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Soon, Facebook to use drones, lasers to beam Internet

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Online Social networking Service Provider, Facebook has been working on ways to beam internet to people from the sky. There would soon be huge solar-powered drones – with the wingspan of a commercial airliner— beaming down internet in the remotest of areas.

Facebook has been testing such drones in the skies over England, according to its CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The drones use lasers to beam internet access down to the ground, designed to provide connections to rural and internet-free zones.

“As part of our Internet.org effort to connect the world, we’ve designed unmanned aircraft that can beam internet access down to people from the sky,” Zuckerberg said in a blog post.

“We’ve successfully completed our first test flight of these aircraft in Britain,” he wrote.

Developed by Ascenta, a Somerset-based designer of solar-powered drones bought by Facebook in March 2014, the drones will be able to fly at altitudes of 60,000 feet for months at a time on solar power. They will have wingspans greater than 29 metres, or that of a Boeing 737, but weigh less than a car.

“Aircraft like these will help connect the whole world because they can affordably serve the 10 percent of the world’s population that live in remote communities without existing internet infrastructure,” Zuckerberg said.

The drones form part of Facebook’s internet.org initiative that aims to connect the next billion people to the internet, creating new markets for the social network which already connects 1.39 billion monthly active users.

“If we achieve our first goal, get everyone on the internet, build services at scale for the entire planet, we create this new problem: so much information you can’t consume the stuff that’s important to you,” Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer was reported as saying.

“We’ve made good progress so far. Over the past year, our work in the Philippines and Paraguay alone has doubled the number of people using mobile data with the operators we’ve partnered with, helping 3 million new people access the internet.” Zuckerberg elaborated.

Meanwhile, Google is reported to be planning to provide internet access to non-connected areas using both high altitude balloons and drones, buying American drone firm Titan Aerospace in April last year.

“We’re going to continue building these partnerships, but connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology too. That’s what our Connectivity Lab focuses on, and there’s a lot more exciting work to do here.” said Zuckerberg talking about his future plans.

Facebook had over 1.3 billion active users as of June 2014.

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Facebook Unveils Three-pronged Strategy to Fight Fake News

Apart from this, Facebook is also using machine learning to help its teams detect fraud and enforce its policies against spam

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Facebook Unveils Three-pronged Strategy to Fight Fake News
Facebook Unveils Three-pronged Strategy to Fight Fake News. Pixabay

To stop false news from spreading on its platform, Facebook has said it put in place a three-pronged strategy that constitutes removing accounts and content that violate its policies, reducing distribution of inauthentic content and informing people by giving them more context on the posts they see.

Another part of its strategy in some countries is partnering with third-party fact-checkers to review and rate the accuracy of articles and posts on Facebook, Tessa Lyons, a Facebook product manager on News Feed focused on false news, said in a statement on Thursday.

The social media giant is facing criticism for its role in enabling political manipulation in several countries around the world. It has also come under the scanner for allegedly fuelling ethnic conflicts owing to its failure stop the deluge of hate-filled posts against the disenfranchised Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“False news is bad for people and bad for Facebook. We’re making significant investments to stop it from spreading and to promote high-quality journalism and news literacy,” Lyons said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday told the European Parliament leaders that the social networking giant is trying to plug loopholes across its services, including curbing fake news and political interference on its platform in the wake of upcoming elections globally, including in India.

Lyons said Facebook’s three-pronged strategy roots out the bad actors that frequently spread fake stories.

Also Read: Facebook Planning to Increase Their Capability Through Smartphones

“It dramatically decreases the reach of those stories. And it helps people stay informed without stifling public discourse,” Lyons added.

Although false news does not violate Facebook’s Community Standards, it often violates the social network’s polices in other categories, such as spam, hate speech or fake accounts, which it removes remove.

“For example, if we find a Facebook Page pretending to be run by Americans that’s actually operating out of Macedonia, that violates our requirement that people use their real identities and not impersonate others. So we’ll take down that whole Page, immediately eliminating any posts they made that might have been false,” Lyons explained.

Lyons said Facebook's three-pronged strategy roots out the bad actors that frequently spread fake stories.
Lyons said Facebook’s three-pronged strategy roots out the bad actors that frequently spread fake stories. Pixabay

Apart from this, Facebook is also using machine learning to help its teams detect fraud and enforce its policies against spam.

“We now block millions of fake accounts every day when they try to register,” Lyons added.

A lot of the misinformation that spreads on Facebook is financially motivated, much like email spam in the 90s, the social network said.

If spammers can get enough people to click on fake stories and visit their sites, they will make money off the ads they show.

Also Read: Facebook Lets Advertisers Target Users Based on Sensitive Interests

“We’re figuring out spammers’ common tactics and reducing the distribution of those kinds of stories in News Feed. We’ve started penalizing clickbait, links shared more frequently by spammers, and links to low-quality web pages, also known as ‘ad farms’,” Lyons said.

“We also take action against entire Pages and websites that repeatedly share false news, reducing their overall News Feed distribution,” Lyons said.

Facebook said it does not want to make money off of misinformation or help those who create it profit, and so such publishers are not allowed to run ads or use its monetisation features like Instant Articles. (IANS)