Wednesday, March 3News That Matters

TECHNOLOGY

Google, researchers launch data platform to tackle COVID-19

Google, researchers launch data platform to tackle COVID-19

TECHNOLOGY
Emma Ihedirionye Google.org has joined hands with a consortium of COVID-19 researchers to launch Global.health, an open-access epidemiological data platform that enables experts to track disease spread in real-time and to forecast future outbreaks, informing effective government and public response. The company said in a statement issued on Monday that the data platform was created to leverage anonymised data from open access authoritative public health sources to track disease progression. Google.org Research Fellow, Kernie Obimakinde, noted that though data were a vital tool in understanding and fighting disease, upholding data privacy was also a critical aspect in the design of Global.health
Facebook Pledges $1 Bn In News Investments Over 3 Years

Facebook Pledges $1 Bn In News Investments Over 3 Years

TECHNOLOGY
Facebook on Wednesday pledged to invest at least $1 billion to support journalism over the next three years as the social media giant defended its handling of a dispute with Australia over payments to media organizations. Nick Clegg, head of global affairs, said in a statement that the company is willing to support news media while reiterating its concerns over mandated payments. “Facebook is more than willing to partner with news publishers,” Clegg said after Facebook restored news links as part of a compromise with Australian officials. “We absolutely recognize quality journalism is at the heart of how open societies function — informing and empowering citizens and holding the powerful to account.”
Spotify Launches In Nigeria, Ghana

Spotify Launches In Nigeria, Ghana

TECHNOLOGY
Gbenga Folarin International music streaming giant, Spotify, has expanded its operation into more than 80 new markets around the world, including Nigeria and Ghana. Spotify “is embarking on a sweeping expansion that will introduce the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service available to more than a billion people in 80+ new markets around the world, and add 36 languages to our platform,” a company statement said on Monday. “These moves represent Spotify’s broadest market expansion to date.” The Swedish company enters a Nigerian music streaming market which boasts of services such as Apple Music, Boomplay, and YouTube Music. Spotify was one of the trending terms on Nigerian Twitter, as of Tuesday evening, as major artists began to promote their songs on...
Facebook To Restore Australia News, Pay Media Companies

Facebook To Restore Australia News, Pay Media Companies

TECHNOLOGY
Facebook said Tuesday it will lift a contentious ban on Australian news and pay local media companies for content, after a last-gasp deal on pending landmark legislation. Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a face-saving compromise that will see Google and Facebook plunge tens of millions of dollars into the struggling local news sector. In return, the US digital firms will, for now, avoid being subjected to mandatory payments that could cost them vastly more and create what they see as an alarming global precedent. Just hours after the compromise was unveiled, Facebook announced its first proposed deal with an Australian media company, Seven West, and was said to be pursuing commercial deals with other local news organizations. The company is expecte...
Google To Resume Political Ads, Easing Ban Imposed Last Month

Google To Resume Political Ads, Easing Ban Imposed Last Month

TECHNOLOGY
Google said Monday it would lift its ban on political ads on its platform imposed last month following the turmoil surrounding the violent uprising at the US Capitol. A Google statement to AFP said the internet giant would from Wednesday lift the ban which was ordered to comply with its “sensitive events” policy. “We will continue to rigorously enforce our ads policies, which strictly prohibit demonstrably false information that could significantly undermine trust in elections or the democratic process,” the statement said. The prohibition ordered January 13 notably blocked any ads which sought to undermine the credibility of the US presidential election ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration. The internet giant said at the time it was pausing all political ads along with ads r...
Facebook Rolls Out News Feeds With Less Politics

Facebook Rolls Out News Feeds With Less Politics

TECHNOLOGY
Facebook said Wednesday it began rolling out news feeds with less political subject matter in line with a plan outlined by chief Mark Zuckerberg to reduce inflammatory content. The leading social network said it would begin testing the change “for a small percentage of people” in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia this week, and the United States in the coming weeks. “During these initial tests we’ll explore a variety of ways to rank political content in people’s feeds using different signals, and then decide on the approaches we’ll use going forward,” product management director Aastha Gupta said. The change won’t affect information about the Covid-19 pandemic and content from global health organizations or from official government agencies. “As Mark Zuckerberg mentio...
Facebook Ramps Up Efforts To Curb COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation

Facebook Ramps Up Efforts To Curb COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation

TECHNOLOGY
Facebook on Monday said it is ramping up efforts to stem the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, spread facts, and figure out who might be wary of getting the jab. The move includes banning groups that repeatedly spread misinformation and debunked claims about the virus and vaccines in general. Facebook has been highlighting health advice from reliable agencies and removing COVID-19 misinformation for months and on Monday expanded that initiative. Facebook also says that it is consulting with health organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), to expand the list of false claims that it will remove to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines. Facebook wrote in the blog post: “Today, following consultations with lea...
Amazon’s Bezos, Latest Tycoon To Pursue His ‘Passions

Amazon’s Bezos, Latest Tycoon To Pursue His ‘Passions

TECHNOLOGY
Bill Gates set out to heal the world. His Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen bought sports teams. Ted Turner raced yachts. And Donald Trump went into politics. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, plans to build rockets and save the planet. Bezos, 57, is the latest in a line of corporate titans who have stepped away from their day jobs to devote themselves to other activities. Bezos, whose net worth is $197 billion according to Forbes magazine, announced on Tuesday he was resigning as chief executive officer of the online retail giant he launched 27 years ago. He said he would remain executive chairman of Amazon but would devote more time to “passions” such as his private space firm Blue Origin and the Bezos Earth Fund, to which he made a $10 billion donat...
Twitter Flags Turkish Minister’s ‘Hateful’ LGBT Posts

Twitter Flags Turkish Minister’s ‘Hateful’ LGBT Posts

TECHNOLOGY
Twitter on Tuesday slapped a second “hateful conduct” warning in just days on a message from Turkey’s interior minister condemning the LGBT community’s role in month-long student protests. Turkey has been hit by weeks of rallies across major campuses against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s appointment of a loyalist to head Istanbul’s prestigious Bogazici University at the start of the year. Police detained 159 students after storming a protest staged inside the fenced-off campus on Monday night. AFP reporters saw plain clothes police make more arrests as students tried to march along a central street in the capital Ankara on Tuesday. The standoff over the rector gained a new dimension when someone hung a poster near his office depicting Islam’s holiest site with pictures ...
Facebook to prompt users about personalised ads ahead Apple’s privacy changes

Facebook to prompt users about personalised ads ahead Apple’s privacy changes

TECHNOLOGY
Emma Ihedirionye Loss of privacy to social media platforms is at the heart of debates today on communication technologies and how these are changing how people live, work and love, tech giants are responding to these concerns. Facebook Inc said in a blog post Monday it will begin rolling out a notification for iPhone users globally about how data is used for personalised ads, in an attempt to get ahead of upcoming Apple Inc privacy changes that Facebook says will hurt its advertising business, according to a Reuters report.