Facebook’s artificial intelligence (AI) team has built a visual search system that can recognize content that appears in photos and return relevant search results.

Called Lumos, Facebook originally created the platform so that its visually impaired users could understand the content of photos. But Facebook recognized that everyone could benefit from this type of visual search system.

Facebook’s image search system can detect and segment objects, scenes, animals, places, and clothes that appear in images or videos – and understand them.

For instance, let’s say you search for “black shirt photo.” Facebook said that Lumos will search for and see any photos that contain a black shirt – even if no tags have been added to the photo. Facebook will then return search results that are relevant to the query, as well as diverse.

“We’ve built a search system that leverages image understanding to sort through this vast amount of information and surface the most relevant photos quickly and easily,” according to a Facebook blog post published today. “Using Facebook’s automatic image classifiers … you can imagine a scenario where someone could search through all the photos that his or her friends have shared to look for a particular one based on the image content instead of relying on tags or surrounding text.”

Author: Danny Goodwin
Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/facebook-search-lumos/184919

Categorized in News & Politics

According to a new study published today from the American Civil Liberties Union, major social networks including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have recently provided user data access to Geofeedia, the location-based, social media surveillance system used by government offices, private security firms, marketers and others.

As TechCrunch previously reported, Geofeedia is one of a bevy of technologies used, secretly, by police to monitor activists and the contents of their discussions online.

The ACLU said in a blog post that both Twitter and Facebook (which owns Instagram) made some immediate changes in response to their study’s findings.

“Instagram cut off Geofeedia’s access to public user posts, and Facebook cut its access to a topic-based feed of public user posts,” the ACLU said.

The ACLU also noted in their post:

“Neither Facebook nor Instagram has a public policy specifically prohibiting developers from exploiting user data for surveillance purposes. Twitter does have a ‘longstanding rule’ prohibiting the sale of user data for surveillance as well as a Developer Policy that bans the use of Twitter data ‘to investigate, track or surveil Twitter users.’”

On Tuesday, following the publication of the ACLU findings, Twitter announced that it would “immediately suspend Geofeedia’s commercial access to Twitter data"

A Facebook spokesperson tells TechCrunch:

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“[Geofeedia] only had access to data that people chose to make public. Its access was subject to the limitations in our Platform Policy, which outlines what we expect from developers that receive data using the Facebook Platform. If a developer uses our APIs in a way that has not been authorized, we will take swift action to stop them and we will end our relationship altogether if necessary.”

It’s worth noting that Facebook’s platform policy generically limits developers.

For example, it says developers are not permitted to “sell, license, or purchase any data obtained” from Facebook or its services. And they can’t transfer data they get from Facebook, including “anonymous, aggregate, or derived data,” to any data brokers. Finally, developers are not permitted to put Facebook data into any search engines or directories without the social network’s explicit permission.

We have reached out to Geofeedia for comment but executives were not immediately available for an interview.

A public relations consultant for Geofeedia sent a lengthy statement, attributed to Geofeedia CEO Phil Harris, defending the company’s practices in general. An excerpt follows:

“Geofeedia is committed to the principles of personal privacy, transparency and both the letter and the spirit of the law when it comes to individual rights. Our platform provides some clients, including law enforcement officials across the country, with a critical tool in helping to ensure public safety…

Geofeedia has in place clear policies and guidelines to prevent the inappropriate use of our software; these include protections related to free speech and ensuring that end-users do not seek to inappropriately identify individuals based on race, ethnicity, religious, sexual orientation or political beliefs, among other factors.

That said, we understand, given the ever-changing nature of digital technology, that we must continue to work to build on these critical protections of civil rights.”

Update: A company statement from Geofeedia was added to this post after it was originally published. 

Source : https://techcrunch.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Facebook doesn’t have an easy-to-use advanced search engine, so one guy built his own. “Search Is Back” lets you use familiar drop-down menus to find people by city, relationship status, school, first name, and more. Plus you can search for photos, events, posts, and other stuff.

What’s special here is that you don’t need to know Facebook’s complicated Graph Search terms like “Friends of Friends named Sarah who went to Stanford and work at Google”. Search Is Back turns your simple menu selections into the proper URL and sends you to the search results page on Facebook’s official site with no extra login required.

Unfortunately, the product usually only works for people in the US who have received the Graph Search rollout. One thing that helps is adjusting your Facebook language setting to US English if you don’t use that already.

Some examples of what you could use Search Is Back to search for include:

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  • What people from your home town are single and live in your current city
  • Who your friends of friends are at a company with a job you’re applying for
  • Which friends live in a city you’re visiting
  • Who that person on Tinder is who says their name is Sam/Samantha, lives in San Francisco, and went to UCLA
  • Who that person you met at a party was that was friends with your buddy Dan and works at Google
  • You can also use it to find photos, events, Likes, and posts, such as:
  • All the photos tagged with two particular people (not that you’d stalk your ex)
  • Events happening tonight that your friends are invited to, so you can find something to do
  • Posts from friends about London, so you can get recommendations for a vacation
  • Friends in your city that Like a certain musician, so you can find people to go to the concert with

 

Search Is Back was built by Michael Morgenstern, a filmmaker from San Francisco who was fed up with how hard it was to search Facebook.

Facebook declined my request for comment regarding Search Is Back. However, a close reading of its Platform Policies shows Facebook doesn’t technically prohibit how the site works.

The social network made a big deal of its Graph Search feature for finding specific things back in 2013, but using sentences instead of traditional keywords confused people. In fact, Facebook VP of Search Tom Stocky told me in October that “the interaction model for search with these natural language phrases was not right for a mass audience.”

facebook-seacrh

So then Facebook launched full-text post search, but that made Graph Searching even tougher since Facebook would confuse sentences for keywords. Facebook does have some advanced search features, but they’re split up and buried in weird places like the Find Friends tool and the sidebar options of old-school pre-Graph searches.

Morgenstern tells me “it sucked” how Facebook screwed up search. So he “did a lot of poking around” to find out what Facebook URLs did what, and since Search Is Back doesn’t use Facebook’s API, it might be harder to shut down.

Like a true hacker, Morgenstern just wanted to play around with what was possible on the web that won’t work with mobile apps. He says “We’re moving towards an app ecosystem where it’s not possible to build things like Search Is Back because all these apps are walled gardens. So in the dying days of open HTML web, it’s imperative to build these tools and customize what people give us.”

 

Facebook might find a way to shut down Search Is Back, but until then, it’s a free and privacy-safe way to find anything on Facebook with a simple set of boxes.

Source : https://techcrunch.com/2015/12/02/facebook-advanced-search/ 

Categorized in Science & Tech

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