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Author: Alex Hern

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Vast archive of tweets reveals work of trolls backed by Russia and Iran



Two misinformation campaigns spent years sowing discord in US and elsewhere

More than 10m tweets sent by state actors attempting to influence US politics have been released to the public, forming one of the largest archives of political misinformation ever collated.

The database reveals the astonishing extent of two misinformation campaigns, which spent more than five years sowing discord in the US and had spillover effects in other national campaigns, including Britain’s EU referendum.

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Chinese search firm Baidu joins global AI ethics body



Company is first Chinese member of Partnership on AI, following, Google, Apple, Facebook and others

The AI ethics body formed by five of the largest US corporations has expanded to include its first Chinese member, the search firm Baidu.

The Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society – known as the Partnership on AI (PAI) – was formed in 2016 by Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft to act as an umbrella organisation for the five companies to conduct research, recommend best practices and publish briefings on areas including ethics, privacy and trustworthiness of AI.

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Coinbase plans for hard Brexit by opening Dublin offices



London remains European headquarters of cryptocurrency exchange, but a move to Ireland is plan B

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is opening new offices in Dublin as part of the company’s contingency planning for a hard Brexit.

The company, one of the largest members of the blockchain ecosystem, says that London will remain its European headquarters, but that Dublin’s EU membership, as well as its English-speaking workforce and diverse technology talent pool, made it the “clear choice” for a second European outpost.

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Google and Orange building cable between US and France



The 6,600km undersea cable will open in 2020 and is one of seven Google is building over the next two years

Telecoms firm Orange has teamed up with Google to work on a private undersea cable connecting the Atlantic coasts of France and the United States.

Measuring 6,600km in length, the undersea cable will be named Dunant after Henry Dunant, the first Nobel peace prize winner and founder of the Red Cross. When it comes online in 2020, it will provide Orange alone with a capacity of “more than 30 terabits per second, per [fibre] pair” – enough, the company says, “to transfer a 1GB movie file in 30 microseconds”. Neither Orange nor Google released information about the total capacity of the cable, nor how they would allocate it between them.

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Google and Orange building cable between US and France



The 6,600km undersea cable will open in 2020 and is one of seven Google is building over the next two years

Telecoms firm Orange has teamed up with Google to work on a private undersea cable connecting the Atlantic coasts of France and the United States.

Measuring 6,600km in length, the undersea cable will be named Dunant after Henry Dunant, the first Nobel peace prize winner and founder of the Red Cross. When it comes online in 2020, it will provide Orange alone with a capacity of “more than 30 terabits per second, per [fibre] pair” – enough, the company says, “to transfer a 1GB movie file in 30 microseconds”. Neither Orange nor Google released information about the total capacity of the cable, nor how they would allocate it between them.

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Tech suffers from lack of humanities, says Mozilla head



Mitchell Baker says firms should hire philosophy and psychology graduates to tackle misinformation

Technology companies need to diversify their hiring practices to include more people from backgrounds in philosophy and psychology if they want to tackle the problem of misinformation online, the head of one of the biggest internet charities has warned.

Mitchell Baker, head of the Mozilla Foundation, has warned that hiring employees who mainly come from Stem – science, technology, engineering and maths – will produce a new generation of technologists with the same blindspots as those who are currently in charge, a move that will “come back to bite us”.

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Are you a ‘cyberhoarder’? Five ways to declutter your digital life – from emails to photos



Most of us have an unmanageable amount of data on our devices. But a few easy tweaks could bring it all back under control

You have Marie Kondoed your wardrobe, recycled your old newspapers and taken unwanted books to the charity shop. It may feel as if you have succeeded in decluttering your life, but then you turn on your phone or open up your laptop and find a whole load more to tidy up.

Sometimes, it gets out of control. Just this week, the snappily named European Problematic Use of the Internet Research Network warned of the dangers of “cyberhoarding”, an inability to delete information gathered online. Researchers weren’t sure whether this was a new condition or an extension of a more common offline affliction.

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Facebook Portal smart screen to launch amid concerns over privacy



Company reveals details about voice-controlled device, which was delayed after data breach

Facebook wants to be invited into your living room. The company has revealed details about its Amazon Echo competitor, a voice-controlled, webcam-equipped smart screen named Portal.

Arriving in the US in November, Facebook Portal is a $199 (£152) 10-inch screen, with two speakers and a high-quality webcam attached, which the company hopes users will put in their living rooms and kitchens and use to launch video chats with friends and loved ones.

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Facebook Portal smart screen to launch amid concerns over privacy



Company reveals details about voice-controlled device, which was delayed after data breach

Facebook wants to be invited into your living room. The company has revealed details about its Amazon Echo competitor, a voice-controlled, webcam-equipped smart screen named Portal.

Arriving in the US in November, Facebook Portal is a $199 (£152) 10-inch screen, with two speakers and a high-quality webcam attached, which the company hopes users will put in their living rooms and kitchens and use to launch video chats with friends and loved ones.

Continue reading…

Instagram is supposed to be friendly. So why is it making people so miserable?



For a growing number of users and mental health experts, the positivity of Instagram is precisely the problem, with its relentless emphasis on promoting ‘perfect’ lifestyles. Should everyone just stop scrolling?

When 24-year-old fashion blogger Scarlett Dixon posted a picture of herself having breakfast, the internet turned nasty. “The best of days start with a smile and positive thoughts. And pancakes. And strawberries. And bottomless tea,” Dixon wrote on her scarlettlondon Instagram feed, under an image of her looking flawless on a freshly made bed flanked by heart-shaped helium balloons.

The sponsored post – for Listerine mouthwash, a bottle of which is visible on the side of the shot – was swiftly reposted on Twitter. “Fuck off this is anybody’s normal morning,” wrote Nathan from Cardiff. “Instagram is a ridiculous lie factory made to make us all feel inadequate.” His post, which has garnered more than 111,000 likes (22 times as many as Dixon’s original) and almost 25,000 retweets, prompted a wave of criticism, with the more printable comments ranging from “Fakelife!” and “Bunny-boiler” to “Let’s pop her balloons” and “Who keeps Listerine on their bedside table? Serial killers, that’s who.”

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