Facebook is preparing to clamp down on election-related misinformation and violence that may be triggered by posts on the site ahead of next week’s vote. The social media giant has made plans to deploy a host of internal tools typically used for what it calls “at-risk countries”, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources. The tools will allow moderators to slow the spread of viral content as well as lower the bar for suppressing potentially inflammatory posts. They have previously been used in countries like Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Facebook executives have claimed they would only deploy the moderation technology in extreme circumstances, citing election-related violence as one of them, according to the report. Sources said they could help diminish the platform’s exposure to sensationalism and incitements to violence and misinformation. Some Facebook employees, however, have claimed that doing so could suppress political discussion on the site, which has caused some unease. A spokesman for the tech giant told the WSJ that the company had been building for safer, more secure elections “for years”. It comes as big technology platforms on Monday called on the European Union to protect them from legal liabilities for removing hate speech and illegal content as government scrutiny over how platforms manage user posts grows worldwide. A safeguard protecting companies that actively manage user posts would result in “better quality content moderation,” by incentivising platforms to remove bad content while protecting free expression, Edima, an association representing companies including Facebook, ByteDance-owned TikTok and Google. Facebook has faced significant criticism over the way in which it moderates content on the platform, including most recently its decision to slow the spread of a negative New York Post story about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son..
Nine insect-eating bird species in Amazon in sharp decline, scientists find. Paper suggests climate crisis reducing insects in lowlands and central jungle, as fruit-eaters not affected
Booking.com has warned that sweeping new legislation for digital businesses in the EU would "handcuff" the travel site, seen as one of Europe's few tech champions. Brussels is drawing up new rules which would penalise internet giants, applying only to those which were considered 'Big Tech' firms, based on criteria such as their market share and users. Regulators are reportedly considering measures such as forcing those larger firms to share data with rivals, in a bid to open up markets to smaller competitors. Whilst Silicon Valley companies would likely be the hardest hit by such rules, Netherlands-based Booking.com told the Financial Times that European companies "will suffer". Booking.com generates global revenues of $15bn (£12bn), and is among the largest online travel sites in the world. Boss Glenn Fogel told the newspaper that Booking.com was "one of the very, very, very few tech successes in Europe". "Let’s be obvious and blatant about this. And our government regulator wants to handcuff us." He said it was "shocking" that Booking.com may be penalised under the new rules, warning they could "hobble" the site and instead benefit foreign rivals such as China's Ctrip. According to Mr Fogel, Booking.com is responsible for around 13pc of all hotel revenues in Europe.
German health care company Bayer said Monday it is buying Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, a U.S.-based firm specializing in gene therapy, in a deal worth up to $4 billion. Bayer said it will pay $2 billion up front for privately held AskBio plus “potential success-based milestone payments” of up to another $2 billion. AskBio is headquartered at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and has facilities in Edinburgh, Paris and San Sebastián, Spain.
Statistical illiteracy isn't a niche problem. During a pandemic, it can be fatal. In recent months, we’ve all been bombarded with numbers. It’s vital that we learn how to interpret them
ALLÔ - Cette nouvelle fonctionnalité permettra de passer des appels tout en échangeant sur la messagerie
Astronauts can lose as much as 10% of bone density during six months in space, according to NASA, because there's no gravity for their body to push against. "It allows a person, when they're repeatedly jumping, to load their skeletal system, their bones then start to lay down more bone density and more to the point prevent astronauts losing their bone density and muscle mass," inventor John Kennett, who used to work on the Concorde aircraft programme, says.
Starwatch: Mars shines bright beside an almost-full moonRed planet puts on a vibrant show in celestial sea between Pisces and Cetus before Halloween blue moon
One in five Australian scientists planning to leave the profession, survey showsSurvey reveals 17% gender pay gap and strain on industry at a time when it has been at the forefront of responding to coronavirus
Germany’s coronavirus-tracking app has begun to exchange warnings with similar apps from across Europe as part of an EU-led plan to internationalise contact tracing. The technical frameworks of apps in Germany, Ireland and Italy are now compatible with each other due to the EU's "gateway" system, which allows contact tracing across borders. Four more nations, Spain, Czech Republic, Denmark and Latvia, are set to join the programme in the coming week, with the EU hoping for up to 16 members by the end of 2020. The United Kingdom looks set to be excluded from the scheme due to the country’s departure from the European Union. The system is anonymous and does not allow the identification of individual people, nor can it track the location or movement of devices. Jens Spahn, Germany's Federal Minister of Health, praised the collaborative effort amid rising case numbers. “Everywhere in Europe, infections are on the rise again. Right now, national warning apps are making a real difference. Because every infection chain that, thanks to an app, is broken more quickly helps to contain the pandemic,” Spahn said in a statement. “With the new gateway service, we are connecting apps across Europe. Like this, contacts can also be warned during or following a trip abroad.” Stella Kyriakides, EU commissioner for health and food safety, praised the international functionality of the app, saying “when working across borders these apps are even more powerful tools”. The Bluetooth-based app infrastructure is compatible for use with all countries who have adopted a decentralised and anonymous tracing system – the same system developed by Apple and Google and implemented in the UK’s NHS App – the UK’s acceptance into the framework is “unlikely” due to legal and political hurdles. News websiteTech Crunch reports that in order to be allowed to join the project, the UK would need to negotiate and develop a separate legal agreement with the EU. Switzerland and Norway, as non-EU members, would also be required to negotiate a separate arrangement in order to join the framework. France and Hungary are also set to be excluded from the framework as their apps rely on a centralised data collection system. After initially developing an app which relied upon centralised data storage, the UK changed track in June due to technical issues and delays. Germany made a similar switch in April, mainly due to privacy concerns.
An entomology enthusiast from Queensland, Australia, managed to capture footage of a huntsman spider’s moulting process, which shows the arthropod shedding its own body.The footage, which garnered thousands of views, was filmed by Lisa Van Kula Donovan. She subsequently posted the footage online in timelapse form on September 20.In a description alongside the video, Donovan said, “It was amazing and stressful all at the same time.”She added, “I named her Sophia after my goddaughter who was as excited as me to see this.” Credit: Wannabe Entomologist via Storyful
Finland’s interior minister summoned key Cabinet members into an emergency meeting Sunday after hundreds — and possibly thousands — of patient records at a private Finnish psychotherapy center were accessed by a hacker or hackers now demanding ransoms. Finnish Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo tweeted that authorities would “provide speedy crisis help to victims” of the security breach at the Vastaamo psychotherapy center, an incident she called “shocking and very serious.” Vastaamo, which has branches throughout the Nordic country of 5.5 million and operates as a sub-contractor for Finland’s public health system, said its client register with intimate patient information was likely stolen during two attacks that started almost two years ago.
Theresa Landrum lives in southwest Detroit, where residents complain frequently about dirty air. Landrum, a Black retiree from General Motors and a longtime anti-pollution activist, wasn't impressed when Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler recently pledged $200,000 to promote “community health initiatives” in her section of the city during his blitz of visits to battleground states in the presidential election campaign. Under President Donald Trump, the EPA has slashed support for some some programs and regulatory protections benefiting disadvantaged communities.
Twenty years of the International Space Station – but was it worth it?Has the ISS benefited society? Scientists are divided: for some, it’s a beacon of unity; for others, just a set for an action film
TELECOMMUNICATIONS - Selon le groupe, il « a transformé Samsung en faisant d’une entreprise locale un leader mondial de l’innovation et de la puissance industrielle »
The ailing chairman of South Korea's Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee, died on Sunday, the company announced. He died with his family by his side, including his son, Samsung Electronics vice-chairman Jay Y. Lee. Lee Kun-hee, who was 78, helped grow his father Lee Byung-chull's noodle trading business into South Korea's biggest conglomerate, with dozens of affiliates stretching from electronics and insurance to shipbuilding and construction. His death comes six years after he was hospitalised for a heart attack. Lee Kun-hee had been hospitalised for years and the younger Lee has been in charge of company affairs. Samsung chairman named a suspect in $7.5m tax evasion scandal despite being in a coma How the Samsung corruption scandal unfolded Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee charged with bribery and embezzlement in corruption scandal South Korea ex-president Park guilty of abuse of power The world's 15 richest tech billionaires "Chairman Lee was a true visionary who transformed Samsung into the world-leading innovator and industrial powerhouse from a local business," Samsung said in a statement. "His 1993 declaration of 'New Management' was the motivating driver of the company’s vision to deliver the best technology to help advance global society." During his lifetime, Samsung Electronics developed from a second-tier TV maker to the world's biggest technology firm by revenue - seeing off Japanese brands Sony, Sharp and Panasonic in chips, TVs and displays; ending Nokia's handset supremacy and beating Apple in smartphones. "His legacy will be everlasting," Samsung said.
Heavily protected crews in Washington state worked Saturday to destroy the first nest of so-called murder hornets discovered in the United States. The state Agriculture Department had spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball and contained an estimated 100 to 200 hornets, according to scientists who announced the find Friday.
Academics, journalists and First Amendment lawyers are rallying behind New York University researchers in a showdown with Facebook over its demand that they halt the collection of data showing who is being micro-targeted by political ads on the world’s dominant social media platform. The researchers say the disputed tool is vital to understanding how Facebook has been used as a conduit for disinformation and manipulation. In an Oct. 16 letter to the researchers, a Facebook executive demanded they disable a special plug-in for Chrome and Firefox browsers used by 6,500 volunteers across the United States and delete the data obtained.
Early warning: human detectors, drones and the race to control Australia’s extreme bushfiresFor a century, humans high up in fire towers have sounded the alarm. But breakthroughs in technology may offer something more
Thousands of people joined an anti-lockdown protest march in London on October 24, the fourth such demonstration against coronavirus restrictions in the UK capital .One of the protest leaders, Louise Creffield of Save Our Rights UK, said that coronavirus measures “are causing more harm than good.” Criticism was also levelled against the National Health Service COVID-19 contact-tracing app, which protesters claim infringes on privacy.“We are very concerned with protecting people’s human rights: right to privacy, family life, bodily autonomy, medical freedoms, and so on," Creffield told The Guardian.The NHS has countered those concerns, saying users of the app “are anonymous and the app cannot force them to self-isolate or identify them.”On Friday evening, the Metropolitan Police urged protesters “to be sensible and comply with regulations designed to keep everyone safe,” or “be subjected to enforcement action in line with the regulations.” Credit: Henry Jones via Storyful
Sun Ra Arkestra: Swirling review – out of this world. (Strut)The Arkestra’s first album in 20 years is an intoxicating, cosmic tribute to Sun Ra