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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Twitter says it does not shadow ban, despite complaints by Republicans

After President Donald Trump accused Twitter of “shadow banning” prominent Republicans, the company denied that it uses the practice, in which someone’s posts are made invisible or undiscoverable without them knowing.

In a blog post titled “Setting the record straight on shadow banning,” Vijaya Gadde and Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s legal and product leads, respectively, were blunt: “We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”

Gadde and Beykpour also addressed recent complaints, which gained more attention after a Vice article, that some accounts did not appear in auto-suggestions even when users searched for them by name. The two said the issue had been resolved and had affected “hundreds of thousands of accounts,” not just those representing certain ideologies. In fact, “most accounts affected had nothing to do with politics at all,” they wrote.

Gadde and Beykpour said that the platform “ranking models take many signals into consideration to best organize tweets for timely relevance.” Twitter’s search engine shows users results from people they find interesting and popular tweets, while ranking lower “tweets from bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate or divide the conversation.”

“Bad-faith actors,” they added, are determined based on how authentic their account appears to be, the actions they take on Twitter and how other users interact with them (for example, how often they are muted, blocked, retweeted or followed).

Gadde and Beykpour said the third criteria may have made it appear that accounts by Republican representatives were being disproportionately affected by the auto-suggestion issue.

“There are communities that try to boost each other’s presence on the platform through coordinated engagement,” they wrote. “We believe these types of actors engaged with the representatives’ accounts– the impact of this coordinated behavior, in combination with our implementation of search auto-suggestions, caused the representatives’ accounts to not show up in auto-suggestions.”

Gadde and Beykpour’s explanation, however, frustrated users on both ends of the political spectrum, who said the company has to do a better job of defining who “bad-faith actors.” Liberals argued (as many have for a long time) that Twitter does not include enough bullies and troll accounts in its definition of “bad-faith actors,” while some conservatives continued to claim that the platform is biased against them.


Source: TechCrunch

Adam Savage reveals his real reason for returning to MythBusters – CNET

More explosions and experiments are on the way.
Source: CNET

Nintendo’s new Labo Vehicle Kit looks like a buggy full of fun

Nintendo has just announced the latest in its Labo series of whimsical cardboard accessories for the Switch gaming console, and this one looks like a must-have. Called the Vehicle Kit for obvious reasons, the flat-pack, assemble-it-yourself add-ons include a steering wheel, gas pedal, “keys” that activate different vehicles, all of which work inside a cool-looking game that comes with.

Frankly this just looks like a humongous bargain. Perhaps the most humongous of all time. $70 gets you a whole fold-up steering assembly with shifters on the sides; a pedal that I really hope stands up to some serious stomping; a joystick for piloting a plane, a weird thing that controls a submarine; and a “key” that your Joy-Con fits into, which itself slots into the various other setups to activate them.

They’re all meant to be used in a game that, despite not having a name, looks insanely cool. It looks like a big island with secrets hidden all over the place that you just tool around in using your buggy, your submarine, and your plane, and whatever other weird vehicles you might come across.

You can race, spray-paint your vehicles, blow up rocks and cut down trees. There’s also a two-player mode where you battle with cars that have extendable arms for some reason. Don’t think too hard about it.

Of course you’ll have to put all this together yourself (I guess either I think kids read TechCrunch or our readers buy Nintendo gear made for kids), but we found Labo to be a delight to assemble and play with so that shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a feature, not a bug.

You’ll be able to buy this kit starting September 14 for $70, which, again, is obviously a steal. If any of us gets their hands on one ahead of that date we’ll definitely let you know.


Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft partners with Black Girls Code to help the organization launch Seattle chapter

Microsoft has partnered with Black Girls Code, led by Kimberly Bryant, to enable the organization to launch a chapter in Seattle, Microsoft announced on LinkedIn today. Since launching in 2011, Black Girls Code has introduced technology and computer science to young black girls in 13 cities throughout the country. Seattle marks Black Girls Code’s 14th chapter.

Microsoft also deepened its partnership with Technology Access Foundation, founded by Trish Millines Dziko. Across both partnerships, Microsoft invested $500,000.

Earlier this year, Black Girls Code teamed up with Lyft — after turning down a $125,000 donation from Uber last year —  to make the non-profit organization one of Lyft’s Round Up & Donate partners.

In a LinkedIn post, Microsoft Corporate VP and Lead Mary Snapp said she hopes the investments will “will help a lot more students find a passion for technology, the opportunity to pursue a STEM education and most importantly believe it is possible for them.

“As Satya has said in the past, Microsoft can only be successful if we have people of all backgrounds building our technology and we cannot build product and services for everyone unless everyone is represented in our engineering ranks,” Snapp wrote.


Source: TechCrunch

Tech companies can bid on the Pentagon’s $10 billion cloud contract, starting today

On Thursday, the Pentagon opened bidding for a huge cloud computing contract that could be worth as much as $10 billion. Given its size, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, known as JEDI, is alluring for major cloud computing companies that might not normally do much business with the Department of Defense.

Announced in March, JEDI is structured as a winner-take-all contract with a potential ten year term, though the Pentagon clarified that the original award will span just the first two years, so all ten years aren’t set in stone up front.

While it’s not yet sparked the same level of outcry as Google’s AI contract with the Pentagon known Project Maven, JEDI isn’t uncontroversial. The now infamous Project Maven project was a smaller, more specific contract with direct implications for the military’s use of drones, while JEDI is broader and bigger, seeking a vendor to provide cloud services for all branches of the military. Google has since abandoned plans to renew the contract, but Maven was likely a kind of test run for the company in the lead-up to JEDI.

While Amazon is largely regarded as the most likely winner, Google, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle are also among the major tech companies expected to throw their hats into the ring. Earlier in the process, it looked possible that companies could band together to form unlikely alliances against the perceived frontrunner, though it appears in the final request for proposal that the Pentagon plans to award the contract to a single company capable of handling it. Interested parties will have until September 17 to submit proposals, so we can certainly expect to hear more from companies in the running and workers who oppose JEDI involvement in the months to come.


Source: TechCrunch

The planets are aligned for a lunar eclipse, blood moon and meteor shower video – CNET

Starting today and all through August, Earthlings will enjoy planetary posturing that includes a Mars opposition, a rare blood moon and the fantastic annual Perseid meteor shower.
Source: CNET

Google Doodle honors chess champion Lyudmila Rudenko, savior of children – CNET

Before becoming the first woman awarded the title of International Master, she helped evacuate stranded children during World War II.
Source: CNET

Fortnite for Android could launch exclusively on Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 – CNET

Reports suggest Fortnite and Samsung will join forces for a timed-exclusive launch on Android.
Source: CNET

How to Watch Friday’s Super-Long Lunar Eclipse Online

This so-called blood moon will be visible from every continent on earth *except* North America.
Source: Wired

Sen. Claire McCaskill targeted in Russian hacking attempt – CNET

A malicious website was designed to trick a staffer into handing over a password.
Source: CNET

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