Odds and Ends 

Its time for Facebook and Twitter to coordinate efforts on hate speech

Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, there has been burgeoning awareness of the hate speech on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. While activists have pressured these companies to improve their content moderation, few groups (outside of the German government) have outright sued the platforms for their actions. That’s because of a legal distinction between media publications and media platforms that has made solving hate speech online a vexing problem. Take, for instance, an op-ed published in the New York Times calling for the slaughter of an…

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KSI v Logan Paul:was the YouTubers’ fight more than just hype?

The pairs boxing bout on Saturday drew a global audience of two million. For a fanbase used to fake online beef, it was a welcome next step To understand why millions of people watched two YouTubers duke it out in the Manchester Arena this weekend, you have to remember one thing: it had very little to do with boxing. KSI, real name Olajide William JJ Olatunji, and Logan Paul are better known for their antics online than they are for their boxing prowess. Yet, after months of online feuding, they…

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The ‘Guerrilla’ Wikipedia Editors Who Combat Conspiracy Theories

Susan Gerbic spent her career photographing babies at a department store in Salinas, California, just 100 miles south of San Francisco. Today, the retired 55-year-old has dedicated her life to something entirely different: Wikipedia. As a member of the skeptical movement, Gerbic is committed to promoting critical thinking, scientific inquiry, and empirical evidence—particularly when it comes to fringe ideas. In 2010, she started a Wikipedia project to “improve skeptical content” on the crowdsourced encyclopedia, by writing new articles about topics like people who claim to have supernatural abilities and improving…

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Shadow Politics: Meet the Digital Sleuth Exposing Fake News

When we met in early March, Jonathan Albright was still shrugging off a sleepless weekend. It was a few weeks after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had killed 17 people, most of them teenagers, and promptly turned the internet into a cesspool of finger pointing and conspiracy slinging. Within days, ultraconservative YouTube stars like Alex Jones had rallied their supporters behind the bogus claim that the students who survived and took to the press to call for gun control were merely actors. Within a week, one of…

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Instagram launches IGTV app for creators, 1-hour video uploads

Instagram is ready to compete head-on with YouTube. Today at a flashy event in San Francisco, the company announced it will begin allowing users to upload videos up to one hour in length, up from the previous one-minute limit. And to house the new longer-form videos from content creators and the general public, Instagram is launching IGTV. Accessible from a button inside the Instagram homescreen, as well as a standalone app, IGTV will spotlight popular videos from Instagram celebrities. The launch confirms TechCrunch’s scoops over the past month outlining the…

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Teens dump Facebook for YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat

A Pew survey of teens and the ways they use technology finds that kids have largely ditched Facebook for the visually stimulating alternatives of Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram. Nearly half said they’re online “almost constantly,” which will probably be used as a source of FUD, but really is just fine. Even teens, bless their honest little hearts, have doubts about whether social media is good or evil. The survey is the first by Pew since 2015, and plenty has changed. The one that has driven the most change seems to…

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8 big announcements from Google I/O 2018

Google kicked off its annual I/O developer conference at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. Here are some of the biggest announcements from the Day 1 keynote. There will be more to come over the next couple of days, so follow along on everything Google I/O on TechCrunch.  Google goes all in on artificial intelligence, rebranding its research division to Google AI Just before the keynote, Google announced it is rebranding its Google Research division to Google AI. The move signals how Google has increasingly focused R&D on computer vision,…

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YouTube Bans Firearms Demo Videos, Entering the Gun Control Debate

Google’s new policy prohibits promotion of guns, bump stocks At least one video gun blogger ditched YouTube for PornHub greater restrictions on content several times in the past year, responding to a series of issues with inappropriate and offensive videos. Most of those changes involved pulling ads from categories of videos. Google is more reluctant to remove entire videos from YouTube, but has been willing to do so with terrorism-related content. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry lobbying group, called YouTube’s new policy “worrisome.” “We suspect it will…

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Silicon Valley Has Failed to Protect Our Data. Heres How to Fix It

Twitter, LinkedIn, Cambridge Analytica used that data to target likely Trump voters. Facebook responded that, no, this was not a “Featured in , March 26, 2018. Illustration: 731 For years we’ve been talking and thinking about social networks as interesting tools to model and understand human dynamics. But it’s no longer academic—Facebook has reached a scale where it’s not a model of society as much as an engine of culture. A researcher gained legitimate access to the platform and then just … kept going, and Cambridge Analytica ended up with those 50 million profiles.…

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YouTube Will Link Directly to Wikipedia to Fight Conspiracy Theories

After the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February, the top trending video on YouTube wasn’t a news clip about the tragedy but a conspiracy theory video suggesting survivor David Hogg was an actor. The video garnered 200,000 views before YouTube removed it from its platform. Until now, the company hasn’t said much about how it plans to handle the spread of that sort of misinformation moving forward. On Tuesday, however, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki detailed a potential solution. YouTube will now begin displaying links to fact-based content alongside conspiracy…

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Musk Sends a Tesla Into Space Atop World’s Most Powerful Rocket

An elated Elon Musk pulled off another seemingly impossible feat Tuesday when SpaceX launched the world’s most powerful rocket in 45 years, then flew two of its spent boosters back to the Florida coast for a spectacular, simultaneous recovery on land. With hordes of fans gathered along the Florida space coast, the new rocket rumbled aloft under clear skies shortly after 3:45 p.m. local time. The live-stream of the Falcon Heavy Test Flight was the second-most-watched in YouTube’s history, reaching more than 2.3 million concurrent views, and the launch led…

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Cryptojackers used YouTube ads to secretly mine cryptocurrency

Image: Peter Dazely / Getty Images YouTube is turning passive viewers into cryptocurrency miners, and Google isn’t happy. The issue became apparent earlier in the week as complaints surfaced on social media claiming that YouTube ads were raising red flags in anti-virus software. A service called Coinhive was hijacking a viewer’s CPU and using its power to mine crypto. SEE ALSO: CryptoCelebrities are the newest irritating kid on the blockchain A Friday blog post from Trend Micro, an international cybersecurity company, confirmed the sharp uptick in Coinhive use earlier in…

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Swedish model gets rape threats after ad shows her unshaved legs

Arvida Bystrm is bombarded with online abuse after posing for Adidas video with hairy legs A Swedish model says she has received rape threats for posing in an advertisement with unshaved legs. Arvida Bystrm, who is also a photographer and digital artist, appears in a video and photograph promoting Adidas Originals Superstar range. Bystrm, who has described the norm for women to shave as fucked, has hairy legs in the images and says she has faced a vicious backlash as a result. She wrote on Instagram: Me being such an…

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How Crazy Is Elon Musks Hypersonic Space Rocket Airline?

For whatever reason, some of the world’s smartest and most eccentric people tend to be drawn toward airlines. Elon Musk is the latest, but with a twist—rockets. Tacked onto a detailed explanation Friday of how SpaceX intends to land cargo on Mars five years from now—a farcical schedule that Musk conceded was “aspirational”—the space, car, solar, and battery entrepreneur segued into an audacious proposal to harness the speed of space-travel for faster earthly flights. In essence, Musk wants to fly you even when you’re going merely to London, not Mars. Flying at a…

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YouTube TV triples its footprint with launches in 10 more U.S. markets

YouTube TV, Googles entry in the crowded market of live TV streaming services, is now available in ten more U.S. metros, the company announced this morning. In nine of the ten markets, the service will include the live local feeds from all four major broadcasters ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. The ability to watch live television from major broadcasters has been one of YouTube TVs differentiated features since its debut, as it chose to go forgo nationwide availability in favor of a promise to deliver broadcast channels in the markets…

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