Tag Archives: Users

Facebook's Latest Fix for Fake News: Ask Users What They Trust
January 20, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

Mark Zuckerberg promised to spend 2018 fixing Facebook. Last week, he addressed Facebook making you feel bad. Now he’s onto fake news.

Late Friday, Facebook buried another major announcement at the end of the week: How to make sure that users see high-quality news on Facebook. Facebook’s solution? Let its users decide what to trust. On the difficult problem of fixing fake news, Zuckerberg took the path with the least responsibility for Facebook, but described it as the most objective.

“We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that’s not something we’re comfortable with,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.”

The vetting process will happen through Facebook’s ongoing quality surveys — the same surveys it uses to ask whether Facebook is a force for good in the world and whether the company seems to care about its users. Now, Facebook will ask users if they are familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust the source.

According to Zuckerberg, these surveys will help the truth about trustworthiness rise to the top: “The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly.”

It’s tempting to read a lot into Zuckerberg’s words, especially when the missive was so short on details. The perils are evident: Bad actors can game the survey! This only increases filter bubbles! After the year Facebook just had, how can you possibly think the masses can be objective?

Relying on users “lets them sidestep allegations of bias and take steps to fix it without directly becoming the dreaded ‘arbiter of truth,'” says researcher Renee DiResta, a technologist who has been studying the manipulation of social-media platforms.

Facebook did not immediately return a request for comment. There’s a good chance the new policy could cause as many problems as it solves. For the best known media brands, the survey could be a leg up. But what about niche publications that have narrow, but credible readerships? Does this mean that National Review or Slate are deemed untrustworthy because they have definitive points of view? Do they get put in the same bucket as Fox and MSNBC? What about BuzzFeed, where fun distractions and deep investigations all show up under the same URL?

Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, a trade association representing content companies, likes the idea of using brands as a proxy for trust. “But the details are really important,” he says. “What matters most is how this is being messaged. Facebook is clearly scrambling as the industry, Washington and the global community are losing trust in them. There is nothing worse to a company long-term.”

Zuckerberg also seemed to be in scramble mode last week when Facebook said it is reorienting the newsfeed to show users “meaningful interactions.” Only Friday, eight days later, did Zuckerberg explain the scope of that change for news publishers: the percentage of news on Facebook’s newsfeed will drop to 4 percent, from 5 percent.

This isn’t Facebook’s first attempt to address fake news. It’s previous effort flopped a few weeks ago. Facebook thought putting “disputed” flags on fake news stories would help out, but people only clicked more. Despite Zuckerberg’s reluctance to work with outsiders, experts probably could have warned him about human nature.

The survey strategy may fall prey to the same misunderstanding of people. Chris Tolles, the CEO of the media site Topix, is familiar with the problem. “As a news aggregator, we wrestled with this,” he says. “People who actually share news, news is a weapon, it’s not to inform, it’s to injure. It’s a social-justice identitarian, a person with an ax to grind, or it’s a journalist. They are not sharing news to inform, they are trying to convince you of something. It comes with a point of view.”

The root of the problem, according to Tolles: Trust is not objective. The interpretation of objectivity varies wildly between Democrats and Republicans and internet users themselves may not be a trustworthy bunch. Zuckerberg’s post also mentioned refocusing on “local” news, which Tolles says is just as fraught. “It’s vicious all the way down to the local crime report. I think that they’ve got an impossible task.”

Last week the company said it was stepping away from news. “This week, they said we’re going to try to do the hardest thing in the world, which is to try to decide which narrative is true,” says Tolles.

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Twitter may notify users exposed to Russian propaganda during 2016 election
January 17, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Twitter may notify users whether they were exposed to content generated by a suspected Russian propaganda service, a company executive told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday.

The social media company is “working to identify and inform individually” its users who saw tweets during the 2016 U.S. presidential election produced by accounts tied to the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Army, Carlos Monje, Twitter’s director of public policy, told the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

A Twitter spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about plans to notify its users.

Facebook Inc in December created a portal where its users could learn whether they interacted with accounts created by the Internet Research Agency.

Both companies and Alphabet’s YouTube appeared before the Senate committee on Wednesday to answer lawmaker questions about how their efforts to combat the use of their platforms by violent extremists, such as the Islamic State.

But the hearing often turned its focus to questions of Russian propaganda, a vexing issue for internet firms who spent most of the past year responding to a backlash that they did too little to deter Russians from using their services to anonymously spread divisive messages among Americans in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. elections.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russia sought to interfere in the election through a variety of cyber-enabled means to sow political discord and help President Donald Trump win. Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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Twitter is incorrectly guessing the gender of trans users — and they aren’t having it
July 14, 2017 9:15 am|Comments (0)

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Transgender Twitter users aren’t here for the platform’s gendered assumptions. And they sure aren’t hesitating to make that known.

Here’s the deal: Twitter released a new set of tools on May 17 which allow users to see and control the data advertisers use to target ads on the social media platform. While the move was a clear effort to increase transparency and trust between users and the social media machine, the actual data Twitter has collected is giving many users pause. 

Notably, many trans and gender-nonconforming users are troubled that Twitter has been guessing the gender of users based on the gender most strongly associated with a user’s “profile and activity.”  Read more…

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55% off Panda Security Ransomware and Virus Protection Products for Home Users – Deal Alert
May 18, 2017 1:55 pm|Comments (0)

Panda security solutions will fully protect you against the newly released malware and ransomware attacks, and Panda is offering 55% off all security products for home users using the coupon code ANTIRANSOMWARE at checkout. See Panda’s Internet Security product here, or their Antivirus Pro product here, and enter the code at checkout to activate the 55% savings. This code will work for all Panda Security products for home users. 

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Certain HP laptops are found recording users’ keystrokes
May 11, 2017 11:05 pm|Comments (0)

Over two dozen HP laptop models have been secretly recording users’ keystrokes, possibly by mistake, according to a Swiss security firm.

The keylogger is found within the PCs’ audio driver software and has existed since at least Dec. 2015, the security firm Modzero said in a Thursday blog post.   

The audio driver was designed to identify when a special key on the PC was used. But in reality, the software will capture all the keystrokes and write them in an unencrypted file located on the laptop.

In other cases, the keystrokes will be passed to a Microsoft Windows debugging interface on the PC, and expose them to possible capture, Modzero said.      

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Supply chain attack hits Mac users of HandBrake video converter app
May 8, 2017 3:40 pm|Comments (0)

Hackers compromised a download server for HandBrake, a popular open-source program for converting video files, and used it to distribute a macOS version of the application that contained malware.

The HandBrake development team posted a security warning on the project’s website and support forum on Saturday, alerting Mac users who downloaded and installed the program from May 2 to May 6 to check their computers for malware.

The attackers compromised only a download mirror hosted under download.handbrake.fr, with the primary download server remaining unaffected. Because of this, users who downloaded HandBrake-1.0.7.dmg during the period in question have a 50/50 chance of having received a malicious version of the file, the HandBreak team said.

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An Instagram bug is preventing users from temporarily disabling their accounts
April 25, 2017 10:00 am|Comments (0)

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An Instagram bug affecting some users is preventing them from temporarily disabling their accounts, TechCrunch reports. “Disabling” on Instagram works similarly as on Facebook, meaning that the account will be hidden as though it has been deleted. It temporarily hides all actions by that account including posts, likes, comments and the profile. 

Users have been complaining about the issue on social networks like Twitter and Reddit since February. Several users were redirected to the home page after trying to disable the account. 

Hey @instagram, why can’t I temporarily disable my account? And why can’t I reach you anywhere?

— Sigurður Arnar (@siggia) April 9, 2017 Read more…

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Twitter Just Told Users How To Block Your Brand Forever
April 8, 2017 7:45 am|Comments (0)

Twitter just realised an array of tools to limit abuse on the platform – the trouble is they can also be used to block your brand.


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Microsoft Outlook users with Office 365 get a security perk: Unsafe email warnings
April 12, 2016 2:15 am|Comments (0)

There’s no need for a hacker to attack a server or network if they can simply trick someone into disclosing confidential information. Microsoft is adding an additional layer of defense to help stop that from happening—if you subscribe to Office 365.

In the coming weeks, Microsoft said it will begin showing what it calls “Safety Tips” at the top of email: colored bars to let you know whether an email is safe, suspicious, or known to be fraudulent. Microsoft said Safety Tips will be managed by Exchange Online Protection, the back-end protection mechanism used to secure email sent through Office 365.

Why this matters: Everyone tells you, don’t click on suspicious links!—and yet we do, because we don’t necessarily think the link is suspicious. It might be a purported email from HR, or from a client, or an urgent request that comes in late on a Friday. Microsoft’s Safety Tips won’t be able to block everything, but it’s an additional layer of security that will make the crook’s job a little harder. Of course, it’s also another reason to subscribe to Office 365.

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‘Miitomo’ Has Amassed Over 100 Million Users In Three Days
March 20, 2016 11:35 am|Comments (0)

Nintendo’s first mobile app Miitomo has not only been a huge success by reaching the top of the iOS charts since its release but it has also amassed over 100 million users in just three days.


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