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Facebook to ‘Signal’ news gathering for journos

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

credit: www.images.focusnews.com
credit: www.images.focusnews.com

Washington: Social networking giant Facebook launched an innovative news gathering tool ‘Signal’ which will help reporters in scanning and filing stories from information posted on Facebook and Instagram.

In a bid to take on the micro-blogging site Twitter which is the biggest source of breaking news for journalists, Facebook’s free tool called ‘Signal’ would help journalists track relevant trends, photos, videos, and posts from nearly 1.5 billion Facebook users and Instagram’s 300 million users for storytelling and reporting.

Director of media partnerships Andy Mitchell posted on Facebook, “We have heard from journalists that they want an easy way to make Facebook a more vital part of their news gathering. We are excited to introduce ‘Signal’, for Facebook and Instagram, a free discovery and curation tool for journalists who want to source, gather, and embed newsworthy content from Facebook and Instagram, across news, culture, entertainment, sports, and more- all in one place.”

With this tool, journalists interested in seeing what conversations are resonating on Facebook can monitor which topics are trending and then quickly display related content that has been shared publicly by  people and from various pages for deeper context on those trends.

With the help of ‘Signal’, journalists can also access lists of public figures ranked by who is being mentioned the most on Facebook, including real-time conversations across politicians, authors, actors, musicians, sports teams, players and more.

Mitchell further posted, “Search functionality makes it easy to envision content directly related to a story or topic they are tracking. Using location-tag and topic-related search functionality, journalists can search Instagram for public posts related to specific hashtags, associated with specific public accounts, or tagged with locations using an interactive global map.”

credit: www.niemanlab.com
credit: www.niemanlab.com

Mitchell’s Facebook post further revealed, “Every Facebook post, every Instagram image or video, and every metric found in Signal can be easily saved into custom collections for later use in a downstream CMS for digital writers or for integration with broadcast graphics packages for broadcast teams.”

Journalists can easily embed any Facebook and Instagram post in their coverage by simply selecting and copying the post’s embed code.

Newsrooms can integrate Signal APIs to feed curated content onto their websites and into their broadcasts, as well as produce native visualisations of curated Instagram content for events.

“This is a first step in helping journalists use Facebook and Instagram more effectively and we will gather feedback and iterate to make ‘Signal’ as useful as possible for industry professionals,” Mitchell quipped.

With Inputs from IANS

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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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Google, smart compose
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.

Corporate, America, Climate Change
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)