The Facebook 10 Year Challenge Might not Just be a Harmless Meme

· · Link

iphone facial recognition

If you have been on Facebook or Instagram recently, you will have noticed the “10 Year Challenge”. Users post a profile picture of themselves from 10 years ago and another from now. It is meant to be a harmless meme that laughs at ourselves and late 2000s fashion. But could there be something more sinister to it? Katie O’Neil wondered in Wired if the “10 Year Challenge” is actually helping Facebook develop a facial recognition algorithm.

Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g., how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you’d want a broad and rigorous dataset with lots of people’s pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart—say, 10 years. Sure, you could mine Facebook for profile pictures and look at posting dates or EXIF data. But that whole set of profile pictures could end up generating a lot of useless noise…In other words, it would help if you had a clean, simple, helpfully labeled set of then-and-now photos.

Facebook to Introduce Stricter Rules in Countries Holding Elections This Year

· · Link

Facebook will introduce stricter rules on political advertising to a number of countries holding elections this year. The rules and tools aimed at curbing election interference will go live in India, Nigeria, Ukraine, and the European Union. The rollout will begin on Wednesday in Nigeria. Katie Harbath, Facebook’s Director of Global Politics and Outreach, told Reuters that only advertisers located in the country will be able to run electoral adverts there. Rob Leathern, a Director of Product Management at Facebook, also discussed the importance of storing electoral adverts in a searchable library.

We’re learning from every country,” Leathern said. “We know we’re not going to be perfect, but our goal is continuing, ongoing improvement.” Facebook believes that holding the ads in a library for seven years is a key part of fighting intereference, he added.. The library will resemble archives brought to the United States, Brazil and Britain last year.

Facebook to Invest $300 Million in Local News Initiatives

· · Link

Facebook announced that it will invest $300 million in local news organizations and initiatives over the next three years. It will put $20 of million of this towards its Facebook Accelerator program that helps publishers develop membership and subscription models. It will also invest $6 million for the UK based Community News Project, $5 million to the Pulitzer Center for its “Bringing Stories Home”  initiative, and $2 million for the Report in America initiative that aims to place journalists in local newsrooms. Techcrunch looked at what the money means both for Facebook and the media industry.

As for why Facebook is focusing on local news specifically, Vice President of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown said in a blog post that after examining “what kind of news people want to see on Facebook” and talking to industry partners, “We heard one consistent answer: people want more local news, and local newsrooms are looking for more support.”

 

We do Not Know how to Talk About Online Privacy Violations

· · Link

Abstract image of data that has been locked down

The debate over user privacy online is getting ever more intense. Barely a week goes by without some new horror being revealed. On Buzzfeed News, Charlie Warzel laid out just how dire the privacy situation has got and how bad the general public is at understanding the problem. Whether its celeb-twinning apps or Facebook, users simply do not know enough about how their data is being used nor how to discuss the issue.

Opaque algorithms and operations allow executives to dismiss the concerns of journalists and activists as unfounded or ignorant. They argue that critics are casting normal, industry-standard practices and terms of service agreements as malicious. What does it say about us or the culture built atop the modern internet that Byzantine terms of service agreements that few understand or even bother reading govern so much of our lives online?

Apple's Public Billboard at CES: 'What Happens on Your iPhone, Stays on Your iPhone'

· · Cool Stuff Found

What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone

I heart this so much. There aren’t enough emojis in the world to describe how much I love Apple’s giant message to CES: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” It’s on a massive outdoor sign hanging on the side of a ::checks notes:: Marriott…wait, is Apple trolling Marriott, too? Fitting, if so. Whatever, the target is ostensibly Google, Facebook, Amazon, Android, and the myriad of companies whose customers are the product. And that message is being delivered to CES in Las Vegas, a show Apple doesn’t bother to attend. Chris Velazco of Engadget tweeted the first image I could find (below), and Mashable‘s Adam Rosenberg pitched it as, “Apple spent money to publicly troll everyone else’s privacy issues at CES.” Again with the feels, Apple. Thanks for brightening my day.

Should Zuckerberg Go, Tumblr Death Spiral, Wall Street and Apple - with Chuck Joiner: ACM 491

· · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Bryan Chaffin is joined by Chuck Joiner from MacVoices to discuss Facebook’s ongoing crisis of blunders and mistakes, and whether or not CEO Mark Zuckerberg should go. They also look at what seems to be Tumblr’s real-time death spiral, and debate whether or not Wall Street is punishing Apple for not reporting iPhone sales and whether or not that’s OK.