A group of more than 30 democratic lawmakers led by Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) are calling on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to make substantive changes to their recommendation algorithms. In three separate letters addressed to the CEOs of those companies, the group makes a direct link to the January 6th US Capitol attack and the part those platforms played in radicalizing the individuals who took part in the uprising. "On Wednesday, January 6th the United States Capitol was attacked by a violent, insurrectionist mob radicalized in part in a digital echo chamber that your company designed, built and maintained," the letter addressed to Google and YouTube CEOs Sundar Pichai and Susan Wojcicki says. A letter from some Congress members to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki flexes research on how YouTube's algorithms have promoted conspiracy theories and political extremism. Citing the Capitol attacks, they request changes to its recommendations systems.
Google and Facebook have been in a long-running fight with Australian politicians, regulators and media companies over whether they should pay news organizations for showing their stories in search results. The battle reached a new level of intensity when a Google executive threatened to pull out of the country during testimony at the Australian Senate.
Google's testimony to an Australian Senate committee on Friday threatening to withdraw its search services from Australia is chilling to anyone who cares about democracy. It marks the latest escalation in the globally significant effort to regulate the way the big tech platforms use news content to drive their advertising businesses and the catastrophic impact on the news media across the world. The news bargaining code, which would require Google and Facebook to negotiate a fair price for the use of news content, is the product of an 18-month process driven by the competition regulator. That legislation is currently before the Australian parliament, where a Senate committee is taking final submissions from interested parties. The Google bombshell makes explicit what has been a slowly escalating threat that a binding code would not be tenable.
A new study has revealed that while the top 100 richest people in tech share similar views to other wealthy people, they are also more focused on meritocracy. The research, published in PLOS One, used data sets based on tweets by these individuals who were named by Forbes as the top 100 richest people in the tech world, plus their statements on websites about their philanthropic endeavours. As part of the study, the researchers analysed 49,790 tweets from 30 verified Twitter account holders within the tech elite subject group and 60 mission statements from tech elite-run philanthropic websites, plus 17 statements from tech elites and other wealthy individuals not associated with the tech world for comparison purposes. The Twitter text analyses, according to the research, revealed tech elites used Twitter to tweet about subjects that placed emphasis on disruption, positivity, and temporality compared with the average user. Their most frequently used words were'new' and'great', and referred mostly to their peers and other tech firms. At the same time, the authors found that while tweets showed the tech elites did not see a significant difference between power and money or power and democracy, they did note the tech elites denied a connection between democracy and money, a view that was not shared by ordinary Twitter users.
Facebook has long been using AI to describe photos for the visually impaired, but it's stepping up its efforts in 2021. The social media giant has detailed a new version of automatic alternative text (AAT) that promises much more information. Instead of relying on heavily supervised AI learning, Facebook is now using weak supervision based on "billions" of Instagram photos and hashtags. The method lets Facebook expand beyond just 100 concept descriptions to include over 1,200, such as different kinds of food and national monuments. It's also more culturally inclusive -- it can recognize weddings that don't involve white wedding dresses, for example. A new object detection system can also recognize where people are in the frame as well as the number of people in the scene.
In the US, today is Inauguration Day, and as Joe Biden prepares to take the oath as our 46th president, it's worth taking a look back at the discussions four years ago. Back then, the "most tech-savvy" president exited as all eyes turned to Donald Trump trading in his Android Twitter machine for a secure device. We know how things went after that. Donald Trump isn't tweeting anymore (at least not from his main accounts), and the country is struggling through a pandemic. The outgoing president just saw his temporary YouTube ban extended and, in one of his last official acts, pardoned Anthony Levandowski for stealing self-driving car secrets from Google's subsidiary Waymo.
Interpol has warned of a new investment scam targeting users of mobile dating apps. As COVID-19 continues to severely restrict our daily lives and in many places, makes social interaction and meeting new people in person impossible, dating apps have experienced a surge in users. As the only possible method of anything akin to dating at the current time, scam artists have decided to capitalize on this trend in order to push an investment-based scam that deprives victims of their cash. According to Arkose Labs research, four million online dating fraud & abuse-related attacks were recorded in 2020, with many taking place through fake account registrations. On Tuesday, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) said the agency had issued a "purple notice" -- the provision of data on criminal groups' methods, objects, devices, and concealment methods -- to 194 member countries.
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Facebook has announced new improvements to its artificial intelligence (AI) technology that is used to generate descriptions of photos posted on the social network for visually impaired users. The technology, called automatic alternative text (AAT), was first introduced by Facebook in 2016 to improve the experience of visually impaired users. Up until then, visually impaired users who checked their Facebook newsfeed and came across an image would only hear the word "photo" and the name of the person who shared it. With AAT, visually impaired users have been able to hear things like "image may contain: three people, smiling, outdoors". Facebook said, with the latest iteration of AAT, the company has been able to expand the number of concepts that the AI technology can detect and identify in a photo, as well as provide more detailed descriptions to include activities, landmarks, food types, and types of animals, like "a selfie of two people, outdoors, the Leaning Tower of Pisa" instead of "an image of two people".
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Dating is about to get political again. After briefly disabling the feature, Bumble is reportedly allowing users to once again filter matches based on their political stance. This option was temporarily disabled following the riot at the U.S. Capitol "to prevent misuse," Bumble previously said.