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YouTube Aims to Put the Brakes on Online Conspiracies
March 16, 2018
YouTube intends to ramp up its efforts to combat conspiracy mongers, perhaps in response to the rash of conspiracy videos that trended following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month. Among other things, YouTube will supply links to relevant Wikipedia pages and other credible websites to provide viewers with a counter narrative, according to CEO Susan Wojcicki.
German Court's Privacy Ruling Against Facebook Will Have Far-Reaching Effects
March 14, 2018
Facebook has millions of users in the European Union, and a German court recently ruled against the company in a case involving its Privacy Policy. Few ever read privacy policies except judges, who must examine them when challenges arise. The new EU General Data Protection Regulations, which go into effect on May 25, will make things even more complicated. If you have any customers who are EU residents, the new GDPR will impact you.
Russians Pose as Americans to Steal Data on Social Media
March 8, 2018
Americans have been targeted on social media by Russian agents on a mission to harvest personal information. The agents pretended to work for organizations promoting African-American businesses as a ruse to obtain personal information from black business owners during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Using names like "BlackMattersUS," the agents set up hundreds of social media accounts.
Facebook's Vulnerabilities Surface
March 7, 2018
Adam Smith famously referred to "the invisible hand" of the free market in his landmark book The Wealth of Nations, and with that made himself one of the very first political economists. Smith's observation was so on point that most of us assume markets run through the agency of individuals pursuing their enlightened self-interests, which helped drive the evolution of CRM as a tracking tool.
Facebook Under Fire for Bizarre Child Predator Survey Question
March 5, 2018
Facebook has come under fire after posing a survey question on how it should deal with predatory sexual behavior against children over the weekend. Survey participants were asked whether sexual predators should be allowed to request photographic images from 14-year-old girls online. Further, users were queried about how Facebook should handle such a request if it learned about it.
Disaffected Social Media Users Flock to Vero
March 1, 2018
Vero, a relatively unknown social network, has been enjoying a surge in user engagement in recent weeks, a trend that may be tied to growing user discontent over recent changes to Instagram's algorithm, along with an assortment of other objections that have been driving users away from the leading social platforms. Vero has rapidly moved up in the App Store and Google Play rankings.
Right Blasts Twitter's Bot Takedown
February 23, 2018
Conservatives on Twitter have been fulminating over their losses of followers measured in the thousands, a consequence of the network's unannounced lockout earlier this week of suspected bot accounts. Among those objecting to the move are conspiracy theorist Michael Flynn Jr., white supremacist Richard Spencer, Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson, and NRA TV host Dan Bongino.
AI's Malicious Potential Front and Center in New Report
February 22, 2018
As beneficial as AI can be, it has its dark side, too. That dark side is the focus of a new 100-page report. AI will be used by threat actors to expand the scale and efficiency of their attacks, it predicts. They will employ it to compromise physical systems and to broaden their privacy invasion and social manipulation capabilities. Novel attacks are to be expected.
Russian Twitter Trolls Exploit Florida School Shooting
February 21, 2018
Within an hour of the shooting at a Florida High School last week, divisive messages began pouring out of Twitter accounts believed to be controlled by Russia. At a rapid speed, messages reportedly began flooding Twitter using popular hashtags to exploit the rampage by a lone gunman with an assault rifle at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Google Offers New Mobile Story Tech to Publishers
February 14, 2018
Google has rolled out a developer preview of its new AMP story format, which is designed to give content publishers an easy way to deliver news and information on mobile devices with visually rich, tap-through stories. "On mobile devices, users browse lots of articles, but engage with few in-depth," noted Rudy Galfi, product manager for AMP at Google.
Former Execs Team Up to Fight the Tech Addiction Monster
February 7, 2018
A group of former Facebook, Google and Mozilla executives have joined forces to establish the Center for Humane Technology, a new organization dedicated to combating the growing problem of addictive behavior among social media users. The new center, along with the children's advocacy group Common Sense, has announced a campaign to help change the social media model.
Facebook Is Gobbling Less of Users' Time
February 1, 2018
The social media industry may have to struggle to rehydrate in light of some surprising and troubling metrics Facebook released on Wednesday. In addition to a pause in user growth, there have been signs that user engagement may have reversed course. The decline may have something to do with Facebook's efforts to recover from accusations that it has provided fertile ground for fake news.
Facebook's Move to Dial Back News Ratchets Up Drama
January 17, 2018
Facebook once again has found itself at the center of a media storm, following Mark Zuckerberg's recent announcement of plans to shift its focus away from news and business content and toward interactions between friends and family. The shift follows more than a year of heavy criticism directed against Facebook, including blame for failing to combat fake news during the 2016 presidential election.
The End of Silicon Valley
January 8, 2018
A recent article on the institutionalized sexual exploitation going on in tech companies is eye-opening. It comes on top of the realization that social media companies like Facebook are destroying the U.S., and former Facebook executives have been dissociating themselves from the company. Further, news recently broke of a big, industry-wide security problem.
5 Ways E-Commerce SMBs Can Cool Social Media Complaints
January 6, 2018
SMBs should "be proactive and ready to help [customers] right at the moment they need it," said Linda Crawford, CEO of Helpshift. Companies must streamline support systems to resolve issues faster and more efficiently, she said. An up-to-date knowledge base enables instant self-service, "but SMBs must also offer channels for customers to communicate directly with support agents."
Germany Cracks Whip Against Hate Speech on Social Media
January 3, 2018
Germany on Monday began enforcing its new Network Enforcement Act, or NetzDG, which imposes a fine of up to $60 million on social media networks that fail to remove hate-inciting posts promptly. The controversial law, adopted in mid 2017, is designed to help combat hate and fake news at a time when ISIS-linked terror and anti-immigrant extremism have been on the rise in Germany.
Social Media or Social Disease?
December 19, 2017
Is social media evolving into an antisocial medium? Days after one of its former execs argued that the answer is yes, Facebook published a post addressing the issue. "I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works," said Chamath Palihapitiya, who once served as vice president for growth at Facebook. There is a lack of civil discourse, he added.
Snapchat Draws Bright Line Between 'Social' and 'Media'
November 30, 2017
Snap aims to combat fake news on Snapchat by separating content from professional creators from postings by friends and family. Stories and Chats from friends will appear on the left side of the camera, while Stories from content creators, publishers and other members of the community will appear on the right side. Snapchat aims to disentangle "social" from "media," noted Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.
Why Are Tech Companies Trying to Kill Us?
November 13, 2017
This is the question that keeps me up at night after seeing the news of Russian influence through social media, and the rapid rise of road deaths due to smartphone use. I wonder if the executives in these firms understand not only that dead customers don't generate revenue, but also that some of the victims could end up being their own kids, spouses or parents.
Facebook Messenger Jumps to Business Websites
November 8, 2017
Facebook on Tuesday announced that it was preparing a plugin to its popular Messenger platform that will allow a website's visitors to chat with a human or bot without leaving the location. Customer Chat is one of a number of changes in the version 2.2 update of Messenger platform revealed at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. The chat plugin will be available on desktop and mobile devices.
Taking the News Out of Facebook's News Feed Could Hurt Publishers
October 25, 2017
A new feature that Facebook recently has been testing in a handful of countries could hurt publishers everywhere if it should roll out globally. The feature removes users' Liked pages from their main News Feed and aggregates them in a separate space called "Explore." In the six countries where Facebook has been testing the idea, traffic to news outlets reportedly has dropped 60-80 percent.
PayPal Lets Messenger Users Send Money to Buddies
October 20, 2017
PayPal has announced the immediate availability of its peer-to-peer payment service on Facebook Messenger, making it easy to exchange money between friends and family. PayPal also introduced its first-ever customer service bot. Payments can be made in Messenger by pressing the blue plus icon when composing a message and then tapping the green payments button.
Report Probes Social Media's Threat to Democracy
October 13, 2017
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube may pose a threat to American democracy, suggests a new report from The Omidyar Group. The report follows recent disclosures about targeted dark post advertising, fake news and other abuses propagated by Russian troll farms during the 2016 election. Among the questions the report raises is whether the U.S. government may need to step in.
FTC Tightens Screws on Social Media Influencers
October 12, 2017
Social media influencer advertising has become a major factor in e-commerce. Marketers of both big and small brands long have committed large chunks of their advertising budgets to endorsements by well-known personalities. Social media influencer campaigns are based on that tried-and-true formula, but the implication is that the endorsements are voluntary.
Zuckerberg Pays Virtual Visit to Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
October 10, 2017
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday used virtual reality tech to "teleport" to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and soon was dubbed a "heartless billionaire" by critics who felt he had exploited the dire situation in the U.S. territory. That likely isn't what Zuckerberg intended when he provided the Facebook Spaces video demonstration.
Twitter to Test Drive Double-Wide Tweets
September 28, 2017
Twitter has announced a limited test to double the maximum tweet size to 280 characters. Twitter has been struggling to boost user engagement, and its tweet character limitation has been the subject of a longstanding debate among customers and company insiders. One reason for the possible change is to correct for the information imbalance between Asian and western language characters.
Russia, Fake News and Facebook: 24/7 Manipulation
September 11, 2017
Back when the Internet first came to be, there was the belief that the result would be more facts, less censorship, more intelligent discourse and less successful manipulation. Being able to converse with each other would lead people to be more honest, and our world increasingly would resemble a utopian ideal of peace and prosperity. Now, decades later, "fake news" has proliferated.
What Tech Companies Are Doing Wrong With Extremists
August 21, 2017
It is starting to worry me how little the responses by tech firms will do to fix the problem of extreme views instead of just driving them underground. This is largely due to the excessive focus firms now have on how they are run. Companies tend to be run tactically, with officials more likely to make decisions that will seem to make a problem go away but do not deal with the cause of the problem.
Facebook Takes Another Stab at Neutralizing Fake News
August 4, 2017
Stung by charges that it allowed fake news stories to proliferate during the 2016 election cycle, Facebook on Thursday began rolling out broadly a feature meant to regain the trust of its members. The tool effectively will surround questionable stories with related news stories offering different perspectives -- a strategy intended to help readers discern where the truth lies.
Facebook Adds Hardware, Software Vetting and 4K to 360 Live
July 26, 2017
Facebook has announced several updates to its live-streaming platform, including a new hardware and software vetting program used to create 360-degree video. Through its new Live 360 Ready Program, Facebook will review hardware and software and approve products that work well with its Live 360 offering. Products deemed "ready" for Live 360 will be allowed to display a Facebook Live logo.
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What should be done about UFOs?
World governments should cooperate to address a potential planetary threat.
The DoD should investigate -- they could signal a hostile nation's tech advances.
The government should reveal what it already knows.
The government probably has good reasons for secrecy and should be trusted on this.
Wealthy corporate space-age visionaries should take the lead.
Nothing. Studying UFOs is a waste of resources.
Keep the stories coming. People love conspiracy theories, and it's fun to speculate.