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.

For more information please read:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-propaganda-response-idUSKBN17T2G6

Google Brings “Hamilton” to the Classroom

 

Hamilton
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

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‘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

 

Smartphone Usage May Be Causing More Road Deaths

Recently, I did a blog about how phone addiction is more prevalent than one might think. The article focused on a study that correlated a lack of mobile connection to increased stress levels.

This post includes an article that is almost an extension of the previous post. Instead of increased stress, we’re dealing with something much more serious: death. An article from BBC Technology suggests that the excessive use of smartphones is causing more people to die on the road.

That doesn’t just mean drivers, even pedestrians are putting themselves at risk by using their phones on the roads.

According to the BBC article, “The US Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that there were 6,000 pedestrian deaths in 2016, the highest number in more than 20 years. In the last six years, fatalities have grown at four times the rate of overall traffic deaths. The report says a number of factors are to blame, including mobile use.”

I think this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. It’s difficult because it would be hard to pass any kind of legislation to prevent this trend; you can’t just make public smartphone usage illegal. All that one can hope for is that people use their better judgment and disconnect when they enter a potentially dangerous situation.

Unfortunately, it is apparent that people can’t even seem to disconnect even when their lives are on the line. I am even guilty of being a “smartphone zombie” at some points (most people can probably relate to that). However, we must overlook this addiction and start to consider our safety and what we can do to prevent trends like this from perpetuating.

For more information, click here: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39453497?ocid=socialflow_twitter

 

Amazon Launches Social Media Influencer

Amazon has quietly launched a new social media influencer. Social media influencers are stars who promote items on things such as their social media platforms, and are very popular in YouTube videos. When starts promote items on their social media platforms they typically get paid by the brand. Amazon has decided that they would like to get in on this, which could cause a huge change in the social media world.

This is so interesting to the social media world because of how powerful Amazon is as a company. Amazon pretty much has everything you can think of and even more, since they have been adding a lot of new features. This will change the social media world because if you love a celebrity and they are a social media influencer for Amazon, you will now be able to shop on their own personal Amazon app. This app will be specifically for that celebrity and will allow you to buy items off of Amazon which they are endorsing. Nothing like this exists in the app world right now, and when the testing is done I am sure it will have a huge impact on both social media users and social media influencers.

 

For more information, click here. 

JoyRun, the newest food delivery service

JoyRun, a start-up company out of Santa Clara, California, announced they raised $8.5 million to help launch their new innovative business. The app is unique because it is a peer-to-peer food delivery service, which is something that we have not seen before. Essentially, it is GrubHub’s service, but without a delivery guy. That delivery guy could be your friend, your parent, or your college roommate.

JoyRun is not introducing a new wave of technology, but instead they are trying to take advantage of a revamped business model. Users of the app will be allowed to find local people who’s already heading out for a meal, and be able to add on an order of their own. Whoever is picking up the food, known as the “runner,” has the option to accept or decline the request to tack on that extra order and deliver it to the person.

In a typical scenario, a runner could make one trip and pick up a few orders. JoyRun CEO Manish Rathi said that each order costs about $2 or $3, so the runner could potentially make $10 on a trip they had already planned to take.

joyrun

What makes this interesting is that “runners” are able to waive the delivery fee is they are picking up food for a friend. Although if the runner waives the fee, the customer receiving the food is still able to tip the runner through the JoyRun app.

Today’s consumers are always looking for the newest and most unique way to obtain a product or service; in this case, it is food. JoyRun has perfectly aligned the business models of Venmo, Uber, and Grubhub into one app that allows users to bond over food in the most effective way.

JoyRun is most likely focusing on college students here, but they are not limited to a specific market which raises the potential for success. I believe JoyRun will take off because of the simplicity, and they are addressing a common issue among friend groups and college students. There is no more hassle over trying to manually split the check, and it provides incentive for people to deliver food to other random users. I think this is a genius idea that could definitely be successful in the near future.

Learn more about JoyRun here.

 

Find your parked car with Google Maps.

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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

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