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Facebook Shops Seeks to Cash In on Online Bonanza
May 21, 2020
Facebook has announced Facebook Shops, which will let small businesses set up a single online store accessible from both Instagram and Facebook. Businesses can choose products they want to feature and customize the look and feel of their online shop. Consumers can find Facebook Shops on a business' Facebook page or Instagram profile, or through stories or ads.
Far-Right Spreads COVID-19 Disinformation Epidemic Online
May 5, 2020
Far-right groups and individuals in the United States are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to promote disinformation, hate, extremism and authoritarianism. "COVID-19 has been seized by far-right groups as an opportunity to call for extreme violence," states a report from ISD, based on a combination of natural language processing, network analysis and ethnographic online research.
Ad Makers Use Deepfakes to 'Refresh' Old Content
April 28, 2020
With measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 putting a chokehold on their filming capabilities, advertising agencies are enhancing old content with new tech, including deepfakes. Deepfakes typically blend one person's likeness, or parts thereof, with the image of another person. Ad agencies are so restricted in how they can generate content, they'll explore anything that can be computer-generated.
Facebook Gaming Powers Ahead With Live Streaming
April 21, 2020
Facebook has launched a free standalone app for creating and watching live video game play on Android devices. Some 700 million users already engage in gaming on the platform, but with its dedicated app Facebook is locking horns with the leaders in the market -- Amazon, Google and Microsoft. "Live streaming was a growth opportunity before the pandemic," noted Strategy Analytics' Michael Goodman.
Facebook, YouTube Crack Down on Conspiracy Theories Linking 5G to Coronavirus
April 8, 2020
Facebook and YouTube are cracking down on the pervasive conspiracy theories linking the spread of coronavirus to 5G wireless technology. Facebook has begun actively removing false claims that could lead to physical harm. WhatsApp has reduced the number of accounts users can forward chats to from five to one. Meanwhile, YouTube has banned all videos promoting 5G-coronavirus conspiracy theories.
Zoom's Soaring Popularity Is a Double-Edged Sword
April 1, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic worsened in the U.S., Zoom Video Communications offered free access to its videoconferencing platform and demand skyrocketed. "Zoom has quickly become the de facto for teleconferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic," said James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4. "A lot of organizations are using it to keep in contact with their employees."
Instagram Combats COVID-19 Misinformation, Social Isolation
March 25, 2020
Instagram has announced a slew of new capabilities to combat misinformation about the coronavirus, along with a co-watching feature that helps users feel less isolated while sheltering at home. Efforts to clamp down on misinformation include removing COVID-19 accounts from recommendations unless they are posted by a credible health organization, and removing false claims that could cause harm.
3 Things the Tech Industry Could Do to Mitigate Pandemic Problems
March 16, 2020
We are up to our armpits in COVID-19, also known as "coronavirus," concerns. While the technology market could be devastated by it, there are several things tech players could do to mitigate the damage. Aside from having people work from home and stand six feet apart, the industry could take several innovative steps to mitigate the first manageable pandemic in the world's history.
Twitter Tiptoes Into Battle to Curb Social Media Misinformation
March 10, 2020
Twitter applied its "manipulative media" label to a deceptively edited video showing presidential hopeful Joe Biden saying, "re-elect Donald Trump" -- the first time the service enforced rules adopted to control synthetic and manipulated media. The flagged video was posted to Twitter by Dan Scavino, White House director of social media, and retweeted by the president.
Study: YouTube Achieves Some Success at Hobbling Conspiracy Theories
March 3, 2020
YouTube's efforts to reduce the spread of conspiracy theories on the platform appear to be bearing fruit. YouTube "significantly reduced the overall volume of recommended conspiratorial content," three researchers wrote in a study from the University of California, Berkeley. The team spent 15 months studying 8 million recommendations from the platform's next-watch algorithm.
Facebook Bans Coronavirus Ad Scams
February 27, 2020
Facebook is clamping down on ads and misinformation relating to coronavirus. Criticism of social media platforms for spreading fear and confusion about coronavirus is rife. Still, Facebook's decision-making has raised a few eyebrows, as the coronavirus ad restrictions could be interpreted as limiting free speech in a way that is inconsistent with Facebook's general practices.
It's Time for a Social Media and Disinformation Reckoning: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 6
February 13, 2020
Can social media be saved? Can democracy be saved? The first question may seem less compelling than the second, but to some very worried observers, they are intimately entwined. Social networking -- on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a host of other online networks -- is the root of all current cultural evils, in the eyes of some critics. Undeniably, social networks offer positive experiences too.
Latest E-Commerce Trend: The Rise of Shoppable Posts
February 11, 2020
There were 4,521,480,071 Internet users as of Dec. 1, 2019. A month later it was closer to 5 billion users. A decade ago there were fewer than a billion social network users. That's worldwide. That user growth has been a leading indicator of the rise of alternative social networking platforms. Marketers -- and consumers -- are always on the lookout for the newest thing with which to engage.
Know Your Enemy: The Difficulty of Defining Deepfakes
January 21, 2020
Facebook recently promised that it would increase efforts to remove so-called "deepfake" videos, including content that included "misleading manipulated media." In addition to fears that deepfakes -- altered videos that appear to be authentic -- could impact the upcoming 2020 general election in the United States, there are growing concerns that they could ruin reputations and impact businesses.
Cybersecurity 2020: A Perilous Landscape
January 17, 2020
Cybersecurity is a very serious issue for 2020 -- and the risks stretch far beyond the alarming spike in ransomware. In addition to the daily concerns of malware, stolen data and the cost of recovering from a business network intrusion, there is the very real danger of nefarious actors using cyberattacks to influence or directly impact the outcome of the 2020 U.S. general election.
'Black PR' Firms Line Their Pockets by Spreading Misinformation
January 9, 2020
PR companies long have been known for reshaping perceptions for their clients. Some now engage in "black PR" -- the calculated spread of misinformation online. Entrepreneur Peng Kuan Chin's company harvests online posts written in Chinese, reshapes them, and posts them on websites under its control. Thousands of fake social media accounts then spread this manipulated content across the Internet.
Facebook to Kick Out Some Deepfakes
January 8, 2020
Facebook has promised to remove certain "misleading manipulated media": videos edited or synthesized in ways that likely would mislead viewers to believe that video subjects said words they did not say; products of artificial intelligence or machine learning that merge, combine, replace, or superimpose content onto a video, creating a fake video that appears to be authentic.
Facebook Won't Let US, UK, Australia Get Toe in Backdoor
December 11, 2019
Facebook has rejected a request from the U.S., the UK and Australia for a "backdoor" in its encrypted messenger apps to help law enforcement agencies combat crime and terrorism. "Cybersecurity experts have repeatedly proven that when you weaken any part of an encrypted system, you weaken it for everyone, everywhere," wrote WhatsApp head Will Cathcart and Facebook Messenger head Stan Chudnovsky.
Twitter Sets Up Privacy Center but Moves to Skirt GDPR
December 4, 2019
Twitter's new Privacy Center will give users more clarity on what it does to protect the information people share. The center will host everything relevant to Twitter's privacy and data protection work, including initiatives, announcements, new privacy products and communication about security incidents, noted Twitter Data Protection Officer Damien Kieran and Product Lead Kayvon Beykpour.
EU Digital Czar to Probe Facebook's and Google's Data Wrangling
December 3, 2019
The European Union has launched a probe into how Google and Facebook gather, process, use and monetize data for advertising purposes. The European Commission has begun distributing questionnaires as part of a preliminary investigation into Google's and Facebook's data practices. Facebook and Google join Amazon as targets of the EU's "digital czar," Margrethe Vestager.
New YouTube Terms of Service Create Stir
November 12, 2019
Google has published changes to YouTube's Terms of Service Agreement that have stoked fears among some users. "YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account's access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable," the new ToSA states. Many creators are deeply concerned over the prospect of YouTube changing its practices.
The Truth vs. Censorship Trap
November 4, 2019
There recently has been a lot of rumbling about Twitter deciding not to take political ads, and Facebook deciding -- and this was stupid -- that it would run political ads even if they were untrue. I'm becoming convinced that Zuckerberg is trying to put Facebook out of business. There are some real differences between the firms. Facebook does far more political advertising than Twitter.
Evidence of War Crimes Vanishing From Social Media
November 1, 2019
A controversy has erupted over YouTube's practice of taking down videos with graphically violent content, which also may be evidence of recent war crimes. YouTube's policy -- similar to other social media platforms -- has been to remove content that contains hate speech, disinformation or disturbing images. In the past, social media services have been called out for failing to do enough.
Facebook Employees Blast Company's Political Ads Policy
October 30, 2019
At least 250 Facebook employees signed a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticizing the company's hands-off policy against fact-checking political ads. "We strongly object to this policy as it stands," says the letter. "It doesn't protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy."
Get Serious About Cybersecurity: Take Ownership of Your Personal Data
October 4, 2019
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and one of the prongs in the three-part theme is for all computer users to "Own IT." This means staying safe on social media, updating privacy settings, and keeping tabs on apps. Simply put, users need to take better ownership of their data and their online presence as part of daily safe cyber practices.
Leaked Audio Reveals Zuckerberg Spinning Hard
October 2, 2019
An attendee at a two-hour question-and-answer session during a Facebook company meeting held in July leaked a recording of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's comments that reveal deep insights into his thinking. Zuckerberg apparently decided the Q&A format would be an effective way to rally Facebook employees against rising criticism from competitors and the U.S. government.
Facebook's New Portals: More Ways to Follow
September 19, 2019
Facebook has announced three additions to the Portal family: a new Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV. The devices let users make calls using Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The Portal has a new design that resembles a picture frame. The Portal Mini is similar but smaller. The Portal TV blends the functionality of a set-top box with social media and video conferencing.
Instagram May Roll Out App for 'Real Friends' Sharing
August 28, 2019
A new application may be in the works that allows Instagram users to share real-time information with their closest friends. Called "Threads," the app allows users to set up automatic sharing with their closest Instagram buddies of such information as location, movement and battery life, as well as text, video and photo messages generated using Instagram's tools.
Facebook Gives Privacy-Minded Users Some Control Over Activity Tracking
August 21, 2019
Facebook has announced the release of Off-Facebook Activity, a tool that will let members see which apps and websites supply information about their online activity, and clear that information from their Facebook accounts if they wish. Once members have cleared their off-Facebook activity, Facebook will remove their identifying information from the data it collects.
YouTube as Political Influencer Takes the Spotlight
August 16, 2019
YouTube, which operates as one of Google's subsidiaries, is under increased scrutiny after a report earlier this month highlighted the role it played in the recent presidential election in Brazil. Among concerns is YouTube's installation of a new AI system that can suggest additional videos to watch. The goal arguably is not much different from the way newspapers offer links to other stories.
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