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Warning: It's creepy AF – and your pic is nextVideo AI code can breathe life into portrait paintings, photos of dead celebrities, and your Facebook selfies, transforming single still images into moving and talking heads.In one demonstration of the software's creepy abilities, the Mona Lisa, famous for its ambiguous expression, is animated just like one of the moving paintings in the Harry Potter series.Here, see it for yourself in the video below (skip to 5:07 to see the Mona Lisa), published this week:The technology – developed by a group of researchers at Samsung AI Center, and Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow – relies on convolutional neural networks.The goal is to get an input source image to mimic the motion of someone in a target output video so that the initial picture is converted to a short video clip of a talking head.
Facebook received 110,634 government requests for user data in the second half of 2018, up 7% from 103,815 in the first half of 2018, according to its latest Transparency Report, which was released Thursday.The social network said the uptick in the second half of last year was normal compared with previous reporting periods.The most requests came from the U.S., followed by India, the U.K., Germany and France.Vice president and deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby said in a Newsroom post that requests from the U.S. were actually down 3% from the first half of 2018, adding that 58% of those included nondisclosure orders, which prohibited Facebook from notifying the affected users.Sonderby also detailed an error in Facebook’s accounting methods for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act content requests, saying that it resulted in “a significant undercounting of the number of accounts specified in those requests, as well as overcounting of the number of requests in one half,” dating back to 2015.The previous and revised numbers are available in the report.
Videos of Nancy Pelosi, doctored to make it appear that that the House speaker is drunkenly slurring her words, are spreading rapidly across the internet in another case of political misinformation on social media.A recording of a speech Pelosi gave Wednesday at a Center for American Progress event, in which she accused President Donald Trump of being part of a "coverup," was subtly edited to make her voice garbled, the Washington Post found.The video was then posted widely to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.One version posted to Facebook has been viewed more than 1.4 million times and shared more than 30,000 times.Some of the more than 20,000 comments refer to her as "drunk."The video has also appeared on multiple YouTube and Twitter accounts,
Analysis Just as the US Environmental Protection Agency allows up to 9 mg of rodent waste per kilogram of wheat and 0.15 μg/m3 of lead in the air over three months, Facebook expects toxic content will always be a part of its service.When CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the issue in a post last November, he said the antisocial network's content cleansing efforts will never be perfect but can be expected to improve.The media call focused on the US web titan's third Transparency Report, which offers more information about awful content than ever before.After Zuckerberg's overview, Guy Rosen, VP of integrity for the social ad biz, likened the company's role to that of an environmental regulator."When measuring air quality, environmental regulators look to see what percent of air is nitrogen dioxide to determine how much is harmful to people," the company explained in a blog post on Thursday.Lacking the same sort of legal liability, Facebook nonetheless has taken it upon itself – after public prodding and political threats – to limit users' exposure to murder videos, child exploitation images, terrorist propaganda, hate speech, harassment, drug sales and related ills.
Faced with escalating accusations of bias from the right and an onslaught of calls to break up Facebook on the left, the social media juggernaut released a data dump Thursday that its leaders hope will help the public better understand how it moderates content—and remind them that the bigger Facebook is, the more it can invest in fending off these threats.In most, though not all categories, the company explained how prevalent views of that content were, how many pieces of content Facebook took action on, how much of it Facebook found before users reported it, how many enforcement decisions Facebook users appealed, and how much content was restored after that appeal.The report also includes some never-before-shared insights into certain categories of banned content, including child sexual exploitation and terrorist propaganda, which Facebook says accounted for .03 percent of all views in Q1 of 2019.According to the report, Facebook catches more than 99 percent of those posts before a single user reports them.In a press call introducing the reports, CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg argued that Facebook's size is precisely what makes the company a responsible watchdog for the internet."We really need to decide what issues we think are the most important to address and to focus on, because in some ways, some of the remedies cut against each other in terms of making progress."
Amazon is building up its own brands, requiring rival marketers to navigate a slew of Amazon brands that it's heavily promoting on its platforms.Amazon is aggressively growing its private label business, but at the same time, it's trying to compete with Facebook and Google for advertising."Amazon is a huge threat to CPGs because any time Amazon decides to look at a category, they're going to own it," said Jon Reily, VP and global commerce strategy lead at Publicis Sapient.In fact, Amazon is under growing scrutiny from regulators for selling its own items in a marketplace that it manages.In March, Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed splitting up Amazon for competitive reasons.Private label brands represent 25% or more of sales for other retailers, Amazon said in April.
Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that breaking up the social network will make policing harmful content such as hate speech and violence tougher for the company to do.The tech mogul's remarks comes as lawmakers and even one of the social network's co-founders are calling on US regulators to rein in the company's enormous power.Critics want photo-sharing site Instagram and messaging app WhatsApp, which Facebook owns, split from the company.The social network has come under fire for a long list of problems, including its failures to protect user privacy, prevent election meddling and stop hate speech and terrorist content from spreading on its platform.Chris Hughes, who co-founded Facebook with Zuckerberg while they were students at Harvard, argued in an op-ed published by The New York Times this month that the CEO has so much power that it's both "unprecedented" and "un-American."During a conference call on Thursday, Zuckerberg pushed back against the idea that breaking up the company will solve its biggest woes.
As the United States gears up for its next big presidential election in 2020, citizens can expect to keep seeing political ads on Facebook.The latest big change is that Facebook will no longer pay commissions to sales people for selling political ads.The company will continue to run political ads the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, even as it tries to move past the scandals of its social networking platforms being used to manipulate voters in major worldwide elections in recent years.Facebook is making some changes to protect its political ads from being exploited by Russians or other bad actors.That's a big about-face from 2016, when Facebook not only paid commissions but even embedded its staffers into campaigns to help them with their Facebook targeting strategies.Since Trump's campaign was smaller and less digitally savvy, Trump's campaign used this service heavily.
Facebook disabled more than 2 billion fake accounts on Facebook in the first quarter of 2019 alone, nearly the same amount of total monthly active users the company has, the company said Thursday in a report about how it is enforcing its platform rules.The company pulled almost 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the nearly 2.4 billion monthly active users it reported in the same time period.The numbers were released Thursday as part of Facebook’s Community Standards Enforcement report, which details information about the kinds of content Facebook has taken action on.Facebook downplayed the sheer number of fake accounts, saying that “most” of those accounts were caught before they were counted as active Facebook users.And in a blog post Thursday morning, Facebook said looking at the raw number of fake accounts on Facebook “may be a bad way to look at things,” though reporting those figures has become an industry standard.During a call with reporters Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook was taking down more fake accounts than ever due to an increase in automated attempts to create huge swaths of fake accounts at once.
If you look at images posted to Facebook by news organizations, you are far more likely to see men than women, according to a new study from Pew Research Center.Pew analyzed images posted (publicly) to the social network by 17 national news outlets between April 1 and June 30, 2018, using a computational method it calls machine vision to determine the genders of people who were depicted in them.Men made up 67% of the 53,067 individuals who were identified in those photos, while women accounted for just 33%.And in news photos that contained identifiable human faces, 53% showed exclusively men, while just 22% were women-only.Pew said that the ranges of the 17 news outlets it studied in terms of share of individuals identified as women was 25% to 46%.Size matters, as well, as Pew found that the average male face was 10% larger than the average female face in the images it analyzed.
A rare video shows two huge male rat snakes fighting over a female in North Carolina.Both snakes were estimated to be between 6 and 7 feet long, according to The Charlotte Observer.WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES: ENORMOUS PYTHON SWALLOWS EVEN BIGGER PYTHON, BUT CAN’T HANDLE ITCarolina Waterfowl Rescue, a nonprofit animal rescue agency, posted a video of the rarely-seen fight Tuesday on Facebook.“Two male rat snakes are having a wrestling match to determine who gets the female.It's funny that even their territorial battles are harmless,” the video's caption reads.
The Facebook-owned photo app said Thursday that its adding the capability following requests from creators and viewers.Previously, IGTV only supported vertical videos.Viewers can now also watch landscape videos in full-screen by turning their phone sideways."We realize this is an evolution from where IGTV started -- we believe it's the right change for viewers and creators," Instagram said in a statement."In many ways, opening IGTV to more than just vertical videos is similar to when we opened Instagram to more than just square photos in 2015.It enabled creativity to flourish and engagement to rise - and we believe the same will happen again with IGTV."
Instagram’s IGTV long-form video destination debuted last June with vertical videos tailored to smartphones, and the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network said creators had been asking for a landscape option.Ask, and ye shall receive.Starting Thursday, creators have the ability to choose between vertical and landscape.Instagram has responded to creators’ wishes in the past, adding one-minute previews of IGTV videos to its main feed in February.Instagram said in a blog post Thursday, “We realize that this is an evolution from where IGTV started—we believe it’s the right change for viewers and creators.In many ways, opening IGTV to more than just vertical videos is similar to when we opened Instagram to more than just square photos in 2015.
Facebook will no longer pay out commissions when employees sell political ads on its platform.Global elections public policy director Katie Harbath told Emily Glazer and Jeff Horwitz of The Wall Street Journal that the social network’s sales employees are no longer compensated based on goals related to the purchase of political and issue ads, both in the U.S. and globally.Harbath also pointed out that the tools that potential political and issue advertisers must use are predominantly self-service, with Facebook employees only providing help with the registration process those advertisers are required to undergo, as well as when ads are stalled in the review process and other customer-service tasks.And a former Facebook employee told Glazer and Horwitz that staffers who previously earned commissions on these types of ads had their base salaries boosted in order to make up the shortfall.Harbath told Glazer and Horwitz the new policy applies to ads at both national and local levels, adding, “It doesn’t matter if you’re running for president or running for city council: You have access to the same tools and level of support.”Facebook has said in the past that political advertising only accounts for a small portion of its ad revenue, and nonprofit Tech for Campaigns backed up that assertion, saying that while some $284 million of the approximately $623 million that was spent on digital political advertising during the 2018 midterm elections in the U.S. went to Facebook, the social network’s total revenue for the year was over $55 billion.
Facebook pulled down more than 3 billion fake accounts from October to March, a report released Thursday by the social network shows.That's a record amount of fake account takedowns by the social media company, which estimates that about 5% of its monthly active users are fake."For fake accounts, the amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time," said Guy Rosen, Facebook's VP Integrity in a blog post.For the first time, the company also released data about how much content was appealed and restored along with information about the amount of posts the company took action on for attempting to sell products that aren't allowed on the platform such as drugs and firearms.On Thursday, the Facebook Data Transparency Advisory Group (DTAG), an independent group of experts established last year, also released their review of how Facebook enforces and reports on its Community Standards.Overall, the advisory group found that Facebook' system for enforcing its community standards and its review process -- which includes a combination of automated and human review -- is well designed.
The world of business is changing rapidly.At each major company, there's usually a relatively small group of individuals charged with shepherding their employer through that change.Business Insider regularly details the power players at major companies.You can read them all by subscribing to BI Prime.Here are the power players to know at:Amazon's advertising business: Amazon wants to give Facebook and Google a run for their money in advertising — here are the 6 execs making it happen
Facebook banned a staggering 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first three months of 2019 — almost as many as the total number of real people who use the social network.On Thursday, the Silicon Valley tech giant released the third edition of its Community Standards Enforcement report, a public report that details the company's efforts to keep its platform clear of fake accounts, abusive material, illegal activity, spam, and other nefarious content.It details a striking jump in the number of fake accounts it took action against: 2.19 billion were banned in Q1 2019, up from 1.2 billion in Q4 2018.In a blog post, VP of Integrity Guy Rosen wrote of this trend: "The amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time."The data illustrates the sheer volume of malicious activity still ongoing on Facebook's platform: It has 2.38 billion genuine monthly active users in total on the social network.The amount of hate speech Facebook took action on has also continued to climb — up to 4 million in the most recent quarter from 3.3 million in the previous three months, and up from 2.5 million in Q1 2018.
Apple had proposed a solution for ad-tracking in Safari that may upset the likes of Facebook and Google, with their lucrative online advertising businesses.Apple’s WebKit team carries out coding for the Safari browser, and has called its solution “Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution”.That stance came after Apple in June 2018 declared that it would halt the data gathering activities by the likes of Facebook with the release of new versions of its iOS and Mac operating systems.And now it has put some flesh on the bones of this strategy, when it opened up about its ad-tracking solution in a highly detailed blog posting about its solution that recognises that despite the privacy issues, ad-tracking is still needed by many websites for funding reasons.Apple believes that its solution is the best compromise for both consumers and advertisers, and it hopes it will become a standard for all browsers, and not just Safari.“A typical website is made of numerous components coming from a wide variety of sources,” blogged Apple web engineer John Wilander.