Tag Archives: Facebook

How the “internet of things” robs us of our rights

Link here. Key quote:

One key reason we don’t control our devices is that the companies that make them seem to think – and definitely act like – they still own them, even after we’ve bought them. A person may purchase a nice-looking box full of electronics that can function as a smartphone, the corporate argument goes, but they buy a license only to use the software inside. The companies say they still own the software, and because they own it, they can control it. It’s as if a car dealer sold a car, but claimed ownership of the motor.

This sort of arrangement is destroying the concept of basic property ownership. John Deere has already told farmers that they don’t really own their tractors but just license the software – so they can’t fix their own farm equipment or even take it to an independent repair shop. The farmers are objecting, but maybe some people are willing to let things slide when it comes to smartphones, which are often bought on a payment installment plan and traded in as soon as possible.

How long will it be before we realize they’re trying to apply the same rules to our smart homes, smart televisions in our living rooms and bedrooms, smart toilets and internet-enabled cars?

This is once again why, when I buy something, I try to find the stupidest version I can. It is why I don’t use a smart phone, since all the companies that work with them do not respect my privacy. It is why I avoid Google and Facebook, for the same reasons. In every case, there is an immoral component to the actions of these companies, and it is the personal responsibility of each individual to not participate in or endorse such behavior.

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Robots communicating in languages humans can’t understand

The rise of the machines! When two bots of its artificial intelligence software (AI) began to communicate in a language humans could not understand, Facebook researchers put a stop to it.

At first, they were speaking to each other in plain old English. But then researchers realized they’d made a mistake in programming. “There was no reward to sticking to English language,” says Dhruv Batra, visiting research scientist from Georgia Tech at Facebook AI Research (FAIR). As these two [robot] agents competed to get the best deal–a very effective bit of AI vs. AI dogfighting researchers have dubbed a “generative adversarial network”–neither was offered any sort of incentive for speaking as a normal person would. So they began to diverge, eventually rearranging legible words into seemingly nonsensical sentences.

…Facebook ultimately opted to require its negotiation bots to speak in plain old English. “Our interest was having bots who could talk to people,” says Mike Lewis, research scientist at FAIR. Facebook isn’t alone in that perspective. When I inquired to Microsoft about computer-to-computer languages, a spokesperson clarified that Microsoft was more interested in human-to-computer speech. Meanwhile, Google, Amazon, and Apple are all also focusing incredible energies on developing conversational personalities for human consumption. They’re the next wave of user interface, like the mouse and keyboard for the AI era.

The other issue, as Facebook admits, is that it has no way of truly understanding any divergent computer language. “It’s important to remember, there aren’t bilingual speakers of AI and human languages,” says Batra. We already don’t generally understand how complex AIs think because we can’t really see inside their thought process. Adding AI-to-AI conversations to this scenario would only make that problem worse.

The article makes some interesting points about the advantages of allowing this AI software to create its own language. For me, none of these arguments are very convincing.

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Facebook moves to protect Islam from criticism

Even while Facebook and Twitter allow violent threats to be posted against critics of Islam, the sites are moving to censor and block posts by those critics.

What happened on that day was that Facebook and Twitter began to censor Jihad Watch as “hate speech,” in accordance with the assurances they had given to the European Union.

Facebook, immediately after concluding an agreement with the European Union, began moving aggressively against foes of jihad terror and mass Muslim migration in the West. Nina Rosenwald, the president and founder of the conservative think tank Gatestone Institute, on June 2, 2016 recorded Facebook’s haste to implement the new speech regulations: “On Tuesday, the European Union (EU) announced a new online speech code to be enforced by four major tech companies, including Facebook and YouTube. On Wednesday, Facebook deleted the account of Ingrid Carlqvist, Gatestone’s Swedish expert.”

Carlqvist’s crime, according to Rosenwald, was to take note of real crimes by Muslim migrants: “Ingrid had posted our latest video to her Facebook feed—called ‘Sweden’s Migrant Rape Epidemic.” In that video, said Rosenwald, “Ingrid calmly lays out the facts and statistics, all of which are meticulously researched.” Rosenwald added that the video was adapted from a “research paper that Gatestone published last year. The video has gone viral—racking up more than 80,000 views in its first two days. But the EU is quite candid: it is applying a political lens to their censorship…. ”

This is just one example. The article gives others, including examples where death threats against Islam’s critics are allowed to remain online.

Just one of many reasons I will have nothing to do with Facebook or Twitter.

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Facebook bans gay web magazine for criticizing Islam

Fascists: A homosexual web magazine has been banned by Facebook for publishing criticisms of Islam.

The social media platform has again been censoring pages that criticise Islam. Facebook banned the page of gay magazine Gaystream after the publication wrote an article attacking people for defending the attitudes of the religion towards homosexuals. Journalist and editor-in-chief of Gaystream, David Berger, claimed that the site had blocked the magazine’s page because of an article that sharply criticised Green party activists who “played down the causes of the attack,” Junge Freiheit writes.

Mr. Berger claims that not only was the Facebook page deactivated, but his personal account was also shut down for 30 days after he posted an article he had written called: “Cologne professional Homos scale new stage of Islam-masochism.” In the article, he heavily criticised the Cologne Gay Museum director Dr. Brigit Bosold who told German media she was more afraid of straight white men than Islamic radicals and migrants.

It is entirely within Facebook’s legal right to issue such bans, as the company is a private entity and the first amendment does not apply to them. Nonetheless, this story, as well as other examples where Facebook banned people merely for expressing conservative ideas, is another example of why I am not on Facebook. Why give them power to restrict my freedom?

The story also illustrates again the intolerant and oppressive face of the left. They always claim they want a “national conversation” about the important issues of the day, but as soon as someone takes them up on that claim but says something they disagree with, their first response is to try to silence that speech.

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Microsoft and Facebook to lay Atlantic cable

Microsoft and Facebook have announced plans to lay a trans-Atlantic communications cable from Virginia to Spain.

Running from Virginia Beach, Virgina to Bilbao, Spain, MAREA (which is Spanish for “tide”), it will be the first cable to connect the US to southern Europe, over a distance of 6,600 km (4,100 miles). From Blibao, it will connect to network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, with the goal of improving speed and reliability. For Microsoft this means improvements for users of its cloud services, such as Bing, Office 365, Skype, Xbox Live, and Microsoft Azure, while for Facebook it means improvements for users of its eponymous social network.

I find this story very puzzling. The whole reason communication satellites exist is because they have historically been far cheaper to build and launch with far greater capacity than ocean cables. Thus, the decision of these companies to go with an undersea cable instead of satellites suggests that something has changed in that equation, though I can’t see what. Have undersea cables improved so much that they have a bigger capacity than satellites, so much bigger that it compensates for the higher cost of installation and maintenance?

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Facebook routinely suppressed conservative news

Even as Facebook claimed that its trending website, listing the stories that are supposedly the most popular, curators of that website have now admitted that they routinely suppressed conservative stories, just because they were conservative.

Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.

Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.

Facebook can do what it wants, but it is important to note the dishonesty here. They claimed their trending site objectively listed stories according to their popularity on Facebook, but when conservative news became popular, Facebook managers then stepped in make sure no one knew that. In other words, the organization lied to its members.

Note also that this is only further evidence that the last thing anyone should do is rely on one source for their information. Get it from multiple sources, with multiple perspectives, so that you increase the chances that you will get it all.

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What Facebook “likes” reveal about the candidates

A review of the number of Facebook “likes” obtained by the Republican presidential candidates illustrates again that the grassroots strongly desires something different in 2016.

Candidates perceived as part of the “establishment,” such as Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki had surprisingly few followers considering their name recognition and experience. My initial research revealed Jeb Bush had the most followers amongst the establishment candidates -right at 280,10 at that time. Comparatively, Dr. Carson, was leading the pack among the “outsiders.” He had 3,821,488.

However, all of those considered outsiders, including Trump, Carson, Cruz and Fiorina, as well as those considered a bridge between the outsiders and the establishment, like Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum, were faring better on Facebook and Twitter than their establishment counterparts. Santorum had the lowest number of Facebook Likes, at 265, 810 followers – not far off from Jeb Bush. If presidential candidates were decided exclusively based upon grassroots support, without major donors to prop up establishment candidates, they’d be in trouble.

The article also notes how some of these outsiders, such as Ben Carson, actually increased the number of their “likes” immediately after they has said something that the press had called a miscue or a mistake and which they thought would end their campaign. Instead, they gained strength on Facebook.

As I’ve said for months, as soon as the real voting begins Jeb Bush will vanish. The Republican voter does not want another Bush, no matter how much money and organization he has. They also do not want a Kasich, a Graham, a Christie, or a Pataki, all of whom have demonstrated their willingness to abandon conservative ideas at the drop of a hat. Instead, the voters want someone not part of the Washington machine who will be willing to change things there. These data makes this fact quite clear.

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Facebook to provide internet access to Africa

The competition heats up: Using an Israeli communications satellite built by the European satellite company Eutelsat and slated to be launched by SpaceX in 2016, Facebook will provide internet service to the African continent.

Under a partnership announced Monday, Facebook and European satellite operator Eutelsat will buy all of the broadband capacity on the AMOS-6 satellite owned by Israeli company Spacecom. The mission has no confirmed launch date, with SpaceX still recovering from a Falcon 9 launch failure in June, but the partners expect the satellite to begin service in the second half of 2016, according to a press release.

What I like about this is the number of companies involved, all trying to make money, with Facebook the newcomer to the space industry. And the more the merrier, I say!

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Google and Facebook cancel satellite plans

The competition cools down? Facebook and Google have both cancelled their plans to build satellite systems to provide global internet access.

It appears Google pulled out earlier this year, while Facebook’s decision was revealed today. Google however remains a partner in Skybox, a space imaging company, as well as O3b, which is trying to provide internet using satellites.

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The Virginia veteran who was arrested simply because of his political posts on Facebook has sued the police and other government workers over his arrest.

Pushback: The Virginia veteran who was arrested simply because of his political posts on Facebook has sued the police and other government workers over his arrest.

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Instagram has said it will withdraw language from its terms and conditions that would have given it ownership rights to users’ photography.

That didn’t take long: Instagram has said it will withdraw language from its terms and conditions that would have given it ownership rights to users’ photography.

How nice of them. But note that the article above also points out that the actual language has not yet changed.

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Facebook’s Instagram has updated its terms and conditions so that it now claims “perpetual” ownership to all photographs posted by users.

Facebook’s Instagram has updated its terms and conditions in order to claim “perpetual” ownership to all photographs posted by users.

“You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such,” the new terms say. That may let advertisers use teenagers’ photos for marketing, raising privacy and security concerns, Jeffrey Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy, told Bloomberg.

And people wonder why I am not on Facebook.

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For seventeen days Facebook approved and allowed a “Kill Mitt Romney” webpage to exist.

Leftwing civility: For seventeen days Facebook approved and allowed a “Kill Mitt Romney” webpage to exist, despite numerous complaints.

To quote the webpage itself:

“This is a page advocating the murder of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.”

Lucky Sarah Palin didn’t comment about this or people might have gotten violent!

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The ex-Marine, arrested and placed in a psychiatric ward because government officials didn’t like his Facebook postings, has announced he is suing the officials involved.

Go for it: Brandon Raub, the ex-Marine who was arrested and placed in a psychiatric ward because government officials didn’t like his Facebook postings, has announced he is suing the officials involved.

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