Summary of “What the Facebook Crypto team could build – TechCrunch”

The blockchain, but how? Back in May Facebook formed a cryptocurrency team to explore the possibilities, and today it removed a roadblock to revealing its secret plans.
Former head of Messenger David Marcus who leads the Facebook Crypto team today announced he was stepping down from the board of Coinbase, the biggest crypto startup.
Marcus provided a statement to TechCrunch explaining he was stepping down “Because of the new group I’m setting up at Facebook around blockchain” noting that “Getting to know Brian , who’s become a friend, and the whole Coinbase leadership team and board has been an immense privilege. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the talent and execution the team has demonstrated during my tenure, and I wish the team all the success it deserves going forward.”
Facebook could build a cryptocurrency wallet with its own token that people could use to pay for things with partnered businesses or that they discover through Facebook ads.
The social network could eat the costs of running the program, passing the transaction fee savings on to the users, while touting partnerships with Facebook Crypto as ways to boost sales for businesses.
Facebook could offer cryptocurrency-based payments between friends to let a wider range of users settle debts for shared dinners or taxis through Messenger.
Users might fund their Facebook Crypto wallet once with a payment, possibly with a one-time transaction fee, and then they could send and receive the tokens for free from then on.
Facebook recently debuted its own virtual currency called Facebook Stars that users can buy and send to creators, who can then cash them out for one cent each.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Internal Facebook Note: Here Is A “Psychological Trick” To Target Teens”

An internal document from Facebook, obtained by BuzzFeed News, shows TBH’s leadership explaining a well-tested method the startup used to attract teens at individual high schools to download its app.
The note provides a window into Facebook’s growth-at-any-costs mentality and the company’s efforts to keep a key demographic engaged as its popularity among teens declines and it simultaneously runs out of people in the connected world to bring to its platform.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the note or on questions about whether the company employed the growth tactics learned from TBH. Though Facebook shut down TBH last month “Due to low usage,” the app, which the company bought for less than $30 million according to a source, provided plenty of learning opportunities at a crucial time.
In addition to helping Facebook launch and fine-tune its own polling tools, the document shows that it also provided growth tactics explicitly designed to target young users.
“The purpose of sharing these tactics is to provide guidance for developing products at Facebook – specifically ones that have not reached product-market fit yet,” TBH’s founders wrote.
TBH made sure its private account featured a mysterious call to action – something like “You’ve been invited to the new RHS app – stay tuned!” The startup would make one private account for each high school it wanted to target.
TBH’s founding team told their Facebook colleagues they would typically wait 24 hours to collect all inbound follow requests from the high schoolers before moving on to the next, key phase of the strategy.
While TBH did nothing to violate Instagram’s terms of service – Instagram allows for users to create multiple accounts and does not require them to disclose their real identity – it recognized that Facebook might not approve of using the exact methods.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What It’s Like to Download Your Facebook Data”

Reading through Facebook Messenger transcripts from 2011 was not especially compelling, but I was glad, in a vague way, to see them.
The data download was a time capsule of sorts, a rare record of time spent digitally.
In the 13 years that I have had a Facebook account, I have deactivated it 31 times.
I am put off by the company’s coyness around its role in the media ecosystem, and by the way some Facebook employees talk about their employer, as if one of the most valuable companies in the world is just a misunderstood do-gooder.
For all the bittersweet charm they offer, Facebook’s downloadable user-data packets are artifacts of corporate cowardice.
My data download contained no traces of this sophistication.
In the past, the company has had neither a legal imperative nor a business incentive to tell users where data are stored-or who at Facebook has permission to access it, and to what ends.
As for the company’s third-party partners, Facebook policy states that there are “Strict restrictions” on how they can use information.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Problem With the Facebook Cafeteria and Free Food”

A post shared by Alivia on Jul 28, 2018 at 9:47pm PDT. Unfortunately for Facebook workers at the new Mountain View location, there will be no access to the company’s culinary offerings.
In 2014, the city of Mountain View added a provision to its approval for Facebook’s development stipulating that the company could not offer unlimited free food.
There are a handful of reasons why Google, Facebook, and other companies provide free food to employees: It keeps workers on campus, and it also ostensibly keeps them happy and satisfied, which theoretically inspires innovative thinking and constructive conversations.
The lure of free food, as the city of Mountain View found out, also creates an insular work environment where workers fail to engage with the city surrounding their campus.
Some employees at tech companies have spoken out against free food, saying it encourages them to work longer hours, and that while campus cafeterias provide free and excellent meals, they foster a college-like environment that blurs the line between work and home.
To foster better relationships, some Bay Area tech companies voluntarily refuse to provide free food so as to prod employees to engage with their environment.
“Companies like Facebook and Google, those are mostly closed off spaces surrounded by parking lots that are a separate reality from the rest of the world,” Goodman said.
Goodman, who worked at Facebook’s office in Seattle as well as in Menlo Park and fondly remembers the company’s food, agrees with Mountain View’s provision against totally free meals, but points out that it’s something of a Band-Aid over a gaping wound.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Senator Ron Wyden reckons with the internet he helped shape”

In his more than two decades as a senator since then, Wyden has continued to be a staunch defender of internet freedoms, introducing net neutrality legislation as far back as 2006 and spearheading the congressional fight over SOPA/PIPA, a legislative battle that ignited the internet and helped set the modern playbook for digital activism.
I think there was an awareness of the fact that there might be significant privacy issues, but I don’t think anybody was talking about an Exxon-Valdez of privacy the way people talk about it today,” Wyden says.
I think historians are completely in agreement that this is the law that made the internet what it is today.
I’ve already made it clear: I think the public has a right to control their own data.
If Facebook is allowed to get through this with glorified business as usual, and cozy, gauzy ads on TV about how this is not going to be Facebook anymore, I think we will see more of what we’ve seen the last few years: the milking of peoples’ data for private profit.
One thing we hear a lot from Facebook is, “We messed up, but we’re trying to improve.” When you hear that, do you think that’s sincere?
As you know, we think we’re in a pretty strong position in terms of the legal system.
We can always look at good ideas from elsewhere, but I think the steps that I outlined – three or four, in particular – and then having a federal agency – my gut tells me the Federal Trade Commission – riding point on it, constitute the best steps for us today.

The orginal article.

Summary of “American Conservatives Played A Secret Role In The Macedonian Fake News Boom Ahead Of 2016”

An investigation reveals that the fake news sites that flourished in Macedonia in 2016 weren’t just the work of local teens – and that security agencies are probing possible connections to Russia.
A joint investigation by BuzzFeed News and partners has uncovered new information that rewrites the story of the fake news boom in the Macedonian town of Veles.
After reviewing social media posts, government records, domain registry information, and archived versions of fake news sites, as well as interviewing key players, BuzzFeed News, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, and the Investigative Reporting Lab Macedonia can now reveal that Veles’ political news industry was not started spontaneously by apolitical teens.
Wade eventually wrote more than 40 articles for Arsov’s Macedonian site, USA Politics Today, between the summer of 2016 and January 2017.
One American who worked for Arsov is Johnny Roberts.
Another American who worked for Arsov is Alicia Powe, who says she applied for a job and was able to “Write as many articles as I want.” She did not reply to subsequent questions sent via Facebook Messenger.
As the 2016 election approached, Arsov and his partners at Liberty Writers continued pumping out a torrent of viral, often misleading, pro-Trump news via multiple websites and Facebook pages.
Facebook pages linked to Arsov’s sites, with their more than 2 million fans, survived longer than his American partners’ page.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Departing Facebook Security Officer’s Memo: “We Need To Be Willing To Pick Sides””

“With Facebook’s complexity, you need people who can stand up and advocate. Alex has a tremendous depth of expertise and reputation – he’s the person you’d want in your corner to help get the company on track. If you didn’t want him, who else would you want? It’s a big loss.”
We need to change the metrics we measure and the goals we shoot for.
We need to think adversarially in every process, product and engineering decision we make.
We need to build a user experience that conveys honesty and respect, not one optimized to get people to click yes to giving us more access.
We need to intentionally not collect data where possible, and to keep it only as long as we are using it to serve people.
We need to listen to people when they tell us a feature is creepy or point out a negative impact we are having in the world.
We need to be willing to pick sides when there are clear moral or humanitarian issues.
We need to be open, honest and transparent about challenges and what we are doing to fix them.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Fact-Checkers Who Want to Save the World”

As more fact-checking groups have begun policing media outlets, viral stories, and public officials, the world of fact-checking has ballooned to include more than just stump speeches and campaign ads; the Mexican fact-checking project Verificado 2018, for example, has attempted to debunk false information spread through WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook.
While fact-checking organizations originally sprang up as attempted antidotes to political misinformation and hoaxes, their role has ballooned into ad hoc and woefully incomplete corrections departments for the digital world.
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker also launched in 2007, identifying untrue statements from politicians; although it operated within the Post, it was separate from the newspaper’s internal fact-checking department, instead focusing on assessing the truth of statements made in the political realm.
According to the Duke Reporters’ Lab, the number of fact-checking groups around the world has tripled since 2014, with new entries like The Nevada Independent and Univision’s Detector de Mentiras, the first Spanish-language fact-checking vertical in the United States.
The relatively explosive growth of the fact-checking world is closely linked to the growth of these platforms, as they guarantee that the organizations will never run out of bad information to debunk.
Even if antitrust crusaders radically transformed the tech industry, the world of fact-checking would still be messy and tense.
The National Review’s Jonah Goldberg once memorably described PolitiFact as “The hackiest and most biased of the fact-checking outfits, which bends over like a Bangkok hooker to defend Democrats.” During the 2016 campaign, Breitbart ran its own fact-check on other fact-checking outlets during the first presidential debate in order to correct what it saw as pervasive bias in the fact-checking world.
It’s a far-fetched-sounding project in the contentious world of fact-checking, but one that also digs into how essential trust is to fact-checking.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Does Facebook Need a Constitution?”

Even Facebook itself seems afraid of that power: “I don’t think that we should be in the business of having people at Facebook who are deciding what is true and what isn’t,” Zuckerberg told Swisher.
It’s the kind of power that until recently we only associated with states, but that increasingly also lies in the hands of other, non-state institutions – suprastate entities like the E.U., but also the global megaplatforms that own the internet: Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
Zuckerberg correctly insists that Facebook is a “Company,” not a nation state, but it’s become something that resembles a state when you squint at it – it holds near-supreme power over media and civic attention.
Rather than the liberal, rights-based sorta-state we all seem conditioned to expect – and that Facebook implicitly encourages, with its invocation of free speech and its reliance on legalish mechanisms like “Community standards,” which can be “Violated” – the platform is a dictatorship, with none of the transparency, accountability, or checks on power we associate with liberal states.
For Rahman, the way to ward off the “Arbitrary, dominating power” of “Quasi-sovereigns” like Facebook is through constitutionalism – that is, the design of institutions to ensure accountability, transparency, and clear limits on power structures.
If we believe that the problem with Facebook is that it has sovereign power without accountability, there are at least three paths to “Constitutionalizing” it.
Facebook now has a choice: It can fight to retain its unchecked power and dominion, or it can actualize some of its gestures toward transparency and accountability, becoming the great liberal-democratic platform it pretends to be.
Would a Facebook constitution “Solve” the Infowars problem? A good one that balanced the competing needs of the public sphere, individual freedom, and civic health, and that gave people a voice in and an understanding of the decisions being made by the platform, might at least get us as close as it’s possible to come.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook’s new AI research is a real eye-opener – TechCrunch”

There are plenty of ways to manipulate photos to make you look better, remove red eye or lens flare, and so on.
That may change with research from Facebook that replaces closed eyes with open ones in a remarkably convincing manner.
Some features are beyond the tools’ capacity to replace, one of which is eyes.
They seem to paste in the eyes of the people without much consideration for consistency with the rest of the image.
Machines are naive that way: they have no intuitive understanding that opening one’s eyes does not also change the color of the skin around them.
What Facebook’s researchers did was to include “Exemplar” data showing the target person with their eyes open, from which the GAN learns not just what eyes should go on the person, but how the eyes of this particular person are shaped, colored, and so on.
It still fails in some situations, creating weird artifacts if a person’s eye is partially covered by a lock of hair, or sometimes failing to recreate the color correctly.
You can imagine the usefulness of an automatic eye-opening utility on Facebook that checks a person’s other photos and uses them as reference to replace a blink in the latest one.

The orginal article.