Facebook Roundup, December 16, 2021


Mashable: Keanu Reeves on Facebook’s metaverse: ‘Can we just not’. “Keanu Reeves knows an agent of oppression when he sees one. The star of The Matrix trilogy and upcoming sequel, Resurrections, made that clear in a recent interview with The Verge, which touched on technology topics du jour like NFTs and the metaverse. And when it comes to the latter, Reeves has a very specific take: keep Facebook out of it.”

KnowTechie: Intel says the infrastructure the metaverse requires isn’t available to support it. “According to Intel, who makes many of the computer chips that power these internet-accessing devices we take for granted on a daily basis, the metaverse is going to require a shit-ton of computational power — at least 1,000 times what we’re capable of today as it pertains to efficiency.”

New York Times: Her Instagram Handle Was ‘Metaverse.’ Last Month, It Vanished.. “Five days after Facebook changed its name to Meta, an Australian artist found herself blocked, with seemingly no recourse, from an account documenting nearly a decade of her life and work.”

CNN: Top Meta exec blames users for spreading misinformation. “Individual users, not tech platforms, shoulder the responsibility for the spread of misinformation online, according to Andrew Bosworth, a top exec at Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook. In an interview over the weekend with Axios on HBO, Bosworth said it is not up to Meta to stifle the views of individuals who wish to express themselves by sharing their beliefs.”

The Verge: Oversight Board raises alarm over Facebook’s role in Ethiopian conflict. “Facebook has come under fire for its role in the Ethiopian conflict, with observers drawing parallels with the company’s role in the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. There, an online campaign led by Myanmar military personnel stoked hatred against the Rohingya minority groups and led to acts of mass murder and ethnic cleansing. In Ethiopia, similar rumors and incitements to violence have been allowed to proliferate, despite numerous Facebook employees reportedly raising the alarm within the company.”


Business Insider: Members of Congress publicly blast Facebook but quietly invest their savings in the social-media giant. “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Facebook shameful and irresponsible. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon suggested prison time for the tech giant’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Rep. Ro Khanna of California said Facebook should be broken up. But despite their tough talk toward the social-media behemoth, all three of those Democratic lawmakers or their spouses stood to gain financially from Facebook. They were among at least 32 lawmakers in the House and Senate — including both Democrats and Republicans — whose families held investments in the tech company during 2020, according to an Insider investigation of lawmakers’ most recent financial disclosures.”

MIT Technology Review: The metaverse has a groping problem already. “It’s not the first time a user has been groped in VR—nor, unfortunately, will it be the last. But the incident shows that until companies work out how to protect participants, the metaverse can never be a safe place.”

Yale Law School: Project’s Brief Says Consumer Protection Law Applies to Facebook. “The Tech Accountability & Competition (TAC) Project filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit Muslim Advocates v. Facebook urging the D.C. Superior Court to reject an argument raised by Facebook.”

Facebook: Taking Action Against the Surveillance-For-Hire Industry. “Recently, there has been an increased focus on NSO, the company behind the Pegasus spyware (software used to enable surveillance) that we enforced against and sued in 2019. However, NSO is only one piece of a much broader global cyber mercenary industry. Today, as part of a separate effort, we are sharing our findings about seven entities that we removed from our platform for engaging in surveillance activity and we will continue to take action against others as we find them.”


Brookings Institution: Why we need a new agency to regulate advanced artificial intelligence: Lessons on AI control from the Facebook Files. “In this article, I lay out what we can learn about the AI Control Problem using the lessons learned from the Facebook Files. I observe that the challenges we are facing can be distinguished into two categories: the technical problem of direct control of AI, i.e. of ensuring that an advanced AI system does what the company operating it wants it to do, and the governance problem of social control of AI, i.e. of ensuring that the objectives that companies program into advanced AI systems are consistent with society’s objectives.”

CNN: Meta wants researchers to help it avoid having users’ personal data exposed online. “Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, is asking for help in avoiding having personal data about its users scraped from its platforms and posted to the web. The social media giant announced Wednesday that it is expanding its bug bounty program — which offers rewards for helping identify and fix vulnerabilities in its apps — to include scraping, in a move Meta (FB) is calling an ‘industry first’ to address an ‘internet-wide’ challenge.”

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