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Facebook Invests $1 mn To Boost Computer Science Education

In a memo circulated to all Facebook employees early this month shortly before he left the company, Luckie, wrote that many black people felt they were marginalised and feared to speak up about their experience at the company, Xinhua news agency reported

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A day after Facebook was criticised by a former employee for its “black people problem”, the social networking giant announced an investment of $1 million in CodePath.org to boost computer science education among underrepresented minorities and women.

CodePath.org is a US-based nonprofit that provides computer science education to female and minority students at universities around the country.

“Today, we’re excited to announce that Facebook has invested $1 Million in CodePath.org to help us expand from serving 400 students to over 1000 per semester in the next year,” Michael Ellison, Founder at CodePath.org, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

“The funding will also allow us to create courses that target underrepresented minorities and women during their freshman year and expand our number of college partners,” she added.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The funding is aimed at broadening the scope of new students from underrepresented communities, decrease attrition as well as bridge the gap between traditional computer science curriculum and practical software engineering job responsibilities.

“The funding will also allow us to create courses that target underrepresented minorities and women during their freshman year and expand our number of college partners,” Ellison said, adding it will help cultivate a bigger pipeline of underrepresented software engineers.

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Earlier on Tuesday, Mark Luckie, former strategic partner manager for global influencers at Facebook, accused the tech gaint of having a “black people problem” as it fails to give enough support to its black employees or users.

In a memo circulated to all Facebook employees early this month shortly before he left the company, Luckie, wrote that many black people felt they were marginalised and feared to speak up about their experience at the company, Xinhua news agency reported. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)