Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘facebook’ Category

Floating Unicorns and Robert Mueller

leave a comment »

This is a big news day. Too much to keep up with.

Yes, the long awaited Mueller investigation report has been made public, and we mere mortals can finally read about what did or didn’t happen in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. I got my copy from the "failing" New York Times.

But there’s also big news in Tech. Pinterest and Zoom went public today, and Zoom shares are already zooming up some 75%. Pinterest began trading up 25%. Will these unicorns continue to prosper? Stay tuned.

I’ve got bad news for those of you who were excited about the coming Samsung Galaxy Foldable phones. The Verge (and other reviewers) have indicated the Folds have started to…well…uh…fold. Actually, the pictures they’ve shared show more of a crease, bu The Verge author indicated whatever you call it that "its just enough to slightly distort the screen."

Here’s more:

It’s a distressing thing to discover just two days after receiving my review unit. More distressing is that the bulge eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it. You can see the telltale lines of a broken OLED converging on the spot where the bulge is.

FYI, the list price for the Fold is $1,980, and is expected to be available next week. Could we soon see a repeat of earlier Samsung recalls?

Me, personally, I’m find with my perfectly flat iPhone 7 plus for the time being, and I’m not an Android (although some might argue otherwise).

If you’re looking for a place to invest, you might want to look towards the future of crypto. Not necessarily just the currency, but also the pick and shovel plays that plan on putting the blockchain to work for business.

According to a report from Reuters, VC investments in crypto and blockchain startups this year have surpassed $850M, and reached $2.4B over 117 investments last year. Blockchain may be struggling to find a place it can call home, but that’s not keeping away the angel wolves willing to throw it a few million Bitcoins its way!

And whoopsie, I almost forgot: Facebook had another privacy breach. This time, they "unintentionally uploaded" 1.5 million people’s email contacts without their consent.

Writes Business Insider:

Since May 2016, the social-networking company has collected the contact lists of 1.5 million users new to the social network, Business Insider can reveal. The Silicon Valley company said the contact data was "unintentionally uploaded to Facebook," and it is now deleting them.

The more things change…

Written by turbotodd

April 18, 2019 at 11:27 am

Fast Burning Algos

leave a comment »

Watching Notre Dame burn yesterday seemed like yet another undeserved heavy punch dealt to one of my favorite cities across the globe, Paris.

But I’ve also seen the resilience of Parisians in years past, including after the Charlie Hebdo and November 2015 terrorist attacks, and was really happy to wake up to headlines that the church is still structurally sound and rebuilding is on the horizon once the investigation into what started the fire is complete.

However, some algos apparently got tripped up during coverage of yesterday’s Notre Dame fire. The Verge reported that many news networks were, logically, providing live coverage of the breaking news. But on YouTube, the algos apparently confused the breaking news from Paris with an undercarriage explaining the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in NYC.

The Verge explains that the small paragraph regarding 9/11 was actually part of YouTube’s fact-checking to "prevent the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories on the platform." Said a YouTube spokesperson, "These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call."

And though real fires may drive algos, in turn, algos can also drive virtual fires, as apparently was the case with Facebook and news media organizations when the social network essentially de-emphasized media sites with algo changes it made early last year. WIRED goes deep on the disenfranchisement across the board in a new feature entitled "15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook."

I wonder if WIRED’s ranking just lost a few points on Facebook’s News Feed with that headline??

Written by turbotodd

April 16, 2019 at 10:20 am

Nothing to Like

leave a comment »

What a thing to wake up to on a Friday morning. 

I’m referring to the horrific shootings in New Zealand.

To not mention seems to ignore it. And yet as with so many of these mass shootings, it’s awfully enticing to want to not mention it (or the culprit) at all.

Largely because it plays into the shooter’s likely desired narrative.

Just as the April 1999 shooting in Columbine seemed to spawn a whole new generation of mass shootings, we’ve seen a next generation of shooters utilizing the power and reach of social media to try and amplify their impact.

The New Zealand shooting seems, based on what we know so far, to be a prime example. 

A New York Times’  opinion piece about the tragedy indicates that the shooting began with the shooter putting on a helmet camera before he drove to a mosque in Christchurch “and began shooting at anyone who came into his line of vision.”

Wrote the Times: “The act of mass terror was broadcast live for the world to watch on social media.”

Despite platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (and others) trying to take the recording down, along with an accompanying manifesto said to be from the gunman, “they [the social networks] were no match for the speed of their users,” and AI algorithms were also not enough to find and prevent the video’s spread. 

But the story also reminds us Christchurch isn’t a first of its kind, either, and likely won’t be its last. There was the live shooting of two reporters in 2015 in Roanoke, Virginia, the killing of Robert Godwin in 2017…it’s as if 1998’s “The Truman Show” has completely jumped the shark, gone off the rails, and headed straight into the dark circles of Cyber Hell.

The forecasted Andy Warholian 15 minutes of fame has morphed into 17 minutes of Facebook livestreamed shooting of innocent worshippers in Christchurch.

The only remedy I can think of is to stop watching these attackers.  

Stop giving them the attention they want, and perhaps they’ll start to second-guess their ill-fated attempts at “fame.”

Put the smartphone down. Turn off the YouTube video.

And whatever you do, don’t RT the name or the Tweet of the terrorist.

There’s really nothing to “like” about them at all.

Written by turbotodd

March 15, 2019 at 12:16 pm

Posted in 2019, facebook, terrorism

Tagged with , ,

What A Week in Tech (and Privacy)

with one comment

What a headspinning week in tech!

I don’t really even know where to begin.

On the one hand, we saw more stratospheric (and sometimes recordbreaking) tech earnings from the likes of Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon.

On the other, we saw more privacy gaffes that make me think my personal digital data was a lot safer during the 2016 elections than it was here in the present of 2018.

The New York Times’ Mike Isaac suggested in an article yesterday that Tim Cook and Apple held significant cards in their enterprise agreement faceoff with Facebook.

And Kara Swisher wrote in the Gray Lady that Tim Cook “has become the critic-in-chief for Facebook” — particularly when it comes to privacy matters — even as Apple had to face up to its own privacy snafu with FaceTime Group chats (although Apple said today it had fixed that particular flaw).

Thankfully I don’t use such group chats, but it was still not exactly reassuring that the privacy industrial complex is clearly growing bigger and making billions and still doing a sheit job of protecting our data.

Those two missions — making lots and lots and lots of money and protecting users’ personal information — now seem to be not only completely at odds, but almost at war.

And that’s before we really turn the volume up on artificial intelligence’s capabilities and the genies (and demons) that that could unleash.

TGIF.  I need a beer.

Please, just don’t tell my Facebook page or my FaceTime app — my insurance company might be listening.

Written by turbotodd

February 1, 2019 at 12:16 pm

Posted in 2019, apple, facebook

Tagged with , , ,

Another Facebook Breach

leave a comment »

Happy Friday!

Well, depending on who you ask.

The BBC, Gizmodo, and others are reporting a new Facebook data breach, this time of private Facebook messages of at least 81,000 unfortunate souls.

It’s being reported the culprit was a Chrome Extension exploit, and is apparently not related to the more widespread September breach previously reported of 120 million Facebook accounts.

Some details:

The hackers, who may be Russian since they reached out to the BBC Russian Service, appear to have the Facebook messages of at least 81,000 people, mostly of Russians and Ukrainians, but also from people in the U.S., UK, and Brazil, according to the BBC.

“Browsers like Chrome can be very secure, but browser extensions can introduce serious gaps in their armor. The addition of browser extensions increases what is otherwise a small attack surface. Malicious extensions can be used to intercept and manipulate the data passing through the browser,” said Rick Holland, CISO of Digital Shadows, which helped the BBC analyze the breach.

As to the content of those messages:

Many of the messages are relatively benign and include simple chats about going on vacation and attending concerts. But as you’d expect, there are also more sensitive discussions, including “intimate correspondence between two lovers,” as the BBC describes it.

Hoped all 81K Facebook users whose private messages were sold!

Written by turbotodd

November 2, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Facebook’s Teen Problem

leave a comment »

CNBC had a story out yesterday citing data from investor analyst firm Piper Jaffray which indicated that teens are abandoning Facebook “at a staggering rate.”

But went on to say they’re still “flocking to sister app Instagram.”

Palo Alto, we have a problem.

The CNBC article indicated that just over a third of teenagers use the core Facebook platform at least once a month.

I wonder if a third of those are from Russia??

That number is “down significantly from 52 percent of teens two years ago and from close to two-thirds of teens in spring of 2016.”

On the plus side, Instagram “edged out SnapChat as the most-used social platform by teenagers for the first time” since Piper Jaffray started conducting its survey.

So, marketeers everywhere, uh, take more pictures?  

Maybe you can use that newfangled Apple iPhone XR, which is getting rave reviews across the board (and which comes in several hundred dollars less than the iPhone XS).

Speaking of Russians, The New York Times is reporting that the U.S. Cyber Command is now targeting individual Russian operatives “to try to deter them from spreading disinformation in elections.”

The campaign, which includes missions undertaken in recent days, is the first known overseas cyberoperation to protect American elections, including the November midterms.

Senior defense officials said they were not directly threatening the operatives. Still, former officials said anyone singled out would know, based on the United States government’s actions against other Russian operatives, that they could be indicted or targeted with sanctions. Even the unstated threat of sanctions could help deter some Russians from participating in covert disinformation campaigns, said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former intelligence official now with the Center for a New American Security.

Huh.  That only took a couple of years to get rolling.

Written by turbotodd

October 23, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Google’s Freaky Deaky

leave a comment »

Happy Hump Day.

First, it’s been a while since I wrote much about golf, and The Player’s Championship starts tomorrow at TPC Sawgrass, so I thought I would start with my list of likely winners (and in no particular order): Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler, and Jordan Spieth. 

Now watch none of those win because *I* called it! 

Now, back on the tech front, Facebook has announced a sweeping new reorganization, according to Recode, appointing Chief Product Officer Chris Cox to now lead Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, and Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer to oversee AR/VR, AI, and Facebook’s foray into the blockchain.

Back over on the subcontinent, Walmart has agreed to a $16 billion deal to buy a majority stake in India’s Flipkart. Flipkart is an Indian e-commerce company based out of Bengaluru, 

According to a report from CNBC, Wallmart said it would acquire an initial stake of roughly 77 percent in Flipkart, while the remainder of the business would be held by existing investors.

More details:

Walmart said in a statement that its long-term aim would be to support Flipkart’s transition into a publicly-listed subsidiary. The retailer said it expects India’s e-commerce market to grow at four times the rate of the overall retail industry.

Walmart’s president and chief executive, Doug McMillon, said the investment in Flipkart was part of the company’s aim to invest in India’s fast-growing economy.

“India is one of the most attractive retail markets in the world, given its size and growth rate, and our investment is an opportunity to partner with the company that is leading transformation of e-commerce in the market,” McMillon said in a statement.

As for Google’s announcements at the first day of Google’s developer confab, Google I/O, yesterday, get ready to take some notes.

Google announced: Android P; AD-2, an Android TV streaming HDMI stick (for developers only, for now); App Bundles (lets Android devs define which parts of an app to download on a specific device); Android Jetpack (set of components to speed up app development); ML Kit (an SDK for devs to add AI smarts to iOS and Android apps).

That’s just some of what was announced. 

The most impressive demo at Day 1 was of Google Duplex, where the company demoed the Google Assistant calling another human to make reservations for a hair cut appointment. If watching that demo didn’t completely freak you out and, at the same time, be excited about watching as our robot overlords prepare to take over, I don’t know what will.

You can read more about how it works here.

Written by turbotodd

May 9, 2018 at 9:08 am

Posted in 2018, facebook

Tagged with ,

%d bloggers like this: