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Source: Opinion Today

Many of the things that keep our democracy healthy don’t appear in the Constitution or any federal law. President Obama made this point Monday when talking about an orderly transition from one presidency to the next:
“It’s not something that the Constitution explicitly requires but it is one of those norms that are vital to a functioning democracy, similar to norms of civility and tolerance and a commitment to reason and facts and analysis.”
The last few words of that sentence were the ones that caught my attention, and I started thinking about them again after reading an Op-Ed by Zeynep Tufekci.
Tufekci, a University of North Carolina professor, makes the case that Facebook is in denial about its role in spreading misinformation. During the presidential campaign, Facebook helped spread falsehoods — the Pope endorsed Trump! — to millions of people. Those falsehoods appeared in fake news articles, and Facebook did nothing to inform their users that the material in them was simply made up.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has said it’s “pretty crazy” to believe that fake news influences people in any significant way, but Tufekci persuasively lays out evidence to the contrary. Multiple studies have shown — and common sense backs up — that Facebook influences opinions and behavior.
“These are not easy problems to solve, but there is a lot Facebook could do,” Tufekci wrote. “When the company decided it wanted to reduce spam, it established a policy that limited its spread.” The step that Facebook announced Monday— refusing to display advertisements in fake stories — isn’t sufficient.
The media is in the midst of a historical transition right now. Some old news sources are shrinking or disappearing, and others — many of which rely on Facebook — are rising. There is nothing wrong with this change. Our country has survived the fading of news powerhouses, like the Saturday Evening Post, Life magazine and live radio broadcasts, before.
But whatever forms the new information sources take, they do need to provide “reason and facts,” neither of which is partisan. A healthy democracy depends on it. As Thomas Jefferson said, the people need “full information of their affairs.” Zuckerberg, by believing that Facebook is staying neutral, has in fact made a damaging choice.
The full Opinion report from The Times follows, including Geoff Dembicki on generational war and climate change.
David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist.  NY Times

 

Facebook Will Now Notify You If It Thinks Your Account Is Being Hacked By The NSA : PERSONAL TECH : Tech Times

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Facebook has announced it will send a notification to users if it believes that suspected attackers working in behalf of a nation-state have compromised their accounts. The company believes these attacks are more dangerous and advanced than others.

Source: Facebook Will Now Notify You If It Thinks Your Account Is Being Hacked By The NSA : PERSONAL TECH : Tech Times

Facebook has incorporated a feature that its users do not really want to see in action: a notification that will alert them if the company believes that suspected attackers working in the interest of a nation-state have gained unauthorized access to their accounts.

A blog post has been shared by Facebook on Oct. 16, saying the protection of its users accounts is more important than anything else, which is why it continuously monitors malevolent activities and provides a multitude of options to safeguard user accounts.

“While we have always taken steps to secure accounts that we believe to have been compromised, we decided to show this additional warning if we have a strong suspicion that an attack could be government-sponsored,” says Alex Stamos, chief security officer at Facebook.

Facebook targeting 14 African countries with satellite internet initiative, says Eutelsat CEO – – RFI

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Source: Facebook targeting 14 African countries with satellite internet initiative, says Eutelsat CEO – – RFI

The head of French satellite company Eutelsat has told RFI that its partnership with Facebook to improve internet access will target 14 African countries. Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen said on Thursday that the initiative will partner with local providers to roll out satellite connectivity making the internet more accessible.

Eutelsat expects the system to be operational by the end of 2016, according to de Rosen. It will be made available in 14 countries: Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Thai man jailed for 25 years over royal insult posts on Facebook

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Thai man jailed for 25 years over royal insult posts on Facebook.

A Thai military court on Tuesday jailed a man for 25 years for posting pictures on his Facebook page deemed insulting to Thailand’s monarchy, in one of the toughest such sentences in recent years.

Thailand’s lese-majeste law is the world’s harshest and makes it a crime to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen or heir to the throne or regent.

Since taking power in a May coup, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a staunch royalist, has repeatedly vowed to vigorously pursue royal insult cases and try those perceived to be anti-monarchists.

In the latest case, Tiensutham Suttijitseranee, a 58-year-old businessman, was found guilty of posting defamatory content in a closed-door court sentencing, his lawyer told Reuters.

“The court decided that because he posted five pictures with captions last year that the court deemed defamatory, he would be sentenced to a total of 50 years; ten years for each picture posted, reduced by half to 25 years,” lawyer Sasinan Thamnithinan told Reuters, adding that the term was halved because Tiensutham pleaded guilty.

The court did not allow his relatives and reporters to attend the verdict, she said…

Smartphone addiction time-bomb ‘ready to explode’ – Independent.ie

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Smartphone addiction time-bomb ‘ready to explode’ – Independent.ie.

A third of internet users now access online content on mobile phones – up from just 10pc two years ago – and internet users are expected to surpass PC users by next year, according to the latest research by Dublin-based Statcounter.

Counsellors now fear internet addiction, fuelled by 24/7 access via mobile phones, will be the next wave of compulsive disorders that they will be treating.

Gerry Cooney, an addiction counsellor at the Rutland Centre, said they are already seeing a massive surge in the number of people – typically young men under the age of 30 – who are seeking treatment for online gambling and pornography addiction, which is exacerbated by 24-hour access through smartphones and other mobile devices.

And while the people he is currently treating at the centre’s residential treatment programme have sought help for gambling and other impulse control disorders, he believes smartphone addiction will be the next wave of illness due to the “mood-altering and compulsive” nature of social media, gaming and other forms of online entertainment.

“It’s not necessarily a young person’s issue,” Mr Cooney told the Sunday Independent.

“Facebook is something that a lot of people are now struggling with, the constant need to stay in touch.”…

85% of children aged 9-12 using Facebook | Irish Examiner

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85% of children aged 9-12 using Facebook | Irish Examiner.

Despite a minimum age limit of 13 years, 85% of nine to 12-year-olds are using social networking website Facebook, causing principals and teachers to have to deal with cyberbullying on an almost daily basis.

Irish anti-bullying service Bully 4U surveyed 1,720 children between nine and 17 years over the course of two months, asking them about their web usage.  One section of the survey asked different age groups whether they were on Facebook and Twitter.

It found that 85% of nine to 12-year-olds were using Facebook and 35% were on Twitter. For 13 to 14-year-olds 97% were on Facebook and 50% were on Twitter. And in the 15 to 17-year-old category, 98% were on Facebook and 55% were on Twitter.

The huge presence of the youngest children surveyed on Facebook was a significant concern for Bully 4U director Jim Harding…

Facebook agrees to help schools tackle cyberbullies

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Facebook agrees to help schools tackle cyberbullies.

A deal was brokered at a meeting between senior Facebook executives and officials at the Department of Education.

Facebook has been under growing pressure after a number of disturbing incidents where students or teachers were targeted on social media sites.

In one case earlier this year,  Facebook repeatedly refused to remove an offensive photograph and text casting a slur on a teacher at the second-level Colaiste Chiarain, Croom, Co Limerick, stating that it did not believe it violated its standards on bullying and harassment.

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