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ACLU Sues Facebook for Facilitating Gender-Biased Job Recruitment
September 19, 2018
The ACLU has filed charges of unlawful gender-based discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 employers accused of targeting job ads at males only. The ACLU, Outten & Golden, a Washington, D.C. law firm, and the Communications Workers of America brought the class action. The complaint alleges that Facebook delivers job ads selectively.
Death Watch Begins for Google
September 17, 2018
The EU has been stretching its wings. In the shadow of Brexit, it apparently has decided it has the real enemy of the people in its sights: social media companies and Google. France is even more aggressive, suggesting that the EU's "right to be forgotten" law should apply worldwide. Given that it actually does fall within the legitimate purview of government, it is hard not to agree.
Facebook Goes Into High Gear to Fight Election Meddling, Fake News
September 14, 2018
Defending against foreign interference in American elections is one of the priorities Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he has been focusing on this year. The issue is highly sensitive, and it is one that has garnered a great deal of discussion in media reports and on the Web. Special counsel Robert Mueller warned in a court filing this spring that foreign interference efforts were still going on.
Google Digs In Heels Over Global Expansion of EU's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
September 14, 2018
Google took on French lawyers at the European Union Court of Justice this week, in an effort to fend off expansion of the EU's "right to be forgotten" judgment. The EU's attempts to broaden the scope of that judgment would be "completely unenvisagable," and it could result in impositions on the values of different countries around the world, Google argued.
To Resist Manipulation, Ask One Question
September 10, 2018
The level of effort devoted to manipulating our opinions is unprecedented. Granted, a lot of this has to do with the fact that most of the "free" online services we use aren't free at all. They are trading our ability to make measured opinions for advertisers' money, and some of these "advertisers" are foreign governments. There is one question we should be asking of any inflammatory story: Why?
The Thrill Is Gone for Many Facebook Users
September 6, 2018
American consumers' attitudes toward Facebook appear to be cooling, based on the results of a Pew Research Center survey. Forty-two percent of the roughly 4,600 people who responded to the May poll said they had taken a break of several weeks from checking the platform. "Facebook's probably losing subscribers for a number of reasons," said Frost & Sullivan's Michael Jude.
Senators Bash Google at Russian Election Meddling Hearing
September 6, 2018
An empty chair reserved for Google became the focal point for harsh criticism Wednesday at the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified at the forum. Several senators lambasted the absent company for being unwilling to answer important questions.
Facebook Cracks Down on Iranian, Russian Influence Campaigns
August 23, 2018
Facebook has removed more than 650 Facebook and Instagram pages, groups and accounts originating in Iran and Russia for "coordinated inauthentic behavior." The goal is to improve the trustworthiness of Facebook connections. Although it has been making progress in its efforts, the people responsible for the inauthentic activity are determined and well funded, Facebook said.
The Internet's Truth vs. Fake News Showdown
August 10, 2018
Facebook earlier this week pulled the plug on the official page for Alex Jones, host of Infowars and noted conspiracy theorist. YouTube quickly followed, removing Infowars and Jones' videos. Facebook's move followed Apple's decision to pull five of Infowars' six podcasts -- including the "Alex Jones Show" and "War Room" -- from the iTunes and Podcasts apps.
The Pain and Potential of Making a 180-Degree Policy Shift
July 20, 2018
Photo-hosting service Photobucket in May quietly restored third-party hosting of photos, reversing its unpopular year-old policy that required users to pay nearly $400 for hosting privileges. Many irate users claimed their photos were "taken hostage." Hosted photos on blogs, forums and other sites were replaced by an image of a dial indicating the hosted data quota had been surpassed.
The Best Defense Against Fake News in Social Media
June 25, 2018
IBM just showcased Project Debater, and it just won against a top human debater using actual facts. We need the production version of this tool yesterday. The problem with fake news is that it is getting worse over time. We have always had issues with politicians and con artists trying to convince us down is up and to get us to do things that, were we informed, we'd never do.
Facebook Shores Up Its Position on Fake News Front
June 22, 2018
Facebook has announced new tactics to reduce the spread of fake news. Its efforts will include combining technology with human reviewers to identify and remove fake accounts; partnering with fact-checkers; and promoting news literacy. Facebook will expand its fact-checking programs to new countries, scrutinize photos and videos more closely, and increase the impact of fact-checking.
Avoiding Career Death by Twitter
June 4, 2018
The most popular show on ABC was canceled last week because the star of the show, Roseanne Barr -- known for saying and writing stuff that would get most of us fired -- did exactly what she was known for doing and got fired. ABC now looks like it is run by idiots because, really, who didn't see this coming? This outcome is one that could have been prevented relatively easily.
Teens Falling Away From Facebook
June 1, 2018
Ninety-five percent of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45 percent of teens are almost constantly online -- but younger Internet users do not connect on Facebook as much as their older peers do, suggests a new Pew study. Although Facebook dominated social media across all age groups over the past decade, it has taken a backseat to YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat among today's teens.
Benioff Endorses GDPR for US
May 27, 2018
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff described Facebook as the "new cigarettes" in a recent appearance on the TV show CBS This Morning and called for the U.S. to adopt a national privacy law like the GDPR, which just went into effect in Europe. "Maybe this is a time where the government has to step in and regulate not just that product but really our industry," Benioff said, referring to Facebook.
Reining In Data-Crazed Tech Companies, Part 2
May 15, 2018
Several countries -- including the United States, France and Germany -- have pointed a finger at Russia for meddling in their elections. Russia used social media as a big part of that effort. Facebook has been scrambling to win back the public's trust since the Russia and Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, it's not clear what exactly hostile nation states have been up to on social media.
Solving Tech's Diversity Problem
May 7, 2018
I recently attended Dell Technology World, which shone a light on one of Michael Dell's passions: addressing the lack of gender diversity in the tech industry. Some time back he asked the most powerful woman at Dell, CCO Karen Quintos, to spearhead an effort to fix the problem. One of the leading experts on the problem, Howard Ross of Cook Ross, indicated it was getting worse -- not better.
Facebook's Clear History Privacy Option: Boon or Sop?
May 3, 2018
Facebook plans to offer members a tool that to prevent tracking of their online activity outside the network. The Clear History feature will allow users to see which websites and applications send Facebook information when they use them, delete the data and prevent Facebook from collecting and storing it in the future. It will take a few months to build the tool, Facebook said.
Fighting Fake News and Forging Real Diplomacy
April 23, 2018
Two new initiatives -- a concerted effort by Apple and a massive educational effort called the "Pro-Truth Pledge" -- could help eliminate much of the fake news BS that is really messing up the U.S. at the moment. On another front, President Donald Trump's plan to meet with Kim Jong-un reminds me of a pivotal meeting between former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and then Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Facebook Rolls Out European-Style Privacy Protections
April 19, 2018
Facebook has unveiled a comprehensive series of privacy enhancements designed to extend protections required by the European Union's GDPR to all of the social media company's users around the world. The updates, which include major changes to the company's terms and data policies, fulfill promises CEO Mark Zuckerberg made to House and Senate members in Washington D.C., Facebook officials said.
Reining In Data-Crazed Tech Companies
April 16, 2018
Facebook has been in seriously hot water for its data monetization model almost from the firm's beginning. The Cambridge Analytica, election meddling and fake news scandals have turned up the heat. Facebook's problems aren't limited to the public and government backlash that spans several countries; the firm faces potentially devastating legal threats too.
The Internet Is Facing a Health Scare, Suggests Mozilla Report
April 14, 2018
Mozilla has launched the first full edition of its Internet Health Report. The report is "an open source effort to explore the state of human life on the Internet," said Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman. It consists of research and analysis about the Internet compiled by researchers, engineers, data scientists, policy analysts and artists in Mozilla's extended community.
Lawmakers Lean In on Facebook
April 13, 2018
Following two days of often contentious exchanges between members of Congress and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the focus in Washington and Silicon Valley has shifted from how Facebook plans to change its data practices to how to implement some of those plans. The company already has taken steps to give its 2 billion monthly active users more control over their data.
House Critics Grill Zuckerberg Over Political Bias, Privacy
April 12, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday endured a second day of congressional criticism during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His appearance followed an intense session with two Senate Committees a day earlier. Some members of the House committee questioned whether Facebook tracked users offline. Some blasted what they claimed were repeated instances of censorship.
Zuckerberg Bobs, Weaves at Senate Hearing
April 11, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that the company failed to inform the FTC that Cambridge Analytica had gained improper access to personal data belonging to millions of Facebook members, despite its 2011 settlement with the commission over earlier complaints of unauthorized data sharing. Zuckerberg made the admission at a joint hearing of the U.S. Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
Researchers to Put Facebook's Role in Elections Under Magnifying Glass
April 10, 2018
A group of nonprofits have agreed to fund an initiative to study Facebook's role in elections and democracy. The organizations will pay the expenses of researchers, and Facebook will give the scholars access to proprietary data that has met the company's new standards for heightened user privacy protection. "This is a critical first step," said Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation.
Mysterious Disappearance of Zuck Posts Rings Another Facebook Alarm Bell
April 9, 2018
Facebook reportedly allowed CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives to delete messages from recipients' inboxes and chat threads, but it did not disclose the practice or offer the same capabilities to users. Facebook began using the tool after the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures to protect executive communications. Facebook later said it would make the feature available to all users.
Turning Social Media From a Problem Into a Solution
April 9, 2018
The shooting incident that took place last week at YouTube had less to do with guns than with the failure of the police to act on information in a timely way and the inability of social media to be anything but part of the problem. Google has been giving this issue little more than lip service, but I expect it has become motivated to do more, given that YouTube was the latest target.
Facebook Comes Up With a New Data Access Plan
April 6, 2018
Facebook has announced an update to its policies for restricting data access on its platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also discussed some of Facebook's new efforts to shore up user privacy protections in a 45-minute long Q&A with members of the media on Wednesday. Facebook will implement nine changes, which will allow users to set privacy levels and limit automatic data sharing.
Facebook Declares Open Season on Russian Trolls
April 5, 2018
Facebook has taken down more than 270 pages and accounts operated by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday. IRA trolls and ads were involved in Russia's attempts to interfere with the 2016 United States presidential elections, and the trolls have published hate speech and incitements to violence on their Facebook pages.
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What best describes your attitude toward social networks and politics?
The value of engaging in serious political discourse outweighs the negatives.
Most of the political conversations seem overheated and ignorant.
Social networks provide a lot of very good political information from reliable sources.
Almost every political post I see is skewed or totally fake.
Political interactions on social networks simply mirror those in the real world.
Social networks remove inhibitions, bringing out the worst in people and politics.