Internet

Wed
11
May
John Lister's picture

Facebook 'Trending News' Accused of Political Bias

Facebook has rejected claims that its staff manually 'suppressed' conservative-slanted news stories in its trending topics feature. That hasn't satisfied a Senate committee which has now demanded more information about how the feature works. The ... feature is the list of news articles that appears on the Facebook web page when users are logged in. It's presented as a list of the news topics and stories that users are most sharing and talking about on the site, with the impression being that its a purely objective ranking based on raw numbers. Trending Topics is separate to the ... (view more)

Tue
05
Apr
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Broadband Pricing to be Clearer, using 'Labels'

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has unveiled a standardized way for broadband providers to give details on pricing and other contract terms. The "consumer broadband labels" resemble, and are based on, the nutritional information labels ... seen on packaged food. The labels were developed with the input of both broadband providers and consumer groups. Although providers won't legally be required to use the labels, it is very much in their interests to do so. Companies which do use the labels will, assuming they have been honest and accurate with the information, ... (view more)

Tue
08
Mar
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Verizon Fined for Secretive Use of 'Super Cookies'

Verizon has agreed to pay a fine of $1.35 million for its use of controversial "super cookies." The files, which are solely used to track its own users, were set up in a way that made them difficult if not impossible to delete. Cookies are small ... text files placed on a user's computer by a website. In many cases, cookies have a perfectly legitimate use of identifying a visitor, even if the site doesn't have a login or registration system. Examples of such user might include a weather site automatically delivering a forecast for the user's preferred location, or a sports ... (view more)

Wed
02
Mar
John Lister's picture

Critics Say Kids Search Engine Too Judgmental

A search engine designed specifically for children has caused controversy, thanks to its filters. Critics say the creators are wrong in their choice of "bad words" to block. The site, named "Kiddle," takes several steps to make itself suitable for ... children. For example, it deletes its entire logs of user searches once every 24 hours and doesn't store any personal details. Of course, this also means it can't refine results like Google does. For example, the search engine won't automatically learn if a user searching for "football results" wants to know ... (view more)

Thu
18
Feb
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Outlook Web Email Gets Overhaul

Microsoft has started rolling out a revamped Outlook.com, its email web portal. The service now includes a variety of tools, including some from other companies, designed to make email easier and more productive. Outlook.com takes Microsoft's ... existing email software and turns it into a web service, meaning that you can get your messages by visiting a website in a browser rather than the traditional (if now seen as outdated) method of using a separate application. Filtering And Searching Improved Among the key features is "Clutter." It's Microsoft's take on a filter for ... (view more)

Tue
09
Feb
John Lister's picture

Facebook's Free Internet Service Banned in India

The Indian government has banned Facebook from offering free Internet access in the country. Officials said the program breached net neutrality principles by favoring some sites over others. Since 2013, Facebook has offered a service called Free ... Basics in some nations where Internet access is unaffordable to large parts of the population. Most of these countries are in Africa and the Indian subcontinent. The service, offered in partnership with cellphone operators, gives users free access to data usage on a smart phone, which for many users will be their primary or only way of getting online ... (view more)

Thu
04
Feb
John Lister's picture

Facebook Targets Clickbait with News Feed Update

Facebook is making yet another change to the way it shows content on a user's home page. The tweaks are designed to better reflect what people actually think of the content. The changes will affect the News Feed, which displays user posts in an ... order based on an 'importance', determined by Facebook's algorithm. Prior to the News Feed, posts were shown in chronological order. Facebook concluded that viewing posts in chronological order was simply unworkable, due to the sheer volume of content posted in a day. In some cases, users could potentially see 1,500 posts a day. (Source: techcrunch.com ... (view more)

Tue
26
Jan
John Lister's picture

Malicious Website Crashes Smartphones, Slows PCs

Computer and mobile device owners have been warned to carefully review links before clicking on them, after the creation of a website that can either slow down or crash smart phones completely. The site in question uses a simple but effective ... technique to cause the problem. The site's web address is simply the words "crash" and "safari" next to one another (with no space in between), and is a "dot com" domain name. Trouble-makers online have been spreading links to the problematic site through email and social media. It's worth checking links carefully as ... (view more)

Tue
22
Dec
John Lister's picture

More Americans Now Using Smartphones vs Broadband

The proportion of Americans with a broadband connection (such as cable or DSL) at home has dropped for the first time. The surprise trend appears to be down to cost and people using smartphones as their main way to get online. The revelation comes ... from the Pew Research Center, which regularly surveys the public on tech and communications issues. It found the percentage of people who say they have broadband at home is now 67 percent, down from 70 percent in 2013. (Source: pewinternet.org ) Broadband Use Falling Across The Board While that could be a statistical quirk, it's borne out by the ... (view more)

Wed
16
Dec
John Lister's picture

Facebook Rethinks 'Real Name' Policy

Facebook is testing a change to its policy requiring people to use their real name on the site. The idea is to keep the principle of accountability while dealing with some practical issues. The site has always had a policy that users must operate ... with "the name their friends and family know them by." The idea is that it makes users accountable for what they say in posts and messages, and thus helps to stop people hiding behind anonymity. The policy often causes criticism. Some people disagree with the idea of having to be identifiable on the site. Writing in a blog post this week, ... (view more)

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