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Facebook updates News Feed to reduce spam, fake news

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NEWS FEED

San Francisco, July 1: In yet another move to cut down on low-quality content and fake news in News Feed, Facebook is updating its algorithm again to remove such content from its platform.

A Facebook research found that there is a tiny group of people who routinely share vast amounts of public posts per day, effectively spamming people’s feeds.

“Our research further shows that the links they share tend to include low-quality content such as clickbait, sensationalism, and misinformation,” said Adam Mosseri, Vice President, News Feed, in a blog post late on Friday.

“We are making an update to help reduce low-quality links in News Feed. We are always working to improve people’s experience in News Feed by showing more stories that we think people will find informative and entertaining,” Mosseri added.

Facebook has been working to improve people’s experience in News Feed by showing more stories that it thinks they will find informative and entertaining.

“As a result, we want to reduce the influence of these spammers and deprioritise the links they share more frequently than regular sharers,” the post added.

The new update is part of Facebook’s efforts to tackle fake news in News Feed.

“This update will only apply to links, such as an individual article, not to domains, Pages, videos, photos, check-ins or status updates,” the post said.

Most publishers won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed after this update.

“Publishers that get meaningful distribution from people who routinely share vast amounts of public posts per day may see a reduction in the distribution of those specific links,” Mosseri said.

“Publishers should keep in mind basic guideposts to reach their audience on Facebook and continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences and that their readers find informative,” he added.

IANS

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Idea offers Rs 2k cashback on 4G smartphones

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Idea

Mumbai, Feb 22: Telecom operator Idea Cellular on Thursday said it has offered a cashback of Rs 2,000 on the purchase of a new 4G smartphone of any brand with effect from February 23.

The cellular operator said the offer is applicable to both prepaid and postpaid customers.

“The focus is on upgrading the customer to 4G by making 4G handsets more affordable. We are targeting this communication to all customers intending to buy a new 4G smartphone,” Sashi Shankar, Chief Marketing Officer, Idea Cellular, said in a statement.

IANS

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Former engineer sues Google over discrimination

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San Francisco, Feb 22: A former employee has sued Google for “discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination”, alleging that the company fired him over writing pro-diversity internal posts.

According to a report in Gizmodo late Wednesday, Tim Chevalier, a software developer and former site-reliability engineer at Google, was fired in November 2017 after he made several internal posts against racism and sexism.

Chevalier had responded to the anti-diversity memo written by James Damore, another employee who was ousted from the company last year for criticising the tech giant for its diversity policy.

“Chevalier, who is transgender, queer and disabled, alleges that Google failed to protect its female, minority, and LGBTQ employees from harassment on internal forums… but was quick to crack down on those employees when they spoke out about their experiences with racism, sexism, and homophobia at work,” Gizmodo reported.

In a statement to The Verge, Chevalier said: “It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers.”

In a recent ruling, the US National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) shot down Damorea¿s complaint, saying that Google did not violate labour laws when it fired him.

An NLRB lawyer said Google fired the computer engineer not for expressing dissenting views or criticism, but over “unprotected discriminatory statements” in his memo, which he had posted to internal discussion forums at the tech giant.

In his lawsuit filed in a California court, Damore said that Google “ostracised, belittled and punished” him and a fellow plaintiff.

Chevalier’s posts were also quoted in Damore’s lawsuit against Google.

According to Google, the company was enforcing its policy against the promotion of harmful stereotypes.

“An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace, that doesn’t mean anything goes. All employees acknowledge our code of conduct and other workplace policies, under which promoting harmful stereotypes based on race or gender is prohibited,” Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano said in a statement.

IANS

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India 7th most targeted nation for Web Application Attacks: Report

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Bengaluru, Feb 21: Nearly 40 per cent of over 53,000 cyber attacks in India occurred in the financial services sector during 2017, placing it at the seventh spot in the list of targeted countries for Web Application Attacks (WAA), a new report said on Wednesday.

Security incidents like phishing, website intrusions and defacements, virus and ransomware targeted the rapidly growing of the Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) sector in India, warranting a robust infrastructure and planned roadmap for cybersecurity, said the report from content delivery network services Akamai Technologies.

“A key motive of attackers has always been financial profit. In the past few years, we have seen adversaries move to more direct methods to achieve that goal such as ransomware,” noted Martin McKeay, Senior Security Advocate at Akamai.

“Crypto-mining offers attackers the most direct avenue to monetise efforts by putting money immediately into their cryptowallets,” McKeay added.

The report, titled “Akamai State of the Internet Security Q4 2017,” also stated that the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack frequency in the BFSI sector increased by 50 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 over the last quarter.

It also placed India seventh in the list of the top source countries for WAA.

“While India maintained the same position in the third quarter last year, it is interesting to note that the attacks sourced have seen a drop of approximately four million in number as compared to last quarter,” the report said.

The newly-released data that analysed more than 7.3 trillion bot requests per month found a sharp increase in the threat of credential abuse, with more than 40 per cent of login attempts being malicious.

This indicates that DDoS attacks remain a consistent threat and the Mirai botnet is still capable of strong bursts of activity.

Akamai’s findings also confirmed that the total number of DDoS attacks last quarter increased 14 per cent from the same time last year.

“The hospitality industry suffered as the biggest target of fraudulent credential attacks, with 82 per cent of their login attempts being from malicious botnets, the report said.

The financial industry saw a sharp increase in the number of DDoS attacks, experiencing 298 DDoS attacks against 37 distinct organisations last quarter.

There was a 31 per cent increase in DDoS attacks sourcing from the US last quarter compared to the same timeframe in 2017, the report said.

With Inputs from IANS

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