Facebook, Iran/Hungary, Google Assistant, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, October 4, 2018


TechCrunch: Facebook rolls out new anti-bullying tools and an appeals process. “Facebook is introducing new tools to tackle online bullying, the company announced this morning. Specifically, it’s rolling out a way for people to hide or delete multiple comments at once from the options menu of a post, and is beginning to test new ways to more easily search and block offensive words from showing up in comments. It’s also rolling out a new way to report bullying on behalf of others and is offering the opportunity to appeal decisions related to bullying and harassment.”

Tehran Times: Iran, Hungary libraries sign MOU . “The MOU [Memorandum Of Understanding] was inked by Istvan Monok, the director general of the Hungarian library, and INLA deputy director Fariborz Khosravi, the INLA announced on Tuesday. Based on the MOU, the two sides agreed to begin joint cooperation to establish an online database to introduce the cultural heritage of the two countries, and also to exchange experts.”

BetaNews: Google Assistant gets a revamp and new features. “Having introduced a new Voice Access app to allow for full voice control of Android phones, Google has also redesigned Google Assistant on both iOS and Android. The revamp makes the app a more visual experience, with Google acknowledging that while the Assistant is a voice-activated tool, touch is also a key component. With the redesign, Google hopes that bigger visuals and new controls will make it easier and faster to get things done with a combination of voice and touch.”


MakeUseOf: 9 Chrome Extensions Your Gmail Needs for a Better Email Experience. “In spite of numerous efforts, emails still exist and are thriving more than ever. But their fundamental shortcomings have remained the same. It’s still relatively easy for your Gmail inbox to get clogged up with spam. Inbox zero is still a dream for many, you still treat your email as a free commodity and give it everytime a website demands a new account. You get the idea. Thankfully, third-party Gmail plugins have come a long way in the meantime. Here are nine best Google Chrome extensions for all your emailing needs.”


The Verge: Bot makers loved The Last Jedi discourse so much they decided to politically influence it. “When it arrived in theaters last year, writer-director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi was greeted with an immediate backlash from a specific corner of its audience. As Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff pointed out in December, the criticism seemed to come from a few different angles: some felt the film was too progressive, that it was too jokey, that it was not interested in the elaborate universe of fan theories that has accreted since the original trilogy’s release, or that the characters’ journeys weren’t exactly to their liking.”

Washington Post: Facebook blocked many gay-themed ads as part of its new advertising policy, angering LGBT groups. “The advertisements all seemed innocuous at a glance. A ribald sendup of fairy tales hosted by a comedian in Los Angeles. A Spanish-language social group for Latino men, sponsored by a community center in Las Vegas. And a list of senior-friendly housing options distributed by a nonprofit group in Texas. But they were all blocked by Facebook. The company’s system, which uses automated and human monitors, determined that the advertisements were “political,” though they did not involve advocacy or any explicitly political views. The common thread between them all? LGBT themes.”


The Hill: FTC complaint accuses Facebook of collecting data on children with Messenger Kids. “In a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and other organizations argued that the service’s disclosures about its privacy practices are overly vague, allowing Facebook to share children’s data with third parties.”

Business Standard: Irish data authority probes Facebook over breach of 50 mn accounts. “Ireland’s data protection authority launched an investigation into Facebook, bringing stringent new European privacy laws to bear on the tech titan after a security breach exposed 50 million accounts.”

The Register: Haven’t updated your Adobe PDF software lately? Here’s 85 new reasons to do it now. “Adobe has posted an update to address 85 CVE-listed security vulnerabilities in Acrobat and Reader for both Windows and macOS. The PDF apps have received a major update that includes dozens of fixes for flaws that would allow for remote code execution attacks if exploited. Other possible attacks include elevation of privilege flaws and information disclosure vulnerabilities.”


Seattle Times: Seattle doctors, scientists fight superbugs that could kill millions. “Catching an ear infection is uncomfortable enough, but imagine if the antibiotics a doctor prescribed didn’t work. It’s a problem that at least 2 million people in the U.S. face every year, when they catch infections that are resistant to antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That makes the phenomenon known as antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, ‘one of the biggest public health challenges of our time,’ the agency said. AMR may cause 10 million deaths globally by 2050, based on rising drug resistance for six pathogens, according to a report commissioned by the British government in 2016.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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