The internet companies working to save net neutrality

By Friday, December 15, 2017 0 Permalink 0

The government didn’t completely kill net neutrality, as long as companies that offer our internet access enforce its principles. ;

Some probably won’t. Comcast, America’s most-hated company, has hinted at creating “fast lanes” where internet companies would have to pay for better access to the network. ;

But other internet service providers (ISPs) were founded, at least in part, on the principle of offering a fairer system. And after Thursday’s ruling, that promise remains. ;

SEE ALSO: RIP net neutrality: Here’s what comes next (and it ain’t pretty)

“Net Neutrality lives on,” reads an email from Sonic on Thursday. No, it’s not from the hedgehog or the drive-in. Sonic is an internet service and phone provider available in more than 125 cities in California, and it was sharing with its about 100,000 customers that it “will remain committed to the principles of net neutrality.” Read more…

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Facebook on how it affects your mental health: It’s you, not them

By Friday, December 15, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Facebook is a symbol of one of the great debates of the 21st century: Is social media a gift to humanity, or is it a curse that drives us further apart and deeper into our own ideological echo chambers? ;

There is no simple answer to that question, which is why it frequently becomes a cultural obsession as it did this week, when a recent video surfaced of a former Facebook executive decrying the negative effects of social media. ;

SEE ALSO: Facebook responds to criticism that the network is ‘destroying how society works’

Now Facebook is joining the conversation with a lengthy blog post about its efforts to understand how the social media platform affects users’ well-being. The bottom line is that whether or not social media makes us miserable seems to depend on how we use it, say Facebook’s David Ginsberg, ;director of research, and Moira Burke, a research scientist. ; Read more…

More about Tech, Facebook, Social Good, Mark Zuckerberg, and Happiness

Virtual reality might save my long-distance relationship

By Saturday, December 9, 2017 0 Permalink 0

The most romantic place I’ve ever been was a grassy hill overlooking a campground. It was late evening; lit-up tents and cabins dotted the valley that sprawled before us. In the distance, stood a black mountain range, the bright edges of the northern lights peering out from behind. I was surrounded by the warm night, a waxing gibbous moon, a canopy of stars.

At least, that’s what it felt like. In reality, I was sitting in the corner of a New York City office, wearing an Oculus Rift headset. ;

This was my first experience with Facebook Spaces, Facebook’s new virtual reality platform, and for long-distance couples, like me and my boyfriend, I think it could change everything. ; Read more…

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This startup thinks it can share product reviews better than YouTube

By Thursday, December 7, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Two of the biggest tech companies, Google and Facebook, have been competing as the internet’s biggest destinations for video. And yet, a small startup is betting it has a shot of nabbing their views by narrowing in on one of YouTube’s most popular styles. ;

Eight TV is an app focused on product reviews — by anyone and for anyone (anyone who carries a smartphone and probably likes Snapchat, that is). Shows can be created in minutes, often shot with selfie cameras. All videos are linked to a webpage to buy the item. The app pulls from the more than 100 million products in Amazon’s database. ;

SEE ALSO: HQ trivia is far from a one-man show. Meet Sharon Carpenter Read more…

More about Facebook, Startups, Youtube, Online Video, and Apps And Software

Sheryl Sandberg discusses sexual assault and powerful men in a moving Facebook post

By Sunday, December 3, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Like so many women who’ve spoken up this year, Sheryl Sandberg has experienced sexual harassment by men in power.

On Sunday morning the 48-year-old Facebook CEO wrote a lengthy post on the platform sharing her experiences with harassment, her thoughts on men in power, and the problematic backlash that can stem from women speaking up for themselves.

SEE ALSO: Melinda Gates wrote a moving op-ed about sexual harassment

Though Sandberg said she’s lucky to have never been sexually harassed or assaulted by any of the men she’s worked for, she admitted she’s had to deal with “unwanted sexual advances” from men with more power than her while doing her job. Read more…

More about Business, Facebook, Conversations, Women, and Sexual Harassment

Facebook will now share Community Help data with rescue and relief organizations

By Wednesday, November 29, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Facebook is making it easier for relief organizations to pinpoint exactly where people are in crisis — and discover exactly what they need. ;

The company announced at its second-annual Social Good Forum Wednesday that it will start sharing its API for the Community Help tool with disaster response organizations, giving them access to data that can help them deliver critical services to those in need. The API pulls information from public Community Help posts, providing organizations with the ID of the post, the type of help being asked for, and the location of the person requesting support.

The goal is to help rescue and relief efforts coordinate information and response resources as fast as possible, and be able to assess needs by location. ; Read more…

More about Facebook, Social Good, Natural Disaster, Disaster Relief, and Community Help

Facebook launches new tool to help connect users with mentors

By Wednesday, November 29, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Mentors often play a crucial role in helping people achieve their goals. Now, Facebook wants to help foster those relationships all in one place.

The social media giant launched a new product Wednesday called Mentorship and Support, which will connect users with mentors to get the advice and support they need. The aim is to bring together people who have shared experiences and goals but don’t already know each other.

SEE ALSO: Facebook added a ‘crisis donate button’ to help disaster victims

Facebook is partnering with nonprofit organizations that already pair mentors and mentees, but they’ll use Facebook to work through a step-by-step program tailored to the mentee’s goals. It will begin as a pilot program starting with just two nonprofits and focus areas: iMentor, for education mentorship, and the International Rescue Committee, for mentorship in crisis recovery. ; Read more…

More about Tech, Facebook, Education, Social Good, and Mentorship

Facebook’s AI suicide prevention tool can save lives, but the company won’t say how it works

By Tuesday, November 28, 2017 0 Permalink 0

For many people who’ve dedicated their lives to preventing suicide, social media posts can be a precious dataset that contains hints about what people say and do before they attempt suicide. ;

In the past few years, researchers have built algorithms to learn which words and emoji are associated with suicidal thoughts. They’ve even used social media posts to retrospectively predict the suicide deaths of certain Facebook users. ;

SEE ALSO: How your brain responds to certain words might predict your suicide risk

Now Facebook itself has rolled out new artificial intelligence that can proactively identify heightened suicide risk and alert a team of human reviewers who are trained to reach out to a user contemplating fatal self-harm. ; Read more…

More about Facebook, Artificial Intelligence, Social Good, Mental Health, and Social Media

Facebook’s suicide prevention AI just got an important upgrade

By Monday, November 27, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Facebook’s suicide prevention AI just took an important step forward.

The tech, which uses pattern recognition to determine when some may be expressing thoughts of suicide or self harm, is now able to reach people before a friend alerts anyone that they need help.

SEE ALSO: AI figured out the word people text when their suicide risk is high

Facebook first introduced its AI-based suicide prevention tools earlier this year. But until now, those tools still required a user, or one of their friends, to seek help. Now the social network says the tech has advanced to the point that it can proactively intervene when it detects that someone may be at risk of self harm or suicide — even if no one else has made a report. ; Read more…

More about Tech, Facebook, Artificial Intelligence, Apps And Software, and Suicide Prevention