Author: News Aggregate

Facebook Deploys AI To Fight Terrorism on Its Network

Facebook has started deploying its artificial intelligence capabilities to help combat terrorists’ use of its service. Company officials said in a blog post Thursday that Facebook will use AI in conjunction with human reviewers to find and remove “terrorist content” immediately, before other users see it. Such technology is already used to block child pornography from Facebook and other services such as YouTube, but Facebook had been reluctant about applying it to other potentially less clear-cut uses. In most cases, Facebook only removes objectionable material if users first report it. Facebook and other internet companies face growing government pressure to identify and prevent the spread of terrorist propaganda and recruiting messages on their services. Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Theresa May called on governments to form international agreements to prevent the spread of extremism online. Some proposed measures would hold companies legally accountable for the material posted on their sites. The Facebook post — by Monika Bickert, director of global policy management, and Brian Fishman, counterterrorism policy manager — did not specifically mention May’s calls. But it acknowledged that “in the wake of recent terror attacks, people have questioned the role of tech companies in fighting terrorism online.” “We want to answer those questions head on. We agree with those who say that social media should not be a place where terrorists have a voice,” they wrote. Among...

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Tech Stocks Trip Away from Highs, But Few Expect Bigger Drop

Technology stocks have taken a stumble over the last week after soaring to heights they last saw just before the dot-com bubble collapsed 17 years ago. Here’s why this time might be different. Technology companies are the main reason the stock market has climbed in recent months. The technology index of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 17 percent this year, twice as much as the broader S&P 500. Last week they got close to the highs they set all the way back in March 2000. At that time, Mark Zuckerberg was in high school, the iPod didn’t exist, and few people had any idea how a company could make money from internet searches. What’s different now? Unlike then, many of the market’s favorite tech companies are actually making gobs of money. “The sector is delivering on a lot of the promises that investors hoped for during the bubble years,” Jack Ablin, chief investment officer for BMO Private Bank. And yet last week, when the tech index seemed to be just minutes away from breaking a record, the stocks went into a steep slump. Some analysts think the stocks will fall a good deal further. That might bring up bad memories of the tech bubble and its aftermath: the technology index peaked on March 27, 2000, but it nosedived following numerous high-profile company failures, the disastrous AOL-Time...

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Twitter Unveils New Look, Which Users Quickly Mock

Twitter has unveiled a new look, and much like some previous changes the company has made to its short-messaging service, it’s not going over so well with the Twitterati. The San Francisco company says the new design emphasizes simplicity, making it faster and easier to use, with bolder headlines and more intuitive icons. It also changed users’ profile images from square-shaped to round. The company said the new user interface will roll out on twitter.com, Twitter for iOS, Twitter for Android, TweetDeck, and Twitter Lite in the coming days and weeks. Twitter users immediately responded Thursday by tweeting jokes and memes critical of the changes. There were almost 30,000 tweets about the new user interface, or UI, within hours of the change, the vast majority of them either complaining about the new look or mocking it. A popular image was a suddenly round SpongeBob SquarePants. Twitter also took heat from users last year when it changed its algorithm that orders the tweets users see. Users also tweeted their dismay when the company rolled out its “Moments” feature, and when it got rid of its star icon signifying a “favorite” tweet, in favor of a heart icon, similar to Facebook’s “like” button. The redesign is Twitter’s latest attempt to freshen the messaging service, which has struggled to attract new users at the same pace as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Twitter...

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Can Amazon Persuade Enough People To Buy Fresh Food Online?

Can Amazon, the company that persuaded people to buy ever more items online, win enough of them over to having their fresh groceries arrive in an Amazon box? Going full throttle into groceries by announcing a $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods on Friday, Amazon gets the advantage of using the stores as mini-distribution hubs to deliver items to customers. But online delivery of groceries has been tough to pull off. Some shoppers worry about the quality of their produce and say they’re rather pick their pears themselves. Amazon, though its Prime benefits program has created strong loyalty, has a long way to go before it’s a default choice in groceries as it often is for books and electronics. And shoppers may be skittish about having Amazon take over one more element of their shopping experience. “It’s funny. I was just ordering something on Amazon,” said Nick Yezierski, a hotel manager who was eating breakfast outside the Whole Foods flagship store in Austin, Texas. “But I don’t really buy any home items on Amazon, not anything I put in my body.” Peter Belanger of Newington, Connecticut, who was shopping at a Whole Foods in West Hartford, said he didn’t think he’d be interested in groceries online. “Most of us like to see what we’re buying, and it’s a good store, but we just wouldn’t buy online,” he said. “That’s...

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Mexico Accused of Spying on Journalists and Activists with Spyware

The Mexican government has deployed sophisticated software to spy on journalists, activists and anti-graft groups as they worked to highlight some of the country’s most notorious cases of crime, corruption and abuse of authority. Targets received SMS messages with links which appeared legitimate but led to false sites and the installation of malware on their mobile phones, according to an investigation by the press freedom organization Article 19 and Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. The malware recorded keystrokes and compromised contact lists. It was used against targets ranging from activists pushing for soda taxes to journalists reporting on alleged army atrocities and the lawyers representing the families of the 43 teacher trainees abducted by police. When unflattering stories hit the headlines, researchers say SMS messages carrying malware links would arrive on the targets’ smartphones. Once activated, “it’s game over,” said John Scott Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab. The spyware, produced by Israel’s NSO Group, is only sold to governments, prompting researchers to conclude that the spying was state-sponsored — though they cautioned it had “no conclusive evidence attributing these messages to specific government agencies in Mexico.” The scandal prompted outrage in Mexico, where attacks on the press and activists routinely end in impunity and where six journalists have been murdered in 2017. “Espionage in Mexico has become an effective mechanism for intimidating human rights defenders,...

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