Weekly Mozilla News Beat, November 20, 2020
A Purrfect App
“Feed me!” “Let me outside!” “Feed me again!” — All things your cat has been saying to you but you probably haven’t realized. A new smartphone app hopes to change that. MeowTalk will match your cats sounds to assumed “intents” that all cats share. Letting you finally understand what Whiskers is saying.
We always knew when news of a COVID-19 vaccine hit the web, vaccine misinformation would arrive right there along with it. Now companies are responding. YouTube will continue placing information panels beneath videos and searches about COVID-19 but will now add info from the U.S. Center for Disease Control about vaccine progress.
SMH (Social Media Hearing)
Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and their very polarizing hair choices returned to the U.S. Congress this week. Topics discussed included content moderation on Facebook/Twitter, increased tech industry regulation, perceived censorship, and the companies’ plans on handling Trump after inauguration day.
Amazon has disrupted bookstores, groceries and online retail as a whole. Now the company is moving onto pharmaceuticals. As of Tuesday, Amazon will fulfill prescriptions, with medication shipped out to customers in two days if they have Amazon Prime.
Send The Fleet
Twitter has begun to launch Fleets, or tweets that expire after 24 hours (because everything is Snapchat now). Some worry about the feature’s harassment potential. Malicious users, for example, could direct their followers to harass someone and the target would be unable to pinpoint the source. Fleets also don’t adhere to block settings.
Do You Even Moderate, Bro?
Groups on Facebook are sharing racist and misogynistic content about incoming U.S. Vice President, Kamala Harris. Three groups in particular that regularly post hateful content weren’t banned by Facebook until the BBC reached out to the company about it. The situation calls into question Facebook’s ability to properly moderate content.
Fake Photos, Real Abuse
Telegram still has not banned an AI bot that is used to make deepfake nude photos of women. Now, regulators in Italy are investigating the situation, joining Israel, the U.S. and South Korea who have also looked into the problem. The bot’s been banned on Telegram for iOS but remains available on Android and the Mac.
In a report from Vice’s Motherboard this week, the publication learned that the U.S. military has been buying location data from seemingly innoucuous sources, including a popular Muslim prayer app Muslim Pro. Terrible.
Would you risk your life for your job? According to content moderators who work for Facebook, they’re being forced to. In a letter to Zuckerberg and the content moderation companies they work for, workers noted the risks of being forced to come into the office during a global pandemic. Meanwhile, they say, Zuck’s wealth has doubled since the pandemic’s start.
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