Twitter tries to explain how it fights breaking news hoaxes

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During the minutes and hours after shots rang out at YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno, many people used Twitter just as they have after other high-profile events: to spread fake information and hoaxes. In response to reports about how bad its "fak…
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Facebook fights fake news with author info, rolls out publisher context

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Red flags and “disputed” tags just entrenched people’s views about suspicious news articles, so Facebook is hoping to give readers a wide array of info so they can make their own decisions about what’s misinformation. Facebook will try showing links to a journalist’s Wikipedia entry, other articles, and a follow button to help users make up their mind about whether they’re a legitimate source of news. The test will show up to a subset of users in the U.S. when users click on the author’s name within an Instant Article if the author’s publisher has implemented Facebook’s author tags.

Meanwhile, Facebook is rolling out to everyone in the U.S. its test from October that gives readers more context about publications by showing links to their Wikipedia pages, related articles about the same topic, how many times the article has been shared and where, and a button for following the publisher within an “About This Article” button. Facebook will also start to show whether friends have shared the article, and a a snapshot of the publisher’s other recent articles.

Since much of this context can be algorithmically generated rather than relying on human fact checkers, the system could scale much more quickly to different languages and locations around the world.

These moves are designed to feel politically neutral to prevent Facebook from being accused of bias. After former contractors reported that they suppressed conservative Trending topics on Facebook in 2016, Facebook took a lot of heat for supposed liberal bias. That caused it to hesitate when fighting fake news before the 2016 Presidential election…and then spend the next two years dealing with the backlash for allowing misinformation to run rampant.

Newsroom: Article Context Launch Video

Posted by Facebook on Monday, April 2, 2018

Facebook’s partnerships with outside fact checkers that saw red Disputed flags added to debunked articles actually backfired. Those sympathetic to the false narrative saw the red flag as a badge of honor, clicking and sharing any way rather than allowing someone else to tell them they’re wrong.

That’s why today’s rollout and new test never confront users directly about whether an article, publisher, or author is propagating fake news. Instead Facebook hopes to build a wall of evidence as to whether a source is reputable or not.

If other publications have similar posts, the publisher or author have well-established Wikipedia articles to back up their integrity, and if the publisher’s other articles look legit, users could draw their own conclusion that they’re worth beleiving. But if there’s no Wikipedia links, other publications are contradicting them, no friends have shared it, and a publisher or author’s other articles look questionable too, Facebook might be able to incept the idea that the reader should be skeptical.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Facebook fights creeps and apathy with expiring friend requests

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Snapchat has ephemeral messages, and now Facebook has ephemeral friend requests. The big blue social network feeds off your social graph, and every time you expand it, it has more content to show you. But if you leave a questionable friend request in limbo for too long, you’ll probably never confirm or delete it. So Facebook is betting that by making those friend requests into exploding offers, you’ll be more likely to accept than lose the opportunity to connect. And if you didn’t want that friend request in the first place, it will self-destruct even if you don’t bother to manually reject it.

On Friday, TechCrunch reader Christine Hudler provided screenshots of a new expiring friend requests feature that gives you a 14 day countdown to make a decision. Now a Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the feature to TechCrunch, writing “I can confirm that this is a test to help surface the most recent requests.” Facebook tells me it’s a way to assist people with managing unwanted friend requests by eventually deleting those people saw but didn’t accept. It’s currently only appearing to a subset of users, not to everyone.

Those in the test group will see a “14 days to respond” countdown on their friend requests. A ‘Learn More’ link leads to this Help Center article we’ve screenshotted here, as it only shows details about expirations to those in the test.

Keeping people’s friend request queue clean is critical to the company because if you can’t find the legitimate ones from people you know amongst all the randos and spam, you might stop growing your graph. Expiring friend requests could also solve a problem for social media stars and other public figures on Facebook. The app only lets you have up to 5000 friends, and a limited number of pending requests that seems to be 5000 minus your friend count (Facebook wouldn’t say). After that, you won’t receive inbound friend requests any more. The expiration date makes it much less likely that you’ll ever hit the pending friend request maximum.

The “limited time offer” trick has been around in shopping forever as way to boost your sense of urgency. Humans love optionality but hate to miss out. People buy things off of infomercials they don’t actually want because if they “ACT NOW!” they’ll get a discount before it disappears. This same approach compels people to open Snapchat so they don’t miss their friends’ Stories that delete themselves after 24 hours.

The feature comes at a time when Facebook is especially sensitive about appearing respectful of your data, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Friend requests from total strangers can make users feel like they’re already sharing too much public information, and that one wrong click could expose their friends-only photos and posts. Keeping these requests from piling up could make users feel safer while ensuring they can keep adding real friends.

For more on what’s up with Facebook, read our feature pieces:

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Ubisoft fights off takeover by entertainment giant Vivendi

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Ubisoft is finally free of Vivendi. The entertainment titan behind the Universal Music Group and Dailymotion kept buying more and more Ubisoft shares since 2015 to the point that it became the video game publisher's largest stakeholder. While Vivendi…
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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds fights Fortnite on iPhone

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It is shaping up to be a spectacular month for battle royale games on iOS. After the hugely popular Fortnite landed in the App Store last week, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has made its way to iPhone and iPad. But there is a catch! PUBG was the king of battle royale games until Fortnite came along and stole its […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

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Innovative Technology Fights Back Against Flu Season

This year’s flu season in the United States is trending worse than the 2009 swine flu pandemic, as evidenced by the number of Americans visiting clinics or emergency rooms and crowding hospital beds and hallways with flu-like symptoms.

The flu season usually frightens those who suffer with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — people who have compromised lung function and are at a high risk for getting influenza. But a number of COPD patients in Philadelphia and in other parts of the country who are usually scared of the flu, are less anxious.

They’re using advanced mobile technology developed by Philadelphia-based HGE Health and offered through subscriptions paid for by hospitals like Temple Lung Center at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia and payers like Health Partners Plans of Philadelphia, coupled with a communications regimen that’s keeping them healthier and much less anxious about the flu.

And, therefore, keeping them out of emergency rooms, hospitals and doctor’s offices.

“COPD patients in general experience fear and anxiety about breathing every day, 365 days of the year,” said Michael J. Markus, PhD., CEO of HGE Health, a healthcare technology company that works worldwide with pulmonary surgeons and physicians. “The flu season usually takes that anxiety to another level. When the flu is prevalent and COPD patients have trouble breathing, they often panic, which leads to heightened anxiety, making it even harder for these patients to breathe. This breathlessness-anxiety-breathlessness cycle drives many patients to the doctor or the hospital more often than needed because they can’t distinguish the symptoms of anxiety from the symptoms of COPD. But we’ve found a way to effectively break that cycle.”

Following a decade of clinical research, HGE Health launched a digital telemedicine platform and mobile app that enables physicians to remotely manage patients more closely and make it easy to adjust treatment therapies as new or differing COPD and medical issues arise. With or without the flu.

The technology and process are simple. Pulmonary patients use their smartphone, which securely communicates to the HGE Health platform, to report their daily COPD symptoms to their physician who has the option of making immediate changes in treatment. A prospective, randomized, controlled study found that patients who did this and received same-day treatment experienced more symptom-free days and fewer, typically less severe, exacerbations (a worsening of symptoms) when they do occur.

The easy, quick response by both physician and patient makes all the difference.

“Our technology has enabled patients and physicians to monitor these symptoms daily and change care plans rapidly, addressing medical issues before they get more complicated,” Markus explained. “The daily connectivity with physicians, which the HGE Care Plus platform encourages, means better management of symptoms and early warnings on any new symptoms, far less patient anxiety and dramatic decreases in the need for patients to seek other medical help during flu season. Our patients feel reassured that their caregiver is engaged and that any flare-up will be tackled same-day. It keeps patients in a better state of mind and health and out of the hospital, meaning lower medical costs for everyone.”

The post Innovative Technology Fights Back Against Flu Season appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Mobile Marketing Watch

Apple Fights iCloud Password Phishing with New Privacy Icon

Apple is combating phishing on its operating systems with the planned addition of a small icon to identify first-party information requests.

Basically, the company is introducing a new Privacy icon that will appear when Apple — rather than a malicious third-party — is asking for your login details or other confidential information. The icon will be available in the public release of iOS 11.3 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.4.

The new security feature was first discovered by developers who are beta testing iOS 11.3. The icon appears as two silhouettes shaking hands. According to an information splash page, the privacy icon appears when “an Apple app or feature is asking to use your personal information.”

The splash page notes that the icon won’t appear with every feature, but only when Apple is collecting personal information. It’s also not readily clear where the icon will pop up, perhaps it’ll show up in the top menu bar or next to a password login field.

In other words, if you’re running iOS 11.3 and you see a prompt without the Privacy icon, then you’re probably dealing with a malicious entity attempting to phish your password.

Phishing, of course, is a way of stealing passwords by having a user input them into a fraudulent password field. Oftentimes, these malicious phishing exploits look nearly identical to actual, authentic requests for information, as we’ve seen in an October blog post by developer Felix Krause.

iPhones will regularly prompt users to input their password — and at times, it can be hard to know why or when iOS asks for a password. Because of that, many users are prone to falling for a fraudulent password request. And while Apple’s reviewers try to keep as many malicious apps out of the App Store as possible, some phishing apps can still make it through the cracks.

While there have been workarounds to avoid phishing, this new privacy icon is Apple’s first proprietary attempt to thwart the tactic.

And that’s because, according to the Privacy icon splash page, “Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right.” As we’ve written before, Apple’s commitment to privacy is its best product.

The Privacy icon is new to iOS 11.3 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, which are both currently in the beta stage. Apple announced today that iOS 11.3 — which includes a handful of other significant features — will launch for all users in the spring.

iDrop News

This week on AI: Apple fights ‘Meltdown’ & ‘Spectre,’ iMac Pro review, 6.5″ ‘iPhone X Plus’ & more

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Apple began 2018 with yet another unwanted problem, in this case the "Meltdown" and "Spectre" security vulnerabilities in its processors. News of the week also included rumors of Jimmy Iovine leaving Apple Music, and our hands-on review of the iMac Pro.
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Uber’s head of Northern Europe quit as the company fights a ban in London

Jo Bertram is leaving after more than four years with Uber.

Uber’s long-time regional general manager for Northern Europe Jo Bertram is leaving after more than four years, Recode has confirmed. Bertram, who was originally Uber’s general manager for London, oversaw the U.K. and other countries.

Her departure comes at a difficult time, as the ride-hail company faces a potential ban in London, one of its most important cities. Last month, London’s transport agency Transport for London announced that it was not renewing Uber’s license to operate in the city. Uber has appealed the decision and will continue to operate during the appeals process.

Bertram’s decision to leave was in the works for a month, according to an Uber spokesperson. In an email to staff, Bertram wrote that she was pursuing an exciting new opportunity — but that she also thought it was time for a new face for the company.

“An exciting new opportunity has arisen that will allow me to apply what I’ve learnt here and I’ll be able to share more details with you soon,” Bertram wrote. “Given some of our current challenges, I’m also convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face, and to hand over to someone who will be here for the long haul and take us into the next phase.”

Tom Elvidge, the general manager of Uber London, will be taking over as acting U.K. general manager while the company searches for a replacement for Bertram.

“While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I’m proud of the team we’ve built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter,” she wrote. “I’ll work with you in the coming weeks on the best possible transition.”

Uber is generally in the midst of a transitional period with new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi taking the reigns last month. Khosrowshahi is expected to meet with the TfL tomorrow to discuss the ban and some of the accusations the agency has levied against the ride-hail company.

In an email to staffers in the days after TfL announced the ban on Uber, Khosrowshahi wrote that while the company may not have done anything wrong in this situation, it needed to be a better partner to cities going forward — and that “there is a high cost” to Uber’s “bad reputation.”

London is a significant market for Uber: The company says there are 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million riders on its platform in London. And like New York City, it is one of the most regulated markets where Uber operates. Unlike most markets across the U.S., Uber drivers in London and New York City are required to participate in government-administered background checks.

But the TfL said that the company acted with a “lack of corporate responsibility” when it came to things like a software tool called Greyball, which Uber created and has used in other markets to circumvent local authorities.

Here’s the full memo from Bertram to staff:

Subject Line: Thank you for a brilliant journey

As many of you have just heard at our All Hands meeting, I’ve decided to move on to something new and exciting. I’m leaving Uber with great memories, friendships and many amazing experiences, and I’ll never forget the great things that we’ve achieved together as a team.When I showed up on my first day four years ago, at our tiny serviced office in Baker Street, I quickly realised that this company was special – not only in its ambitions, but also in the way we all pulled together. Whether responding to all sorts of customer questions, buying our own laptops, or distributing mobile phones to our early partner drivers, we all had to roll up our sleeves and figure out how to build a business. I had wanted to experience the pace and craziness of life at a start-up, and Uber certainly delivered!I’m tremendously lucky to have spent the last four years with you, and it has been breathtaking to see the team grow so quickly. When I joined as General Manager for London, we had just three team members in the city and a few hundred drivers. Together, we then rolled out our services to more than 40 towns and cities across the United Kingdom, where we now serve almost 5 million riders and more than 50,000 drivers. Since I became Regional General Manager for Northern Europe, I’ve been proud to lead what is now a team of 300 people across 10 countries. I’ve learned a lot during this rapid expansion and, in every market we entered, you could quickly see the impact we had on the way people travelled and lived their lives.

While we often talk about the growth we’ve seen, we can also be proud of the progress our team has made in improving the service for both drivers and riders. Though there’s always more to be done, we’ve taken big strides for a young company. From the introduction of discounted illness and injury cover for drivers, to the roll out of ACCESS for wheelchair users and most recently our Clean Air Plan, there are many initiatives we can be proud of. I know there are many more exciting things to come.

Over the course of this year, I’ve been reflecting on these incredible last four years and what might come next for me. I’ve also discussed this with Pierre and I’m proud that we’ve built this business into more than we ever thought possible. And I’ve realised that taking a nascent company and helping it scale into a major international operation is what I’ve enjoyed most. An exciting new opportunity has arisen that will allow me to apply what I’ve learnt here and I’ll be able to share more details with you soon.

Given some of our current challenges, I’m also convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face, and to hand over to someone who will be here for the long haul and take us into the next phase.While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I’m proud of the team we’ve built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter. I’ll work with you in the coming weeks on the best possible transition.I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned in the last four years. This company and its people will always have a very special place in my heart.


Reply from Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Head of EMEA

As I just told everyone at the All Hands meeting, we’re all really sad to be losing such a remarkable colleague and friend.

Jo is certainly one the most impressive people I’ve had the pleasure to work with and the success of our business in Northern Europe is in large part down to her leadership. The passion, energy and commitment she puts into her work has made her an inspiring role model and a fantastic leader since she joined Uber four years ago.

Jo will remain with us over the next few weeks in order to help with a smooth transition, and I look forward to working closely with the excellent team she leaves behind.

Tom Elvidge will now report into me and be our acting UK GM while we undergo an internal and external hiring process for that role. Niek Van Leeuwen, GM for the Nordics, Baltics & Benelux, will report into me.

On behalf of everyone at Uber, I wish Jo all the best for her exciting new role and the next stage of her career.

Thanks so much for your contribution over the years, Jo!


Recode – All