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YouTube continues to push dangerous videos to users susceptible to extremism, white supremacy, report finds

Google’s YouTube is still recommending extremist and white supremacist videos to viewers already susceptible to racial hatred a new report found.

Though the nation’s most popular social media platform has removed large amounts of extremist content under political pressure, exposure to harmful videos is still common, and users who view extremist videos are still being recommended new clips in the same vein, according to a national study that ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) released Friday, an advance copy of which was shared exclusively with USA TODAY.

One in 10 study participants viewed at least one video from an extremist channel and 2 in 10 viewed at least one video from an “alternative” channel, according to the study, which examined the viewing habits of 915 respondents. The study’s authors defined extremist and alternative by drawing from published research on online radicalization.
Google’s YouTube is still recommending extremist and white supremacist videos to viewers already susceptible to racial hatred a new report found.

Though the nation’s most popular social media platform has removed large amounts of extremist content under political pressure, exposure to harmful videos is still common, and users who view extremist videos are still being recommended new clips in the same vein, according to a national study that ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) released Friday, an advance copy of which was shared exclusively with USA TODAY.

One in 10 study participants viewed at least one video from an extremist channel and 2 in 10 viewed at least one video from an “alternative” channel, according to the study, which examined the viewing habits of 915 respondents. The study’s authors defined extremist and alternative by drawing from published research on online radicalization.

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The mainculprit? YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. When users watched these videos, they were more likely to see and follow recommendations to similar videos, the study found.

The researchers discovered, for example, that users who already viewed extremist videos on YouTube were recommended other extremist videos to watch almost 30% of the time.

People who aren’t already watching extremist YouTube videos were very unlikely to be channeled toward that type of content, showing that some of the company’s efforts to limit hate speech are working. Recommendations to potentially harmful videos after viewing other types of videos was also rare.

The ADL says the findings underscore the need for platforms to remove violent extremist groups and content that fuel real-world violence like the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol.

“Despite the recent changes that YouTube has made, our findings indicate that far too many people are still being exposed to extremist ideas on the platform,” Brendan Nyhan, a report author and professor of government at Dartmouth College, said in a statement.

“We welcome more research on this front, but views this type of content get from recommendations has dropped by over 70% in the U.S., and as other researchers have noted, our systems often point to authoritative content,” YouTube spokesman Alex Joseph said in a statement.

Still, experts say YouTube could do much more.

“The fact is that they have not solved this and they’re still serving up more and more extremist content to people who are already consuming extremist content, which is a problem,” said Bridget Todd, a writer and host of the podcast “There are No Girls on the Internet.” “What they really need to do is get serious about keeping this kind of stuff off their platform, and really doing some work on how they can keep from further radicalizing people on YouTube.”

‘Red pill’ moment often on YouTube

For years, study after study has shown that YouTube serves as a megaphone for white supremacists and other hate groups and a pipeline for recruits.

YouTube says it has vastly reduced views of supremacist videos and continues to develop countermeasures against hate speech.

“We have clear policies that prohibit hate speech and harassment on YouTube and terminated over 235,000 channels in the last quarter for violating those policies,” YouTube’s Joseph said. “Beyond removing content, since 2019 we’ve also limited the reach of content that does not violate our policies but brushes up against the line, by making sure our systems are not widely recommending it to those not seeking it.”

But why it has taken one of the world’s largest companies so long to react to the growing problem of homegrown extremism perplexes researchers.

“When you talk to folks who were in the (white supremacist) movement, or when you read in the chat rooms these people talk in, it’s almost all about YouTube,” Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University who studies online extremism, told USA TODAY in December.

“Their ‘red pill’ moment is almost always on YouTube,” Squire said, referring to a term popular with the far right to describe when people suddenly realize white supremacists and other conspiracy theorists have been correct all along.

In 2019, a group of academic researchers from Brazil and Europe published a groundbreaking study that examined radicalization on YouTube.

By analyzing more than 72 million YouTube comments, the researchers were able to track users and observe them migrating to more hateful content on the platform. They concluded that the long-hypothesized “radicalization pipeline” on YouTube exists, and its algorithm speeded up radicalization.

However, another academic study concluded that while extremist “echo chambers” exist on YouTube, there was no evidence they were being caused by the platform’s recommendation.

YouTube made changes after outcry

For years, YouTube executives ignored staff’s warnings that its recommendation feature, which aimed to boost time people spend online and generate more advertising revenue, ignited the spread of extremist content, according to published reports.

After an outcry from advertisers in 2017, YouTube banned ads from appearing alongside content that promotes hate or discrimination or disparages protected groups.

YouTube limited recommendations on those videos and disabled features such as commenting and sharing. But it didn’t remove them. The company said the crackdown reduced views of supremacist videos by 80%.

Last year, YouTube made changes to its recommendation feature to reduce the visibility of what it calls “borderline content,” videos that brush up against its terms of service but do not break them.

Also in 2019, it removed thousands of channels and tightened its hate speech policy to ban videos claiming any group is superior “in order to justify discrimination, segregation, or exclusion based on qualities like race, religion or sexual orientation.”

But the ADL study shows that such content is still easily accessible on the site, and Todd wondered why a massive company like Google can’t simply eradicate hate speech from YouTube altogether.

“Other platforms have figured this out,” Todd said. “I do not believe that this is something that is out of their control.”

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Ticket for space flight with Jeff Bezos auctions for $28m

Ticket for space flight with Jeff Bezos auctions for m
Ticket for space flight with Jeff Bezos auctions for m


A ticket to take a brief trip to space with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos next month has been sold at auction for $28m.

The bidding process, which began in early May, drew offers from more than 7,000 participants from 159 countries, Blue Origin said. The price had stood at $4.8m ahead of Saturday’s live auction, which was streamed online.

The identity of the winning bidder has not yet been made public, but will be revealed in the coming weeks, Blue Origin said.

Whoever it is will be travelling with three other passengers, including Bezos and his younger brother, Mark. The “fourth and final” passenger will be announced soon, the company said.

At approximately 10 minutes from launch to landing, around three of which will be spent in zero gravity, the trip will cost the winning bidder more than $9m per minute spent in space.

The winning bid amount will be donated to Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s foundation focused on STEM education programmes.

The launch is scheduled to take place in Texas on July 20, 15 days after Bezos is due to step aside as Amazon chief executive.

A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on whether the timing of Bezos’s transition to executive chair was related to his desire to take the trip, which will be the first by the company to include human passengers.

“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of travelling to space,” Bezos said in an Instagram post last week.

“On July 20, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”

To date, 15 test flights of the New Shepard capsule have been undertaken. All have been successful with the exception of the first, in April 2015, when the rocket suffered a crash landing, though the capsule returned to Earth safely.

If successful, the trip on the New Shepard capsule would be the first commercial space flight to take a civilian beyond the Kármán line, the internationally recognised edge of space, more than 60 miles above earth.

However, Blue Origin’s schedule has reportedly prompted a rush from Virgin Galactic, the competing space tourism company founded by Sir Richard Branson, to advance its plans.

“Watch this space . . . ” the businessman wrote in a recent tweet. The company held a successful test last month.

Blue Origin, which has so far been bankrolled entirely by funds raised by Bezos selling off his Amazon shares, has not announced any details on pricing for future trips — but said the “most competitive” bidders will be approached for interest in upcoming flights.





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Nvidia plans to drop Windows 7, 8 driver support in October

Nvidia plans to drop Windows 7, 8 driver support in October
Nvidia plans to drop Windows 7, 8 driver support in October


Washington [US]: American multinational technology company Nvidia is planning to drop support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 later this year. The drivers will be exclusively available for Windows 10 in October, with only critical security updates available on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 through September 2024.

According to The Verge, Microsoft has already dropped support for Windows 7 and Windows 8, and even the extended support for Windows 8.1 will end in January 2023.

“The vast majority of our GeForce customers have migrated to Windows 10 OS. In order to ensure GeForce owners experience the best possible security, support, and functionality, Nvidia will now focus on Windows 10 operating system,” read a support note from Nvidia.

Even though there are 1.3 billion active Windows 10 devices, but Windows 7 is still in use in many parts of the world. Estimates say that Windows 7 still accounts for 15 percent of all Windows versions.

Windows 10 dominates Steam usage though, making up nearly 93 percent with Windows 7 at just under 2 percent. Microsoft is also expected to launch a new version of Windows, likely to be named Windows 11, in October.

As per The Verge, Nvidia’s last driver to officially support these old versions of Windows will be made available on August 31st, with an October 4th release being the first to only support Windows 10.

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Facebook and its advertisers feel pinch of Apple’s privacy drive

Facebook and its advertisers feel pinch of Apple’s privacy drive
Facebook and its advertisers feel pinch of Apple’s privacy drive


Advertising relationships are often about the people who foster them. But when you are as big as Facebook, relationships are about money.

On Wednesday, Facebook’s head of global advertising sales Carolyn Eversonsaid she was leaving the company after more than a decade. Just a few months ago, Facebook’s revenue chief David Fischer said in a Facebook post that he would be leaving the company later this year.

These exits have led some to worry about the impact on Facebook’s advertiser relationships. Last year, for example, Ms. Everson played a big role keeping major advertisers on Facebook’s platform, despite civil rights-related boycotts of the social network, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Such relationships may be irreplaceable at a smaller company, but are perhaps less important to a platform as large as Facebook. Its legacy Blue app alone is used by roughly 36% of the world’s population monthly, while its broader family of apps are used by nearly 44%. That number of eyes has no equal.

The departures come at a particularly delicate time, though. Apple’s recent iOS operating system changes require developers to request users’ permission to track their online activity, a key way Facebook and other ad-based platforms were able to collect information about users in order to target them with ads. Facebook has been outspoken about its concern that tracking changes will disproportionately affect small businesses. That makes sense: As of the third quarter of last year, Facebook said it had over 10 million active advertisers on its platform, most of which were small businesses. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has also said that as a business, he believes Facebook can manage through the changes and that it may emerge even stronger if it becomes harder for small businesses to navigate data targeting without Facebook’s help.

Facebook doesn’t regularly disclose the percentage of revenue that comes from small businesses, but investors got a hint of the proportion last year, when boycotts from large, well-known brands like Verizon Communications, VF Corp.’s North Face and Coca-Cola had little effect on its top-line performance. Because Facebook has historically offered small businesses a virtually unmatched return on their investment, these companies have little choice but to advertise on its platforms.

But the recent iOS changes could threaten some of that loyalty. Caitlin Tormey Mongiardini, chief commercial officer of cashmere clothing company NAADAM, said her company recently reallocated some of its marketing budget to focus on brand partnerships and other strategic marketing areas outside Facebook after hearing that the iOS update had been negatively affecting its peers. In some cases, she said fellow direct-to-consumer brands have seen their return on investment on Facebook cut in half.

Will Matalene, paid platform expert and digital marketing consultant, points out that in addition to diminished ad targeting abilities, Facebook is also now getting less data from Apple, making it more difficult for the platform to demonstrate returns to clients.

Ultimately, brands that have historically allocated large, set portions of their budgets to Facebook are becoming more nimble in terms of advertising channels, he said. While he doesn’t expect any brand can afford to pull all their money out from Facebook’s reach, he does see brands diversifying away from the company until it can come up with new ways to bolster its value proposition amid heightened focus on user privacy.

Facebook has said it expects iOS changes to begin to have an impact on its business in the current quarter. It is forecasting second-quarter year over year revenue growth to remain stable or modestly accelerate from the monster 48% growth it put up in the first quarter, but for growth rates to “significantly decelerate” sequentially in the third and fourth quarters.

Despite some advertisers reporting lower returns on their investments, pricing on Facebook’s ads has been rising. The company said on its first-quarter conference call that its average price per ad in the first quarter increased 30% year-on-year, even as impression growth has eased lately as last year’s homebound consumers are stepping back out. It expects ad revenue growth to be primarily driven by price for the remainder of the year.

To continue justifying rising prices in the face of a potentially lowered value proposition, Facebook will likely need a new game plan. The departure of two key ad executives only underscores that big changes could be afoot.

To Facebook’s advertisers and investors, the only faces that really matter are Benjamin Franklin’s rolling in.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text

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Samsung India begins vaccination of 20,000 customer service staff

Samsung India begins vaccination of 20,000 customer service staff
Samsung India begins vaccination of 20,000 customer service staff


GURUGRAM: Vaccination of nearly 20,000 customer service engineers and staff at Samsung India has begun.

Additionally, in order to inspire confidence in the consumers, the South Korean company has adopted several services. The steps include online appointment booking for consumers, pick and drop service for mobiles and tablets as well as technical support on WhatsApp.

At the service centres, the company continue with hygiene measures at the entry points. Temperature checks and hand sanitization will also be included. Service counters have been equipped with sneeze guards and queue management is in place allowing only limited customers in at one time. In addition, the service team will sterilize the handset using a UV Sterilizer manufactured by Samsung before handing it back to the customer.

Samsung claims that their service engineers not only attend consumers at service centres but also visit their homes for service calls.

“There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our consumers and partners. Our service engineers are being vaccinated across the country and we have also launched a slew of initiatives to ensure consumers can avail services as per their convenience. Consumers can also utilize our bouquet of digital service offerings to get their queries resolved,” said Sunil Cutinha, Vice President, Customer Service, Samsung India.

Customers who want to visit any of Samsung’s service centres to get their smartphones and tablets repaired can book their appointments online on www.samsung-appointment.com or through the Samsung MyGalaxy App and the Samsung Members App, for a preferred day, time and location.

Samsung has expanded its contactless service offerings in the country recently with a pick-up and drop service for mobile devices across 46 cities. Consumers visiting Samsung service centers can also opt for drop-only service to get their mobile devices delivered to their home post-repair.

The pick-up and drop and drop-only service for mobile device repair can be availed by paying a fee of 199 & 99, respectively. Consumers can pay for the service through several digital payment options.

Samsung offers several contactless service options to its consumers, helping them resolve their issues without stepping out of their homes. Consumers can opt for WhatsApp, Remote Support, Live Chat, technical assistance through the call centre or access do-it-yourself videos on the Samsung Website and on YouTube.

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Microsoft will end support for Windows 10 in 2025

Microsoft will end support for Windows 10 in 2025
Microsoft will end support for Windows 10 in 2025


NEW DELHI: With a new version of Windows scheduled for this year, Microsoft has announced that support for Windows 10 will end on 14 October 2025. This includes the Windows 10 Home Pro, and the Pro versions for Education and Workstations. The company updated its official Windows 10 documentation to include this information.

Recent reports have said that a new version of Windows will be announced later this month, even though Windows 10 was supposed to be the last version of Windows ever. Microsoft had switched to a Windows-as-a-service model for the operating system with the current version, which meant that users would get over the air updates, like Android and iOS platforms.

In fact, a new version of Windows is also expected to follow the design Google and Apple follow. The two companies update their operating systems every year, putting new nomenclature and evolutionary changes to their feature sets. On that front, Windows 10 has lasted much longer than any Android and iOS version ever. We don’t know if the next version will be called Windows 11, or whether Microsoft will come up with new nomenclature, yet.

A new version of Windows makes sense too, given Microsoft’s recent experiments with ARM chips. The company has designed Surface branded devices that are meant to run on mobile chips, and hence needs a different version of Windows that would be better suited for such processors. Microsoft did update Windows 10 to support ARM as well, but perhaps a larger revamp of the operating system is in order.

Of course, big changes to an operating system are also accompanied by tweaks to the user interface and new features that are native to that particular version of the OS.

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WhatsApp update: Android chat lists may soon get a new look

WhatsApp update: Android chat lists may soon get a new look
WhatsApp update: Android chat lists may soon get a new look


WhatsApp has rolled out certain changes in UI for its beta users on Android. These changes pertain to the chat list on the app and can be seen on the WhatsApp beta version for Android devices.

The Facebook-owned messaging platform has removed line separators in between chat cells on its chat list. This is the first page on your app which shows your latest chats with contacts and groups.

It is not an overall redesign of the app, reports WABetaInfo, but a small UI change. WhatsApp is rolling out this change for more beta users and will be available for other users who are using WhatsApp web releases or stable version from Google Play Store, it added.

Recently, WhatsApp changed the colour scheme of certain elements of its notifications on Android. Under this change, some UI elements in WhatsApp message notifications that appear in the notification shade will appear blue instead of the original green in dark mode for WhatsApp beta users. Similar changes might be introduced for light mode on the messaging application

The WhatsApp logo, badge, ‘Reply’ and ‘Mark as read’ buttons will sport the blue colour in the new beta update. Changes in colour scheme might depend on the Android version on the users’ devices.

WhatsApp had also changed the colours of profile pictures in an earlier WhatsApp beta update.

In another beta update earlier this week, WhatsApp made some announcements related to end-to-end encrypted backups. WhatsApp announced that encryption keys can only contain numbers and alphabets between ‘a’ and ‘f’.

This feature is meant to protect users’ WhatsApp chat backup stored on Google Drive by protecting it with a password. The messaging platform is developing this feature for both Android and iOS.

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