Forget fake news – Facebook wants to use AI to tackle terrorism

Facebook”s Mark Zuckerberg has posted 5,500 word missive on the social network, in which he discusses many topics – including how the company aims to tackle the promotion of terrorist activities and so-called “fake news” using AI and algorithms.

The size of the global Facebook community, with more than a billion people posting several billion messages and posts each day, has made it impossible for individuals to effectively police the network in its entirety.

“The complexity of the issues we’ve seen has outstripped our existing processes for governing the community,” said Zuckerberg.

“We are researching systems that can read text and look at photos and videos to understand if anything dangerous may be happening.”

Long term plans

However, Zuckerberg admits that these systems will take time to perfect.

“This is still very early in development, but we have started to have it look at some content, and it already generates about one third of all reports to the team that reviews content,” he continued.

“Right now, we’re starting to explore ways to use AI to tell the difference between news stories about terrorism and actual terrorist propaganda.”

It’s an approach that could help turn the tide against unreliable, “fake” news sources too, though Zuckerberg also notes that the nuances a human can discern between tasteful and trustworthy and distasteful and untrustworthy content will initially be difficult for an AI to comprehend.

“It’s worth noting that major advances in AI are required to understand text, photos and videos to judge whether they contain hate speech, graphic violence, sexually explicit content, and more,” he said.

“At our current pace of research, we hope to begin handling some of these cases in 2017, but others will not be possible for many years.”

So, despite the long term goal, the crux of Facebook’s defences will remain, for the time being at least, within community moderation.

“Where is your line on nudity? On violence? On graphic content? On profanity? What you decide will be your personal settings,” Zuckerberg said.

“For those who don’t make a decision, the default will be whatever the majority of people in your region selected, like a referendum.”

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Both Woos And Lashes Out At Phone Industry

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Both Woos And Lashes Out At Phone Industry

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Monday tried to extend an olive branch to mobile phone companies, on which the popular social network company increasingly relies, but which are also among his biggest critics.

Speaking for the third straight year to an annual gathering of telecoms executives at the Mobile World Congress here, Zuckerberg sought to show his company could be a valuable, if truculent, ally to the wireless industry.

He described a new project Facebook is working on with major telecom players, including Nokia, Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom and Intel to help rapidly build far faster mobile networks at lower costs.

But while listing the various ways Facebook was prepared to help network operators contend with spiralling consumer appetites for data, he also criticised and made more demands on the industry.

Zuckerberg challenged the priorities for next-generation 5G networks, which the industry is gearing up to deliver around 2020.

He called them “faster connections for rich people” and said the companies should make more effort to “finish the job of making sure that everyone in the world gets Internet access.”

More than 4 billion people have no access to the Internet, he noted.

Telecom operators complain that companies like Facebook and Google Inc that offer data-heavy mobile services are effectively free-loading on the big investments they must make to keep fixed-line and mobile networks from becoming overloaded.

“Facebook has always had a love-hate relationship with carriers,” Forrester Research analyst Thomas Husson said after Zuckerberg’s comments.

Further complicating his relationships with the telecom industry, Zuckerberg said video would be the next big driver for Facebook growth, putting more pressure on existing networks. Its users watch more than 100 million hours of video daily.

While criticizing the industry for failing to do more to reach unconnected populations, Zuckerberg is a leading proponent of new virtual reality cameras that he said could be a killer app for 5G but which would place vast new demands on networks.

He also defended Facebook’s Free Basics program, through which the company works with operators in emerging markets to offer a pared-back free Internet service to reach consumers who cannot afford data plans.

The Indian government introduced rules blocking Internet services from having different pricing policies for accessing different parts of the web, effectively shuttering the Free Basics program in that country, one of Facebook’s most important emerging markets.

Zuckerberg is kicking off a tour of Europe on Monday that includes a town hall meeting in Berlin on Thursday.

Facebook has faced criticism in Germany in recent months from politicians and regulators over its privacy practices and a slow response to anti-immigrant postings by neo-Nazi sympathisers on the popular social network.

Facebook Messenger May Soon Let You Pay in Offline Stores

Facebook Messenger May Soon Let You Pay in Offline Stores: Report

Over the past few months, Facebook has been aggressively making its instant messenger Messengermore capable by adding the ability to send money to a friend and talk to an AI bot. It seems the company has two more interesting features lined up, if the code of the iOS app is any indication. According to a report, Facebook could soon add in-store payment option for goods and services and introduce new chat options.

Comments on the code of the Messenger app for iPhone reveal that Facebook is working on a feature that would allow users to “pay directly in Messenger when you pick up the item” in a store without the need of cash, reports The Information.

The addition of this feature to Messenger, which recently announced it has hit 800 million monthly active users, could make it serve as a mobile retail hub. It appears Facebook wants users to shop at brick and mortar stores by using its app. The report notes that a handful of retailers such as Everlane and Zulily are using Messenger for handling customer service. According to the report, Facebook also plans to bring ads to messages between users. The timeframe for this rollout is slated to be by the end of June.

It appears Facebook is also working on a “secret conversations” option in Messenger. It’s not clear whether this means that the company wants to further bolster security in Messenger, or introduce Snapchat-like ephemeral messages. Facebook also seems to be experimenting with chat bots, possibly adding the ability to have it book a taxi ride for users. ​The report adds Messenger for iPhone code contains mentions of calendar sync features, the ability to share article quotes with friends, and status messages for select friends.

Hate Instagram’s new algorithmic timeline? Why you too are to be blamed

The legions of people who use Instagram will start to see advertising in their photo sharing feed in the next couple of months.
Our social media lives have become a battle for control, although it might not feel like it when we’re scrolling through tweets about Happy Valley or pictures of our friends getting drunk in bars.

We like to think that we’re in charge of all this stuff, that everything appearing on our screens has been chosen by us and that we alone have the power to change it. Any suggestion that the service we’re using might be about to reduce that power seems to make us disproportionately furious.

Instagram’s recent announcement that it plans to follow Facebook and Twitter‘s lead by shifting to an “algorithmic timeline” (in which you’re more likely to see popular posts from your pals rather than everything in strict chronological order) has caused untold fury: The hashtag #boycottinstagram was used by thousands of people (on, er, Instagram) in order to make their feelings clear. “Keep Instagram Chronological!” has been the battle cry, a plea to protect our God-given right to scroll through a load of pictures that are probably a bit dull.

Algorithmic timelines are easily characterized as evil. There’s a strong case for everything that we post online to have the same likelihood of being seen, and algorithms evidently work against that by giving prominence to things that are popular. They force us to up our game: If our pictures, puns and pronouncements are going to reach an audience, then they have to be good, and the idea that an algorithm is doing the judging feels inherently unfair.

Instagram has been quick to reassure users that “when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it” – but this neatly sums up the problem: I couldn’t care less about seeing said puppy, but the algorithm is going to show me the puppy anyway, because other people like the puppy. Before, seeing a puppy in my timeline was all about chance and timing. Now, Instagram will be putting it there.

If you’re in Instagram‘s shoes, however, it makes perfect sense. The more people joining the service and the more people we follow, the more swamped we are with images: CEO Kevin Systrom estimates that users miss about 70% of content, and he just wants the 30% they do see to be better.

It’s that perennial conflict between encouraging us to spend more time using the app and stopping us becoming bored with it. Weighting our feeds towards pictures that we might like to see would seem like a no-brainer – and it also increases revenue for Instagram, as it forces brands to pay for placement in the feed rather than merely relying on posts cropping up chronologically.

The truth is that we’re lazy. As we immerse ourselves deeper into social media, the prospect of trying to personally curate everything becomes a monumental drag. Outsourcing control to an algorithm would seem like a perfect solution, but resistance always runs weirdly high.

Of course, we’ve proved time after time that we hate any kind of change being forced upon us online, even if that change is supposedly for our own good. As the former chief technical officer of Facebook, Bret Taylor, said of its shift to an algorithmic feed: “It was always the thing that people said that they didn’t want, but demonstrated that they did by every conceivable metric.” Perhaps we’ve reached the stage where computers know what we want far better than we do.

We’re more honest with our smartphones than with doctors

We’re more honest with our smartphones than with doctors
In the late 1960s, an undergraduate psychology student at Wellesley College named Martha McClintock noticed something interesting: Women who spent a majority of their time together tended to get their periods around the same time. She suspected that menstruating bodies could influence one another somehow, but it was just a hunch.
So she asked 135 of her fellow students to keep track of their cycles. Three times that year, she quizzed them about their period start and which women they socialised with the most. Initially, it seemed McClintock was right: Close-knit groups of friends tended to start their periods together.

The phenomenon of menstrual synchrony was nicknamed the “McClintock effect,” and her work was lauded as one of the first mainstream studies to demonstrate how one person’s body chemistry can trigger responses in another’s. But McClintock’s results have been difficult to replicate; now, the scientific consensus is that cycles probably don’t sync up — a claim that rings untrue to anyone who menstruates.

My friends and I joke that we even seem to sync up digitally, thanks to constant contact via iMessage, Snapchat and Twitter. The unresolved nature of McClintock’s investigation, now almost 50 years old, underscores the unnerving amount of opacity that still surrounds women’s health. Even today, it’s difficult for women to get a sense of what’s normal and what isn’t.

When my friends and I talk about our bodies, we compare feedback from physicians, all of which seems to be slightly different; we warn one another about conditions like uterine fibroids and share horror stories about different methods of contraception. There still seems to be a combination of prudishness and ignorance around the unique, and sometimes idiosyncratic, functions of the female body — which is shocking, considering half the world is born with one.

Did you too fall for book ponzi on Facebook?

But in recent years, mobile technology has granted me and countless others the ability to collect an unprecedented amount of information about our habits and well-being. Our phonesdon’t just keep us in touch with the world; they’re also diaries, confessional booths, repositories for our deepest secrets. Which is why researchers are leaping at the chance to work with the oceans of data we are generating, hoping that within them might be the answers to questions medicine has overlooked or ignored.

Behaviour clues

In March, I sat in a conference room with Jasmine McDonald, an assistant professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and Lauren Houghton, an associate research scientist at the same school. The scientists, who are in their 30s, have been studying puberty patterns in adolescent girls, particularly how various aspects of a girl’s menstrual cycle correlate with the development of certain diseases later in life.

Because McDonald and Houghton often work with girls in their teens or younger, they’ve struggled over the years with data-collection methods. They had, until recently, used paper questionnaires and calendars. But they found that their teenage subjects had hazy recollections of dates. McDonald and Houghton asked a highschool intern they worked with how she kept track of her period.

She said that she used apps, and she eventually led them to one named Clue. First they were stunned, and then delighted. Of course: Asking young people to use a paper calendar was like assigning homework. Invariably, it would be completed at the last minute, sloppily. It made much more sense to use an app, especially one already available.

Facebook Messenger tips and tricks: from notifications to locations

Play hidden basketball game on Facebook Messenger

The latest version of Facebook Messenger has a cool new feature that allows you to play a game of basketball during a chat. The game is free but it’s hidden. Read below for how to access it.

How to play Facebook Messenger hidden basketball game:

  1. Update to the latest version of Messenger in the Play Store
  2. Open a chat with one of your contacts
  3. Send the basketball emoji to them. It’s circled in red in the left-side screenshot below
  4. Once the emoji has been sent, simply tap on it to start the game
facebook messenger basketball

Turn off notification alerts on the Android Facebook Messenger app

You know how it is: someone starts a group conversation asking if anybody wants to buy their leather sofa, and before you know it you’re getting non-stop buzzes about upholstery. If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, here’s a couple of tips for how to stop receiving those notifications without actually leaving the conversation.

How to turn off Facebook Messenger notifications for a single conversation:

  1. Launch the Facebook Messenger app
  2. In your conversations tab (the far left tab), tap and hold on the conversation you wish to mute
  3. Tap Mute notifications
  4. Select the length of time you want the notifications to be muted for
androidpit facebook messenger mute one

How to turn off Facebook Messenger notifications for all conversations on Android:

  1. Launch the Facebook Messenger app
  2. Tap the settings menu (the cog wheel)
  3. Tap Notifications & Sounds
  4. Tap the toggle at the top of the page to turn notifications On or Off
  5. Select the length of time you want the notifications to remain muted for
androidpit facebook messenger notifications 2

How to make a voice call in Facebook Messenger

Did you know that Facebook Messenger allows you to make free calls? Well, you probably did. But are you taking advantage of it? Simply tap on the call button (highlighted below) in one of your conversation windows and you will begin calling the person in that conversation.

androidpit facebook messenger calls

How to make a group shortcut for Facebook Messenger

If there’s a crew you talk to all the time, then why not bypass the app launching altogether and pin a group chat shortcut to your home screen? Just go to your Groups tab where you can select an existing group or create a new one and tap the little menu button on the top right of the Group tile. From here simply select ”Create shortcut” to have a chat group shortcut added to your home screen.

androidpit facebook messenger tips

How to send a picture with Facebook Messenger

Did you know you can take a photo direct from the keyboard in Messenger? See that little camera icon? Tap that to turn your keyboard space into a mini viewfinder (which you can also expand). You can switch between the front or back mounted cameras and snap a quick pic with the vertical send button rather oddly placed right in the middle of the viewfinder. Tap the little image icon next to the camera to choose from previously taken pics.

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How to send a big thumbs up with Facebook Messenger

If you’re feeling a little like Miley Cyrus and have a need for a particularly big thumbs up, then just press and hold the Like button to inflate the size of your thumb. If a simple Like won’t do the trick then hit that little emoji button at the end of the text entry field, hit your sticker collection or revert to your device’s emoji supported keyboard for a bit more expressive flair.

androidpit facebook thumbs up tip

How to send or view a location with Facebook Messenger

If you want a super easy way to let your friends know where you are Facebook, all you need to do is send a message. As long as you have “location” enabled in your settings, they will be able to see where you are.

Similarly, if your friend has it enabled, simply tap on a message to bring up the location from which is was sent. If you don’t want to share your location at all, head to your settings and uncheck that “location” box.

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