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Facebook to Mentor Start-ups Leveraging AI

According to the company, to date, more than 35 million people have signed up to be donors globally

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FILE - The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Social networking giant Facebook on Wednesday launched the “India Innovation Accelerator” programme with a focus on “Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Social Good”, under which it would mentor and support promising start-ups which are leveraging AI to address gaps within high social impact areas.

“We are an ally for India’s economic growth and social development and this summit is our effort to understand how we can contribute to the development of deep tech in India, as well as corral resources to use these technologies to develop impactful solutions for tough and persistent problems,” Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, said in a statement.

The social media giant also launched “100 Scholarships for students and developers” who are focused on nurturing their ideas for utilising AI for social good. The scholarships would enable the students to gain access to advanced courses on Deep Learning.

It also launched “Women in AI Hackathons” which is aimed at encouraging diversity within the ecosystem by motivating women developers and women-led start-ups focused on AI.

Facebook, photos
This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

The winners would be provided courses on AI and machine learning (ML) by professors of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras.

“At Facebook we are also committed to growing the local AI ecosystem, which can be achieved by providing support to start-ups, to the student community, and by ensuring diversity within the ecosystem itself,” added Mohan.

Also Read- Russian Military ‘Must Get Out’ of Venezuela, says Trump

Another popular Facebook tool under the “AI for Social Good” initiative is its Blood Donation tool which helps connect blood banks and hospitals to blood donors who have registered themselves on the platform.

According to the company, to date, more than 35 million people have signed up to be donors globally. (IANS)

Next Story

Google, Facebook Secretly Tracking Your Porn-viewing Habits

“While the findings of this study are far from encouraging, we do believe regulatory intervention may have positive outcomes,” said the researchers

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

If you think watching pornographic material in the “incognito” mode will not let anyone know, you are mistaken. Google, Facebook and even Oracle cloud are secretly tracking the porn you watch even when you switch on the “incognito” mode on your laptop or smartphone.

A new joint study from Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pennsylvania that investigated 22,484 sex websites using a tool called “webXray” revealed that 93 per cent of pages track and leak users’ data to third-party organisations.

“Tracking on these sites is highly concentrated by a handful of major companies,” said the researchers who identified 230 different companies and services tracking users in their sample.

Of non-pornography-specific services, Google tracks 74 per cent of sites, Oracle 24 per cent and Facebook 10 per cent.

Porn-specific trackers in the top 10 are exoClick (40 per cent), JuicyAds (11 per cent), and EroAdvertising (9 per cent).

“The majority of non-pornography companies in the top 10 are based in the US, while the majority of pornography-specific companies are based in Europe,” said the study.

The researchers – Elena Maris, Microsoft Research; Timothy Libert, Carnegie Mellon University; and Jennifer Henrichsen, University of Pennsylvania – said they successfully extracted privacy policies for 3,856 sites, 17 per cent of the total.

“The policies were written such that one might need a two-year college education to understand them. The content analysis indicated 44.97 per cent of them expose or suggest a specific gender/sexual identity or interest likely to be linked to the user,” said the study to be published in the journal New Media & Society.

The team created a hypothetical profile named “Jack” who decides to view porn on his laptop.

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FILE – In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook’s developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Jack enables “incognito” mode in his browser, assuming his actions are now private. He pulls up a site and scrolls past a small link to a privacy policy. Assuming a site with a privacy policy will protect his personal information, Jack clicks on a video.

“What Jack does not know is that incognito mode only ensures his browsing history is not stored on his computer. The sites he visits, as well as any third-party trackers, may observe and record his online actions,” the researchers noted.

These third-parties may even infer Jack’s sexual interests from the URLs of the sites he accesses. They might also use what they have decided about these interests for marketing or building a consumer profile. They may even sell the data.

Jack has no idea these third-party data transfers are occurring as he browses videos.

“His assumption that porn websites will protect his information, along with the reassurance of the ‘incognito’ mode icon on his screen, provide Jack a fundamentally misleading sense of privacy as he consumes porn online,” wrote the researchers.

The above hypothetical scenario occurs frequently in reality and is indicative of the widespread data leakage and tracking that can occur on porn sites, they added.

Also Read: Instagram to Now Alert Violators Before Deleting Accounts

In 2017, Pornhub, one of the largest porn websites, received 28.5 billion visits, with users performing 50,000 searches per second on the site.

Statistics vary as to the amount of overall porn activity on the internet, but a 2017 report indicated porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined, and that “30 per cent of all the data transferred across the Internet is porn”, with site YouPorn using six times more bandwidth than Hulu.

“While the findings of this study are far from encouraging, we do believe regulatory intervention may have positive outcomes,” said the researchers. (IANS)