EU says tech companies show “continued improvement” at removing hate speech



EU says social networks remove 70% of hate speech, up from 59% in May, review 81% of reported content within 24 hours; Instagram and Google+ join the initiative



The third evaluation of the Code of Conduct on countering illegal online hate speech carried out by NGOs and public bodies released today shows that IT companies removed on average 70% of illegal hate speech notified to them.

Since May 2016, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft have committed to combatting the spread of such content in Europe through the Code of Conduct. The third monitoring round shows that the companies are now increasingly fulfilling their commitment to remove the majority of illegal hate speech within 24 hours. However, some further challenges still remain, in particular the lack of systematic feedback to users.

Google+ announced today that they are joining the Code of Conduct, and Facebook confirmed that Instagram would also do so, thus further expanding the numbers of actors covered by it.

Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market, welcomed these improvements: "Today's results clearly show that online platforms take seriously their commitment to review notifications and remove illegal hate speech within 24 hours. I strongly encourage IT companies to improve transparency and feedback to users, in line with the guidance we published last year. It is also important that safeguards are in place to avoid over-removal and protect fundamental rights such as freedom of speech."

Vĕra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said:" The Internet must be a safe place, free from illegal hate speech, free from xenophobic and racist content. The Code of Conduct is now proving to be a valuable tool to tackle illegal content quickly and efficiently. This shows that where there is a strong collaboration between technology companies, civil society and policy makers we can get results, and at the same time, preserve freedom of speech. I expect IT companies to show similar determination when working on other important issues, such as the fight with terrorism, or unfavourable terms and conditions for their users.


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Facebook's latest News Feed update will prioritize trustworthy publishers



Facebook to survey users to measure trust in publications, data will affect News Feed rankings; news will make up 4% of News Feed posts, down from 5% 



Facebook: Last week, we announced major changes to News Feed that are designed to help bring people closer together by encouraging more meaningful connections on Facebook. As a result, people will see less public content, including news, video and posts from brands.

Today we’re sharing the second major update we’re making this year: to make sure the news people see, while less overall, is high quality.

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Image credit: adage.com

Saturday, January 20, 2018

IBM sees revenue grow though long-term concerns linger



IBM beats with Q4 revenue of $22.5B, up 3.6% YoY, the first YoY rise in 23 quarters, vs. $22.1B expected; $1.1B loss from one-time $5.5B tax overhaul charge




Armonk, NY - 18 Jan 2018: Highlights

• Fourth-quarter GAAP EPS from continuing operations of $(1.14)
-- Includes a one-time charge of $5.5 billion associated with the enactment of U.S. tax reform
• Fourth-quarter operating (non-GAAP) EPS of $5.18
-- Excludes the one-time charge of $5.5 billion associated with the enactment of U.S. tax reform
-- Consistent with the basis of previously-provided 2017 expectations
• Fourth-quarter revenue of $22.5 billion, up 4 percent (up 1 percent adjusting for currency)
• Full-year strategic imperatives revenue of $36.5 billion, up 11 percent; represents 46 percent of IBM revenue
-- Fourth-quarter strategic imperatives revenue up 17 percent (up 14 percent adjusting for currency)
• Full-year cloud revenue of $17.0 billion, up 24 percent year to year
-- As-a-service annual exit run rate of $10.3 billion in the quarter, up 20 percent year to year (up 18 percent adjusting for currency)

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 earnings results.

"Our strategic imperatives revenue again grew at a double-digit rate and now represents 46 percent of our total revenue, and we are pleased with our overall revenue growth in the quarter," said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. "During 2017, we strengthened our position as the leading enterprise cloud provider and established IBM as the blockchain leader for business. Looking ahead, we are uniquely positioned to help clients use data and AI to build smarter businesses."





Friday, January 19, 2018

Spotify launches new multimedia format called Spotlight



Spotify partners with eight firms, including Buzzfeed, to launch Spotlight, an initiative offering news and political programming, as it vies for radio revenue



Today, Spotify launches its new multimedia format, Spotlight, which introduces visual layers to complement the listening experience for podcasts, audiobooks, news, and other audio content. Spotlight gives fans a deeper insight to their favorite artists, playlists, books, publishers and more by offering contextual visual elements, such as photos, video and text, that appear as users move through each episode.

Spotlight will launch with content from the following Spotify partners including BuzzFeed News, Cheddar, Crooked Media, Lenny Letter, Gimlet Media, Genius, The Minefield Girl, Refinery29 and Uninterrupted. Additionally, Spotlight will feature content from some of Spotify’s own original series such as RISE, Secret Genius, Spotify Singles and the new Viva Latino podcast.

“We are excited to launch Spotlight, a new format that merges great storytelling, news, information and opinion with visual elements all delivered in playlist form across a number of content categories,” said Courtney William Holt, Head of Studios and Video. “Playlists play an important role in the daily lives of our users bringing them closer to the creators they love.”

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Intel RealSense D415, D435 depth cameras launch with D4 vision processor




Intel's D415 and D435 ready-to-use RealSense depth cameras, which can add 3D vision to any device or machine, now available for preorder for $149 and $145


Today, Intel began shipping two new Intel® RealSense™ D400 Depth Cameras from the next-generation Intel RealSense D400 product family: the D415 and D435, adding 3D capabilities to any prototype development or end user-ready device or machine.

Ideal for makers and educators as well as hardware prototyping and software development, the new depth cameras come in a ready-to-use, USB-powered form factor that pair with a D400 depth module, a turnkey optical depth solution, and the new Intel RealSense vision processor D4 for processing complex depth data in real time. Supported by the Intel RealSense SDK 2.0 – available for the first time as a cross-platform, open source SDK – the cameras can also be used both indoors and outdoors and in any lighting environment.




WhatsApp launches Android app for business accounts



WhatsApp officially launches its free Android app for businesses in the US, UK, Mexico, Italy, and Indonesia, rolling out globally in the coming weeks  



People all around the world use WhatsApp to connect with small businesses they care about — from online clothing companies in India to auto parts stores in Brazil. But WhatsApp was built for people and we want to improve the business experience. For example, by making it easier for businesses to respond to customers, separating customer and personal messages, and creating an official presence.

So today we're launching WhatsApp Business — a free-to-download Android app for small businesses. Our new app will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for our 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them. 
Here's how:
  • Business Profiles: Help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses, and website.
  • Messaging Tools: Save time with smart messaging tools — quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you're busy.
  • Messaging Statistics: Review simple metrics like the number of messages read to see what's working.
  • WhatsApp Web: Send and receive messages with WhatsApp Business on your desktop.
  • Account Type: People will know that they're talking to a business because you will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number.



Amazon Chooses 20 Finalists for Second Headquarters



Amazon narrows HQ2 search to 20 cities from 238 proposals, 19 in the US and Toronto in Canada, and says it expects to make a decision in 2018



Amazon reviewed 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexicoto host HQ2, the company’s second headquarters in North America. Today, Amazon announced it has chosen the following 20 metropolitan areas to move to the next phase of the process (in alphabetical order):


Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Columbus, OH
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Indianapolis, IN
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL
Montgomery County, MD
Nashville, TN
Newark, NJ
New York City, NY
Northern Virginia, VA
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Raleigh, NC
Toronto, ON
Washington D.C.


“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon Public Policy. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

Amazon evaluated each of the proposals based on the criteria outlined in the RFP to create the list of 20 HQ2 candidates that will continue in the selection process. In the coming months, Amazon will work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans as well as benefit its employees and the local community. Amazon expects to make a decision in 2018.




Intel says Meltdown / Spectre patch causes reboots in computers with newer processors too



Intel admits Spectre and Meltdown patches also affect newer Skylake and Kaby Lake chips, with performance impact between 2% and 25%, promises fix next week



Over the past several days, Intel has made further progress to address the exploits known as “Spectre” and “Meltdown.” We are continuing to support our customers through this process and we remain focused on doing so. As we continue these efforts, I would like to express my appreciation to many of our partners, including Dell, HPE, HPI, Lenovo and Microsoft, for joining our Security-First Pledge.

More: Security Exploits and Intel Products (Press Kit) | Security Research Findings (Intel.com)

I’ll be covering two topics in this blog post: our progress in rolling out firmware updates for the exploits, as well as addressing the reboot issue I discussed last week; and initial data from the benchmarking we are doing on data center platforms.

Global app downloads topped 175 billion in 2017, revenue surpassed $86 billion



Flurry data: overall app session activity grew 6% in 2017; shopping app usage grew 54%, media, music, entertainment apps grew 43%, lifestyle apps dropped 40%



For an industry that’s seen staggering growth and disruption since the launch of the first smartphone, 2017 was the year that mobile app innovation and growth was disrupted. Stalwart industry players held and gained market position, while years-old disruptors struggled to find their footing. Compared to 2016, Flurry measured overall session app activity growth of just 6%. While growth may have stagnated, users continue to diversify their behavior while using mobile applications.

Over the last year, Flurry’s app footprint grew to track more than one million applications, across 2.6 billion devices globally. In this context, we define app usage as a user opening an app and recording what we call a “session.”



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

YouTube tightens rules around what channels can be monetized



YouTube says new creators will need 4K hours of watch time and 1K subs to join Partner Program for ad revenue; Google Preferred videos to be reviewed by humans  


2017 marked a tough year for many of you, with several issues affecting our community and the revenue earned from advertising through the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Despite those issues more creators than ever are earning a living on YouTube, with the number of channels making over six figures up over 40% year-over-year. In 2018, a major focus for everyone at YouTube is protecting our creator ecosystem and ensuring your revenue is more stable.


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Mozilla Files Suit Against FCC to Protect Net Neutrality




Today, Mozilla filed a petition in federal court in Washington, DC against the Federal Communications Commission for its recent decision to overturn the 2015 Open Internet Order.

22 attorneys general file lawsuit to stop FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules; Mozilla, other net neutrality advocates also filed suits against FCC


The internet is a global, public resource. It relies on the core principle of net neutrality (that all internet traffic be treated equally) to exist. If that principle is removed — with only some content and services available or with roadblocks inserted by ISPs to throttle or control certain services — the value and impact of that resource can be impaired or destroyed.

Ending net neutrality could end the internet as we know it. That’s why we are committed to fighting the order. In particular, we filed our petition today because we believe the recent FCC decision violates both federal law as well as harms internet users and innovators. In fact, it really only benefits large Internet Service Providers.




Remotely Request Rides for Anyone With Lyft Concierge




Lyft says its Concierge service, which lets businesses schedule rides for people and launched in 2016, is now open to organizations of all sizes


LYFT: Last year, we introduced Lyft Concierge to help individuals ride to and from important appointments. Since then, we’ve partnered with companies like JetBlue, CareMore, and GoGoGrandparent to help employees get to their home safe, to get customers to meetings, and to help even more patients get to their appointments. Today, we’re excited to expand Concierge access to organizations of all sizes.

"Thanks to Lyft, we’re able to offer our customers a seamless way to continue their journey – even after they land."
- Rob Martinelli Director, Airport Programs at JetBlue Airways

Previously available only to a subset of partners, Concierge can now be used by organizations of all sizes to request or schedule rides for other people. With Concierge, companies can access real-time ride tracking, reduce the cost of their transportation programs, and enjoy 24-hour customer support.




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Kraken Exchange Is Back Online After Troublesome System Upgrade



Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken is back online after 2+ days of downtime during a scheduled infrastructure upgrade, which was supposed to last 2 hours


Kraken: We apologize for the uncertainty our downtime has caused. The scheduled downtime was to replace our old trading engine with a brand new trading engine – an improvement that customers have long asked for and that we have long been working hard on. We still have some more work to do before the new trading engine is as good as we want it to be, but this week’s replacement was an important first step to having a better trading experience. Our system is replicated in development, where all tests passed. However when the new engine was moved to the production environment, regression tests picked up a condition that proved quite difficult to track down. Further insight into the downtime and a description of actions we plan to take in order to improve the client experience will be provided via a retrospective Kraken blog post, to be published in the coming days.
With trading now resumed, the engine’s performance will be closely monitored. The site will come down if needed, which may occur with little to no notice. Please continue to refer to status.kraken.com for real-time updates and important announcements over the next few days.
Lastly, in appreciation for your loyalty to Kraken, we are activating zero fee trading for all clients(across non-margin trades) starting today and lasting through the end of this month.


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Intel and Micron end flash partnership



Intel and Micron to end NAND flash partnership after the introduction of 3rd gen 3D NAND in late 2018/early 2019, will continue 3D XPoint memory collaboration 



Micron and Intel today announced an update to their successful NAND memory joint development partnership that has helped the companies develop and deliver industry-leading NAND technologies to market.

The announcement involves the companies’ mutual agreement to work independently on future generations of 3D NAND. The companies have agreed to complete development of their third-generation of 3D NAND technology, which will be delivered toward the end of this year and extending into early 2019. Beyond that technology node, both companies will develop 3D NAND independently in order to better optimize the technology and products for their individual business needs.

Micron and Intel expect no change in the cadence of their respective 3D NAND technology development of future nodes. The two companies are currently ramping products based on their second-generation of 3D NAND (64 layer) technology.

Both companies will also continue to jointly develop and manufacture 3D XPoint™ at the Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) joint venture fab in Lehi, Utah, which is now entirely focused on 3D XPoint memory production.

“Micron’s partnership with Intel has been a long-standing collaboration, and we look forward to continuing to work with Intel on other projects as we each forge our own paths in future NAND development,” said Scott DeBoer, executive vice president of Technology Development at Micron. “Our roadmap for 3D NAND technology development is strong, and we intend to bring highly competitive products to market based on our industry-leading 3D NAND technology.”

“Intel and Micron have had a long-term successful partnership that has benefited both companies, and we’ve reached a point in the NAND development partnership where it is the right time for the companies to pursue the markets we’re focused on,” said Rob Crooke, senior vice president and general manager of Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group at Intel Corporation. “Our roadmap of 3D NAND and Optane™ technology provides our customers with powerful solutions for many of today’s computing and storage needs.”












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