Internet

Tue
02
Apr
John Lister's picture

Facebook's News Feed to be a bit Less Mysterious

Facebook is to tell users why a particular post has appeared in their news feed. However, it won't be telling the full story. One of the most controversial elements of Facebook is its news feed algorithm, which is responsible for showing 'news' from ... friends when a user logs into Facebook. At one point, this simply consisted of everything the user's friends had posted or shared in chronological order. This arguably became impractical, as both the number of users and the range of content users could share or otherwise interact with had rocketed. The argument is that the sheer amount of content ... (view more)

Thu
21
Mar
John Lister's picture

Firefox Finally Blocks Autoplay Videos

Firefox is to stop websites from playing videos automatically when a user visits a page. By default, autoplay will only be allowed if the sound is muted. The move by developers Mozilla is designed to tackle the problem of unwanted noise when ... somebody is simply expecting to read an article. This is a particular problem with sites that carry video ads or news sites that automatically play a video report, even if it isn't related to the story the user was expecting to read. The new default takes effect in version 66 of Firefox, which is getting a public release this week. The videos will still ... (view more)

Thu
14
Mar
John Lister's picture

Web Creator Fears Dysfunctional Future

The creator of the World Wide Web (WWW) says it faces a "downward plunge to a dysfunctional future." Sir Tim Berners-Lee said many of its problems were unintended consequences. Berners-Lee spoke to mark the 30th anniversary of him submitting a ... proposal to his managers at European science group CERN for a way to organize data. That technology, based on hyperlinked text, became the World Wide Web. In turn, that helped shape the Internet into something used worldwide by ordinary people. (Source: bbc.co.uk ) Writing an open letter, Berners-Lee noted that the web is now "a public square, a library ... (view more)

Mon
04
Mar
John Lister's picture

Online Chat Tool Charges a Penny Per Character

A new online chat service costs one cent for every character in a message. It appears to be both a business idea and a social experiment. The site has the straightforward name called "Expensive Chat," and has the equally to-the-point description of ... "Spend money to chat with strangers who spend money to chat with strangers." Users can register to pay with their bank card or through third-party payment site "Stripe." Once they are setup, every time they write a message, they'll see a reminder of the price based on its length. They'll have to confirm the message and their willingness ... (view more)

Wed
27
Feb
John Lister's picture

YouTube Kids Videos Give Suicide Tips

Some videos on YouTube's Kids app contain instructions on how to commit suicide. It casts serious doubt on YouTube's claims to "curate" the content available to children. YouTube Kids is a dedicated app for mobile devices and smart televisions. The ... content it hosts is also available at a dedicated website. YouTube describes the service as being a "fun, family-friendly place for children and families." The app is designed to be easy to use, even for young children. Although parents can create individual accounts for each child which learn their viewing tastes and make ... (view more)

Wed
13
Feb
John Lister's picture

Russia May Cut Itself Off From Internet

Russia may briefly disconnect from the Internet as a cyber-defense exercise. It's being billed as an attempt to see if the country could keep the benefits of the Internet without having to interact with the rest of the world, though critics suggest ... it is nothing more than political censorship. Russian officials are said to fear that other countries may be taking measures to block its country from the Internet. On paper there does not appear to be any such proposals, though NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has threatened some form of sanctions over alleged cyber attacks by Russia ... (view more)

Tue
05
Feb
John Lister's picture

Facebook Fake News Fact-checkers Call it Quits

Two organizations hired by Facebook to check facts in news articles have pulled out of the deals. The Associated Press (AP) and Snopes are both being somewhat vague about exactly why they are stopping the work. While financial considerations may be ... the cause, third-party reports suggest the organizations were upset with the way Facebook handled their fact-checking operations. The two groups were among the most high-profile of what Facebook says is 34 organizations checking facts across 16 languages. According to the BBC, the AP and Snopes withdrawal means only two organizations in the US are ... (view more)

Thu
24
Jan
John Lister's picture

WhatsApp Restricts Message Forwarding to Combat Fake News

A messaging service owned by Facebook is purposely limiting the amount of times users can forward a message. It's an attempt to slow the spread of false information. The change to WhatsApp follows a six month trial in India sparked off by several ... cases where bogus stories led to lynch mobs. WhatsApp lets users send text messages, video, images and documents. One of its core functions is a group system that lets a set of friends, family members, work colleagues or people with a share interest send a single message that reaches everyone in the group. The maximum group size is 256. One Message ... (view more)

Wed
02
Jan
John Lister's picture

Mozilla Accused of Running Ads On Firefox

Mozilla says a promotional message that appeared on Firefox's "new tab" page was not a paid ad. It says it was instead an experiment. A "new tab" page appears when the user either presses CTRL +T on the keyboard, or clicks the tab with a plus sign ... to start a new browser tab. The message appeared at the bottom of the screen on the new tab page and offered a $20 Amazon gift card to users who clicked on a link and then reserved a hotel room on Booking.com. It's reminiscent of a few years back when the new tab page was made up of several tiles, mostly linking to some of the ... (view more)

Tue
01
Jan
John Lister's picture

Apps Share Data With Facebook, Even if No FB Account

20 popular Android apps are sharing user data with Facebook without permission, according to a new report. Privacy International says the data sharing happens even if the user doesn't have a Facebook account. The organization tested 34 apps, each of ... which have been installed at least 10 million times on Android devices. It looked at data that was transmitted through the Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK). The kit is a set of tools that are designed to help app developers coordinate their apps with the Facebook system. This is more commonly associated with retrieving data from ... (view more)

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