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How To Stop Instagram From Tracking Everything You Do

June 14, 2020 No Comments

Though the Facebook-owned app doesn’t give users complete control, there are ways to limit the data it collects and the types of ads you see.
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A New Air Taxi Model Takes Design Cues From a Far-Flying Bird

June 13, 2020 No Comments

Beta Technologies’ Alia, which debuted Friday, draws inspiration from the ultra-efficient Arctic tern. The craft may one day transport organs for transplants.
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Alexis Ohanian steps down from Reddit board, asks for his seat to go to a black board member

June 6, 2020 No Comments

Alexis Ohanian, the founder and former CEO of Reddit, stepped down from his position on the company’s board Friday as the U.S. roils with nationwide protests against police brutality after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man.

Ohanian is calling on the company he founded to fill his position with a black board member, a high-profile step for a company with its own rocky track record around issues of race.

“I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now,” Ohanian said in his announcement. “To everyone fighting to fix our broken nation: do not stop.”

 

With the decision, Ohanian also announced that future gains of his company stock would be invested in the black community, “chiefly to curb racial hate.” That amount could total to around $ 50 million, according to reliable sources. His first move will be to give $ 1 million to Know Your Rights Camp, an organization founded by Colin Kaepernick that focuses on self-empowerment and safety for black and brown communities.

Many leaders within tech are calling for the industry to have its own reckoning with entrenched racism, an effort Ohanian’s move may amplify. Tech companies have long been criticized for their broad lack of black leadership at the highest levels, a failing that likely factors into their myriad policy failures around race — like the fact that Facebook only banned white nationalism one year ago.

“I co-founded @reddit 15 years ago to help people find community and a sense of belonging. It is long overdue to do the right thing. I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for my country” Ohanian wrote on Twitter. “I’m saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?’ ”

Update: Reddit CEO Steve Huffman (u/spez) said that the company would honor the request to bring on a black board member in Ohanian’s place.

Ohanian stepped away from his daily duties at Reddit in 2018 but kept a seat on the board at the time. His transition to being more hands-off at the company he founded has been gradual over the last few years as he spent more time on Initialized Capital, an early-stage venture fund he co-founded. In recent years, Ohanian has also become a more outspoken advocate for policies like paid family leave, calling for more equitable, flexible leave policies and citing his own experience as a father. In 2017, Ohanian had a daughter with his wife, tennis legend Serena Williams.

Reddit occupies a unique place among social media platforms. It has largely avoided the spotlight of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but not for lack of its own systemic problems. Though it hasn’t been as high-profile, the platform has faced its own reckoning around harmful content in recent years for hosting virulently racist content on subcommunities like r/blackpeoplehate, r/The_Donald and others. Reddit has taken action against those communities over time, either banning them outright or placing them in a state of “quarantine” where they are not surfaced in search or recommendations and require a user to click through to view them.

The company’s history with diversifying its leadership has been spotty. In 2015, internal turmoil at the company and a backlash from its users led to the resignation of the company’s interim CEO, Ellen Pao. As we reported in 2016, more than a dozen senior Reddit employees, many of them women and people of color, left the company in the resulting tumult. As it continued its overdue campaign to crack down on violence and hate speech, Reddit brought in its first female board member, Porter Gale, last year.

In a post on Reddit, Huffman also addressed the company’s troubled history of allowing often violent and extreme racist content to flourish on the platform.

“In 2018, I confusingly said racism is not against the rules, but also isn’t welcome on Reddit. This gap between our content policy and our values has eroded our effectiveness in combating hate and racism on Reddit; I accept full responsibility for this,” Huffman said.

He also acknowledged concerns from employees about the company’s policy decisions, expressed this week in response to an email he sent out about ongoing protests and the killing of George Floyd.

“These questions, which I know are coming from a place of real pain and which I take to heart, are really a statement: There is an unacceptable gap between our beliefs as people and a company, and what you see in our content policy,” Huffman said.


Social – TechCrunch


Facebook, YouTube, Netflix and more get eye-tracking apps from Tobii

May 20, 2020 No Comments

Modern apps and services are a mixed bag when it comes to accessibility, and people with conditions that prevent them from using the usual smartphone or mouse and keyboard don’t often have good alternatives. Eye-tracking tech leader Tobii has engineered a solution with a set of popular apps that are built for navigation through gaze alone.

Working with a third-party developer that specializes in accessibility development, the company’s new suite of apps includes: Facebook, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, Google Calendar, Google Translate, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, MSN and Android Messages.

These custom apps are for Tobii’s eye-tracking I-Series tablets or Windows PCs using Tobii peripherals and software.

Previously, users would generally have to use the generic web interfaces for those services, or some kind of extra layer on top of the native apps. It can work, but the buttons and menus are generally not designed for use via eye tracking, and may be small or finicky.

The new versions are still based on the web apps, but designed with gaze tracking in mind, with large, clear controls on one side and the app’s normal interface on the right. There are simple directional controls, of course, but also context and app-specific ones, like “genre” when browsing Netflix.

The company highlights one user, Delaina Parrish (in the lead image), who relies on apps like Instagram to build her Fearless Independence brand but has been limited in how easily she could use them due to her cerebral palsy. “These accessible apps have improved my daily productivity, my channels of communicating personally and for business, and my overall independence,” she said in the Tobii press release.

It’s hard to overestimate the difference between a tool or interface that’s “good enough” and able to be used by people with disabilities, and one that’s built with accessibility as a goal from the start. The new apps should be available on compatible devices now.

Gadgets – TechCrunch




Facebook to pay $52 million to content moderators suffering from PTSD

May 13, 2020 No Comments

Facebook has agreed in principle to pay $ 52 million to compensate current and former content moderators who developed mental health issues on the job.

The Verge reported Tuesday that the settlement will cover more than 11,000 content moderators who developed depression, addictions and other mental health issues while they worked moderating content on the social media platform.

In fact, it was The Verge that sparked the inquiry to begin with. Silicon Valley editor Casey Newton reported that Facebook content moderators, hired through outsourcing giant Cognizant in Phoenix and Tampa, were subject to hate speech, murders, suicides and other graphic content.

Facebook employs thousands of content moderators to sift through the vast number of posts, images and other content posted to the site. If a potentially rule-breaking post is flagged by other users, it’s often reviewed by a content moderator who makes the final call on whether it stays or is deleted.

One former content moderator, Selena Scola, said she developed post-traumatic stress disorder — or PTSD — and sued Facebook to start a fund to create a testing and treatment program for current and former moderators.

Cognizant later pulled out of the content moderation market altogether following The Verge’s investigations.

The preliminary settlement will cover moderators in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas from 2015, and each moderator will receive at least $ 1,000. Others could receive up to $ 50,000 in damages.

The California court overseeing the case will make the final call, expected later this year.

A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch: “We are grateful to the people who do this important work to make Facebook a safe environment for everyone. We’re committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.


Social – TechCrunch


Facebook pulls ‘pseudoscience’ from its list of targeted ad categories

April 24, 2020 No Comments

Even as Mark Zuckerberg touted the “hundreds of thousands of pieces of misinformation related to COVID-19” that the site had pulled in recent months, Facebook continued to offer targeted ads classified as “pseudoscience.” It was an odd choice from a social network so publicly declaring its own campaigns to remove junk science amid a global pandemic.

Using Ad Manager, advertisers were able to serve ads to some 78 million people “who have expressed an interest in pseudoscience.” Following an investigation by The Markup that found the site buying ads to target that category, Facebook says it’s done with the pseudoscience tag.

In a statement to TechCrunch, the company reconfirmed the move. “This interest category of advertising should have been removed in a previous review and we’ve removed it,” Director of Product Management Rob Leathern said. There was never a great time to run junk science ads, of course, but the issue has come to a head in recent weeks and months, as COVID-19 has become a massive hotbed for conspiracy and dangerous cures.

As Zuckerberg noted in his piece last week, popular theories flagged by the company include the notions that “drinking bleach cures the virus or that physical distancing is ineffective at preventing the disease from spreading.” It’s unclear (beyond the obvious answer of ad revenue) why Facebook continued to offer the category until it was essentially called out on the matter.

Other ad networks and social media sites have been taking pains to slow the spread of misinformation. Twitter recently added 5G-related conspiracies to its list of COVID-19 related guidance, while Google just announced that it would be extending its ID verification for its ad systems.


Social – TechCrunch


LinkedIn has no plans to make COVID-19 related layoffs from now until end of fiscal year

April 9, 2020 No Comments

LinkedIn has no plans to make COVID-related layoffs until at least the end of June 2020, the professional network has confirmed to TechCrunch. This announcements comes after Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s pledge last month to have no significant layoffs for the next 90 days.

Other business leaders such as Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan and Morgan Stanley’s CEO James Gorman have also agreed to pause any potential layoffs until the end of 2020.

Layoffs are trickling down to all industries, starting in the hospitality and travel industry and moving to recruitment startups and scooter companies. Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, which serves as a social media platform for professionals and recruiters alike, is thus poised to be a critical connector for those laid off.

So as job security remains on everyone’s mind, LinkedIn’s promise to not have any layoffs will quell some of that fear within the organization, at least in the near future. LinkedIn has approximately 16,000 full-time employees across 30 cities in the world.

Regardless of how healthy LinkedIn may appear from this news, it’s not immune from making specific cost-saving measures as the economy struggles. The company, reports The Information, has “paused most of its hiring as it figures out business planning.” It had more the 1 million job applicants last year, according to the piece.

Update: LinkedIn has clarified that it has no plans to lay off staff for COVID-19 related businesses. It has not pledged or promised this. The story has been updated to reflect this.


Social – TechCrunch


From Last Click To Position-Based: An Attribution Test

March 20, 2020 No Comments

Get an overview of Google’s attribution, what led us to consider testing a different attribution, what changes you can expect, our results, and advice for future tests.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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