to be inaccurate by fact-checkers to remain online. Continue reading Facebook Pressured Over Fact-Checking and Hate Speech

Rotten Tomatoes Adjusts Its Review Model to Combat Trolls

To better combat online trolls who have recently been waging campaigns to affect audience ratings for certain movies, Fandango-owned Rotten Tomatoes is making a significant change to its review submission model. Since the influential website relies upon credible ratings, “review bombing” that adversely impacts audience ratings is seen as a major issue. In order to minimize such a potential flood of negative reviews, users will no longer be permitted to post any audience reviews until the film in question appears in theaters. Continue reading Rotten Tomatoes Adjusts Its Review Model to Combat Trolls

Twitter Grows its Daily Users, Debuts Automated Anti-Troll Tool

Twitter has been investing in monitoring, removing offensive and inappropriate content and debuting tweaks, a job started by former chief financial officer Anthony Noto. The company is also rolling out an automated tool that will be on the lookout for “troll-like” behavior. This attention to the concerns of marketers has paid off, as Twitter just posted its second profitable quarter as a public company. But chief financial officer Ned Segal believes there is more to do to make the platform more stable and successful. Continue reading Twitter Grows its Daily Users, Debuts Automated Anti-Troll Tool

Red Hat and Lenovo Entice Startups to Join Anti-Troll Network

Four years ago, Google and Canon founded the non-profit LOT (License on Transfer) Network to combat litigation by trolls — companies that don’t make products, but seek profits from challenging patents. Now, Red Hat and Lenovo Group, two of LOT’s 224 members, are offering free patents to any startup that joins the group. When the dotcom bubble burst 20 years ago, bankrupt firms sold their patents, which were bought by speculators. Patent suits are declining, but are still an issue for companies of all sizes. Continue reading Red Hat and Lenovo Entice Startups to Join Anti-Troll Network

Supreme Court Ruling Confirms Internal U.S. Patent Reviews

In a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an inter partes review (IPR) at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not violate a defendant’s constitutional right to have a case determined by a federal court and jury. Congress created the process in 2011 to handle the large number of flimsy patent applications. The Houston-based Oil States International brought the case; pharmaceutical companies also called the IPR process “a threat to innovation.” Justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch were the dissenting votes. Continue reading Supreme Court Ruling Confirms Internal U.S. Patent Reviews

Silicon Valley Pioneers Question Today’s Dysfunctional Internet

Testifying before Congress, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg listed all the ways his company has erred, from fake news to hate speech and data privacy — and then apologized for not taking “a broad enough view of our responsibility.” He isn’t the only Silicon Valley leader to take stock of the state of the Internet and worry about its future. Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker, has warned about what social media is “doing to our children’s brains,” calling it a “dangerous form of psychological manipulation.” Continue reading Silicon Valley Pioneers Question Today’s Dysfunctional Internet

Invasive Use of Facial Recognition Tech Already Widespread

Facial recognition is getting better by leaps and bounds, and some of the examples of how it is being used are disturbing. In Russia, the website FindFace matches submitted photos to VK, that country’s Facebook knock-off. Trolls are using it to identify and harass women who appear in adult videos. China uses cameras with facial recognition to tag jaywalkers, and, in Dubai, police wear Google Glasses to identify people. In the U.S., the government facial recognition system can already identify the faces of half of all American adults. Continue reading Invasive Use of Facial Recognition Tech Already Widespread

Small Sellers on Facebook Live Lack Essential Business Tools

Facebook debuted its Live streaming video feature in 2016 to profit from the popularity of live video, especially among younger viewers who were turning to Snapchat. Now, small businesses have adopted Live streaming to create an interactive shopping experience that combines sales with a very human connection. Tracie Reeves, for example, has 25,000 Facebook followers who watch her six-day-a-week two-hour show, “My Mermaid Treasure,” where she sells cultured freshwater pearls dyed numerous colors, keeping viewers glued with raffles and giveaways. Continue reading Small Sellers on Facebook Live Lack Essential Business Tools

Facebook Debates Self-Regulation to Combat Misinformation

Facebook is facing many challenges, none more pressing than the posts and memes covertly created by Russian government-led organizations whose goal was to influence the 2016 U.S. election. Inside Facebook, say a dozen current and former employees, the debate rages over how to deal with the issue. One side, supporting free speech, believes that nothing should be censored; the other side is worried about the problems created by this laissez-faire approach. Meanwhile, the company is reportedly in full-on defense mode. Continue reading Facebook Debates Self-Regulation to Combat Misinformation

Palmer Luckey Backs VR Tool to Run Oculus Games on Vive

CrossVR’s campaign on crowdfunding site Patreon intends to raise money to fund the ongoing development of Revive, a so-called hack that allows HTC Vive users to play content that is exclusive to Oculus and not released on Steam. Now, Oculus Rift inventor and co-founder of Oculus VR Palmer Luckey reportedly pledged $2,000 per month to support the CrossVR effort. Luckey left Facebook (which acquired Oculus) in March, the aftermath of a legal battle over the VR technology. The PR team for Oculus has already stated that it doesn’t condone Revive. Continue reading Palmer Luckey Backs VR Tool to Run Oculus Games on Vive

Google Develops AI That Can Detect Hateful Internet Speech

Google technology incubator Jigsaw has released software designed to help Web publishers moderate the unruly comments on their sites. The software is called Perspective and it is available free of charge to publishers that apply for access. Jigsaw used machine learning to help train Perspective to identify toxic comments. Each comment is assigned a score, so that human moderators or even readers can filter out responses that score above a certain toxicity level. Perspective is part of Jigsaw’s Conversation AI initiative. The team wants to help foster more civil discourse and eradicate Internet trolls.  Continue reading Google Develops AI That Can Detect Hateful Internet Speech

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