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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Snopes and AP leave Facebook fact-checking partnership

Two of Facebook’s four fact-checking partners in the U.S. have left the program as of the beginning of this year: Snopes, which recently rebuffed reports that its relationship with Facebook was strained, and the Associated Press. Both confirmed they are leaving the program, but left the possibility of future collaboration open.

Snopes joined Facebook’s group of third-party fact checkers in 2016, at first volunteering its services and the next year accepting a lump $100,000 payment for their work. But the company said in a statement that it’s rethinking providing services like this at all.

At this time we are evaluating the ramifications and costs of providing third-party fact-checking services, and we want to determine with certainty that our efforts to aid any particular platform are a net positive for our online community, publication, and staff.

Mikkelson added in a statement to TechCrunch that “we felt that the Facebook fact check partnership wasn’t working well for us as an organization.” I’ve asked Facebook for comment.

The news comes hot on the heels of a recent article in the Guardian by former Snopes employees who described the partnership as being “in disarray.”

But Snopes founder David Mikkelson strongly disagreed with that characterization, and the suggestion that Facebook had been interfering with or otherwise unduly influencing the fact-checking program. He described the work as “literally just data entry,” and said that Facebook never told them what they should check, with a handful of exceptions like bringing high-profile hoaxes to checkers’ attention during the 2018 election.

In fact Mikkelson said that the main problem was a lack of engagement from Facebook. The tools, he said, were rudimentary, and checkers were limited in the number of articles they could evaluate. Meanwhile the effect of the fact-checking program was poorly communicated both to partners and users. Was it working? How well? In what way? What changes are being made, if any, to the algorithms and systems involved?

In comments to Poynter, Snopes VP of operations Danny Green said the process needed to be improved:

With a manual system and a closed system — it’s impossible to keep on top of that stuff… It doesn’t seem like we’re striving to make third-party fact checking more practical for publishers — it seems like we’re striving to make it easier for Facebook. At some point, we need to put our foot down and say, ‘No. You need to build an API.’

This surely formed at least part of the reason why Snopes declined to renew its yearly contract with Facebook. It seems to be a coincidence that the announcement came shortly after yet another bad week for the latter; the contracts seem to be for calendar years so the decision not to rejoin would have been made some time ago.

It’s not the only U.S. fact checker leaving the partnership. The Associated Press confirmed to TechCrunch that it too is “not currently doing fact-checking work for Facebook.” In a statement, the news organization said that it “constantly evaluates how to best deploy its fact-checking resources, and that includes ongoing conversations with Facebook about opportunities to do important fact-checking work on its platform.”

The AP representative did not elaborate on the reasons for its decision.

Politifact confirmed it is staying with the program; I’ve also asked Factcheck.org (the fourth U.S. fact-checker) and the AFP, which is a partner in multiple countries. I’ll update this post if I hear back.


Source: TechCrunch

Galaxy S10E leaked photos may reveal Samsung's iPhone XR rival – CNET

This one doesn’t fold, but still looks pretty slick.
Source: CNET

What's streaming in February 2019 video – CNET

Ray Romano performs in his first comedy special in 23 years, Won’t You Be My Neighbor premieres on HBO Now, and a whole lot more is going online.
Source: CNET

Net neutrality goes to court – CNET

Internet companies and state attorneys general are taking on the FCC and Ajit Pai.
Source: CNET

Net neutrality could be saved by a technicality video – CNET

CNET’s Maggie Reardon helps break down the latest saga in the fight for net neutrality. The fate of the law may lie in technical arguments made in front of a three-judge panel at a Court of Appeals.
Source: CNET

This light-powered 3D printer materializes objects all at once

3D printing has changed the way people approach hardware design, but most printers share a basic limitation: they essentially build objects layer by layer, generally from the bottom up. This new system from UC Berkeley, however, builds them all at once, more or less, by projecting a video through a jar of light-sensitive resin.

The device, which its creators call the replicator (but shouldn’t, because that’s a MakerBot trademark), is mechanically quite simple. It’s hard to explain it better than Berkeley’s Hayden Taylor, who led the research:

Basically, you’ve got an off-the-shelf video projector, which I literally brought in from home, and then you plug it into a laptop and use it to project a series of computed images, while a motor turns a cylinder that has a 3D-printing resin in it.

Obviously there are a lot of subtleties to it — how you formulate the resin, and, above all, how you compute the images that are going to be projected, but the barrier to creating a very simple version of this tool is not that high.

Using light to print isn’t new — many devices out there use lasers or other forms of emitted light to cause material to harden in desired patterns. But they still do things one thin layer at a time. Researchers did demonstrate a “holographic” printing method a bit like this using intersecting beams of light, but it’s much more complex. (In fact, Berkeley worked with Lawrence Livermore on this project.)

In Taylor’s device, the object to be recreated is scanned first in such a way that it can be divided into slices, a bit like a CT scanner — which is in fact the technology that sparked the team’s imagination in the first place.

By projecting light into the resin as it revolves, the material for the entire object is resolved more or less at once, or at least over a series of brief revolutions rather than hundreds or thousands of individual drawing movements.

This has a number of benefits besides speed. Objects come out smooth — if a bit crude in this prototype stage — and they can have features and cavities that other 3D printers struggle to create. The resin can even cure around an existing object, as they demonstrate by manifesting a handle around a screwdriver shaft.

Naturally, different materials and colors can be swapped in, and the uncured resin is totally reusable. It’ll be some time before it can be used at scale or at the level of precision traditional printers now achieve, but the advantages are compelling enough that it will almost certainly be pursued in parallel with other techniques.

The paper describing the new technique was published this week in the journal Science.


Source: TechCrunch

Space Photos of the Week: Look, Ma, No Selfie Stick!

The Curiosity rover is a social-media champ, and more.
Source: Wired

Samsung's foldable phone may have been revealed in leaked teaser – CNET

Its Vietnam branch reportedly posted and removed a conceptual video meant for the Unpacked event.
Source: CNET

LittleBits lays off employees as it shifts focus toward education

New York City open-source maker startup LittleBits began to lay off staff last month, TechCrunch has learned. The loss of jobs comes as the company looks to shift more focus toward the K-12 market.

Education-specific offerings have been lucrative for the company in its eight-year existence, but recent products have found the company embracing licensed products, courtesy of its involvement with Disney’s hardware accelerator.

LittleBits confirmed the layoffs as part of an internal restructuring, in a statement offered to TechCrunch.

“The true potential that littleBits provides teachers, parents, and the children is far beyond your standard ‘off the shelf’ gift or toy. In order to have the greatest impact in shaping the next generation of Changemakers, we are prioritizing our business around the K-12 education market,” the company says. “As you can imagine, the education market’s needs are vastly different than that of retail. Given this, we had to re-shape our internal structure, which ultimately led to a reduction in staff.”

It has yet to offer a specific number, but TechCrunch believes the number to be around 15. Not huge in the grand scheme of things, but no doubt a hit to a staff of this size, which numbered around 100, after its acquisition of DIY Co, last summer. That acquisition, LittleBits’ first, will no doubt play a role in the restructuring, going forward.

It’s hard not to see echoes of the difficult decision Sphero made roughly this time last year. The robotics startup went all-in on licensed Disney brands like Star Wars and Marvel, but ultimately pivoted to an education-only focus, after a disappointing holiday season. Education, on the other hand, can prove a lucrative and stable path forward, as schools and districts tend to buy products in bulk. 

Another thing both Sphero and LittleBits have in common is a knack for truly innovative tech products that could do extremely well in the educational space with the right positioning.


Source: TechCrunch

Ditch the Super Bowl for a Who's Who of Superb Owls

Great gray owls! Great horned owls! There are many great—nay, superb—owl livestreams to enjoy on Sunday … or whenever you’d like to see some head turners.
Source: Wired

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