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The Internet's Truth vs. Fake News Showdown
August 10, 2018
Facebook earlier this week pulled the plug on the official page for Alex Jones, host of Infowars and noted conspiracy theorist. YouTube quickly followed, removing Infowars and Jones' videos. Facebook's move followed Apple's decision to pull five of Infowars' six podcasts -- including the "Alex Jones Show" and "War Room" -- from the iTunes and Podcasts apps.
The Pain and Potential of Making a 180-Degree Policy Shift
July 20, 2018
Photo-hosting service Photobucket in May quietly restored third-party hosting of photos, reversing its unpopular year-old policy that required users to pay nearly $400 for hosting privileges. Many irate users claimed their photos were "taken hostage." Hosted photos on blogs, forums and other sites were replaced by an image of a dial indicating the hosted data quota had been surpassed.
The Best Defense Against Fake News in Social Media
June 25, 2018
IBM just showcased Project Debater, and it just won against a top human debater using actual facts. We need the production version of this tool yesterday. The problem with fake news is that it is getting worse over time. We have always had issues with politicians and con artists trying to convince us down is up and to get us to do things that, were we informed, we'd never do.
Facebook Shores Up Its Position on Fake News Front
June 22, 2018
Facebook has announced new tactics to reduce the spread of fake news. Its efforts will include combining technology with human reviewers to identify and remove fake accounts; partnering with fact-checkers; and promoting news literacy. Facebook will expand its fact-checking programs to new countries, scrutinize photos and videos more closely, and increase the impact of fact-checking.
Avoiding Career Death by Twitter
June 4, 2018
The most popular show on ABC was canceled last week because the star of the show, Roseanne Barr -- known for saying and writing stuff that would get most of us fired -- did exactly what she was known for doing and got fired. ABC now looks like it is run by idiots because, really, who didn't see this coming? This outcome is one that could have been prevented relatively easily.
Teens Falling Away From Facebook
June 1, 2018
Ninety-five percent of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45 percent of teens are almost constantly online -- but younger Internet users do not connect on Facebook as much as their older peers do, suggests a new Pew study. Although Facebook dominated social media across all age groups over the past decade, it has taken a backseat to YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat among today's teens.
Benioff Endorses GDPR for US
May 27, 2018
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff described Facebook as the "new cigarettes" in a recent appearance on the TV show CBS This Morning and called for the U.S. to adopt a national privacy law like the GDPR, which just went into effect in Europe. "Maybe this is a time where the government has to step in and regulate not just that product but really our industry," Benioff said, referring to Facebook.
Reining In Data-Crazed Tech Companies, Part 2
May 15, 2018
Several countries -- including the United States, France and Germany -- have pointed a finger at Russia for meddling in their elections. Russia used social media as a big part of that effort. Facebook has been scrambling to win back the public's trust since the Russia and Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, it's not clear what exactly hostile nation states have been up to on social media.
Solving Tech's Diversity Problem
May 7, 2018
I recently attended Dell Technology World, which shone a light on one of Michael Dell's passions: addressing the lack of gender diversity in the tech industry. Some time back he asked the most powerful woman at Dell, CCO Karen Quintos, to spearhead an effort to fix the problem. One of the leading experts on the problem, Howard Ross of Cook Ross, indicated it was getting worse -- not better.
Facebook's Clear History Privacy Option: Boon or Sop?
May 3, 2018
Facebook plans to offer members a tool that to prevent tracking of their online activity outside the network. The Clear History feature will allow users to see which websites and applications send Facebook information when they use them, delete the data and prevent Facebook from collecting and storing it in the future. It will take a few months to build the tool, Facebook said.
Fighting Fake News and Forging Real Diplomacy
April 23, 2018
Two new initiatives -- a concerted effort by Apple and a massive educational effort called the "Pro-Truth Pledge" -- could help eliminate much of the fake news BS that is really messing up the U.S. at the moment. On another front, President Donald Trump's plan to meet with Kim Jong-un reminds me of a pivotal meeting between former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and then Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Facebook Rolls Out European-Style Privacy Protections
April 19, 2018
Facebook has unveiled a comprehensive series of privacy enhancements designed to extend protections required by the European Union's GDPR to all of the social media company's users around the world. The updates, which include major changes to the company's terms and data policies, fulfill promises CEO Mark Zuckerberg made to House and Senate members in Washington D.C., Facebook officials said.
Reining In Data-Crazed Tech Companies
April 16, 2018
Facebook has been in seriously hot water for its data monetization model almost from the firm's beginning. The Cambridge Analytica, election meddling and fake news scandals have turned up the heat. Facebook's problems aren't limited to the public and government backlash that spans several countries; the firm faces potentially devastating legal threats too.
The Internet Is Facing a Health Scare, Suggests Mozilla Report
April 14, 2018
Mozilla has launched the first full edition of its Internet Health Report. The report is "an open source effort to explore the state of human life on the Internet," said Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman. It consists of research and analysis about the Internet compiled by researchers, engineers, data scientists, policy analysts and artists in Mozilla's extended community.
Lawmakers Lean In on Facebook
April 13, 2018
Following two days of often contentious exchanges between members of Congress and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the focus in Washington and Silicon Valley has shifted from how Facebook plans to change its data practices to how to implement some of those plans. The company already has taken steps to give its 2 billion monthly active users more control over their data.
House Critics Grill Zuckerberg Over Political Bias, Privacy
April 12, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday endured a second day of congressional criticism during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His appearance followed an intense session with two Senate Committees a day earlier. Some members of the House committee questioned whether Facebook tracked users offline. Some blasted what they claimed were repeated instances of censorship.
Zuckerberg Bobs, Weaves at Senate Hearing
April 11, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that the company failed to inform the FTC that Cambridge Analytica had gained improper access to personal data belonging to millions of Facebook members, despite its 2011 settlement with the commission over earlier complaints of unauthorized data sharing. Zuckerberg made the admission at a joint hearing of the U.S. Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
Researchers to Put Facebook's Role in Elections Under Magnifying Glass
April 10, 2018
A group of nonprofits have agreed to fund an initiative to study Facebook's role in elections and democracy. The organizations will pay the expenses of researchers, and Facebook will give the scholars access to proprietary data that has met the company's new standards for heightened user privacy protection. "This is a critical first step," said Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation.
Mysterious Disappearance of Zuck Posts Rings Another Facebook Alarm Bell
April 9, 2018
Facebook reportedly allowed CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives to delete messages from recipients' inboxes and chat threads, but it did not disclose the practice or offer the same capabilities to users. Facebook began using the tool after the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures to protect executive communications. Facebook later said it would make the feature available to all users.
Turning Social Media From a Problem Into a Solution
April 9, 2018
The shooting incident that took place last week at YouTube had less to do with guns than with the failure of the police to act on information in a timely way and the inability of social media to be anything but part of the problem. Google has been giving this issue little more than lip service, but I expect it has become motivated to do more, given that YouTube was the latest target.
Facebook Comes Up With a New Data Access Plan
April 6, 2018
Facebook has announced an update to its policies for restricting data access on its platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also discussed some of Facebook's new efforts to shore up user privacy protections in a 45-minute long Q&A with members of the media on Wednesday. Facebook will implement nine changes, which will allow users to set privacy levels and limit automatic data sharing.
Facebook Declares Open Season on Russian Trolls
April 5, 2018
Facebook has taken down more than 270 pages and accounts operated by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday. IRA trolls and ads were involved in Russia's attempts to interfere with the 2016 United States presidential elections, and the trolls have published hate speech and incitements to violence on their Facebook pages.
4 Ways SMB Etailers Can Manage Facebook Fears
April 3, 2018
Many SMBs, especially etailers, conduct a substantial amount of their business on Facebook. Eighty percent of U.S. businesses with 250 employees or less use Facebook for marketing, suggest results of a G2 Crowd survey eMarketer cited in a report released last month. Seventy-one percent of 351 U.S. businesses with 500 employees or less used social media, a Clutch survey found.
The Power of Social Media and the Coming Repeal of the 2nd Amendment
April 2, 2018
One of the most powerful political organizations in the U.S. is the National Rifle Association. The president of the United States recently claimed he wasn't afraid of the NRA, only to have an NRA spokesperson -- not the president himself -- later announce that the president had changed his mind. It was painful to watch the most powerful man in the free world be treated like a small child.
Snapchat May Risk Connecting Apps, Despite Facebook Uproar
March 31, 2018
Snapchat soon may have a Connected Apps feature that is similar to the functionality at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica brouhaha, which has sparked congressional scrutiny and consumer backlash. The latest beta features a new tab within the setting page. The page displays the following text: "These apps are connected to your Snapchat account. Choose an app to control what it has access to."
Facebook Takes Baby Steps Toward Rebuilding Trust
March 29, 2018
Facebook has introduced a set of changes designed to empower members to protect their account information. The company has been at the center of an unrelenting firestorm following revelations that it allowed Cambridge Analytica to mine private data belonging to 50 million of its users without permission, which Cambridge Analytica then leveraged for political purposes.
New Firefox Extension Builds a Wall Around Facebook
March 28, 2018
Mozilla has announced Facebook Container, a Firefox browser extension that is designed to segregate users' activity on Facebook from their other Web activity, limiting Facebook's ability to track them and gather personal data. The extension is the culmination of more than two years of research into developing a more private browsing experience, Mozilla said.
How to Safeguard Your Firm's Online Reputation
March 28, 2018
When it comes to business, you're only as good as your reputation. Indeed, your reputation is your brand. It is the substance your logo represents; it is the glue in customer brand loyalty. In a word, reputation is everything. Yet it's not entirely under your control. That doesn't mean you are helpless as a victim of false accusations, ratings, or wrongful attacks on your company's character, however.
Facebook Phone-Scraping Takes Users by Surprise
March 27, 2018
Facebook on Sunday confirmed that its Messenger and Lite apps for Android smartphones routinely collect call and text histories. The call and text history logging are opt-in features for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android devices, the company said in a post. The feature is designed to help users stay connected, and it improves the Facebook experience, according to the company.
Women-Owned Firms More Active on Social Nets
March 27, 2018
Small businesses use social media extensively, suggest the results of a recent Clutch survey of 351 U.S. firms with fewer than 500 employees. Overall, 71 percent of the respondents used social media for business purposes, and those affiliated with firms owned by women reported heavier use. "By nature, women tend to be more social," observed Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
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What role will technology play in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections?
Advanced security measures will protect the legitimacy of the elections.
Inadequate security will place the election process at grave risk.
Voter technology is so decentralized, attackers can't have much impact.
Companies that manufacture voting machines need to shore up their security.
The upcoming midterms will be no better or worse than others from a tech standpoint.