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On the heels of Facebook defending its Content Policy after the leak of its content moderation guidelines, a research analyst has said that existing laws on live broadcasts don’t apply to the internet.

“The social media companies have no liability towards online content like murder, rape, terrorism and suicide under intermediary laws around the world. Social media companies’ obligation is restricted to removing the illegal content on being informed of it,” said Shobhit Srivastava, research analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems at market research firm Counterpoint Research.

Earlier this week, Facebook’s several documents, included internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts, were leaked, showing how the social media giant moderates issues such as hate speech, terrorism, pornography and self-harm on its platform.

Citing the leaks, the Guardian said that Facebook’s moderators are overwhelmed with work and often have “just 10 seconds” to make a decision on content posted on the platform.

“The recent incidents where harmful videos were posted online raise serious question on how social media companies moderate online content. Facebook has a very large user base (nearly two billion monthly active users) and is expanding, and therefore moderating content with help of content moderators is a difficult task,” Srivastava told IANS.

“Facebook is also using a software to intercept content before it is posted online but it is still in early stages. This means that Facebook has to put a lot more effort to make the content safe,” he added.

According to Monika Bickert, head of global policy management, Facebook, more than a billion people use Facebook on an average day and they share posts in dozens of languages.

A very small percentage of those will be reported to the company for investigation and the range of issues is broad — from bullying and hate speech to terrorism — and complex.

“Designing policies that both keep people safe and enable them to share freely means understanding emerging social issues and the way they manifest themselves online, and being able to respond quickly to millions of reports a week from people all over the world,” she said.

Bickert said it is difficult for the company reviewers to understand the context.

“It’s hard to judge the intent behind one post or the risk implied in another,” she said.

The company does not always get things right, Bickert explained, but it believes that a middle ground between freedom and safety is ultimately the best answer.

She said that Facebook has to be “as objective as possible” in order to have consistent guidelines across every area it serves.

Srivastava noted that “from social and business point of view social media companies like Facebook, etc have to dedicate more resources for content moderating purposes which are inadequate now, otherwise we will see various governments restricting access to these players which will spell bad news for both users and these companies.”

Last month, Facebook announced that it was hiring additional 3,000 reviewers to ensure the right support for users.

Source: This article was published factordaily.com By IANS

Categorized in Social

Initially used to improve the experience for visually impaired members of the Facebook community, the company’s Lumos computer vision platform is now powering image content search for all users. This means you can now search for images on Facebook with key words that describe the contents of a photo, rather than being limited by tags and captions.

To accomplish the task, Facebook trained an ever-fashionable deep neural network on tens of millions of photos. Facebook’s fortunate in this respect because its platform is already host to billions of captioned images. The model essentially matches search descriptors to features pulled from photos with some degree of probability.

After matching terms to images, the model ranks its output using information from both the images and the original search. Facebook also added in weights to prioritize diversity in photo results so you don’t end up with 50 pics of the same thing with small changes in zoom and angle. In practice, all of this should produce more satisfying and relevant results.

Eventually Facebook will apply this technology to its growing video corpus. This could be used both in the personal context of searching a friend’s video to find the exact moment she blew out the candles on her birthday cake, or in a commercial context. The later could help raise the ceiling on Facebook’s potential ad revenue from News Feed.

Pulling content from photos and videos provides an original vector to improve targeting. Eventually it would be nice to see a fully integrated system where one could pull information, say searching a dress you really liked in a video, and relate it back to something on Marketplace or even connect you directly with an ad-partner to improve customer experiences while keeping revenue growth afloat.

photo-search-nn-diagram.png

Basic structure of how object recognition works

Applying Lumos to help the visually impaired

Along with today’s new image content search feature, Facebook is updating its original Automatic Alternative Text tool. When Facebook released the tool last April, visually impaired users could leverage existing text-to-speech tools to understand the contents of photos for the first time. The system could tell you that a photo involved a stage and lights, but it wasn’t very good at relating actions to objects.

A Facebook team fixed that problem by painstakingly labeling 130,000 photos pulled from the platform. The company was able to train a computer vision model to identify actions happening in photos. Now you might now hear “people dancing on stage,” a much better, contextualized, description.

The applied computer vision race

Facebook isn’t the only one racing to apply recent computer vision advances to existing products. Pinterest’s visual search feature has been continuously improved to let users search images by the objects within them. This makes photos interactive and more importantly it makes them commercializable.

Google on the other hand open sourced its own image captioning model last fall that can both identify objects and classify actions with accuracy over 90 percent. The open source activity around TensorFlow has helped the framework gain prominence and become very popular with machine learning developers.

Facebook is focused on making machine learning easy for teams across the company to integrate into their projects.  This means improving the use of the company’s general purpose FBLearner Flow.

“We’re currently running 1.2 million AI experiments per month on FBLearner Flow, which is six times greater than what we were running a year ago,” said Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Facebook’s director of applied machine learning.

Lumos was built on top of FBLearner Flow. It has already been used for over 200 visual models. Aside from image content search, engineers have used the tool for fighting spam.

Source: This article was published techcrunch.com By John Mannes

Categorized in Social

Facebook Inc will hire 3,000 more people over the next year to speed up the removal of videos showing murder, suicide and other violent acts, in its most dramatic move yet to combat the biggest threat to its valuable public image.

The hiring spree, announced by Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, comes after users were shocked by two video posts in April showing killings in Thailand and the United States.

The move is an acknowledgement by Facebook that it needs more than automated software to identify and remove such material.

The problem has become more pressing since the introduction last year of Facebook Live, a service that allows any of Facebook’s 1.9 billion monthly users to broadcast video, which has been marred by some violent scenes.

Some violence on Facebook is inevitable given its size, researchers say, but the company has been attacked for its slow response.

UK lawmakers this week accused social media companies including Facebook of doing a “shameful” job removing child abuse and other potentially illegal material.

In Germany, the company has been under pressure to be quicker and more accurate in removing illegal hate speech and to clamp down on so-called fake news.

German lawmakers have threatened fines if the company cannot remove at least 70 percent of offending posts within 24 hours.

So far, Facebook has avoided political fallout from U.S. lawmakers or any significant loss of the advertisers it depends on for revenue. Some in the ad industry have defended Facebook, citing the difficulty of policing material from its many users. Police agencies have said Facebook works well with them.

Facebook shares fell slightly on Wednesday, and edged lower still after the bell, following its quarterly earnings.

Artificial intelligence

Zuckerberg, the company’s co-founder, said in a Facebook post the workers will be in addition to the 4,500 people who already review posts that may violate its terms of service. Facebook has 17,000 employees overall, not including contractors.

Last week, a father in Thailand broadcast himself killing his daughter on Facebook Live, police said. After more than a day, and 370,000 views, Facebook removed the video. Another video of a man shooting and killing another in Cleveland last month also shocked viewers.

Zuckerberg said the company would do better: “We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner - whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.”

The 3,000 workers will be new positions and will monitor all Facebook content, not just live videos, the company said. The company did not say where the jobs would be located, although Zuckerberg said the team operates around the world.

The world’s largest social network has been turning to artificial intelligence to try to automate the process of finding pornography, violence and other potentially offensive material. In March, the company said it planned to use such technology to help spot users with suicidal tendencies and get them assistance.

However, Facebook still relies largely on its users to report problematic material. It receives millions of reports from users each week, and like other large Silicon Valley companies, it relies on thousands of human monitors to review the reports.

“Despite industry claims to the contrary, I don’t know of any computational mechanism that can adequately, accurately, 100 percent do this work in lieu of humans. We’re just not there yet technologically,” said Sarah Roberts, a professor of information studies at UCLA who looks at content monitoring.

The workers who monitor material generally work on contract in places such as India and the Philippines, and they face difficult working conditions because of the hours they spend making quick decisions while sifting through traumatic material, Roberts said in an interview.

In December, two people who monitored graphic material for Microsoft Corp’s services such as Skype sued the company, saying it had failed to warn them about the risks to their mental health. They are seeking compensation for medical costs, wages lost from disability and other damages.

Microsoft has disputed their claims. The company said in a statement that it takes seriously the responsibility to remove and report imagery of child sexual exploitation and abuse, as well as the health and resilience of employees.

Mental health assistance plans sometimes fall by the wayside for such workers, and there was a risk that would happen for Facebook if it tries to find 3,000 new workers quickly, Roberts said. “To do it at this scale and this magnitude, I question that,” she said.

Psychological support

Facebook says that every person reviewing its content is offered psychological support and wellness resources, and that the company has a support program in place.

When Facebook launched its live service in April 2016, Zuckerberg spoke about it as a place for “raw and visceral” communication.

“Because it’s live, there is no way it can be curated,” Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed News in an interview then. “And because of that it frees people up to be themselves. It’s live; it can’t possibly be perfectly planned out ahead of time.”

Since then, at least 50 criminal or violent incidents have been broadcast over Facebook Live, including assault, murder and suicide, The Wall Street Journal reported in March.

In January, four African-Americans in Chicago were accused of attacking an 18-year-old disabled man on Facebook Live while making anti-white racial taunts. They have pleaded not guilty.

A man in Cleveland, Ohio, last month was accused of shooting another man on a sidewalk and then uploading a video of the murder to Facebook, where it remained for about two hours. The man later fatally shot himself.

Zuckerberg said the company would keep working with community groups and law enforcement, and that there have been instances when intervention has helped.


facebook-inc

“Just last week, we got a report that someone on Live was considering suicide,” he wrote in his post. “We immediately reached out to law enforcement, and they were able to prevent him from hurting himself. In other cases, we weren’t so fortunate.”

Source: This article was published on theglobeandmail.com

Categorized in News & Politics

Women and children queue up under the scorching heat of the midday sun, distaste and frustration piling up around them as they hope to replenish those empty buckets with proper drinking water at the local handpump. The village is not without its own water supply, mind you, but the muddy, polluted water is scarcely enough to saturate the thirst of an honest worker. Therefore they stand, for hours and hours under the searing heat of the midday sun, keen to help their husbands and fathers to a glass of cold drinking water as they come home from a hard day’s work. As we sit on fluffy couches in our air-conditioned rooms in the urban upstate, it is easy to take for granted the lives we live, the gifts we have. But if there’s one thing my time in India has taught me, it’s how small and inconsequential the life of a humble private citizen can be in the wake of overwhelming corporate and political interests.

It is hard to think about internet access when the very question of healthy drinking water is at stake, after all, we need to get our priorities straight. But if there is one thing the internet does really well, it is to open up opportunities for the rural and urban poor struggling to make a living in a difficult economy. Teach a man to fish, and all that. Either that, or plain old urban glamor, is what motivates the likes of Facebook and SpaceX in their quest to make the internet universally accessible, and they are not unwilling to push the boundaries of conventional wisdom when it comes to making good on their plans.

“The internet is a vast pool of opportunities. Tapping into it can help find employment and a source of earning for many people across the world. It can also foster the cause of globalization and help the international economy prosper as a whole.” - Alex Jasin, X3 Digital

We got a good glimpse of how crucial connectivity is going to be for company’s plans in the next coming years over at Facebook’s F8. Mark Zuckerberg acquainted us with his ambitious plans to roll connectivity solutions to the far and distant corners of the earth that still don’t have internet access, and in doing so, bring the 3 billion people of the world who are yet to have an internet connection, into the mainstream. These plans come in three segments. The first is Project Acquila, that aims to make use of solar-powered drones to beam the internet on to rural and urban areas from the stratosphere. With Aquila, Facebook has already managed to set a record with its millimeter-wave radio technology, which can beam down 36 Gbps of internet connections from a distance of up to ten kilometers. Acquila still has ways to go, however, as its massive unmanned aircraft crashed into a pile of dust and hubris in the Arizona desert, shortly after setting aforementioned record.

While the Aquila drones project is aimed at assuring connectivity to far-off rural areas, Facebook’s Terragraph initiative aims at supplying decent internet connections in dense urban areas. The problems suffered in these two scenarios are very different, as the severe lags suffered in urban area internet connections are mostly due to huge amounts of traffic and so-called dead zones. Terragraph aims at solving these problems by using better quality fibres to eliminate dead zones and improve internet capacity, using the same millimeter radio wave technology that fuels Aquila.

“There are just so many people out there in the real world that deserve mainstream attention and real recognizance for their work. Universalizing the internet can help bring these people into the spotlight.” - Jeff Smith, Infuence.co

The third and final of Facebook’s connectivity initiatives is tether-tenna, which is supposed to help provide temporary internet connectivity during emergency situations. The tether-tenna is a miniature helicopter drone that can be connected to a fibre line and then launched up to a few hundred feet above ground to work as a temporary tower. It will be particularly useful in case of an emergency situation or catastrophe, when immediate access to the internet is required.

While Facebook goes all in on its effort to globalize the internet, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has his own plans of propagating the world wide web. In November 2016, Elon Musk filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission, asking for permission to launch 4,425 satellites that would help beam high-speed internet facilities onto various parts of the world from space. The initiative, which Musk says may cost around $10bn, is said to begin launching its satellites in 2019, with at least one prototype sent into space later this year, according to Patricia Cooper, Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs for SpaceX.

“As a great equalizer, the Internet provide access to communications, information and opportunity. A lot of businesses in the outsourcing sector would not be possible without Internet technologies such as VoIP and eCommerce.” - William Emmanuel Yu, Quora

Elon Musk isn’t the first person on the planet to take a gander at such a satellite internet programs, similar initiatives by the likes of HughesNet and Exede have since long been in play, but he is the first person to be doing it at this scale. As of this moment, there are 4,256 satellites orbiting the earth, only 1,419 of which remain functional. Musk’s plans involve not only setting a record in satellite launches to space, they also aim to wrap the whole world in a mesh of internet connectivity in the process.

While Musk’s plans may seem outlandish, and Zuckerberg’s at least ambitious, we cannot really expect to bring the internet to the whole world without setting some records and breaking some existing ones. The internet opens up a web of opportunities for the rural and urban dwellers of underdeveloped and developing countries, giving them a chance at improving a stagnant economy and raising their own living standards in the process. While the projects are massive and nothing is certain, there is one thing I am confident about. To delegate this much of responsibility on to the hands of corporate giants we know little about, we must really trust Musk and Zuckerberg to keep true to their promises.

Source: This article was published forbes.com By Harold Stark

Categorized in Social
© Provided by Business Insider Inc mark zuckerberg and reed hastings

Since 2011, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has sat on Facebook’s board, and as Facebook’s plans to fund TV-style shows take form, many are naturally curious what ideas Hastings shares with Mark Zuckerberg — and whether Netflix and Facebook will ever be seen as head-to-head competitors.

In the past few months, as Zuckerberg has articulated Facebook’s new approach to premium video, one thing has become clear: The pair share an important belief about the future of high-quality digital video. Both Hastings and Zuckerberg appear committed to the idea that, with global digital scale, TV-quality shows can be sustained primarily by a single big revenue stream. For Netflix, that stream is subscription revenue, with ads completely cut out of the equation. For Facebook, it’s advertising.

That's significant because it goes against the broad wisdom of the pay-TV industry, which uses both subscriptions and advertising dollars to prop itself up. It also stands in contrast to some digital competitors like Hulu, who are trying to replicate a model similar to pay-TV in the digital realm.

Facebook TV

Right now, Facebook is busy readying its first slate of TV-like shows, which the social media behemoth wants to unveil in mid-June. And while Facebook is putting up cash this time around, the company's executives have been explicit that in the long run, Facebook wants its premium video ecosystem to be entirely sustained by advertising revenue.

“The goal is going to be creating some anchor content initially that helps people learn that … the video tab [is] a great destination where they can explore, and come to Facebook with the intent to watch the videos that they want,” Zuckerberg said during Facebook’s last earnings call with investors. “And then the long-term goal is actually not to be paying for specific content like that, but doing a revenue share model once the whole economy around video on Facebook is built up.”

Facebook thinks that it can make its advertising offering compelling enough that media companies will make TV-quality video for its platform without being paid directly by Facebook to do so. Facebook will simply have to split the ad revenue with them.

There is evidence that YouTube thinks its advertising products will be able to support that level of shows as well. On Thursday, YouTube announced that it would fund half a dozen new shows, anchored by big-name celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Hart, and Katy Perry. Significantly, YouTube is going to have these shows run on its main, advertising-supported service, and not on its $9.99-a-month subscription service, YouTube Red.

"Five years ago, 85% of all original series were ad-supported," Robert Kyncl, YouTube's business chief, said at an the event on Thursday. "This year, that number has fallen to just over two-thirds. And with significantly more content coming to subscription services, that shift is accelerating. So we see these shows as a way for us to partner with [advertisers] to buck this trend."

For both Facebook and YouTube, the coming months will be a test to see whether that thesis is correct, and a premium set of shows can lure a premium set of advertisers.

Forever ad-free

Netflix has taken the complete opposite route, and has remained committed to keeping advertising off its service.

“No advertising coming onto Netflix. Period,” Hastings wrote on Facebook in 2015, in response to reports that Netflix was testing ads. “Just adding relevant cool trailers for other Netflix content you are likely to love.” The company has given no indication that its thinking has changed since then.

But as Netflix has introduced more and more original shows, and its spending on content has ballooned to $6 billion, some have questioned whether Netflix will eventually have to introduce some sort of advertising. Still, Netflix’s thesis seems to be that it can continue to grow its user base to offset those costs, and that the potential reach of the digital realm will let the company climb to sustainability.

That said, with Netflix predicting its negative free cash flow will be $2 billion in 2016, and that it will continue to burn cash for “many years,” that is a thesis that may not be completely tested for awhile.

TV, but online

It’s not a sure thing for either Netflix or Facebook that standing on one major revenue leg will be able to sustain the kinds of shows you’d see on cable TV. (Netflix could diversify beyond subscriptions and into things like merchandise, without having to get into advertising, but subscriptions will likely remain the major pillar.)

Other companies looking to disrupt TV are going the more traditional pay-TV route, with a combination of advertising and subscription.

It’s not surprising that Hulu, which is owned by big TV companies, is trying to keep that business model intact. The ad load might be lower than cable, but Hulu is still firmly in the dual revenue camp. And those betting on new online “skinny bundles,” which are essentially cable packages delivered over the internet, are also hoping the subscription-ad combo can make it across the digital divide. That includes services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Sony’s Vue, and many more to come.

It’s good to note that everyone could be right.

Advertising alone could let Facebook and YouTube support TV-quality shows, while Netflix and other streaming services could rely on only subscriptions, or some combination of subscriptions and ads. Or they could be wrong, and the Golden Age of TV could falter as the digital business models fail to recreate the huge budgets that powered a whopping 455 scripted shows in 2016.

Source : This article was published msn.com By Nathan McAlone

Categorized in Social

Snapchat Stories kicked off a new trend for listing friends that have viewed your updates / Getty

LinkedIn is probably the most generous social network of them all for online lurkers

Lots of us would love to know which of our friends and connections are secretly looking at our social media updates without engaging with them but, more often than not, networks deliberately make this information either difficult or impossible to access.

Users can openly express interest with likes, comments and retweets, but we’ll always be curious about the unknown. 

Fortunately, there are a number of straightforward ways to dig up telltale “stalking” signs across the biggest social networks, with some providing a little more insight than others.

 

Facebook

The sheer number of dodgy-looking ‘Who Viewed My Profile?’ type apps that are available to download show just how desperate a lot of Facebook users are to identify potential secret admirers. 

While the site doesn’t allow you to find out who’s visited your profile, it keeps track of the friends who’ve checked out your ephemeral Facebook Stories updates, gathering their names in a list that only you can see.

Assuming that your privacy settings allow people to follow you, you can find a complete list of the people who don't want to be your friend but do want to know what you get up to by clicking the Friends tab on your profile and selecting Followers. 

Somewhat unnervingly, Facebook also allows users to create secret lists of friends. As of yet there’s no way to find out if you’re on somebody’s list, but if you are, its creator will get a notification each time you post something.  

Twitter

As a social network built more heavily around news and opinions rather than personal pictures and activities, Twitter-stalking doesn’t appear to be quite as much of a thing.   

There’s still a way to find out more information about who’s viewing your updates, but it’s not particularly precise. 

The microblogging site’s Analytics Dashboard offers up a number of useful insights, including tweet impressions, link clicks, detail expands and the gender, location, age and interests of the people interacting with your posts, but you’re ultimately unlikely to identify a stalker this way.   

Instagram

As is the case with Facebook, it’s Instagram’s Stories feature that gives the game away. It works in a similar manner, to Facebook Stories listing the names of the people who’ve viewed your 24-hour posts.

However, making your account public allows people who don’t follow you to watch your Instagram Stories posts too. Only in their case, you’ll know that they went out of their way to see what you've been getting up to. Just like your friends, their names will be included in a list that only you can see. 

Making your account private will cut off Stories access for non-followers, and you can also hide your Story from people who actually do follow you.

Snapchat

As most people are aware, both Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories are ripped from Snapchat, which has something of a reputation for being one of the raciest social networks.

Snapchat Stories kicked off the trend for displaying all of the friends that have viewed your pictures and videos, but it goes a step further by also notifying you when any of them screenshot your updates. 

LinkedIn

At the opposite end of the spectrum is LinkedIn, but the professional network is arguably the most generous of the bunch for online stalkers. ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile’ is a core feature, with the site notifying you whenever a fellow user visits your page, and vice versa.

However, you can't view the names of members who've chosen to visit your profile in private mode, even if you’ve paid for a Premium account.

You can try to turn the tables on your stalkers – without coughing up for advanced features – by selecting Anonymous LinkedIn Member under Profile Viewing Options in the privacy menu, though this also hides the identity of every single person who visits your profile.

Source : This article was published independent.co.uk By AATIF SULLEYMAN

Categorized in Social

FACEBOOK and Snapchat are some of the worst apps for sucking you monthly data packages dry. However, these top tips can save you from running out of mobile internet access.

With most mobile operators not offering unlimited packages, it's easy to find yourself without access to the internet on your smartphone.

When things do run out it's also incredibly expensive to top things - most UK operators charge around £7 for 1GB of extra data.

Many people have no idea where their data goes each month but there are plenty of ways your smartphone will munch through your allowance.

Apps such as Snapchat, , Netflix and  with videos and photo downloads then worst offenders.

HERE'S WHAT EATS THROUGH YOUR DATA EACH DAY

  •  Web browsing (50 pages) uses abut 50MB of data per hour
  •  Checking your emails once a day uses about 150MB of data a month 
  •  Uploading photos can use 100MB (per 10 images)
  •  Ultra high definition video streaming can use 7GB of data per hour

Fortunately, help is at hand, as the team at Mobiles.co.uk have shared their top tips, on how to reduce your mobile data spend.

HERE'S SOME TOP TIPS ON SAVING YOUR DATA

1. Stop auto-play on social platforms

New research has found that nearly two thirds of smartphone owners use the Facebook app every day and 40 per cent use YouTube daily.

Since leading social and video platforms, introduced their auto-play functions, more often than not, videos will start streaming, even if you hadn’t planned on watching them. 

It’s this feature that may be eating into your data allowance.

Don’t worry, it’s easy to fix. Simply, go into your social media account settings and either turn-off auto-play, or choose to use it only when your connected to Wi-Fi. 

Facebook app dataGETTY

You can turn auto-play videos off when using mobile data

Facebook introduce Facebook Stories

2. Utilise Wi-Fi

If you can, try to leave your Wi-Fi on. This will help you connect automatically to Wi-Fi ports you’re already paired with, preventing the need to use mobile data.

By leaving your Wi-Fi turned on, it will also allow you to find and use Wi-Fi hotspots, saving you even more data. Just make sure the connections are from an official source, and read the T&Cs before you connect.

Lastly, if you’re on iOS, turn off your Wi-Fi Assist. The Wi-Fi Assist will switch to 4G when your connection is low. To stop this, just deselect in settings.

Facebook data usage warningGETTY

Facebook autoplay videos should be turned off if you don't want to use your data

3. Stop apps using mobile data

Another big drainer on your mobile data are your beloved apps, as they may be updating in the background, even when you’re not using them.

Don’t fret, you can stop this massive purge of data happening by selecting the Wi-Fi only option in your settings.

The other benefit of stopping this is that it should help preserve battery life too.

4. Track how much data you’re using

If you’re finding that you’re running out of data on roughly the same date every month, and have tried the tips we’ve suggested, try tracking to see which apps or services are draining your data well.

To view how much data you have used go to settings and scroll down to the list of apps. You can reset the date on this, so you could track things across a day, a week, a month etc. This way you can understand your usage and determine what may be the cause of the issue.   

Netflix data appGETTY

Netflix can also burn through your data

5. Download content to use offline

Two of the biggest data drainers are video streaming (especially if in HD) and music streaming, so if you’re an avid fan of binging on box sets, listen closely.

Updates to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer in 2016 allowed users to download certain content to their devices, which can be viewed offline. 

So, if you’re half way through Stranger Things or want to catch-up on the weekend’s football action with Match of the Day, download when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, and save yourself tens of thousands of MB in data – you just need to make sure you have enough space on your phone for the download file.

You can also use this offline approach with Spotify and Apple Music to download your favourite music too, but this is one of the premium features.

Smartphone data 4G usageGETTY

6. Change video quality on Netflix/ BBC/ YouTube

There is no better way to appreciate the wonders of the natural world than by watching Planet Earth in stunning 4K.

However, it can be detrimental to your data allowance, as according to Netflix, streaming content in HD can use 3 GB per hour, and using Ultra HD will suck up 7 GB per hour, whereas watching a standard definition (SD) video will only use 0.7 GB per hour.

Keen to catch-up on the latest episode of The Walking Dead or Line of Duty, and can’t wait until you get home? Just stream using SD, and enjoy.

7. Turn off push notifications on email/social platforms

Not just a massive battery drainer, having your push notifications turned on for email and social media apps can also drain your data. So, unless you really need to be notified instantly, turn these off in the app settings.

Over 60 per cent of smartphone owners check emails via a handset every day1, this can use about 150MB of data per session. If your phone is set to fetch data wirelessly at specific intervals, you will quickly consume data. Stop it by going into your settings and turning it off.

If you’re still struggling to stick to your mobile data allowance, it might be time to consider reviewing your contract and upgrade to plan with more data.

Source : This article was published express.co.uk By DAVID SNELLING

Categorized in Social

Facebook, with its tech cohorts Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon, have huge pools of data about their users, which lend considerable network advantages over smaller players. Credit Noah Berger/Associated Press

There is a growing drumbeat that the five leading tech behemoths have turned into dangerous monopolies that stifle innovation and harm consumers. Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook — what the tech columnist Farhad Manjoo calls the Frightful Five — have a combined market capitalization of more than $2.7 trillion and are an increasing part of everyday life.

They are each assembling enormous pools of data about their users — which they use not just to sell more targeted advertising, but to improve and personalize their services, increasing their network advantage against smaller players.

But while these firms are increasingly formidable and deserve scrutiny, over all their market power appears less durable than infrastructure-based monopolies of previous generations. As David Evans and Richard Schmalensee note in “Matchmakers,” dominant digital platforms are “likely to be more transient than economists and pundits once thought.”

In most tech markets, multiple players reach viable scale. And consumers often have an incentive to switch between competing services, based on convenience and price.

Not only are these titans vulnerable to regular existential threats (recall Microsoft’s unbreakable hegemony over PC software that didn’t translate to mobile computing), they are also all converging — therefore competing — with one another.

All five of these firms are in a broad race to dominate consumers’ digital lives at home and at work. They all offer a suite of connected services — for instance, some combination of music, video and communication services — which increasingly overlap with one another. They are each expanding their market opportunity, but also straying out of their zones of competitive advantage into areas of increasing rivalry. This convergence in strategy, products and tactics is a powerful inoculation to anticompetitive outcomes.

Many of the recent monopoly arguments rely upon narrowly defining markets to make a rhetorical case, as well as hypothetical consumer harm. Ben Thompson, who writes the tech newsletter Stratechery, for instance, argued recently that Facebook has a monopoly in the “content provider market.”

It is easy to see how commentators get worked up about Facebook, given it controls several large, overlapping networks including WhatsApp and Instagram. But the claim that it has a monopoly over content providers, is risible. Even if Facebook were the singular acquirer of content, that would make it a monopsonist, not a monopolist. This distinction is critical because a monopsonist — who is the only buyer for a given set of suppliers — uses its power to squeeze input prices (like the sole employer in a town, keeping wages low). Whereas a monopolist uses its power to raise consumer prices.

Facebook’s importance as a major traffic source for many content sites is self-evident, but publishers still go directly to consumers and use other significant intermediaries — notably Google, which is owned by Alphabet. The woes of the publishing industry are because of the impact of the internet, not Facebook.

Mr. Thompson unconvincingly asserts that Facebook’s power over publishers produces a “dead weight loss” (where monopoly taxation leads to a waste of resources) and that consumers are afflicted by Facebook’s stifling of innovation. But Facebook users are not suffering under the yoke of oppressive masters. On the contrary, they are benefiting from a period of intense competition.

The same applies when it comes to entertainment. Netflix isn’t one of the big five, but it enjoyed a brief honeymoon as a monopoly after it crushed Blockbuster. But just a few years later, it faces intense competition around the globe. While the Netflix chief executive, Reed Hastings, may say that “sleep” is his company’s major rival, in reality, Amazon and Alphabet — not to mention Hulu, HBO and myriad local players — prevent Netflix from running away with the market.

Commentators often conflate ubiquity, or narrow market dominance, with a broad-based monopoly. Amazon regularly gets tarred with this brush. About 80 million people now take a Prime subscription bundle, according to industry estimates. Weaving together multiple products and services under one compelling offering gives Amazon a formidable advantage to which its rivals are scrambling to react. But even so, Amazon is so far only exhibiting signs of market dominance in the market for books. And even there, as Paul Krugman has noted, it looks more like a monopsonist exerting market power than a monopolist exploiting consumers.

For diapers, dog food, videos, music, cloud-computing services, voice technology and so forth — it faces extreme competition from other tech companies, not to mention traditional retailers. Walmart alone is still four times its size in retail (albeit much smaller online). In video and music, Amazon is an order of magnitude smaller than Netflix and Spotify. And in cloud computing, Amazon faces serious competition from Alphabet and Microsoft and others, which offer similar services, also on a grand scale.

It is blindingly obvious that traditional retailers are suffering. But holding Amazon responsible for the decline in brick-and-mortar retail is like blaming Craigslist for the death of print classifieds. The natural gravitational pull of the internet caused those problems, not one company.

While almost all of the hand-wringing about tech monopolies is overblown. The player that perhaps warrants the closest scrutiny today is Alphabet, and in particular its Google search engine.

Google’s overwhelming dominance of search (it has 90 percent market share in United States search revenue) is particularly critical given search’s centrality to the web’s commercial ecosystem. Google, however, has not been sensitive enough in handling its power — especially with its history of bringing the fight to smaller, narrowly focused rivals, like Yelp in the local reviews market. Its strategy in certain verticals resembles the old survival maxim: First, eat what the monkey eats, then eat the monkey.

There is no denying that the leading tech companies are riding high. The recent signal by the Federal Communications Commission that it intends to ditch net neutrality has fueled concerns that the Frightful Five will further stifle competition from start-ups. While these firms have all been public advocates for net neutrality (they don’t want to be taxed by Comcast or Verizon), they won’t have any trouble affording whatever “tax” the carriers might impose. Instead, the companies at some risk of real disadvantage will be start-ups we haven’t heard of yet.

However, as consumers continue to migrate to mobile, neutrality matters less. Mobile carriers already use “zero rating” (whereby certain services don’t count toward data caps) to advantage their own content (or that of their partners). And unlike in fixed broadband, consumers are afforded some protection by the real choice they have in mobile carriers.

Plainly there is no cause to be Pollyannaish. It’s sensible to be wary of acquisitions and potential overreach. And there may be specific cases that cross the line and should be reined in. Over all though, the kind of competition we see among Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and Microsoft tends to sort things out naturally and brutally.

The only surefire winner from this battle is the consumer.

Source : This article was published in nytimes.com By JEREMY G. PHILIPS

Categorized in Social

A SECRET document shows in scary detail how Facebook can exploit the insecurities of teenagers using the platform.

FACEBOOK has come under fire over revelations it is targeting potentially vulnerable youths who “need a confidence boost” to facilitate predatory advertising practices.

The allegation was revealed this morning by The Australian which obtained internal documents from the social media giant which reportedly show how Facebook can exploit the moods and insecurities of teenagers using the platform for the potential benefit of advertisers.

The confidential document dated this year detailed how by monitoring posts, comments and interactions on the site, Facebook can figure out when people as young as 14 feel “defeated”, “overwhelmed”, “stressed”, “anxious”, “nervous”, “stupid”, “silly”, “useless”, and a “failure”.

Such information gathered through a system dubbed sentiment analysis could be used by advertisers to target young Facebook users when they are potentially more vulnerable.

While Google is the king of the online advertising world, Facebook is the other major player which dominates the industry worth about $80 billion last year.

But Facebook is not one to rest on its laurels. The leaked document shows it has been honing the covert tools its uses to gain useful psychological insights on young Australian and New Zealanders in high school and tertiary education.

The social media services we use can derive immense insight and personal information about us and our moods from the way we use them, and arguably none is more fastidious in that regard than Facebook which harvests immense data on its users.

The secret document was put together by two Australian Facebook execs and includes information about when young people are likely to feel excited, reflective, as well as other emotions related to overcoming fears.

“Monday-Thursday is about building confidence; the weekend is for broadcasting achievements,” the document said, according to the report.

Facebook did not return attempts by news.com.au to comment on the issue but was quick to issue an apology and told The Australian that it will conduct an investigation into the matter, admitting it was inappropriate to target young children in such a way.

“The data on which this research is based was aggregated and presented consistent with applicable privacy and legal protections, including the removal of any personally identifiable information,” Facebook said in a statement issued to the newspaper.

However there is suggestion that the research could be in breach of Australian guidelines for advertising and marketing towards children.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at his company's annual F8 developer conference in San Jose last month. Picture: Noah Berger
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at his company's annual F8 developer conference in San Jose last month. Picture: Noah BergerSource:AP

Many commentators have suspected Facebook engaged in this sort of cynical exploitation of the data it gathers but the leaked document is scarce proof.

Mark Zuckerberg’s company has not been shy about exploring ways it can manipulate the data it collects on users.

For one week in 2012, Facebook ran an experiment on some of its users in which it altered the algorithms it used determine which status updates appeared in the news feed of nearly 700,000 randomly selected users based on the post’s emotional content.

Posts were determined to be either negative or positive and Facebook wanted to see if it could make the selected group sad by showing them more negative posts in their feed. It deemed it could.

The results were published in a scientific journal but Facebook was criticised by those concerned about the potential of the company to engage in social engineering for commercial benefit. 

Facebook’s Data Use Policy warns users that the company “may use the information we receive about you … for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.”

Currently information about your relationship status, location, age, number of friends and the manner and frequency with which you access the site is sold to advertisers. But according to the report, Facebook is also seeking to sell ads to users concerned with insights gleaned from posts such as those concerned with body confidence and losing weight.

Source : This article was published in news.com.au By Nick Whigham

Categorized in Social

Fermat, a collaborative, open-source technology project, has announced the launch of the Internet of People (IoP) Consortium, an initiative aimed at boosting academic research and encourage university-led pilot projects related to the “person-to-person economy.”

The IoP is meant to allow people to hold direct control and ownership of their data and digital footprint. The project seeks to develop and provide individuals with the tools to freely interact electronically, both for social and commercial purposes, “without unnecessary third party interferences.”

The newly formed consortium will provide opportunities to universities and research institutions to develop and participate in innovative projects in that field. Current members include ELTE, Infota, Virtual Planet and Cyber Services PLC.

First pilot project

In March, the consortium launched its first pilot project through a research lab at ELTE, the largest and one of the most prestigious universities in Hungary, in cooperation with the EIT Digital Internet of Things Open Innovation Lab.

Focusing on the shipping industry, the pilot project found that with disintermediating technology, multinational companies in a wide range of verticals can significantly increase effectiveness and reduce costs. Technology which removes unnecessary intermediaries and creates a decentralised system, improves privacy for both senders and receivers, allows on-demand contractors to better monitor failure situations, and helps smaller shipping companies enter the market.

“Our first project has already delivered important findings on the power of IoP technology,” Csendes said. “Though the study focused on the shipping industry, the technology developed could improve the logistics industry as a whole.”

The Internet of People

Fermat's Internet of People projectFermat, an organization based in Switzerland, is in charge of building the decentralized infrastructure for the IoT, which includes an open social graph, a direct, peer-to-peer access channel to individual people, and a direct device-to-device communication layer.

The IoT intends to be an information space where people’s profiles are identified by a public key and interlinked by profile relationship links. Profiles can be accessed via the Internet.

The project aims to empower people by allowing them freedom to administer their online privacy, protect themselves from spying, censorship or data mining, by establishing direct person-to-person interactions.

Speaking to CoinJournal, Fermat founder Luis Molina explained:

“The information on the Internet of People is controlled by end users using their profile private key, in the same way they control their bitcoin balances using their bitcoin private keys. This means that only them can modify the information of their profiles and the relationship with others profiles as well.”

Similarly to Facebook, an individual is able to configure the privacy level of his or her profile and choose which information is public.

“A profile uploaded to the IoT does not mean that everyone can access all the information on it,” Molina said.

“The main difference is that when you upload your info to Facebook, Facebook is in control and they monetize your information using it for their own profit. On the other hand the Internet of People allows you to sell pieces of your private data or digital footprint on a global marketplace to whoever you choose and as many times you want, even the same piece of data.”

The IoP uses a new type of cryptographically secured data structure called the graphchain. The main difference between a graphchain and a blockchain is that the first acts as a cryptographically secured data structure in which no blocks or transactions have to be stored.

According to Molina, Fermat’s graphchain technology enables a global mapping of everybody with verified proof of how they are related, and also people-to-people and company-to-people interactions without going through intermediaries.

Csendes said that the graphchain technology brings “endless business opportunities because of the additional network components and methodologies added on top of blockchain technology.”

“The IoP Consortium was formed in response to the need for concrete and developed use cases demonstrating this value,” he concluded.

Source : This article was published in coinjournal.net By Diana Ngo

Categorized in Online Research

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