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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (L), and French President Emmanuel Macron meet at at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, May 10, 2019. VOA

France welcomed Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on Friday with a threat of sweeping new regulation. With Facebook under fire on multiple fronts, Zuckerberg is in Paris to show that his social media giant is working hard to limit violent extremism and hate speech shared online.

But a group of French regulators and experts who spent weeks inside Facebook facilities in Paris, Dublin and Barcelona say the company isn’t working hard enough.


Just before Zuckerberg met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, the 10 officials released a report calling for laws allowing the government to investigate and fine social networks that don’t take responsibility for the content that makes them money.

The French government wants the legislation to serve as a model for Europe-wide management of social networks. Several countries have introduced similar legislation, some tougher than what France is proposing.


Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that he welcomed governments taking a more active role in drawing up regulations for the internet. VOA

To an average user, it seems like the problem is intractable. Mass shootings are live-streamed, and online mobs are spreading rumors that lead to deadly violence. Facebook is even inadvertently creating celebratory videos using extremist content and auto-generating business pages for the likes of the Islamic State group and al Qaida.

The company says it is working on solutions, and the French regulators praised Facebook for hiring more people and using artificial intelligence to track and crack down on dangerous content.

But they said Facebook didn’t provide the French officials enough information about its algorithms to judge whether they were working, and that a “lack of transparency … justifies an intervention of public authorities.”

The regulators recommended legally requiring a “duty of care” for big social networks, meaning they should moderate hate speech published on their platforms. They insist that any law should respect freedom of expression, but did not explain how Facebook should balance those responsibilities in practice.


Facebook faces “nuanced decisions” involving content that is harmful but not illegal and the French recommendations, which set guidelines for what’s considered harmful. Pixabay

After meeting Macron, Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that he welcomed governments taking a more active role in drawing up regulations for the internet. He made similar remarks earlier this year but has been vague on what kind of regulation he favors.

Facebook faces “nuanced decisions” involving content that is harmful but not illegal and the French recommendations, which set guidelines for what’s considered harmful, “would create a more consistent approach across the tech industry and ensure companies are held accountable for enforcing standards against this content,” Zuckerberg said.

The regulators acknowledged that their research didn’t address violent content shared on private chat groups or encrypted apps, or on groups like 4chan or 8chan, where criminals and extremists and those concerned about privacy increasingly turn to communicate.

Facebook said Zuckerberg is in France as part of meetings around Europe to discuss future regulation of the internet. Facebook agreed to embed the French regulators as an effort to jointly develop proposals to fight online hate content. Zuckerberg’s visit comes notably amid concern about hate speech and disinformation around this month’s European Parliament elections.


The company says it is working on solutions, and the French regulators praised Facebook for hiring more people and using artificial intelligence to track and crack down on dangerous content. Pixabay

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Next week, the leaders of France and New Zealand will meet tech leaders in Paris for a summit seeking to ban acts of violent extremism and terrorism from being shown online. Facebook has faced challenges over privacy and security lapses and accusations of endangering democracy — and it came under criticism this week from its own co-founder.

Chris Hughes said in a New York Times opinion piece Thursday that it’s time to break up Facebook. He says Zuckerberg has turned Facebook into an innovation-suffocating monopoly and lamented the company’s “slow response to Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news.” (VOA)


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Surgeons attached a pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days, and the kidney did what it was supposed to do.

Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.

Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Killer Smog in Delhi.

Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.

The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.

These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.

The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.

Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.

Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."

The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.

"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences


Photo by GOI.

On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020

On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020. Apart from senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, representatives of various organisations associated with the Sangh Parivar -- working in the field of education -- were present in the meeting in New Delhi.

According to sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who attended the meeting on behalf of the government, shared information related to the National Education Policy-2020 and the government's policy on important issues related to the education sector. Pradhan also shared details of the efforts being made by the government in the field of education.

Discussions were also held regarding the impact of the situation arising out of Corona and how much it has affected the education sector. In the meeting, the RSS leaders asked several questions and provided suggestions to the Union Minister regarding the education policy of the government.

According to the sources, RSS wants the policy to be implemented expeditiously. All aspects related to the policy were discussed in Tuesday's meeting. On the second and the last day of the meeting on Wednesday, special issues related to education will be discussed in which representatives of various organisations of the Sangh, Union Ministers and several BJP leaders will be take part.

Meanwhile, in order to convey its point of view to the government on various issues, the Sangh keeps on calling such coordination meetings related to specific issues, in which RSS representatives -- working in that particular area -- provide feedback to the government. (IANS/JB)


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