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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay

Facebook’s response to questions about Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of its data continues to “display a pattern of evasive behaviour”, according to the chair of a British parliamentary committee.

“Facebook continues to display a pattern of evasive behaviour — a pattern which has emerged over the course of our inquiry. “In some cases, these answers even show inconsistencies in their evidence to us,” Damian Collins, chair of a British parliamentary committee was quoted as saying by CNET late Friday.


Collins has outlined a number of areas where Facebook’s answers have been lacking, including refusing accountability for fraudulent ads on the site, not sharing country-by-country revenues, digital political advertising and refusal to share how many resources are being devoted to security.

“Collins says the committee will continue to push Facebook ‘until the public get the answers they deserve’.


Facebook mobile app. Pixabay

“The MP has been fighting to have Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg face his committee and is looking into issuing a formal summons that would legally compel him to do so,” the report added.

This comes a day after a security researcher revealed that a german personality quiz app was exposing the private data of about 120 million Facebook users it had amassed to third-parties online since 2016.

The company behind “NameTests”, a German app maker Social Sweethearts, created popular social quizzes like “Which Disney Princess Are You?” and distributed them on the social networking site.

Also Read: Google, Facebook Have Been Using “Dark Patterns”: Report

Facebook was hit by a major data scandal in March after Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting company, was accused of harvesting data of up to 87 million Facebook users without permission to help politicians, including US President Donald Trump and the Brexit campaign.

Appearing before the US Congress, the company CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the lawmakers that his own personal data was part of the users’ data that was “improperly shared” with the British political consultancy firm. (IANS)


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Milky Way galaxy as seen from Chitkul Valley

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)


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