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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Undercover report shows the Facebook moderation sausage being made

An undercover reporter with the UK’s Channel 4 visited a content moderation outsourcing firm in Dublin and came away rather discouraged at what they saw: queues of flagged content waiting, videos of kids fighting staying online, orders from above not to take action on underage users. It sounds bad, but the truth is there are pretty good reasons for most of it and in the end the report comes off as rather naive.

Not that it’s a bad thing for journalists to keep big companies (and their small contractors) honest, but the situations called out by Channel 4’s reporter seem to reflect a misunderstanding of the moderation process rather than problems with the process itself. I’m not a big Facebook fan, but in the matter of moderation I think they are sincere, if hugely unprepared.

The bullet points raised by the report are all addressed in a letter from Facebook to the filmmakers. The company points out that some content needs to be left up because abhorrent as it is, it isn’t in violation of the company’s stated standards and may be informative; underage users and content has some special requirements but in other ways can’t be assumed to be real; popular pages do need to exist on different terms than small ones, whether they’re radical partisans or celebrities (or both); hate speech is a delicate and complex matter that often needs to be reviewed multiple times; and so on.

The biggest problem doesn’t at all seem to be negligence by Facebook: there are reasons for everything, and as is often the case with moderation, those reasons are often unsatisfying but effective compromises. The problem is that the company has dragged its feet for years on taking responsibility for content and as such its moderation resources are simply overtaxed. The volume of content flagged by both automated processes and users is immense and Facebook hasn’t staffed up. Why do you think it’s outsourcing the work?

By the way, did you know that this is a horrible job?

Facebook in a blog post says that it is working on doubling its “safety and security” staff to 20,000, among which 6,500 will be on moderation duty. I’ve asked what the current number is, and whether that includes people at companies like this one (which has about 650 reviewers) and will update if I hear back.

Even with a staff of thousands the judgments that need to be made are often so subjective, and the volume of content so great, that there will always be backlogs and mistakes. It doesn’t mean anyone should be let off the hook, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate a systematic failure other than, perhaps, a lack of labor.

If people want Facebook to be effectively moderated they may need to accept that the process will be done by thousands of humans who imperfectly execute the task. Automated processes are useful but no replacement for the real thing. The result is a huge international group of moderators, overworked and cynical by profession, doing a messy and at times inadequate job of it.


Source: TechCrunch

Nest CEO steps down after employees pushed for his exit – CNET

The smart home device maker hasn’t had an easy time under Google, including discontent over leadership and a potential sale to Amazon in 2016.
Source: CNET

Google is buying a trans-Atlantic cable, names projects after innovators – CNET

Future Google cables will be named after innovators alphabetically.
Source: CNET

Niantic acquires Seismic Games

Niantic — the company behind Pokémon GO — is back at it with another acquisition.

After acquiring Escher Reality back in February and Matrix Mill back in June, this morning the company announced it’s acquiring Seismic Games.

Seismic Games is probably best known for its work on Marvel: Strike Force, a mobile, turn-based RPG that has players build battle teams made up of all the big names from the Marvel comic universe.

Niantic’s two biggest games of the foreseeable future — Pokémon GO and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite — both rely heavily on licensed IP. So acquiring a team that already has a wealth of experience with licensed IP — specifically, a team that can walk that fine line of building enough new content to keep the players happy without doing something that sets off the IP owners — makes sense.

No terms of the deal were disclosed.


Source: TechCrunch

Netflix reveals new sci-fi titles from comic book creator Mark Millar – CNET

Five movie and TV projects are on the way, including Jupiter’s Legacy, Empress, Huck and Sharkey The Bounty Hunter.
Source: CNET

Kick off Comic-Con 2018 with these 13 epic comic books – CNET

And if you have Amazon Prime, you can read some of them for free. What are you waiting for?
Source: CNET

Nest’s CEO is stepping down

Five months ago, Google decided to rein Nest in. After 4 years as a mostly independent division of the company, Nest was rolled into Google’s hardware team.

Today, more big changes: Nest CEO Marwan Fawaz is stepping down, according to a report by CNET. The reason? Employees at Nest had reportedly been pushing for a change, hoping for someone who had more leadership experience.

This news comes just a little over two years after Fawaz took over the role after the departure of co-founder Tony Fadell.

Fawaz is said to be staying on in an advisory role, with Nest pushing forward under Rishi Chandra, who’s been overseeing most of Google’s hardware efforts (Home, Chromecast, Google WiFi, etc) as VP of Home Products for over 3 years.

So what does all this mean for Nest? Further integrations between Nest’s hardware and Google’s other offerings are likely; in the past few months alone (since Google brought Nest back under its roof) Nest’s cameras have picked up support for Google’s voice-powered “Hey Google” Assistant, and its video doorbell can announce who’s at the door via Google Homes around your house.

As they confirmed to us back in February: the Nest brand itself will continue to live on at Google, and the company isn’t expecting any layoffs.

We’ve reached out to Google and Nest for more details, and will update accordingly if we hear back.


Source: TechCrunch

Sinclair's merger with Tribune is in jeopardy – CNET

The FCC will now likely reject the deal between right-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media. Here’s what you need to know.
Source: CNET

Twitter is holding off on fixing verification policy to focus on election integrity

Twitter is pausing its work on overhauling its verification process, which provides a blue checkmark to public figures, in favor of election integrity, Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour tweeted today. That’s because, as we enter another election season, “updating our verification program isn’t a top priority for us right now (election integrity is),” he wrote on Twitter this afternoon.

Last November, Twitter paused its account verifications as it tried to figure out a way to address confusion around what it means to be verified. That decision came shortly after people criticized Twitter for having verified the account of Jason Keller, the person who organized the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Fast forward to today, and Twitter still verifies accounts “ad hoc when we think it serves the public conversation & is in line with our policy,” Beykpour wrote. “But this has led to frustration b/c our process remains opaque & inconsistent with our intented [sic] pause.”

While Twitter recognizes its job isn’t done, the company is not prioritizing the work at this time — at least for the next few weeks, he said. In an email addressed to Twitter’s health leadership team last week, Beykpour said his team simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to focus on verification “without coming at the cost of other priorities and distracting the team.”

The highest priority, Beykpour said, is election integrity. Specifically, Twitter’s team will be looking at the product “with a specific lens towards the upcoming elections and some of the ‘election integrity’ workstreams we’ve discussed.”

Once that’s done “after ~4 weeks,” he said, the product team will be in a better place to address verification.

 


Source: TechCrunch

Sanidad, ocio y trabajos domésticos: los empleos que escapan de la IA

Frente a quien asegura que la inteligencia artificial no hará más que destruir puestos de trabajo, el ganador del premio Nobel de Economía en 2010, Christopher Pissarides, afirma que los empleos que se destruyan simplemente cambiarán de sector
Source: MIT

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