Enterprise

US Military is now trying to fight fake news

The elections are coming

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Fake news and spread of misinformation has been super fast thanks to the Internet. The issue has been noticed in almost every country and there is little authorities are able to do about it.

US President Donald Trump is known to have tagged quite a few reports as “fake news” and his popularity has indirectly made it a buzz word. But, the most concerning thing is, fake news has the power to alter opinions, translating to a rigged election in the real world.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the US Department of Defense is launching a project to counter large-scale automated attacks. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency intends to use software that can identify propaganda or fake images.

Ahead of the 2020 elections, the officials are working to prevent outside hackers from flooding social channels with false information. Even deepfakes have been getting extremely complex and accurate, making it more difficult for data-driven software to spot.

“The algorithm testing process will include an ability to scan and evaluate 250,000 news articles and 250,000 social media posts, with 5,000 fake items in the mix. The program has three phases over 48 months, initially covering news and social media before analysis begins of technical propaganda. The project will also include week-long hackathons” the report noted.

There have been allegations against Trump for using fake news to bolster to his campaign. Secondly, the Russians are suspected of launching a systematic disinformation campaign that is believed to have actually helped in changing voters thinking process.

Spread of fake news over WhatsApp has caused a few deaths in India and the local authorities are struggling to find a solution. Since all the messages are encrypted on the instant messenger, it’s practically impossible to track down the source.

Enterprise

Facebook blames Apple for harming small businesses

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Today, Facebook launched a new service wherein small businesses can now effectively host paid livestreaming events right on the platform. Of course, while individual users might not find much use for the service, small businesses will benefit from centralizing their operations in fewer platforms. However, in the same launch, Facebook blames Apple for harming small businesses.

You might ask why Facebook took the time to attack Apple during their own launch event. Well, for two reasons.

The first reason concerns the new service’s payment structure. The new service includes a host of possible events like fitness classes, meet-and-greets, and pay-per-view events. Naturally, paid online events will help recoup losses from a still-ailing live events industry. To help these small business, Facebook chose to forego any revenue from hosting any events on their page. Small businesses will essentially earn 100 percent of their ticket sales from the event.

Now, Apple currently has a 30 percent cut on all transactions made through their devices. Hence, small businesses will earn only 70 percent of the revenue made from Apple users. Facebook asked Apple to either reduce the revenue cut or allow Facebook to shoulder the burden. Apple declined.

The second reason is, strangely, because of Fortnite. Lately, the still-popular battle royale game launched a crusade against the App Store’s monopolistic 30 percent cut. Epic Games migrated Fortnite’s transaction system away from Apple or Google and into Epic Games directly, earning them 100 percent of the revenue. As a result, Apple and Google kicked Fortnite from their respective stores. Now, Epic Games is suing Apple for the monopolistic practice.

Facebook’s dig against Apple is timely. In exposing Apple’s decision, Facebook can hope to change the practice in the future.

SEE ALSO: Facebook wants to acquire Dubsmash to fight TikTok

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Facebook wants to acquire Dubsmash to fight TikTok

Snapchat also wanted to get in on it

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Do you remember Dubsmash? Before TikTok’s meteoric rise, Dubsmash dominated the short-form video format. The platform’s lip-syncing format prototyped TikTok’s current mashup trends. It even facilitated the rise of some celebrities like Maine Mendoza. However, TikTok eventually snatched Dubsmash’s seat atop app rankings. However, despite Dubsmash’s decline, the platform has not disappeared just yet. In particular, Facebook wants to acquire Dubsmash to fight TikTok.

According to The Information’s sources, Facebook and Snap recently expressed interest in buying Dubsmash. Apparently, discussions have already progressed far enough to reach a potential price reaching hundreds of millions of dollars.

Going against The Information’s report, Reuters has reported that Snap had already exited the acquisition talks and dropped all interest. Facebook, however, did not comment.

With TikTok facing tremendous pressure from the American government, the stage is set for a potential upheaval of the short-form video format. On one hand, Microsoft and Twitter are already considering buying out TikTok’s American operations, facilitating TikTok’s continued dominance albeit under new management. In another possibility, Facebook’s Instagram recently launched Instagram Reels, a homegrown alternative to TikTok. Now, Facebook’s interest in Dubsmash expresses a new possibility of reviving a former player to upend TikTok.

Of note, Facebook’s interest coincides with Mark Zuckerberg’s current battle against the government over alleged and proven antitrust practices, including acquiring rival companies to stifle competition.

Regardless, TikTok’s woes has busted the app industry wide open. Who will take over TikTok’s dominance on the boards? Will TikTok even survive?

SEE ALSO: TikTok has collected user information illegally

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Enterprise

TikTok has collected user information illegally

They know who you are

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For months now, the US has hounded TikTok for potentially enabling Chinese cyber espionage. ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, is a Chinese company, making it a prime target for data collection. Of course, despite the numerous warnings, TikTok’s transgressions have only started appearing en masse recently. Today, a new conspiracy adds another drop to the overflowing bucket. Unfortunately, it’s a big one. Apparently, TikTok has collected user information illegally for over a year. TikTok knows who you are.

Reported by the Wall Street Journal, TikTok collected and sent valuable MAC addresses and advertising IDs to ByteDance until around November of last year. Of note, Google prohibits this questionable practice, banning apps that practice the method. However, TikTok applied a layer of encryption that hid the practice from the Play Store.

For the unfamiliar, MAC addresses are much more valuable than IP address. While IP addresses constantly change, MAC addresses are more difficult to alter. Most users will usually cycle through the lifespan of a device without giving their MAC addresses a second thought. However, the MAC address is an incredibly unique identifier for your device. Only you should ideally have that address. That said, TikTok’s sketchy collection tactic is much weightier than normal.

According to TikTok’s policies now, the platform does not collect these identifiers anymore. However, it doesn’t bode well for long-time TikTok users since last year. At its most docile, the practice likely facilitated advertising opportunities for the platform. However, it is still highly illegal to collect that data without permission. If anything, the report will give cybersecurity pundits more ammo against the already struggling company.

More than a week ago, Trump had already signed a ban against the app, giving the platform only until September 15 to divest its American assets over to an American corporation.

SEE ALSO: French privacy watchdog is now probing TikTok

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