information technology services

My Cow Game Extracted Your Facebook Data

The Atlantic

For a spell during 2010 and 2011, I was a virtual rancher of clickable cattle on Facebook. It feels like a long time ago. Obama was serving his first term as president. Google hadn't arrived, let alone vanished again. Steve Jobs was still alive, as was Kim Jong Il.

The Motherboard Guide to Using Facebook Safely


When my parents first joined Facebook to stalk me, I thought the social network was going to become uncool and fade away like Myspace, Friendster, and the other social networks that came and went before it. Since then, we've found out that Russian spies have used it to influence American elections, that a shady British marketing firm harvested the personal data of 50 million Americans to target voters with political ads, that Facebook researchers devised an experiment to see if they could make us depressed, and the UN has claimed it played a role in genocide. We don't blame anyone for wanting out of the platform completely. In fact, my colleague Daniel Oberhaus quit, and wrote a guide on how do it if you want to do the same. But we also understand if that many people want or have to stay on Facebook to do their job or stay in touch with their family.

Save 20% on select Amazon devices today


Heads up: All products featured here are selected by Mashable's commerce team and meet our rigorous standards for awesomeness. If you buy something, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission. If you've been curious about how Alexa can improve your life, then today is the day to give her a shot. Amazon is currently holding a sale, knocking 20% off select Alexa-enabled Amazon devices to get you started. From tablets to the Echo Show to the ever-popular Echo Plus, take your pick of awesome Alexa devices to help make your day-to-day a little bit better.

Siri won't be reading hidden notifications out loud for much longer


A fix is coming for a bug that led Siri to speak notifications out loud that were hidden behind the lock screen should someone ask about them. "We are aware of this issue and it will be addressed in an upcoming software update," Apple confirmed to Engadget. It's unclear when this will be, as the company could release a minor operating system patch (conceivably 11.2.7) before the next big update iOS 11.3, which is currently in beta. Brazilian site MacMagazine originally reported the bug earlier this week, noting that asking Siri to read notifications out loud inadvertently includes those that are hidden (i.e. SMS and iMessages are still kept private, The Verge reported, but Siri reads out hidden messages from third-party apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Gmail.

Can government regulation fix Facebook's 'data vampire' problem?

Daily Mail

After revelations that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly appropriated Facebook user data to advise Donald Trump's 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, many are calling for greater regulation of social media networks, saying a'massive data breach' has occurred. The idea that governments can regulate their way into protecting citizen privacy is appealing, but I believe it misses the mark. What happened with Cambridge Analytica wasn't a breach or a leak. It was a wild violation of academic research ethics. The CEO finally broke his silence on the misuse of 51 million users' data Wednesday evening, outlining three steps the firm plans to take to prevent something like this from happening again.

Was Your Facebook Data Actually 'Breached'? Depends On Who You Ask


When Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a status update Wednesday on the still-unfolding Cambridge Analytica scandal, he called it an "issue," a "mistake" and a "breach of trust." But he didn't say it was a data breach. Ever since the news broke this weekend that the U.K. firm Cambridge Analytica obtained information about 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge, the social media site has been carefully avoiding using those words. Executives are profusely apologizing but stopping short of characterizing the situation as a data breach -- a phrase that brings to mind images of hacker frantically typing in a dark room or stolen credit card numbers being shared online. Facebook has 1.4 billion daily users it doesn't want to scare off with the "data breach" characterization.

Google Assistant now lets you send and request money from your contacts


Google Pay users can now use the voice-activated Google Assistant on their smartphones to send or request money from people in their contacts, Google announced Thursday. The new service is free and currently on Android and iOS phones in the US. A user says something like, "Hey Google, request $20 from Sam for the show tonight," and funds would be immediately transferred, even if the recipient doesn't have Google Pay. The recipient would get an email or text message about the payment, or a notification if they'e already installed the Google Pay app. If the sender doesn't have a Google Pay account and tries to send money with Google Assistant, they'll be prompted to set an account.

How YouTube Uses Mechanical Turk Tasks to Help Train Its AI


It's no secret that YouTube has struggled to moderate the videos on its platform over the past year. The company has faced repeated scandals over its inability to rid itself of inappropriate and disturbing content, including some videos aimed at children. Often missing from the discussion over YouTube's shortcomings, though, are the employees directly tasked with removing things like porn and graphic violence, as well as the contractors that help train AI to learn to detect unwelcome uploads. But a Mechanical Turk task shared with WIRED appears to provide a glimpse into what training one of YouTube's machine learning tools looks like at the ground level. MTurk is an Amazon-owned marketplace where corporations and academic researchers pay individual contractors to perform micro-sized services--called Human Intelligence Tasks--in exchange for a small sum, usually less than a dollar.

Google Assistant's new voice command sends money to your contacts


Google made a splash earlier this week with a new Assistant-powered shopping initiative seemingly aimed at chipping away at Amazon's dominance, and now it has a new target in its sights: Venmo. Starting today, you'll be able to use your iPhone or Android phone to send money to anyone in your contact list just by asking Google Assistant. Like the Google Express shopping service, you'll need to have Google Pay installed and set up, but once you go through the process--either through the app or by following Assistant's guided setup--you'll be able to send any amount of money just by saying, "OK Google, send Brad $100 for dinner." Google also says the service will be coming to Google Home and other Assistant-powered speakers in the coming months. But it still could be a while.

OK, Google, send cash to my friend': Google Assistant lets you use voice to pay back IOUs


Peer-to-peer payment platforms like Venmo, Zelle or Cash App are easy to use -- but you need to avoid scams. Here are some best practices. The Google Assistant can now help you pay back the money you owe a friend. Google announced that starting today you'll be able to send or request money from the contacts on your Android device or iPhone, via a voice command along the lines of "Hey Google, send Janie $15 for lunch today." Similar peer-to-peer functionality will be coming to Google Home or other smart speakers with the Google Assistant in the coming months, Google says.