Facebook combats a new form of ‘Fake News’


The Facebook logo is displayed on their website in an illustration photo taken in Bordeaux

I’m sure by now everyone is sick of hearing about ‘Fake News’ but it is important to be aware of government manipulation to change public opinion. It is reported that there have been efforts by entire nations such as France, and organizations to “spread misleading information and falsehoods for geopolitical goals.”

What makes this different than Fake News is that government officials or paid professionals are using fake profiles to either gather information about users and using it against them or increasing tensions between supporters.

This new phenomenon is called, “false amplification”. False amplification provides these “fake accounts” to use “techniques they have discovered to include coordinated “likes” to boost the prominence of key postings, the creation of groups that camouflage propaganda by including legitimate items, and the spread of inflammatory and racist material.” Facebook had to suspend 30,000 accounts in France last week during their first round of presidential elections.

My advice would be to only friend people on Facebook that you actually know exist. Facebook can tell the fake accounts from the real ones by inauthenticity and other behavioral patterns. Mark Zuckerberg has been on the record saying that he doesn’t believe that fake stories on Facebook could have influences the US presidential election this past year. He could have been paid to say that. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

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Google Brings “Hamilton” to the Classroom


Orpheum Theatre

Starting at 300 dollars and reaching the thousands, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Hamilton’ is a pricey ticket. Google’s more public-spirited company Google.org gave 5,000 high school students across the country a great opportunity to see Hamilton: An American Musical. This is all thanks to an $800,000 grant from Google in collaboration with Gilder- Lehrman Institute.

Of course Google wants to help children but the real reason why they are doing this is to make some money. “Google is hoping that its virtual reality Expeditions program can cause students to more easily identify with historical events by taking on different viewpoints.”

What I gather from this article is that Google paid for some student to go on a trip to see Hamilton and see how they learn before they launch their new virtual reality platform for learning. It seems like it will be great for bringing great experiences like seeing ‘Hamilton’ to the classroom. Bringing a virtual museum or special event to a school without having to take them on a field trip could be very beneficial and cost effective if that’s what Google and schools plan on doing.

Please read more at:

Google brings ‘Hamilton’ experiences to students in the theater and virtual reality

Google Search tackles Fake News


‘Fake News’ has been some of the most popular buzz words to come out of politicians and media news outlets mouths as of late. First fact checking came to Facebook Inc. and now to Google. Although, this giant search engine usually has a hands off approach to policing its website, they have recently gotten pressure to follow suit.

In Google News, you will see an article that has been fact checked with a simple “fact check” label. I think this is one of the best things to happen to Journalism in a long time. Although writers and publishers should have been checking each others work from the beginning, this will bring a new integrity to news and hopefully restore some faith in some parts of the media.

Like all things, this preventative measure can only last for so long before some of the ‘fake news’ sites find away around these road blocks. I am also interested in how these algorithms, if that’s how they are policing the search results will be able to decipher between satirical websites who are trying to provide humor or exaggerate a particular story.

Either way, the idea of checking new stories should have always been prevalent. Now that these fact check labels are out there we can continue the discussion and perhaps be more skeptical of what we read.

For further information visit this site:

Google’s fact check feature goes global and comes to Google Search


Find your parked car with Google Maps.


Google Maps is working on an app that will help you find your parked car. At one point in time this was a premise for an entire Seinfeld episode, to find their car in a parking garage. But now this problem can be solved in seconds. This technology will only be available for Android users at first but Apple Maps has a similar feature to be compatible for cars with Bluetooth,

In the app. After you parked your car you simply touch the little blue location dot and select the “save your parking” option. You are also able to make notes and/or take pictures about the surrounding location of the parking garage, neighborhood, street signs, etc. This feature can even keep track of how long you’ve been parked in the same spot to avoid your car being towed spot to avoid those pesky signs that make you switch sides of the street at certain times of the night or if you parking meter has expired. This feature requires you to always be logged in to the Google Maps app.

Google recently lets users share their location with others. The idea of sharing your location with others and the hacking going on these days, it could be a serious privacy issue. I think this app. is a great idea, especially due to the amount of time I lose my car in the St. John Fisher parking lot alone. Like all good ideas, there are always going to be people hesitant to want to try it. After time evolves and there are little to no issues regarding privacy breaches or negative consequences due to the app. we will see what the people have chosen.

Original article posted on: Mar 25, 2017


Facebook TV



Like Google’s YouTube Red and Snapchat’s Discover, Facebook plans to launch it’s own version of original TV type programming. Facebook has been headed in this direction for awhile, adding the video button to their mobile app., seemingly copying Snapchat’s every move. They also plan on adding a mobile app for Facebook TV much like Apple TV.

All it took was the hiring of former MTV’s head of scripted programming Mina Lefevre. She is now head of development for Facebook and shortly after being hired, this idea came to light. It isn’t certain if Facebook TV will include only original programming or if it will be similar to Netflix or Hulu with a mix of both original and from various other sources.

One thing seems to be certain and that is Facebook TV will be right on your timeline. All you have to do is click play and you can watch original Facebook TV shows. I like the idea of having Facebook TV although the online streaming and TV market is already saturated.What I don’t understand is that YouTube Red is $10 a month. Am I going to start having to pay for Facebook? There is already too much going on and they keep changing the site. I’m interested to see how they develop it and what type of programming they produce. It has a chance.

Just another Messaging App for College Students?


Before reading this article I have never heard of the company Yik Yak before. Apparently, they crashed and burned after raising $73.5 million… then laying off most of its employees as users ditched its anonymous message board app,” according to the article on TechCrunch. It looks as if they haven’t given up yet. Yik Yak is back with a new app called Hive. They are answering their previous failure with a new app targeted towards college students.

The app is designed for college students to communicate with each other. Students that have the same classes, majors and interests will be able to talk to each other through chat room “channels” and direct messaging. Hive, is for anyone with an .edu email address with an iOS or Android phone. The only college that Hive is currently available to is South Carolina’s Furman University where the founders Richard Guy and Bruce Buffington met.

This app could be problematic because other apps like Facebook and Google already exist and have similar features. “Hive’s wide range of channels of unfocused communication could feel noisy and unnecessary,” says the TechCrunch article. I have seen successful apps struggle like this in the beginning and become successful in the end, so if they work out the bugs and the potential mishaps then they have some potential. It’s only a matter of time until we see if college students adopt yet another messaging app.

Read Article Here

Managing abuse on Twitter



The internet is not the most kind place in the world, there are people who enjoy taking out their frustrations and anger from their own life and transposing it onto a place like Twitter. Twitter acknowledges this fact and explains three ways it will manage abusive tweets and users.

The first thing on the list that this social media titan plans preventing users who have previously been banned from coming back onto the platform under a new username. Twitter isn’t saying how, exactly, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’m sure the trolls will find their way around this one but we can be hopeful.

Another thing Twitter plans to do is “implement a safe search filter, turned on by default. Both potentially sensitive tweets and tweets from blocked or muted accounts will be hidden from search results, but you have the option to opt out of either of those filters.”

Last, Twitter plans to break down “abusive and low-quality” replies so they don’t take up space for more deserved tweets. You’ll still be able to access them by tapping on a “show less relevant replies” button. Twitter says that it is using a machine that will be able to tell certain red flags like if a negative comment comes from a newly created user with zero followers, the comment will be hidden.

There is no specific timeline for these changes and Twitter is still working out the bugs on this new machine but we will see development in “days and weeks ahead.”