Fake News, Tech Industry, Google Cloud Next, More: Monday Buzz, July 30, 2018


NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence: Facebook game teaches how to spot disinformation. “NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence introduces its new indie game designed to train readers to identify misinformation published online. The game is hosted on Facebook and is open for all Facebook users here. Players are put in charge of their own publishing company, they earn virtual currency and gain an audience for publishing accurate news. The game is divided into three levels, each encouraging the players to think about the possible ways they could be fooled. The Fact Checker screen prompts the players to question the sources and provides tips on how to distinguish between an accurate and a misleading story.” I played the first few levels. Do not let the first easy level fool you.


CNET: Trump admin reportedly meeting with Facebook, Google to craft web privacy rights. “An online privacy protection proposal may see the light of day this fall. The Trump administration is working on a proposal to protect internet users’ privacy, The Washington Post reported. The Commerce Department has been meeting with representatives from Facebook , Google , AT&T , Comcast and other tech companies, as well as consumer advocates over the past month, according to the report.”

Google Blog: What a week! 105 announcements from Google Cloud Next ’18. “Google Cloud Next ‘18 was incredible! From fantastic keynotes and fireside chats to GO-JEK CTO Ajey Gore appearing on-stage on a scooter to listening to Target CIO Mike McNamara we had an inspiring, educational and entertaining week at our flagship conference…. The theme of the conference was Made Here Together, and we’re so grateful to everyone who attended and contributed to help build the cloud for everyone. But the week of Next wouldn’t be complete without a comprehensive list of what happened. So without further ado, here are 105 product and solution launches, customer stories and announcements from Next ‘18.”

Engadget: Google search now provides more details on local events . “Google is quickly turning its event info from a nice-to-have extra into a major feature. If you’re searching from your phone, you’ll now find key details for events without having to jump to websites or apps. If it’s a concert, for example, you’ll find out where and when it’s taking place, directions and other details. You can either jump to a ticket service if you’re sold on the idea or save an event for later. And if you’re not sure what to look for, you’ll get some help there as well.”


MakeUseOf: The 10 Best Sites for Reading Free Children’s Books and Stories Online. “Hollywood and Disney may be coloring TV and the movies. But thanks to interactive websites with free children’s book and stories, the charm of princely tales and brave knights continues to endure. For kids, children stories are the window to the outside world. Stories continue to make kids dream of great adventures, heroic princes, and beautiful princesses. And, a bit about ogres and monsters that heroes must battle to keep the world safe. Try these ten websites with online stories for kids with your children by your side.”


Quartz: Zimbabwe’s politicians are fighting a vicious battle against fake news and each other. “Zimbabwe’s political parties are winding down their campaigns ahead of elections on Monday (Jul. 30) to pick the first new administration since the ousting of former president Robert Mugabe in November. But as well as battling each other in the run-up to a historic election, politicians and party officials have been fighting the spread of disinformation, so-called fake news, through social media.”

MIT Technology Review: How one climate scientist combats threats and misinformation from chemtrail conspiracists. “Though chemtrail theories have been repeatedly debunked, they’re surprisingly widespread. A study published in Nature found that up to 40 percent of Americans believe these theories are ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat’ true. Such “conspiratorial views” also accounted for around 60 percent of the conversation about geoengineering on social media. [David] Keith himself regularly receives hateful messages, and even threats of physical violence, as a result of his research. In an interview with MIT Technology Review, Keith says the widespread misinformation has already complicated his work and infected the public debate over geoengineering.”


Ars Technica: New Spectre attack enables secrets to be leaked over a network. “When the Spectre and Meltdown attacks were disclosed earlier this year, the initial exploits required an attacker to be able to run code of their choosing on a victim system. This made browsers vulnerable, as suitably crafted JavaScript could be used to perform Spectre attacks. Cloud hosts were susceptible, too. But outside these situations, the impact seemed relatively limited. That impact is now a little larger.”

Education Week: To Stop School Shootings, Fla. Will Merge Government Data, Social Media Posts. “As part of their efforts to prevent school shootings, Florida lawmakers mandated the creation of a centralized database that will combine individual-level records from the state’s law-enforcement and social-services agencies with information from people’s personal social media accounts. The provision, tucked within the 105-page law passed in March following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, marks a potentially dramatic increase in the state’s collection and sharing of data on individuals. While the new database could have big consequences for individual privacy and civil liberties, proponents described it as necessary to ensure public safety.”

TechCrunch: Google follows in Apple’s footsteps by cleaning up its Play Store . “Google is cracking down on the apps published to the Play Store. An updated version of the company’s Developer Policy, released this week, indicates the company will now ban a wider variety of apps including cryptocurrency miners, those selling firearms and accessories, those that aim to trick children into downloading adult-themed apps, and apps built using automated tools or wizard services, or based on templates.”


Recode: If you can quit social media, but don’t, then you’re part of the problem, Jaron Lanier says. “On this week’s new episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, Kara Swisher talks with Jaron Lanier, a VR pioneer and longtime technology critic who currently works at Microsoft Research. He’s the author of a new book, ’10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now’ and explains why those who have the opportunity to quit platforms like Facebook and Twitter should do so. He compares the problem to past crusades against ‘mass addictions’ like smoking or drunk driving, arguing that hearing more voices from people who are outside of the addiction may be the most helpful way to turn the tide.” The link includes a transcript, and don’t I have something to think about this weekend.

EurekAlert: Artificial intelligence can predict your personality … simply by tracking your eyes . “It’s often been said that the eyes are the window to the soul, revealing what we think and how we feel. Now, new research reveals that your eyes may also be an indicator of your personality type, simply by the way they move. Developed by the University of South Australia in partnership with the University of Stuttgart, Flinders University and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany, the research uses state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithms to demonstrate a link between personality and eye movements.” Good morning, Internet…

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