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Updated 2018-05-25 16:17
Last-minute frenzy of GDPR emails unleashes 'torrent' of spam – and memes
Inboxes around the world are clogging up as deadline for companies to comply with new regulations nearsA last-minute flurry of emails from companies trying to retain customers ahead of the deadline for Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has prompted a slew of complaints - and memes - on social media.Friday is the last day for companies to comply with GDPR regulations and as a result, inboxes around the world are clogging up with emails warnings that “the privacy policy has changed” and pleas to “just click here so we can stay in touch”. Continue reading...
Should you send Facebook all your nude photos?
The social media company suggests that sending it naked pictures is the best way to protect yourself from revenge porn. But can it be trusted?If you have been the victim of “revenge porn” – intimate pictures stolen and published in an attempt to humiliate or blackmail – Facebook has a proposal that might sound counterintuitive: cc them in to your sexts.But give it a chance. The company’s offering is a better idea than it sounds. Facebook has spent years working with other large technology firms to build software that can identify problem images the second they hit the net, and flag and remove them without the need for human intervention. The scheme, which has already been trialled in Australia, will be tested in the UK from this week. Continue reading...
Uber to give drivers and couriers sickness and maternity cover
Workers across Europe, including 70,000 in UK, to be offered pay protections under new insurance policyUber is to provide additional protection for its drivers and couriers across Europe, including 70,000 in the UK, with limited insurance against sickness and injury as well as small maternity and paternity payments.The ride-hailing service said a new insurance policy, to be provided free to its drivers, would give them “peace of mind while preserving the flexibility they value”. Continue reading...
UK calls for special EU deal on data-sharing laws after Brexit
British negotiators warn of security dangers as they call for preferential treatmentUK negotiators in Brussels have warned of significant economic and security dangers for Europe should the EU not grant a special deal on data-sharing laws after Brexit.In an appeal for immediate talks on the issue, a government presentation given to Michel Barnier’s EU team on Tuesday included a mixture of implicit threats and expressions of concern for the future. Continue reading...
Donald Trump shuns iPhone security because it's 'inconvenient', reports say
US president reportedly resisted White House security checks for Twitter phone for ‘as long as five months’Donald Trump is reportedly shunning security advice by using at least two iPhones, refusing to allow some of them to be screened for hacking attempts because it is “too inconvenient”.The US president, who has not used email while in office, has one iPhone capable only of making calls and another that is used as his Twitter phone, with access to a series of news sites and the social network, according to White House officials talking to Politico. Continue reading...
Unlikely bedmates: union strikes Airbnb deal 'to protect delivery drivers'
Airbnb will pay union members $150 to host under deal TWU says is about ending exploitation of drivers
May to pledge millions to AI research assisting early cancer diagnosis
Industrial strategy plans to develop artificial intelligence using algorithms built from NHS patient dataTheresa May will pledge millions of pounds of government funding to develop artificial intelligence able to transform outcomes through early diagnosis of cancer and chronic disease.In a speech in Mansfield on Monday that is being billed as the first of a series on industrial strategy, May will say: “Late diagnosis of otherwise treatable illnesses is one of the biggest causes of avoidable deaths. Continue reading...
How can we stop robot abuse? Chips with Everything podcast
Scientists in Seoul have built a robot tortoise to help teach children not to ill-treat robots. Jordan Erica Webber investigates the ethical issues surrounding the advance of AISubscribe and review: Acast, Apple, Spotify, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud. Join the discussion on Facebook, Twitter or email us at chipspodcast@theguardian.com.We’re getting more and more used to talking to robots. Personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant are growing in popularity, and children love them. Continue reading...
Tesla confirms autopilot involved in Utah crash but seeks to blame driver
Company confirms its technology failed to stop collision on same day US traffic safety watchdog opens investigation into crashA Tesla car was driving in “autopilot” mode when it crashed into a stopped firetruck in Utah, the company said in a report to police that repeatedly cast blame on the driver, not its semi-autonomous driving system.The confirmation that the vehicle’s technology failed to prevent it from colliding with a stopped object in its path came the same day that the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it was sending a team to investigate the 11 May crash in Utah.
Twitter announces global change to algorithm in effort to tackle harassment
The system will use behavioral signals – how users react to a tweet – to assess if an account is adding to or detracting from conversationsTwitter is announcing a global change to its ranking algorithm this week, its first step toward improving the “health” of online conversations since it launched a renewed effort to address rampant trolling, harassment and abuse in March.“It’s shaping up to be one of the highest-impact things that we’ve done,” the chief executive, Jack Dorsey ,said of the update, which will change how tweets appear in search results or conversations. “The spirit of the thing is that we want to take the burden off the person receiving abuse or mob-like behavior.” Continue reading...
Mark Zuckerberg has ‘no plans’ to go to UK to give evidence to MPs
MPs inquiring into Cambridge Analytica breach urge Facebook CEO to appear via video linkFacebook has said Mark Zuckerberg has no plans to come to the UK to give evidence to parliament despite the threat of a formal summons, prompting frustrated MPs inquiring into the Cambridge Analytica data breach to ask if he would appear via video link instead.Related: Zuckerberg's refusal to testify before UK MPs 'absolutely astonishing' Continue reading...
Facebook closed 583m fake accounts in first three months of 2018
Firm’s first quarterly moderation report also shows scale of spam, hate speech and violenceFacebook took moderation action against almost 1.5bn accounts and posts which violated its community standards in the first three months of 2018, the company has revealed.In its first quarterly Community Standards Enforcement Report, Facebook said the overwhelming majority of moderation action was against spam posts and fake accounts: it took action on 837m pieces of spam, and shut down a further 583m fake accounts on the site in the three months. But Facebook also moderated 2.5m pieces of hate speech, 1.9m pieces of terrorist propaganda, 3.4m pieces of graphic violence and 21m pieces of content featuring adult nudity and sexual activity. Continue reading...
Family Planning NSW hit by ransom demand in cyber-attack
Medical records not exposed in data breach but information sent by clients seeking an appointment may have been compromised• Sign up to receive the top stories in Australia every day at noon The personal information of clients of a family planning service could have been compromised in a cyber-attack and ransom demand on Anzac Day.Family Planning New South Wales said medical records had not been accessed. But databases containing information from clients who had contacted FPNSW seeking appointments or leaving feedback during the past two and a half years may have been breached. Continue reading...
After books and vinyl, board games make a comeback
Tabletop games join trend for ‘the real thing’ over digital – and for having fun with other peopleForget Candy Crush, Fifa and Call of Duty – millennials are putting down their Xbox controllers and smartphones and picking up their dice as they embrace games their parents and grandparents used to love.More and more people are exchanging marathon gaming sessions alone in a darkened room for the social fun of board games. With bars and cafes such as Thirsty Meeples in Oxford, and Draughts in London having a library of more than 800 games catering for the “cocktails and Cluedo” set, board games – as with colouring books – are no longer just Christmas presents for children. Continue reading...
Lenovo, the Chinese giant that plays by the rules … and loses
Contrary to the accusations levelled at China’s tech sector, the firm bought its patents fair and square. But is it facing losses?The war of words between the US and China over trade has many subtexts, but treatment of intellectual property (IP) is a major factor. Donald Trump believes that the world’s second-largest economy gains an unfair advantage over its main rival due to an overly aggressive and sometimes underhand approach to IP – the patents and copyrights that underpin big tech, manufacturing and creative breakthroughs.So what happens when China plays the game fairly and buys American IP to gain a foothold in the world’s biggest economy? In the case of Lenovo, one of China’s biggest tech firms, doing so has been no guarantee of success. The Beijing-based company has bought three respected US tech businesses since 2005: IBM’s PC arm and low-cost server unit, and Motorola smartphones. None of them has worked out. Continue reading...
Google's 'deceitful' AI assistant to identify itself as a robot during calls
Google Duplex, which simulates human speech with lifelike inflections, criticised as unethicalGoogle’s AI assistant will identify itself as a robot when calling up businesses on behalf of human users, the company has confirmed, following accusations that the technology was deceitful and unethical.The feature, called Google Duplex, was demonstrated at the company’s I/O developers’ conference on Tuesday. It is not yet a finished product, but in the two demos played for the assembled crowd, it still managed to be eerily lifelike as it made bookings at a hair salon and a restaurant. Continue reading...
God of War review – muscleman on a mission
The latest in the God of War series, an affectionate father-son psychodrama, shows how video game bruisers are maturing alongside their creatorsIn an industry now in its mid-to-late 30s, and still with a predominantly male workforce, the glut of recent blockbuster video games featuring father-child relationships surely reflects the preoccupations of the men who make them. God of War is the latest specimen: a game in which a monosyllabic muscleman is on a journey to scatter his late wife’s ashes on the tallest mountain in Norse myth, while accompanied by his young son.Previously the God of War series, which debuted in 2005, had little time to explore the emotional landscape of its testosterone-pumped protagonist Kratos, whose only downtime from tearing the balls from mythological monsters was spent gruffly shagging mute slave girls. God of War was always something akin to Marvel does Greek mythology (which, to be fair, was pretty much how Homer did Greek mythology): all brutal set-pieces that, with their lingering camera angles and splattering money shots, treated violence as pornography. It was a peculiarly American vision for the mid-2000s video game action blockbuster, one that has aged quicker than its protagonist’s tribal tattoos. Continue reading...
Can I buy a fast and powerful work laptop for under £700?
Ivana is on a budget but still wants a new 13in machine that can handle tougher tasks than email and browsingI left my corporate job a few months ago and now need to purchase a new laptop for my work. I am looking for a 13in laptop in the £500-£700 range. I am not too picky about the aesthetics. What matters most is that it’s fast and can handle more tasks than just email and browsing. What is my best bet? Ivana
Shares in Snapchat owner plummet as redesign hits results
Firm counts cost of backlash by social media users after share price hits record lowShares in Snapchat’s parent company have hit a record low after its results revealed the cost of a backlash against a redesign of the social messaging app.Snap’s share price fell 22% to $10.96 (£8.05) in early trading as investors reacted to ongoing concerns over its struggle to compete with Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram. Continue reading...
EU: data-harvesting tech firms are 'sweatshops of connected world'
Data protection supervisor lambasts companies’ deluge of ‘take it or leave it’ privacy emails ahead of GDPR
Facebook unveils new 'clear history' tool amid privacy scandal
New control, which will let users erase ‘what you’ve clicked on’ and ‘website you’ve visited’, comes as Zuckerberg battles bad publicity
Crystal Clans and CIV: Carta Impera Victoria – take over the world in your lunch break
World domination in under half an hour and captivating battles between fantasy forces in our regular board game roundup
UK has six months to rewrite snooper's charter, high court rules
Judges say Investigatory Powers Act is incompatible with EU law after legal challenge by LibertyThe British government must rewrite its mass data surveillance legislation because it is incompatible with European law, the high court has ruled.Judges have given ministers and officials six months to redraft the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act, labelled the snooper’s charter by critics, following a crowdfunded challenge by the human rights group Liberty.
Amazon site awash with counterfeit goods despite crackdown
Guardian investigation finds knockoff items and used goods sold as new on MarketplaceAmazon is rife with potentially dangerous counterfeits and other knockoff goods despite years of attempts to crackdown on mis-selling on its platform, a Guardian investigation can reveal.The global internet giant, which this week revealed that its daily revenues had hit a record $550m (£400m) a day, now spans a huge range of businesses from TV production to web hosting but faces an ongoing challenge to police its own online retail platform. Continue reading...
What should be done with Facebook – break it up, or regulate it? | Damian Tambini
A consensus says that something must be done with the all-powerful tech platforms. But how far do governments go?Facebook has finally been dragged to testify to politicians in Washington and London, and there is now a global consensus that something must be done about powerful internet platforms.Not only has Mark Zuckerberg taken up semi-permanent residence on Capitol Hill, but next week senior Facebook officials will appear before the House of Commons fake news inquiry, whose chairman, Damian Collins will attempt to unpack what went wrong in the entanglements between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, and whether these have facilitated the hacking of western democracy. And the House of Lords has opened an inquiry on internet regulation. Within months, the debate has shifted from “you can’t regulate the internet” to how, and by whom, internet platforms should be regulated. Continue reading...
'Facebook is a morality-free zone’: tech chief lambasted by MP
Executive apologises over Cambridge Analytica scandal as Tory MP accuses Facebook of bullyingFacebook has been accused of being a “morality-free zone” that bullies journalists and threatens academics, as one of its executives appeared in front of MPs.The Conservative MP Julian Knight told the social network’s chief technical officer, Mike Schroepfer, that the company’s reaction to the Cambridge Analytica scandal suggested a “pattern of behaviour” that included “bullying journalists, threatening academic institutions, and potentially impeding investigations by lawful authorities”. Continue reading...
Belgium is right to class video game loot boxes as child gambling | Keza MacDonald
Belgium’s Gaming Commission has decided that ‘loot box’ mechanics in three popular video games encourage children to gamble. The games industry doesn’t need themYesterday, the Belgian minister of justice, Koen Greens, announced the result of an investigation that the country’s Gaming Commission conducted into video game “loot boxes”, a mechanic that lets players pay real money for a chance at winning virtual items. It found that three popular games – Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Fifa 18 – were in violation of gambling legislation. This is a significant finding, because controversy over loot boxes has been raging for at least six months: are they actually a form of gambling? Worse, are they a form of gambling that is particularly appealing to children?Belgium’s Gaming Commission has decided that, yes, they are, and the publishers in question should remove loot boxes from their games or face fines. (EA and Blizzard, publishers of two of the games in question, did not respond to requests for comment on how they plan to comply; a Valve spokesperson said that the company is “happy to engage with the Belgian Gambling Commission and answer any questions they may have.”) There might be no financial incentive to buying loot boxes – you never win any money – but they are still a game of chance. “A dialogue with the sector is necessary,” said Groens: “It is often children who come into contact with such systems and we can not allow that.” Continue reading...
From Seattle to Luxembourg: how tax schemes shaped Amazon
The retail giant’s critics say contrived financial arrangements are at the heart of its successWhen Jeff Bezos was looking for a home for his fledgling online bookseller, amazon.com, in 1994, his first choice is said to have been a Native American reservation. The location would have presented generous tax breaks if the state of California had not intervened and halted the plan.Next stop was Seattle, selected because of Washington state’s small population. At the time only those retailers with a physical presence in a state paid sales taxes, so a home state with a small population meant the lowest possible sales tax burden. Sales made into other more populous states would not be taxed.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery – a wizarding fantasy on your phone?
The first Harry Potter game in years is out today on Android and iPhone. Here’s what to expectI won’t lie: on my 11th birthday, a tiny part of me hoped that I might get a letter from Hogwarts. By that age I had long accepted that my toys would not spring to life, I would not find a snowy fantasy realm in the back of a closet, and I was not a secret warrior princess – but the existence of a secret school in the Highlands of Scotland still seemed just possible. Edinburgh’s Fettes College was down the road from where I grew up; I imagined Hogwarts would be much the same, but for wizards instead of extremely posh children.The first Harry Potter game in more than five years, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, attempts to fulfil that childhood fantasy. Released today for Android and iPhone, it is a gentle narrative game that offers a pared-down Hogwarts experience, letting you pick your house, form friendships and rivalries and master spells in the famous castle. I was really hoping it would be good. On first impressions, it’s not the lazy cash-in I’d feared. Continue reading...
Gmail set for 'entire rewrite' in biggest overhaul for five years
Smart replies, greater offline access, expiring emails and improved safety features headline Google’s major redesignGoogle is implementing the biggest overhaul of its popular Gmail webmail service in five years, bringing a new look, advanced AI-powered features and improved privacy.Two years in the making, the redesign is intended to help Google better compete with Microsoft’s Outlook on the business side and modernise consumer email by bringing features from its Inbox email client into the main Gmail experience. Continue reading...
Facebook releases content moderation guidelines – rules long kept secret
A year after the Guardian revealed Facebook’s secret rules for censorship decisions, the company has released a public versionA year after the Guardian revealed Facebook’s secret rules for content moderation, the company has released a public version of its guidelines for what is and is not allowed on the site, and for the first time created a process for individuals to appeal censorship decisions.The disclosure comes amid a publicity blitz by the company to regain users’ trust following the Observer’s revelation in March that the personal Facebook data of tens of millions of users was improperly obtained by a political consultancy. Continue reading...
How firms you have never interacted with can target your Facebook
Advertisers are seemingly able to access accounts with no input from the userOn one of Facebook’s myriad setting screens, a place where few dare tread, is a list of places you’ve probably never heard of, all of whom insist that they know you. It’s emblematic of the data protection issues Facebook is struggling to address in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, of the fact that these problems spread far beyond Facebook, and of the easy solutions the company could take if only it had the courage.This list is the collection of “advertisers you’ve interacted with”. You can find it halfway down your ad preferences screen, below a list of algorithmically suggested topics that Facebook thinks you’re interested in (if you’re a heavy user, these may be scarily accurate; if you’re not, they’ll likely be hilariously off). Continue reading...
Chat: Google’s big shot at killing Apple’s iMessage
Tech giant behind Android corrals phone operators around the world to launch a unified SMS replacementGoogle has unveiled a new messaging system, Chat, an attempt to replace SMS, unify Android’s various messaging services and beat Apple’s iMessage and Facebook’s WhatsApp with the help of mobile phone operators.Unlike traditional texting, or SMS, most modern messaging services – such as Signal, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Apple’s iMessage – are so-called over-the-top (OTT) services, which circumvent the mobile phone operator by sending messages over the internet. Continue reading...
Artificial intelligence, robots and a human touch | Letters
Deborah O’Neill on the failings of automation at Tesla and elsewhere, and Matt Meyer and Nick Lynch on the House of Lords AI select committee reportElon Musk’s comment that humans are underrated (Humans replace robots at flagging Tesla plant, 17 April) doesn’t come as much of a surprise, even though his company is at the forefront of the technological revolution. Across industries, CEOs are wrestling with the balance between humans and increasingly cost-effective and advanced robots and artificial intelligence. However, as Mr Musk has discovered, the complexity of getting a machine to cover every possibility results in a large web of interconnected elements that can overcomplicate the underlying problem. This is why so many organisations fail when they try to automate everything they do. Three key mistakes I see time and again in these situations are missing the data basics, applying the wrong strategy, and losing the human touch.There are some clear cases where automation works well: low value, high repetition tasks or even complex ones where additional data will give a better outcome, for example, using medical-grade scanners on mechanical components to identify faults not visible to the human eye. But humans are better at reacting to unlikely, extreme, or unpredictable edge cases, for example being aware that a music festival has relocated and extra cider needs to go to stores near the new venue rather than the previous location. Continue reading...
What’s the best email service that doesn’t scan emails for ad-targeting?
Jim doesn’t want his emails scanned for targeted ads, but while there are ways to avoid it, surveillance-based advertising is rifeWhat’s the best free email service provider that does not scan or use the data in your emails for advertising? JimFree email services are usually paid for by showing you advertisements. Some email services scan your emails in order to show you personalised or targeted ads. You could argue that that’s a benefit, because you’ll see ads in which you might have some interest. You could also argue that your emails are private, so it’s an invasion of privacy. Either way, it’s different from scanning your emails to stop viruses and phishing attempts, which nobody wants to stop.
Facebook to start asking permission for facial recognition in GDPR push
Users will be asked to review information about targeted advertising but some say opting out is deliberately difficultFacebook has started to seek explicit consent from users for targeted advertising, storage of sensitive information, and – for the first time in the EU – application of facial recognition technology as the European general data protection regulation (GDPR) is due to come into force in just over a month.The company is only required to seek the new permissions in the European Union, but it plans to roll them out to all Facebook users, no matter where they live. The move follows Mark Zuckerberg’s stated goal to apply the spirit of GDPR worldwide. Continue reading...
Facebook is a tyranny – and our government isn't built to stop it
America’s founders didn’t envision the power of the corporation. We need a new structure for self-governance that can counter 21st-century monopoliesLast week, Senator Dick Durbin asked: “Mr Zuckerberg, would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?”The Facebook CEO froze and then answered: “No.” Continue reading...
Has a Russian intelligence agent hacked your wifi?
A global conflict is taking place on the internet – and your router may be more attractive to a foreign operative than you thinkAnother day, another hacking attack – or, in Monday’s case, another few million hacking attacks. Russia has been blamed by the US and the UK for a global hacking campaign that involves breaking into millions of computers and other devices, including wifi routers.Tens or hundreds of thousands of the devices they have targeted are reportedly in the UK – so why is Vladimir Putin apparently so keen to break into your internet connection? Continue reading...
Facebook admits tracking users and non-users off-site
Statement comes as company faces US lawsuit over facial recognition feature launched in 2011 and planned to expand to EUFacebook has released more information on the social media platform’s tracking of users off-site, after its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, failed to answer questions about the process from US politicians and as the company prepares to fight a lawsuit over facial recognition in California.In a blog post, Facebook’s product management director, David Baser, wrote that the company tracked users and non-users across websites and apps for three main reasons: providing services directly, securing the company’s own site, and “improving our products and services”. Continue reading...
How to get rich quick in Silicon Valley | Corey Pein
Corey Pein took his half-baked startup idea to America’s hottest billionaire factory – and found a wasteland of techie hustlers and con menThe most desirable career of the 21st century, with numerous advantages over other fast-growing occupations such as hospice carer and rickshaw driver, is being a billionaire. Prior to the incorporation of US Steel in 1901, the world didn’t have a single billion-dollar company, much less a billion-dollar individual. Today, more people than ever are becoming billionaires – 2,000 and counting have made the great leap upward, according to the “global wealth team” at Forbes. And the US’s hottest billionaire factory is located in the most hyped yet least understood swath of suburban sprawl in the world: Silicon Valley.Despite what you may have heard, hard work in your chosen trade is absolutely the stupidest way to join the billionaires club. In Silicon Valley, the world’s most brilliant MBAs and IT professionals discovered a shortcut to fabulous riches. Ambitious Ivy Leaguers who once flocked to Wall Street are now packing up and heading west. The Valley’s startup founders, investors, equity-holding executives and fee-taking middlemen have thrived above all. Inspired by their success, my idea was to move to Silicon Valley, pitch a startup and become obscenely rich. I left home with some homemade business cards showing my new email address, futurebillionaire@aol.com, and a bunch of half-baked ideas. Continue reading...
NBN complaints surged by more than 200% in second half of 2017, report finds
Ombudsman finds there were 22,827 complaints about service quality and connection delaysComplaints about the national broadband network soared more than 200% over the last six months of last year, according to a new report from the telecommunications industry ombudsman, with rising customer dissatisfaction about phone and internet services prompting a new government review.With the NBN Co chief executive, Bill Morrow, due to address the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday, the latest report from the TIO finds there were 22,827 complaints lodged between July and December 2017 about the broadband network – 14,055 about service quality and 8,757 about delays in establishing an NBN connection. Continue reading...
Bitcoin tools could make finance system safer, says IMF boss
Christine Lagarde believes revisiting crypto-assets could ‘harness gains and avoid pitfalls’The advance of bitcoin and other digital currencies could make the global financial system safer despite the prospect of “inevitable” accidents waiting to happen, the head of the International Monetary Fund has said.Christine Lagarde said some tools built using the technology behind bitcoin, which are known collectively as crypto-assets, hold the potential to revolutionise the world of high finance by making it faster, cheaper and safer. Among them, there are “real threats and needless fears”, she said.
Facebook paid $7.3m for Mark Zuckerberg's security last year
In all the company has spent about $20m on security and private planes for Zuckerberg since 2015. The security funds were required ‘due to specific threats to his safety’Facebook increased its spending on security for Mark Zuckerberg by 50% last year, the company has disclosed, paying more than $7.3m (£5.1m) to protect its top executive.The security funds were required “due to specific threats to his safety arising directly as a result of his position as our founder, chairman, and CEO”, the under-fire social media company said in a new filing to US regulators. Continue reading...
Australia doesn’t exist! And other bizarre geographic conspiracies that won’t go away
A theory denying the existence of the country is gaining ground. But the suggestion that countries and cities are mere figments of our imagination is a meme that dates back to the birth of the webAustralia doesn’t exist. The signs were there the whole time: in what country is the only thing more poisonous than the snakes the spiders? How did we ever believe that kangaroos were a thing?This discovery, believed by some to be a joke or a conspiracy theory, has been circulating on social media in recent weeks after being formulated on Reddit in early 2017. Except it turns out not to be the only theory of its kind: through the years, online sleuths have found that all sorts of places don’t exist. Continue reading...
Facebook says its ‘voter button’ is good for turnout. But should the tech giant be nudging us at all?
What do we really know about the influence of the ‘voter button’?On the morning of 28 October last year, the day of Iceland’s parliamentary elections, Heiðdís Lilja Magnúsdóttir, a lawyer living in a small town in the north of the country, opened Facebook on her laptop. At the top of her newsfeed, where friends’ recent posts would usually appear, was a box highlighted in light blue. On the left of the box was a button, similar in style to the familiar thumb of the “like” button, but here it was a hand putting a ballot in a slot. “Today is Election Day!” was the accompanying exclamation, in English. And underneath: “Find out where to vote, and share that you voted.” Under that was smaller print saying that 61 people had already voted. Heiðdís took a screenshot and posted it on her own Facebook profile feed, asking: “I’m a little curious! Did everyone get this message in their newsfeed this morning?”In Reykjavik, 120 miles south, Elfa Ýr Gylfadóttir glanced at her phone and saw Heiðdís’s post. Elfa is director of the Icelandic Media Commission, and Heiðdís’s boss. The Media Commission regulates, for example, age ratings for movies and video games, and is a part of Iceland’s Ministry of Education. Elfa wondered why she hadn’t received the same voting message. She asked her husband to check his feed, and there was the button. Elfa was alarmed. Why wasn’t it being shown to everyone? Might it have something to do with different users’ political attitudes? Was everything right and proper with this election? Continue reading...
Game on for Ian Dallas, a man who tells a good tale | Rebecca Nicholson
The creator of Bafta award winner Edith Finch is pushing the boundaries of storytellingWhat Remains of Edith Finch was a surprise best game winner at the Bafta Games awards on Thursday night. The indie release had been nominated in several other categories, but its top prize victory was such a shock that its creative director, Ian Dallas of Giant Sparrow, claimed not to have prepared a speech. “I wrote a speech for all the other awards, but this one I figured there would be something in Japanese,” Dallas told the BBC, a joke referring to Nintendo, which dominated elsewhere with Super Mario Odyssey and the stunning The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a game so all-encompassing it seems to have the special ability of making time disappear.Edith Finch is a remarkable little game, though to call it little is, perhaps, to do it a disservice. It is short, at two to three hours (and as a result, relatively cheap), but it is vast in its imagination, scope and literary ambition. Dallas has spoken before of the influences behind this eerie and beautiful story of a girl returning home to explore the history of her cursed family, citing HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe and particularly Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude as reference points. Continue reading...
Google loses landmark 'right to be forgotten' case
Businessman wins legal action to force removal of search results about past convictionA businessman has won his legal action to remove search results about a criminal conviction in a landmark “right to be forgotten” case that could have wide-ranging repercussions.Related: Google cases are a battle between right to privacy and right to know Continue reading...
How can I store my digital photos for ever?
Arunima wonders if one external hard drive will keep cherished pictures safely available for decades, but it’s not that simpleI read your article from June 2016 on What’s the best way to organise and store my digital photos? Is it not sufficient to save my pictures on one external hard drive? Must I save them on two? Also, for how many years will an external hard drive keep the pictures safe?
Open racism and slurs are fine to post on Reddit, says CEO
Steve Huffman says communities can set own guidelines, but racism is permitted on wider site as people have ‘different beliefs’Racist slurs are permitted on Reddit, says the popular social news and discussion site’s chief executive, Steve Huffman.Within a discussion thread that followed the publishing of the site’s transparency report on Russian propaganda, Huffman, in reply to a question from a Reddit user about whether “open racism, including slurs” are allowed on the platform, said their use was not against Reddit’s rules. Continue reading...
I'm angry at Facebook – but I'm also addicted. How do I break free?
Like you, I have no idea how to wean myself off the platform, but acknowledgement is the first step to recovery
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