Category Archives: Tech news

Facebook reportedly had evidence that its algorithms were dividing people, but top executives killed or weakened proposed solutions

Facebook’s internal research found that it encouraged polarization, but Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives rejected ideas aimed at fixing the problem, The Wall Street Journal reported.

But Zuckerberg and Facebook’s policy chief, Joel Kaplan, repeatedly nixed proposed solutions because they feared appearing biased against conservatives or simply lost interest in solving the problem, The Journal reported.

Facebook had evidence that its algorithms encourage polarization and “exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” but top executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg killed or weakened proposed solutions, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The effort to better understand Facebook’s effect on users’ behavior was a response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and its internal researchers determined that, contrary to the company’s mission of connecting the world, its products were having the opposite effect, according to the newspaper.

One 2016 report found that “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools,” with most people joining at the suggestion of Facebook’s “Groups You Should Join” and “Discover” algorithms. “Our recommendation systems grow the problem,” the researchers said, according to The Journal.

The Journal reported that Facebook teams pitched multiple fixes, including limiting the spread of information from groups’ most hyperactive and hyperpartisan users, suggesting a wider variety of groups than users might normally encounter, and creating subgroups for heated debates to prevent them from derailing entire groups.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0

But these proposals were often dismissed or significantly diluted by Zuckerberg and Facebook’s policy chief, Joel Kaplan, according to the newspaper, which reported that Zuckerberg eventually lost interest in trying to address the polarization problem and was concerned about the potential to limit user growth.

In response to the pitch about limiting the spread of hyperactive users’ posts, Zuckerberg agreed to a diluted version and asked the team to not bring something like that to him again, The Journal said.

The company’s researchers also determined that because of a larger presence of far-right accounts and pages publishing content on Facebook, any changes — including apolitical tweaks, like reducing clickbait — would have disproportionately affected conservatives.

That worried Kaplan, who previously halted a project called “Common Ground” that aimed to encourage healthier political discourse on the platform.null

Ultimately, many of the efforts weren’t incorporated into Facebook’s products, with managers telling employees in September 2018 that the company was pivoting “away from societal good to individual value,” according to The Journal.

“We’ve learned a lot since 2016 and are not the same company today,” a Facebook spokeswoman told the paper. “We’ve built a robust integrity team, strengthened our policies and practices to limit harmful content, and used research to understand our platform’s impact on society so we continue to improve.”

Facebook has repeatedly been scrutinized by critics who say the company hasn’t done enough to limit the spread of harmful content on its platform. That topic has come into sharper focus as coronavirus-related misinformation has run rampant on social media and as the 2020 presidential election approaches.

  • Author: Shakir Essa

Facebook acquires biometric ID verification startup Confirm.io

Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s acquired… Confirm.io. The startup offered an API that let other companies quickly verify someone’s government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license, was authentic. The Boston-based startup will shut down as both its team and technology are rolled into Facebook, where it could help users who are locked out of their accounts.

Confirm.io had raised at least $4 million from investors, including Cava Capital, since launching three years ago. The 2015 seed round funded advanced forensics used to pull information from an ID card, as well as mobile biometrics and facial recognition to confirm a person’s identity before the startup deleted the personal data.

Mark zuckerberg

Clients could quickly integrate the tech, which expedited on-demand startup staff onboarding. Food delivery service Doordash used Confirm.io to verify its drivers, while Notarize used it to authenticate the identity of customers looking to file documents.

The startup writes, “When we launched Confirm, our mission was to become the market’s trusted identity origination platform for which other multifactor verification services can build upon. Now, we’re ready to take the next step on our journey with Facebook. However, in the meantime this means all of our current digital ID authentication software offerings will be wound down.”

Confirm.io’s ID authentication feature

Facebook tells TechCrunch, “We are excited to welcome the Confirm team to Facebook. Their technology and expertise will support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe.”

Facebook tests selfie-to-unlock feature

Facebook could potentially use the technology to have people confirm their identities if they’re locked out of their accounts after being hacked or losing their password. Back in September we spotted Facebook testing a feature that let you unlock your account using a selfie. And since at least 2013, Facebook has let people mail in a copy of their photo ID or other identity verification materials in order to regain access to their account.

Because this is a full acquisition, not just an acqui-hire, Confirm.io’s team and tech could help Facebook strengthen and streamline these options. And one day, perhaps Facebook could even serve as your ID card in some situations. Face ID on the iPhone X could eventually be opened to third parties to power more biometric security across apps. With our keys and payment cards becoming digitized and part of our phone, the ID card is really the last reason you have to carry an old-school wallet.

WorldRemit Links Up To WhatsApp For Its Remittance Service

932886-1789629656
Home News In English Business
News In EnglishBusinessWorld Business
WorldRemit Links Up To WhatsApp For Its Remittance Service
By admin – September 19, 20180
WorldRemit Links Up To WhatsApp For Its Remittance Service

worldremit-and-WhatsApp (1)
Leading digital money transfer company WorldRemit has added WhatsApp notifications to its service.

Through its integration with the WhatsApp Business solution, customers who use WhatsApp to chat with family and friends can now also receive instant notifications on the status of their transactions.

Given the challenges of SMS delivery in many markets, customers can often miss out on real-time information about their transfers. WhatsApp’s high reliability and sustainability will provide WorldRemit customers with even more choice in their communications preferences.

WorldRemit is the first fintech company in the U.K. to integrate with the WhatsApp Business solution. Pioneering a mobile-first approach to the $600bn a year remittance industry, this integration supports WorldRemit’s goal of serving 10 million customers connected to emerging markets by 2020.

Alice Newton-Rex, Chief Product Officer at WorldRemit, comments: “WorldRemit is delighted to add the WhatsApp Business solution to its platform to further improve its service by enabling our customers to receive instant updates on transactions.”

“This integration will make our safe, fast and low-cost remittance service even more convenient for millions of WorldRemit customers around the world.”

WorldRemit enables migrants to send money from their smartphones to the people they love in over 145 countries. Its customers make 1.2 million transactions every month using its app or website.

Djibouti ‘Shocked’ By Somalia’s Position on Eritrea Sanctions

Djibouti ‘Shocked’ By Somalia’s Position on Eritrea Sanctions
Screenshot_2018-08-02-03-57-26-1

africatimes| August 1, 2018

Djibouti has formally responded to a recent call by Somalia that United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on Eritrea be lifted. According to Djibouti it was ‘deeply shocked’ by that position.

Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on a three-day official visit to Asmara said the sanctions imposed since 2009 had to be lifted given the current political and diplomatic developments in the Horn of Africa region.

But in a statement in reaction to the Somali president’s view, the Djiboutian Embassy in Somalia wrote in an August 1, 2018 statement:

… it is unacceptable to see our brotherly Somalia supporting Eritrea which is occupying part of our territory and still denying having Djiboutian prisonsers.

“As a sovereign state, there is no doubt that Somalia has the right to establish diplomatic relations with the countries of the region, however, it is unacceptable to see our brotherly Somalia supporting Eritrea which is occupying part of our territory and still denying having Djiboutian prisonsers.”

It continued that the wiser line of action would have been for President Mohamed to call for peaceful resolution of the border crisis that has strained relations between the two neighbours.

The statement accused Somalia of historic less support of Djibouti which it said had led to blinded supported for Eritrea plus an advocacy that Eritrea be free despite its stubborn nature.

“We will not tolerate with ruthless talks while our young men and women are yet here defending Somalia’s peace and stability,” the statement concluded.

Eritrea’s 2009 UN sanctions, Gulf crisis and Doumeira impasse

An arms embargo imposed on Eritrea since 2009 was chiefly to do with its alleged support for Somali insurgent group Al-Shabaab but also because of its agression against Djibouti and refusal to enter any form of mediation over the disputed regions.

The disputed land in question is the Dumeira mountain and Dumeira island which Djibouti claims is being illegally occupied by Eritrea. The issue of Eritrea’s continued holding of Djiboutian prisoners has also been central to the dispute.

The last time tensions between the two came to the fore was in June 2017 when Qatar withdrew its peacekeeping force in the area at the height of the Gulf Crisis. Djibouti at the time accused Asmara of deploying soldiers to the disputed areas.

Djibouti ‘shocked’ by Somalia’s position on Eritrea sanctions

Eritrea has been in the news recently over the peace deal it entered into with neighbouring Ethiopia after two decades of severed ties and hostility over a border ruling. Addis Ababa through PM Abiy accepted to respect the 2002 border ruling and by that agreed to restore all ties with Eritrea.

Abiy signed a five-point end of war agreement with Eritrean leader Isaias Afwerki during a historic visit to Asmara. Afwerki reciprocated the gesture with a three-day visit to Addis Ababa.

Source: http://www.africanews.com/2018/08/01/djibouti-shocked-by-somalia-s-position-on-eritrea-sanctions/

Breaking news:UAE has accepted somaliland passport

DUBAI– The United Arab Emirates has accepted citizens traveling with Somaliland passport can enter to it’s country and further allowed that the UAE can issue visas with Somaliland travel documents.

First, people who will be allowed to travel to the UAE are those holding Somaliland diplomatic passport in the first place. Second, business people are permitted to go the UAE with Somaliland passport. Third, anyone holding with Somaliland passport can travel to the UAE.

Reports confirm that this has been facilitated by FlyDubai airways which has recently started direct flights to Somaliland. This is an important diplomatic step taken in the right direction. The UAE has banned people traveling with Somali passport cannot enter into her country.

Citizens with Somaliland travel document can go to the following countries:-

1- South Africa

2- Ethiopia

3- Djibouti

4- Belgium

5- United Kingdom

6 – France

7- South Sudan

8- Kenya

Somaliland is a broke away republic that seceded from Somalia in 1991 but it has not been recognized.

Turkey, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya have diplomatic office in Hargeisa.