Items tagged with Facebook

What do you do when the world's largest social playground goes down? Maybe look up from your screen and play with the cat, or take a walk? Pfft, who are we kidding? Not in this day and age. Instead, when Facebook went offline for what felt like an eternity for some people, many news publishing sites saw a massive spike in traffic. This highlights why Facebook has such a huge responsibility to filter out 'fake' news and blatantly false propaganda. Many would argue Facebook doesn't do a very good job at this. Regardless, the fact that "the outage drove traffic to news sites that often fight Facebook tooth and nail for attention" is telling, and perhaps "a silver lining to celebrate" the downtime.... Read more...
Could a new name be the fresh start that Facebook needs? Facebook will reportedly rebrand the company with a new name later this month. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will discuss the name at the Connect Conference on October 28th, 2021, but may divulge it sooner. The name will supposedly reflect Zuckeburg’s desire to focus on the “metaverse.” He stated in an interview this past summer that Facebook “... will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.” He is especially focused on developing AR glasses and has over 10,000 employees already working on them. The Facebook social media app itself... Read more...
Facebook's artificial intelligence division has announced a new long-term research project called Ego4D, which is an ambitious effort to expand the boundaries and capabilities of AI to understand and learn our habits from a first-person perspective, via AR glasses and headsets. The hardware aspect, while critical, is secondary to the scope of what Facebook is trying to accomplish. At face value, this is about teaching AI to perceive and the world through your own eyes, to help you with a variety of everyday and/or occasional tasks. That's where some kind of head gear comes into play—it serves as the first-person conduit from which the AI is fed external data from your surroundings, experiences,... Read more...
All of the posts, advertisements, and suggestions presented to users on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are not happy little accidents. The Facebook platform uses complex algorithms and AI that analyze usage and engagement patterns, which then infer the type of content that the user is most-likely to engage with. It is that curated content that is presented to users – interspersed with the social media platform’s preferred bias du jour, of course. The specific content presented to users is at the crux of the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s disclosures last week. Haugen, a former data scientist and product manager at Facebook, contends that Facebook knowingly... Read more...
It's been a whirlwind week and it's not even over yet! Check out our lively discussion of the many trials and tribulations of Facebook, whistleblowers, Twitch data breaches and other Tech happenings like Far Cry 6's arrival, Intel's latest ad Trolling Apple, an Alienware X15 sneak peek and much more... Show Notes: 05:10 - Facebook Whistleblower Drops Bombshell And SEC Suit 28:49 - Facebook, Instagram And WhatsApp Go Down Hard 33:31 - Was Facebook's Outage Really An Accident, A Hack Or Sabotage? 43:28 - Twitch Source Code, Passwords, Creator Payouts, And More Leaked 57:24 - Intel Trolls Diehard Apple Mac Users And Makes Them All Want A New PC 59:55 - Far Cry 6 With Ray Tracing And FSR Performance... Read more...
Hide your chickens, Facebook is pouring egg on its face like nobody's business this week, and may not be finished. It started when 60 Minutes aired an interview with a former Facebook product manager who secretly copied tens of thousands of seemingly damning documents, alleging the social media giant has a culture of putting profits over user safety (let's all feign surprise). Then the next morning, Facebook went dark, along with several of its entities, including WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, among others. Was Facebook hacked? Did someone trip over a power cord? Could it be aliens? While Facebook users were scrambling to figure out an alternative place to upload pictures of their meals,... Read more...
If you’re a frequent user of Facebook services, you’re probably having some withdrawal pains now. It’s widely reported worldwide that Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram are down at the moment. Besides the avalanche of panicking users reporting their problems on Twitter, we can confirm that the Facebook website is entirely inaccessible, and the DNS is not resolving. In addition, the mobile app is non-functional. The same is true for web and mobile versions of Instagram. A quick trip to Downdetector shows that the first reports starting coming in at around 11:20 am ET. Earlier this morning, we reported on a damning 60 Minutes interview with Frances Haugen, who served as a data... Read more...
Frances Haugen, a data scientist and former product manager at Facebook, has revealed herself as the source of a treasure trove of seemingly damning documents alleging that the social network "chooses profit over safety." It does this by "optimizing for content that gets engagement, or reaction," even when that content is knowingly harmful, based the social network's own research, she says. The former product manager was hired in 2019 after being recruited by Facebook. She told 60 Minutes that she accepted the job only after being assured she could help Facebook quell misinformation, due to losing a friend to a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. We all know those knows kinds of people, and they... Read more...
Facebook is looking for social media domination with apps like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Messenger Kids, and WhatsApp. The company previously announced that it would develop a version of Instagram for children under 13, aptly named Instagram Kids. However, the announcement brought swift condemnation from parents, privacy groups, and government officials (among others). Facebook is taking that criticism to heart, as it today announced that it is “pausing” the development of Instagram Kids. According to the company, it initiated the Instagram Kids initiative because “We firmly believe that it’s better for parents to have the option to give their children access to... Read more...
Is social media bad for you? A recent article suggests that Instagram can be harmful to teenagers. Instagram has fired back and argues that social media's influence is more nuanced.  The Wall Street Journal article notes that Facebook conducted several studies on the impact of social media over the last three years. These studies have reportedly concluded that Instagram in particular is harmful to young users due to the “comparative” nature of the app. Thirteen percent of British Instagram users and six percent of American users who reported suicidal thoughts stated that there was a connection between these thoughts and what they see on Instagram. Thirty-two percent... Read more...
Wondering if Mark Zuckerberg and the gang at Facebook are reading your encrypted WhatsApp messages? The social networking site insists it does not, as end-to-end encryption is what keeps everything private. Nevertheless, if you send a message through WhatsApp, it could still end up being read by a Facebook moderator. How so? End-to-end encryption basically means your data (messages, in this instance) gets scrambled in a way that appears as though it just a random mess of characters. There is a logical order, but unlocking the mystery requires a key, which only the sender and receiver possess. It's virtually unreadable to digital snoops, and that is the main appeal of WhatsApp. Earlier today,... Read more...
Facebook is making a virtual play in the remote collaborative workspace, with a new app for the Oculus Quest 2 called Horizon Workrooms. If you and your co-workers own a VR headset (and not just any VR headset, but specifically the Quest 2), this could offer an alternative to the usual suspects, including Zoom and Microsoft's Teams software. "Workrooms is our flagship collaboration experience that lets people come together to work in the same virtual room, regardless of physical distance. It works across both virtual reality and the web and is designed to improve your team’s ability to collaborate, communicate, and connect remotely, through the power of VR," Facebook explains. That could... Read more...
Facebook is reportedly pouring resources into research that would potentially allow it to analyze encrypted messages without actually decrypting the data, so that it can serve up targeted ads based on private communications. The technique is called homomorphic encryption. Should users of WhatsApp, the secure instant messaging service owned by Facebook, be concerned? WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart says no. WhatsApp is popular because its end-to-end encryption scheme renders messages unreadable by anyone outside of the sender and recipient. So even if the data is intercepted, it would just be a bunch of garbled text to the hacker, who would need a decryption key to make sense of it all. Homomorphic... Read more...
The social media market is constantly shifting and evolving, with new players entering the ring almost daily, it seems. However, just because you have been in the ring for a while does not mean you are at the head of the pack, as newcomer TikTok from ByteDance has now shown. The popular app has hit three billion downloads worldwide, a number Facebook and others have only recently hit after years on the market. As reported by SensorTower data, TikTok was “was the most downloaded and highest grossing non-game app globally in the first half of 2021, reaching nearly 383 million first-time installs and an estimated $919.2 million in consumer spending.” Though downloads have been on a slump... Read more...
Today, former President Donald Trump announced that he would be filing lawsuits against three of the biggest names in tech: Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Serving as lead plaintiff in the class-action suits, he claims that he has been “wrongfully censored” by the companies after his ban. As reported by the Associated Press, the suits have been filed in the U.S. District Court for Florida’s southern district. While this does not necessarily come as a surprise, it is certainly interesting, nonetheless. For context, former President Trump was banned from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in early January this year before he left office. This came after the Capitol attack of January... Read more...
Hopefully you are not one of the millions of people who have installed an app called PIP Photo onto your Android device. Why is that? While it may seem like a harmless and handy image editing app, it contains malware designed to covertly swipe a person's login credential for Facebook. Same goes for a handful of other Android apps. Each of the nine malicious apps discovered by researchers at Doctor Web contain a trojan that gets to work trying to trick users into coughing up their Facebook usernames and passwords. What makes the apps potentially effective is that they otherwise work as intended and expected. "The applications were fully functional, which was supposed to weaken the vigilance of... Read more...
While there may be funny and impressive deepfakes out there, the technology poses a risk to trustworthy media and public figures. However, companies are working to prevent this sort of thing by developing robust deep fake detection tools. Facebook is the latest to join the group through reverse engineering generative models from a single deepfake. As time goes on, figuring out whether an image is real or fake has become increasingly difficult as new deepfake generative models are created. For example, things could end poorly if the U.S. President were deepfaked into a video where he says something defamatory about another country, which could spark hostilities or even war if not identified. To... Read more...
In a move that might not sit well with some people, Facebook has begun testing in-game ads when using the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset. Dubbed an "experiment," Facebook is kicking things off in Blaston from Resolution Games, as well as a couple of other unspecified developers who will be beaming targeted ads at players in the coming weeks. "For now, this is a test with a few apps—once we see how this test goes and incorporate feedback from developers and the community, we’ll provide more details on when ads may become more broadly available across the Oculus Platform and in the Oculus mobile app, as well as guidance for businesses and developers interested in advertising on Oculus,"... Read more...
With mobile phone displays switching over to OLED panels, companies like Japan Display Inc., specializing in LCD screens, face the consequences. However, OLED panels are not perfect, nor can they do everything, such as displays in virtual and augmented reality headsets. The pixel density of LCDs simply cannot be matched with present technology or price, so that is what JDI is now focusing on in the fledgling VR and AR marketplace. Following the downturn in LCD sales to smartphone manufacturers, the Tokyo-based JDI believes that its display technology will become the standard for VR/AR as “it can achieve higher resolution than OLED while keeping costs reasonable,” as reported by Bloomberg.... Read more...
It's bad enough when a device you carry with you 24-7-365 breaks, but what if the people tasked with fixing your smartphone sully that experience by rummaging through your private photos? And to make matters worse, what if those same technicians uploaded said photos to the internet just for fun? Well, that's precisely what happened to a 21-year-old woman who has now reached a settlement with Apple over "severe emotional distress" caused after she sent her iPhone off for what she thought would be a relatively routine repair. The phone then arrived at a Pegatron-operated facility, which performs contract work for Apple. Rather than simply fix the unidentified woman's iPhone issues, two technicians... Read more...
Apple's iOS 14.5 was supposed to let users take back control over their data, or so the narrative goes, by preventing apps from tracking their every move. Apple has been banging that privacy drum for a long time now, and customers have taken the company at its word. In fact, you've likely already read our report that a full 95% of users have opted out of allowing Facebook's app to track their data since iOS 14.5 privacy changes launched a few short weeks ago. However, what's to stop Facebook from continuing to track you once the data winds up on their servers? Not much, as it turns out, but there are options for turning the screws down a bit more.  Do You Really Need Geotagging On For Sharing... Read more...
Do you remember discussing (or arguing) with your schoolteacher about how you would never use some of the lessons that they they taught? There were probably some things that you never used and simply forgot about, but what if you could never forget such extraneous information? As it turns out, AI and machine learning have this exact problem, but Facebook AI researchers are looking to tackle it by teaching AI to forget things. Typically, AI is rather good at various tasks, but when it comes to searching long-term memories, performance drops, and the cost of storage grows exponentially. This can be quite the problem as time goes on since we constantly take in new information that would need to... Read more...
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