Avaaz: Facebook continues to fail at flagging false and misleading posts about U.S. elections

Facebook continues to fail to spot and flag false and misleading posts about elections, according to a new report published by Avaaz. The U.S.-based nonprofit found in an analysis of a cross-section of Georgia-related election misinformation on Facebook that 60% of detected false and misleading posts reached thousands of voters without fact check labels.

The report comes as investigations suggest that Facebook is failing to stem the spread of misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech on its platform. In January, Seattle University associate professor Caitlin Carlson published results from an experiment in which she and a colleague collected more than 300 posts that appeared to violate Facebook’s hate speech rules. (Only about half of the posts were ultimately removed.) Separately, according to The Washington Post and others, allies of President Donald Trump have received few penalties under Facebook’s rules. Former employees told the publication that Trump-aligned accounts have been protected against

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The coming war on the hidden algorithms that trap people in poverty

Miriam was only 21 when she met Nick. She was a photographer, fresh out of college, waiting tables. He was 16 years her senior and a local business owner who had worked in finance. He was charming and charismatic; he took her out on fancy dates and paid for everything. She quickly fell into his orbit.

It began with one credit card. At the time, it was the only one she had. Nick would max it out with $5,000 worth of business purchases and promptly pay it off the next day. Miriam, who asked me not to use their real names for fear of interfering with their ongoing divorce proceedings, discovered that this was boosting her credit score. Having grown up with a single dad in a low-income household, she trusted Nick’s know-how over her own. He readily encouraged the dynamic, telling her she didn’t understand finance. She opened up

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U.S. House Democrats Adopt Mobile Internet Voting for Leadership Contests | World News

(Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers used a mobile phone app over the last two weeks to remotely cast votes for the first time, according to technologists and some involved in the process, embracing technology to facilitate an internal party leadership contest.

The development marks a shift in how Congress is adapting to the internet, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Use of the app, named Markup ERVS, had not been publicly disclosed before Friday.

A total of 230 House of Representatives Democrats logged into Markup on their government-provided iPhones to cast votes stating their preference for House speaker, who will be elected by the full chamber early next month, said Markup spokesperson Colby Redmond.

The House Democrats also chose their caucus chair and committee heads through the app, which transfers data to staff in Washington.

Earlier this year, the House changed its procedures for voting on legislation by the full

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Facebook failed to warn Georgia voters about misinformation, activists say

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Facebook is still grappling with political misinformation after election day.


Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook has been using labels to warn users about posts that contain misinformation, but a global activist group says false claims are still slipping through the cracks ahead of runoff elections in Georgia that will decide which party controls the US Senate.

Avaaz, a global activist group, said Friday it examined 204 Facebook posts in English and Spanish that contained 12 false Georgia election-related claims debunked by fact checkers. As of Nov 20, about 60% of these posts didn’t have a label that warned users the post contained false information. Some of the posts weren’t labeled at all and others had a different label that directed Facebook users to an online hub with election information.

The analysis raises questions about whether

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Brussels seeks to demand more from Big Tech in revamp of internet rules

The EU is considering two-tier legislation to impose greater responsibility on Big Tech over removal of illegal content and the fight against counterfeit products in the first overhaul of the bloc’s internet rules in two decades.

The bloc’s preferred option is to adopt “asymmetric measures” where more is demanded from Big Tech to enforce policing of online services and the smooth functioning of cross-border digital services, officials in Brussels said.

The move comes as groups such as Facebook and Google are accused of using their clout to undermine European rivals and confirms Big Tech’s worst fears that the rules will hit them harder.

“Asymmetric measures with stronger obligations for very large platforms, further clarifications of the liability regime for online intermediaries and EU governance with reinforced oversight and enforcement . . . [is] the preferred option,” a leaked document said.

Big Tech, mostly Silicon Valley-based groups, are likely to see

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Public clouds hit a wall in innovation

As it opens this week, AWS re:Invent is not taking place in Vegas but is virtual and free. Virtual events are a silver lining of the pandemic because they keep me off airplanes and eliminate seven miles of walking each day at the bigger public cloud conferences. Maybe I’m getting lazy in my old age, but the time that virtual events save seems to be more productive.

Not to pick on AWS, but when we look at the announced innovations at public cloud events during the past year, few were game changers. Yes, most vendors will continue to move toward the intelligent edge, providing more points of presence, and they will continue to exploit artificial intelligence. However, these are mostly evolutionary steps rather than revolutionary ideas.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about moving from containers to serverless containers or from relational databases to purpose-built cloud-based databases or from outdated

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In dozens of countries, governments rely on Internet shutdowns to hide repression

Our recent work suggests that shutdowns pose three major challenges for protest movements. Here’s what you need to know.

Protest movements rely increasingly on the Internet

Protest movements tend to grow rapidly and spontaneously without much prior in-person organization, making it difficult for protesters to revert to offline communication during an Internet blackout. As they become more established, many protest movements rely heavily on digital channels to reach new supporters.

Beyond coordination obstacles, shutdowns often are linked to violent repression. In a recent study, we analyzed how Internet accessibility enabled government-sanctioned violence in Syria. Throughout the Syrian conflict, the government of Bashar al-Assad has tightly controlled access to the Internet. While some of the country’s 14 governorates (a regional distinction) — such as Damascus and Latakia — have largely remained connected to the Internet, others have regularly been subjected to severe limitations and shutdowns.

Regional data on where the Internet

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100 High Performance Small Cap Stocks

By Hank Tucker, Antoine Gara and Eliza Haverstock

Ask just about any investor from Silicon Valley to Wall Street and they will tell you: We’re living in the age of the mega-corporation. Trillion-dollar mega cap quasi-monopolies like Google, Apple and Amazon are pushing into everything from autonomous driving and entertainment to financial services and healthcare. And judging from their stock prices, the bigger these companies get, the more Wall Street applauds.

But being small, specialized and great—a hedgehog among foxes—is still a recipe for success, especially in a recovering economy.

Take Collectors Universe, a $700 million market capitalization company that grades collectibles like baseball cards, rare coins, stamps and autographs. It is the authenticator of millions of memorabilia items, like Mike Trout’s rookie card, Ted Williams’ autograph and 19th-century Morgan silver dollars. In the collectibles market, the Santa Ana, California-based

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Hold social media companies accountable for what their users post

  • A top tech advisor to Biden, Bruce Reed, indicated at a virtual book launch hosted by Georgetown Law Wednesday that “it’s long past time to hold the social media companies accountable for what’s published on their platforms.”
  • Reed, who was chief of staff to Biden during his time as vice president, has been highly involved in advocating for tech reform in his years outside of government.
  • In a chapter co-authored with digital reform advocate Jim Steyer, he wrote, “Washington would be better off throwing out Section 230 and starting over.”



Bruce Reed, Joe Biden are posing for a picture: U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden arrives for a meeting with his Chief of Staff Bruce Reed (L) June 22, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.


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U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden arrives for a meeting with his Chief of Staff Bruce Reed (L) June 22, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

A law protecting the tech industry from being held liable for their users’ posts is on shaky ground as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to come into office.

Bruce Reed,

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