Facebook content moderator who quit reportedly wrote a blistering letter citing ‘stress induced insomnia’ among other ‘trauma’

mark zuckerberg facebook employees
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg greets Facebook employees before speaking at a news conference at Facebook headquarters on on October 6, 2010.

  • Facebook has long faced criticism over its treatment of thousands of contracted content moderators.
  • A moderator who recently quit reportedly shared a note internally condemning Facebook over these practices.
  • The post pushes for moderators to be treated better, as well as have more say over policy-making.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Before quitting his job Wednesday morning at Facebook a content moderator in Texas took the opportunity to call out the company’s disconnected moderation system and its failure to support moderators.

The note was shared on Twitter by BuzzFeed News’ Ryan Mac, who said it came from a content moderator contracted through Accenture in Austin, Texas. The note slams Facebook leadership for encouraging moderators to do “breathing exercises” instead of providing adequate mental health support, as well as severing the connection between the people responsible for making the platform’s policies and the moderators who spend the most time enforcing them.

“Taking a few deep breaths or visualizing a calm beach might allow you to get back to work, but it doesn’t do a lot for stress induced insomnia after you get home,” the post said. ‘We’re the tonsils of the internet, a constantly bombarded first line of defense against potential trauma to the userbase.”

The content moderator’s allegations echo years of similar criticism Facebook has faced over its moderation system and its treatment of its moderators. There are more than 15,000 moderators at Facebook, and most are contracted through third-party firms meaning they don’t get the same benefits as the company’s salaried employees. Instead, moderators have told stories about being forced to watch hours of gruesome content, leading to brutal working conditions and post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses.

“Content analysts are paid to look at the worst of humanity for eight hours a day,” the post from the moderator continues. “This is a job that’s impossible not to take home with you.”

The Wall Street Journal once described being a Facebook moderator as “the worst job in technology.” Moderators have disclosed watching hours of child abuse, gory violence, and murders, and suicides. Moderators – including those working out of Accenture’s Austin office – have shared accounts of a “big brother environment” where managers restricted their breaks and phone use, provided mental health resources in the form of “wellness coaches,” and had them sign incredibly strict NDAs.

Current and former moderators took on Facebook in a class-action lawsuit over the mental health implications they faced from their jobs. The lawsuit was settled in 2020, and Facebook agreed to pay out $52 million to tens of thousands of affected moderators.

The content moderator’s exit message goes beyond the mental health effects. It also slammed Facebook’s content moderation system as a whole in which moderators, who spend the most time watching content, have “the least input as to policy.” The result is that issues take “months” to be addressed, and moderators are punished if they even tried to contact the policy team, the moderator said in the post.

“The current system is bad not only for content analysts but for Facebook itself,” the post reads. “I hope you figure out a way to stop constantly starting PR fires and traumatizing people en masse.”

Facebook did not respond to Insider’s request to confirm the authenticity of the moderator’s post.

You can read the full post through Ryan Mac’s tweet thread, or read the post in text form here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Facebook is under investigation in the EU for its massive leak of 533 million people’s data – and it could face a fine in the billions

facebook mark zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.

  • A European regulator announced that it’s investigating Facebook over a leak of 533 million people’s data.
  • Ireland’s Data Protection Commission will probe whether Facebook broke EU privacy laws.
  • Facebook could face a fine of up to 4% of its $86 billion global revenue if found responsible.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Europe’s leading privacy regulator is investigating whether Facebook broke the law in its handling of a leak of over 533 million people’s phone numbers and personal data.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, the body charged with overseeing Facebook’s privacy compliance in the European Union, announced it had opened an investigation into the social media giant on Wednesday. If Facebook is found to have violated the EU’s data rules, it could face a monetary fine of up to 4% of its $86 billion global revenue.

In a statement, the DPC said it believes EU data rules “may have been, and/or are being, infringed in relation to Facebook Users’ personal data.”

The personal data of over 533 million Facebook users were dumped online for free in a hacking forum earlier this month, Insider first reported. The data included phone numbers that users didn’t make public on their Facebook profiles, which were scraped by cybercriminals in violation of Facebook’s terms of service.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Insider that the company is “cooperating fully” with the investigation, adding that the DPC is probing a now-patched vulnerability in a Facebook tool that made it possible to gather information about a Facebook user by entering their phone number.

“We are cooperating fully with the IDPC in its enquiry, which relates to features that make it easier for people to find and connect with friends on our services. These features are common to many apps and we look forward to explaining them and the protections we have put in place,” the spokesperson said.

When news of the leak first broke, Facebook said the data was scraped due to a vulnerability that the company patched in 2019, and downplayed the issue as “previously reported” – but the company never publicly addressed the vulnerability in detail until the data dump this month.

Facebook also said it does not plan to notify the hundreds of millions affected by the data breach because it’s not confident that it has full knowledge of which users are affected, and because users can’t take steps to fix the issue given that the data has already been published online.

The DPC investigation comes on the heels of pressure from the European Commission. Justice commissioner Didier Reynders said on Monday that he had met with the DPC head Helen Dixon regarding the Facebook leak.

The EU investigation will probe whether Facebook had a legal obligation to notify users and European regulators when it found and fixed the vulnerability. The EU’s data privacy rules, known as GDPR, require such disclosures – but the GDPR only applies to data processed after 2018, and it’s not yet clear if the leaked Facebook data was scraped before the GDPR went into effect.

The DPC said that it has already started questioning Facebook about the data leak and that Facebook has “furnished a number of responses.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

A top Facebook exec told a whistleblower her concerns about widespread state-sponsored disinformation meant she had ‘job security’

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg
In this April 11, 2018, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pauses while testifying before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • Facebook let dictators generate fake support despite employees’ warnings, the Guardian reported.
  • Whistleblower Sophie Zhang repeatedly raised concerns to integrity chief Guy Rosen and other execs.
  • But Rosen said the amount of disinformation on the platform meant “job security” for Zhang.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook allowed authoritarian governments to use its platform to generate fake support for their regimes for months despite warnings from employees about the disinformation campaigns, an investigation from the Guardian revealed this week.

A loophole in Facebook’s policies allowed government officials around the world to create unlimited amounts of fake “pages” which, unlike user profiles, don’t have to correspond to an actual person – but could still like, comment on, react to, and share content, the Guardian reported.

That loophole let governments spin up armies of what looked like real users who could then artificially generate support for and amplify pro-government content, what the Guardian called “the digital equivalent of bussing in a fake crowd for a speech.”

Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook data scientist on the company’s integrity team, blew the whistle dozens of times about the loophole, warning Facebook executives including vice president of integrity Guy Rosen, airing many of her concerns, according to the Guardian.

BuzzFeed News previously reported on Zhang’s “badge post” – a tradition where departing employees post an internal farewell message to coworkers.

But one of Zhang’s biggest concerns was that Facebook wasn’t paying enough attention to coordinated disinformation networks in authoritarian countries, such as Honduras and Azerbaijan, where elections are less free and more susceptible to state-sponsored disinformation campaigns, the Guardian’s investigation revealed.

Facebook waited 344 days after employees sounded the alarm to take action in the Honduras case, and 426 days in Azerbaijan, and in some cases took no action, the investigation found.

But when she raised her concerns about Facebook’s inaction in Honduras to Rosen, he dismissed her concerns.

“We have literally hundreds or thousands of types of abuse (job security on integrity eh!),” Rosen told Zhang in April 2019, according the Guardian, adding: “That’s why we should start from the end (top countries, top priority areas, things driving prevalence, etc) and try to somewhat work our way down.”

Rosen told Zhang he agreed with Facebook’s priority areas, which included the US, Western Europe, and “foreign adversaries such as Russia/Iran/etc,” according to the Guardian.

“We fundamentally disagree with Ms. Zhang’s characterization of our priorities and efforts to root out abuse on our platform. We aggressively go after abuse around the world and have specialized teams focused on this work,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois told Insider in a statement.

“As a result, we’ve already taken down more than 100 networks of coordinated inauthentic behavior. Around half of them were domestic networks that operated in countries around the world, including those in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and in the Asia Pacific region. Combatting coordinated inauthentic behavior is our priority. We’re also addressing the problems of spam and fake engagement. We investigate each issue before taking action or making public claims about them,” she said.

However, Facebook didn’t dispute any of Zhang’s factual claims in the Guardian investigation.

Facebook pledged to tackle election-related misinformation and disinformation after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Russia’s use of its platform to sow division among American voters ahead of the 2016 US presidential elections.

“Since then, we’ve focused on improving our defenses and making it much harder for anyone to interfere in elections,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post.

“Key to our efforts has been finding and removing fake accounts – the source of much of the abuse, including misinformation. Bad actors can use computers to generate these in bulk. But with advances in artificial intelligence, we now block millions of fake accounts every day as they are being created so they can’t be used to spread spam, false news or inauthentic ads,” Zuckerberg added.

But the Guardian’s investigation showed Facebook is still delaying or refusing to take action against state-sponsored disinformation campaigns in dozens of countries, with thousands of fake accounts, creating hundreds of thousands of fake likes.

And even in supposedly high-priority areas, like the US, researchers have found Facebook has allowed key disinformation sources to expand their reach over the years.

A March report from Avaaz found “Facebook could have prevented 10.1 billion estimated views for top-performing pages that repeatedly shared misinformation” ahead of the 2020 US elections had it acted earlier to limit their reach.

“Failure to downgrade the reach of these pages and to limit their ability to advertise in the year before the election meant Facebook allowed them to almost triple their monthly interactions, from 97 million interactions in October 2019 to 277.9 million interactions in October 2020,” Avaaz found.

Facebook admits that around 5% of its accounts are fake, a number that hasn’t gone down since 2019, according to The New York Times. And MIT Technology Review’s Karen Hao reported in March that Facebook still doesn’t have a centralized team dedicated to ensuring its AI systems and algorithms reduce the spread of misinformation.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Facebook is testing a video speed-dating service where users have to pledge to create a safe space, be kind – and, please, don’t ghost

Facebook speed dating sparked
  • Facebook is testing a new app that lets users speed date over video.
  • The app, called Sparked, matches users for 4-minute “dates.” A second date would last 10 minutes.
  • Facebook already has one dating app, Facebook Dating, which is similar to rivals like Hinge.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook is testing out a new speed dating service that lets users date over video.

The new service, called Sparked, will offer “video speed dating for kind people,” according to a landing page for the app. Users won’t need public profiles and won’t have to swipe through matches or direct message with people to set up dates. Sparked is free to use but does require a Facebook account, according to the landing page.

The Verge’s Ashley Carman was the first to report about the new app. According to The Verge, which went through the sign-up process, the app will cycle through video dates that last for 4 minutes. If both users have a good time, they can schedule a second date that lasts 10-minutes. If the second date goes well, users are prompted to keep in touch on another platform, such as Instagram, iMessage, or email, according to The Verge.

Before going through the sign-up process, users have to agree to a set of rules: be kind, make the app a safe space, and show up for your dates. Kindness is mentioned several times during the sign-up process for Sparked, including a step where users will have to explain what makes them a kind dater. The responses will be “reviewed by a human at Sparked” before they can go on dates, The Verge reports.

Prospective users are also asked whether they’re looking to date women, men, non-binary people, or trans people during the sign-up process, according to The Verge.

Sparked is made by Facebook’s NPE team – short for New Product Experimentation – which tests new, standalone services for Facebook. When The Verge went through the sign-up process, it was placed on a waitlist, so it’s unclear if and when the app will be live.

A spokesperson for Facebook did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Sparked.

The video speed dating aspect of Sparked bears some resemblance to Chatroulette, the late-aughts website that cycled through randomized webcam feeds. The app skyrocketed in popularity just months after it launched in 2009, but quickly drew nudity and graphic content.

While video dating would be a new service for Facebook, it wouldn’t be the social media giant’s first foray into dating apps. Facebook launched Facebook Dating in September 2019, which competes with apps like Hinge or Bumble by allowing users to build a profile and sift through potential matches – like Hinge, users can “like” others’ profiles and comment on their photos to start a conversation.

While Facebook Dating hasn’t become as popular as rivals like Tinder, Facebook has a key advantage in the dating space: a user base that numbers in the billions, which makes it easier for users to have their profile information flow into a dating profile.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Archegos chief Bill Hwang donated huge amounts of Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook stock to his private foundation. Those gifts would be worth $950 million today

Bill Hwang
Bill Hwang of Archegos Capital Management.

  • Bill Hwang donated Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook shares to his private foundation.
  • The Archegos chief’s Grace and Mercy Foundation cashed them in for $325 million.
  • Grace and Mercy could have sold the shares for nearly $950 million today.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Bill Hwang, the investor who lost $20 billion in two days when his family office imploded in March, donated technology stocks to his private foundation that would be worth almost $950 million today.

The Archegos Capital Management boss – whose portfolio was swiftly dismantled when his leveraged stock bets soured and he defaulted on his lenders’ margin calls – is the cofounder of the Grace and Mercy Foundation, a Christian charity that helps the poor and oppressed.

Grace and Mercy’s tax filings, reviewed by Insider on ProPublica, show Hwang donated around 121,000 Amazon shares, 945,000 Netflix shares, and 51,000 Facebook shares to the foundation over the past decade. Grace and Mercy sold those shares for about $325 million in total between 2017 and 2018, scoring a handsome $186 million gain.

However, if the foundation had kept the gifts instead of selling them, they would fetch around $946 million today, reflecting the three stocks’ price gains in recent years.

Grace and Mercy also bought shares in Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Expedia, and other companies, its tax filings show. It cashed them in for a total of $200 million between 2014 and 2016, notching a $103 million gain.

Those shares would be worth $722 million today, including Amazon stock worth $449 million and Netflix shares worth $219 million.

Grace and Mercy, which boasted nearly $500 million in assets at the end of 2018, may have cashed in Hwang’s stock gifts because it needed to finance grants to charities and fund its operations. But it undoubtedly left money on the table by selling them.

Hwang is one of several “tiger cubs” who left billionaire investor Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management to start their own funds. He shut down Tiger Asia Management in 2012 after pleading guilty to insider trading in federal court, and launched Archegos in 2013.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Facebook’s top execs took home hefty bonuses in the second half of 2020, partially as a reward for the company’s ‘election integrity efforts’

Mark Zuckerberg at Georgetown University
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook executives got 110% bonuses in the second half of 2020, according to a new SEC filing.
  • The bonuses were partially tied to Facebook’s “election integrity” efforts.
  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t participate in the employee bonus program.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s two lieutenants got a big pay day for their work around last year’s election: COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Wehner got just shy of $1 million in bonus compensation for the second half of 2020.

Those bonuses, awarded at 110%, were at least partially tied to “election integrity efforts in connection with the U.S. 2020 elections,” according to an SEC filing from the company first spotted by The Information.

Ahead of the November 2020 elections, Facebook rolled out a number of measures intended to curb misinformation and promote voting.

The company added labels to all posts about voting that came from federal elected officials and candidates, it paused political ad buying for months, and opened an information center intended to inform users about voting laws. Those efforts were apparently considered a success if the bonus payouts are any indication.

Read more: Some Lululemon retail employees say there is an environment of ‘toxic positivity,’ where workers feel pressure to share personal information with managers and constant feedback can feel like bullying

In the years following the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook struggled with how to moderate speech and advertising from politicians and political campaigns.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has remained steadfast in his argument that political advertising is equivalent to political speech, and that political speech shouldn’t be moderated by the social media giant.

“In a democracy it’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying so they can make their own judgments,” Zuckerberg said in a late 2019 interview with CBS This Morning cohost Gayle King. “I don’t think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news.”

Following the 2020 US election, as former President Donald Trump repeatedly insisted that the election had been “stolen” and Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building, Facebook took the unprecedented step of outright banning Trump from its platforms.

“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Zuckerberg said in January. “The risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Scraped personal data of 1.3 million Clubhouse users has reportedly leaked online

clubhouse app
  • Over a million Clubhouse users have had their personal data leaked for free, Cyber News reported.
  • The social media app, popular for its audio community, is the latest to have user records posted in a hacker forum.
  • LinkedIn and Facebook user data has also been exposed online within the past week.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The personal data of 1.3 million Clubhouse users has leaked online on a popular hacker forum, according to a Saturday report from Cyber News.

The scraped data of Clubhouse users includes names, social media profile names, and other details.

Clubhouse did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment that was made on Saturday. As Cyber News reported, the exposed data could enable bad actors to target users through phishing schemes or identity theft.

Clubhouse on Sunday pushed back on the Cyber News report, posting on Twitter: “Clubhouse has not been breached or hacked,” it said. “The data referred to is all public profile information from our app, which anyone can access via the app or our API (application programming interface).”

The invite-only social media app launched in March 2020 and has grown into a popular platform and attracted millions of users. Its audio community allows users to tune into conversations, or “rooms,” about various topics. The company is reportedly in talks for a funding round that values the company at $4 billion.

The development comes after two high-profile data breaches surfaced within the past week.

The same publication reported on Tuesday that the personal data of 500 million LinkedIn users – about two-thirds of the platform’s userbase – was scraped and listed for sale online. A LinkedIn spokesperson confirmed to Insider on Thursday that there is indeed a dataset posted of public information that was scraped from its platform. A hacker is attempting to sell the data for a four-digit sum and potentially in the form of bitcoin.

Paul Prudhomme, an analyst at security intelligence company IntSights, told Insider that the exposed data is significant because bad actors could use it to attack companies through their employees’ information.

Days before reports surfaced of the LinkedIn and Clubhouse data leaks, Insider’s Aaron Holmes reported that the full names, location, email addresses, and other sensitive pieces of information of 533 million Facebook users were posted in a forum.

Security researchers told Insider that hackers could use the exposed data to impersonate them or scam them into revealing sensitive login information.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Personal data of 1.3 million Clubhouse users has reportedly leaked online days after LinkedIn and Facebook also suffered data breaches

clubhouse app
  • Over a million Clubhouse users have had their personal data leaked online.
  • The social media app, popular for its audio community, is only the latest to suffer a data breach.
  • LinkedIn and Facebook user data has also been exposed online within the past week.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The personal data of 1.3 million Clubhouse users has leaked online on a popular hacker forum, according to a Saturday report from Cyber News.

The leaked data of Clubhouse users includes names, social media profile names, and other details.

Clubhouse did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment that was made on Saturday. As Cyber News reported, the exposed data could enable bad actors to target users through phishing schemes or identity theft.

The invite-only social media app launched in March 2020 and has grown into a popular platform and attracted millions of users. Its audio community allows users to tune into conversations, or “rooms,” about various topics. The company is reportedly in talks for a funding round that values the company at $4 billion.

Saturday’s report of a Clubhouse data breach is only the latest to surface within the past week.

The same publication reported on Tuesday that the personal data of 500 million LinkedIn users – about two-thirds of the platform’s userbase – was scraped and listed for sale online. A LinkedIn spokesperson confirmed to Insider on Thursday that there is indeed a dataset posted of public information that was scraped from its platform. A hacker is attempting to sell the data for a four-digit sum and potentially in the form of bitcoin.

Paul Prudhomme, an analyst at security intelligence company IntSights, told Insider that the exposed data is significant because bad actors could use it to attack companies through their employees’ information.

Days before reports surfaced of the LinkedIn and Clubhouse data leaks, Insider’s Aaron Holmes reported that the full names, location, email addresses, and other sensitive pieces of information of 533 million Facebook users were posted in a forum.

Security researchers told Insider that hackers could use the exposed data to impersonate them or scam them into revealing sensitive login information.

Read the original article on Business Insider

It’s smackdown season in techland

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech, including:

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Soundtrack: This week’s newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to Blue Öyster Cult’s “Godzilla”


This week: It’s smackdown season in techland

godzilla vs kong warner bros

Maybe it’s because of all the hoopla over the new “Godzilla vs. Kong” movie, but I’m noticing a lot of news about clashes between the titans of the tech industry lately.

The decade-long courtroom battle between Google and Oracle came to a close this week when the US Supreme Court declared Google the victor, absolving it of any allegations that it stole Oracle’s code by using Java APIs in the Android operating system.

Another brewing showdown between Box and activist investor Starboard Value seems to have been averted.

And of course, tensions between Apple and Facebook continue to rise as we near the release of Apple’s new privacy feature, which will make it easy for iPhone users to avoid the ad targeting Facebook’s business depends on.

But, lest you grow tired of the same old tech match-ups, don’t fear: a new rivalry is forming.

Ghodsi.Slootman
Ali Ghodsi, the CEO of Databricks and Frank Slootman, the CEO of Snowflake.

As Ashley Stewart and Jeff Elder report, Snowflake and Databricks, two of the hottest, young enterprise tech companies are inexorably moving into each other’s turf in a battle for data supremacy.

  • Each company has carved out a lucrative role helping business customers analyze data in the cloud. But, as one industry analyst notes in the story, the two companies’ interests are starting to converge, putting them “on a collision course.”
  • Throw in a pugnacious CEO (Snowflake’s Frank Slootman) who likens himself to WWII’s General George S. Patton, and a rival CEO (Databrick’s Ali Ghodsi) skilled at forming alliances with deep-pocketed partners and at raising cash, and you have the makings for a great rivalry.

Read the full story here:

The next big tech rivalry will be between $67 billion Snowflake and $28 billion Databricks, which are on a ‘collision course’ as the AI and data analysis market heats up


From the curious file…

Don’t bring a robot to war without charging its battery: That’s the lesson from Saint-Cyr, the elite French military academy whose alumni include Charles de Gaulle, after a series of combat exercises with “Spot,” the robotic quadruped made by Boston Robotics. Apparently Spot performed valiantly under fire, doing tasks like reconnaissance – right up until its battery died midway through the action.

Spot   construction2

Camp ByteDance: The “world’s top university students” have been invited to TikTok-parent company ByteDance’s Beijing headquarters for a weeklong training camp. Campers will focus on skills like speech recognition, computer vision and graphics, in addition to being eligible for “big cash prizes” and internships. The camp, now in its fourth year, reflects the growing competition for AI experts amid the US and China’s tech cold war.

Blockchain wedding: The hot new wedding item in Silicon Valley is an NFT, or non-fungible token. In March, a bride and groom in Palo Atlo whipped out their cellphones at the altar and swapped an animation of unique, blockchain-based digital rings as part of their vows. The blockchain is “forever,” just as “love should be,” said the bride said, who like her new husband, work at … Coinbase.


Snapshot: The face mask to kick off your cyborg makeover

Covid-wear reached a new pinnacle this week with the release of the Xubermask, a wild-looking internet-connected face mask that’s the result of a collaboration between musician-cum-entrepreneur Will.i.am, electronics company Honeywell, and Jose Fernandez, a designer whose credits include the SpaceX flight suit.

Xupermask
The Xupermask.

The mask is made of mesh and silicone, and comes with built-in noise-cancelling headphones, dual three-speed fans and LED lights. It’ll cost you $300, but you’ll be protected from germs and smog, and you’ll look like a cyber-warrior.


Recommended Readings:

Leaked Amazon documents detail a controversial system that insiders say forces managers to give bad reviews to good employees

OPINION: Mark Zuckerberg’s first crack at a cryptocurrency was an embarrassing flop. Don’t bet on him giving up so easily.

DeepMind’s cofounder partied with Elon Musk for his raucous 40th birthday party on the Orient Express, a new book revealed

Clubhouse only has about 35 employees. Meet the 13 executives and earliest employees behind the year-old startup in talks for a $4 billion valuation.

Google continues its Search leadership shuffle, appointing new executives to focus its most important business


Not necessarily in tech:

Burnout, blown deadlines, and a tech-talent exodus: How Goldman Sachs’ Marcus is struggling to live up to its lofty consumer-banking ambitions


Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

– Alexei

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Muslim advocacy group just sued Facebook for failing to remove hate-speech, and it’s the latest example of the tech’s patchwork polices that fail to crack down on Islamophobia

Mark Zuckerberg sheryl sandberg
Muslim Advocates sued Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg for allegedly misleading Congress on how adequately they remove hate speech.

  • An advocacy group sued Facebook for allegedly misleading Congress regarding hate speech moderation.
  • The suit claims Facebook failed to remove most anti-Muslim groups presented to them in 2017.
  • The Muslim Advocates suit underscores how tech platforms fail to moderate anti-Muslim content.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Muslim advocacy group this week sued Facebook for failing to curtail hate speech, part of tech’s broader problem stopping Islamophobic speech.

Civil rights group Muslim Advocates filed a suit against Facebook and four company executives in the District of Columbia Superior Court for lying to Congress about moderating hate speech.

Facebook executives have told Congress of their commitment to removing content that violate policies, including COO Sheryl Sandberg’s assertion to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Facebook and Foreign Influence that “when content violates our policies, we will take it down.”

Yet Muslim Advocates said the organization presented Facebook with a list of 26 groups that spread anti-Muslim hate in 2017, yet 19 of them are still active.

Read more: In a hopeful sign for tech diversity, Harlem Capital raised $134 million for its second fund, blowing by its target in just 6 months

The suit claims Facebook allowed a man threatening to kill Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to post “violent and racist content for years,” and that the company failed to remove a group called “Death to Murdering Islamic Muslim Cult Members” even after Elon University Professor Megan Squire brought it to Facebook’s attention.

“We do not allow hate speech on Facebook and regularly work with experts, non-profits, and stakeholders to help make sure Facebook is a safe place for everyone, recognizing anti-Muslim rhetoric can take different forms,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Insider. “We have invested in AI technologies to take down hate speech, and we proactively detect 97 percent of what we remove.”

In 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to Congress that the platform’s can fail to police hate speech due to its artificial intelligence. Hate speech has nuance that can be tricky for AI to identify and remove, especially in different languages, Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg once again addressed questions about moderation and automation at a March 2021 congressional hearing about misinformation. His testimony about how content moderation needs to take into consideration “nuances,” like when advocates make counterarguments against hateful hashtags, seemed at odds with Facebook’s admitted reliance on AI to do the job of moderating hate speech.

Peter Romer-Friedman, a principal at Gupta Wessler PLLC who helped file the suit and the former counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, said Congress cannot adequately oversee corporations that misrepresent facts to lawmakers.

Romer-Friedman said Facebook’s failure to remove a group that claimed “Islam is a disease” – which directly violates the company’s hate speech policies that prohibits “dehumanizing speech including…reference or comparison to filth, bacteria, disease, or feces” – is an example where the firm did not follow through on its promise to Congress to quell hate speech.

“It’s become all too common for corporate execs to come to Washington and not tell the truth, and that harms the ability of Congress to understand the problem and fairly regulate businesses that are inherently unsafe,” Romer-Friedman told Insider.

How Facebook and other tech firms are failing to address anti-Muslim hate speech

The suit highlight’s tech firms’ ongoing problem responding to anti-Muslim content online.

Rep. Omar, the first congressperson to wear a hijab or Muslim headscarf, called on Twitter to address the death threats she receives. “Yo @Twitter this is unacceptable!” she said in 2019.

An analysis by the Social Science Research Council analyzed more than 100,000 tweets directed at Muslim candidates running for office in 2018, and found Twitter was responsible “for the spread of images and words from a small number of influential voices to a national and international audience,” per The Washington Post.

The spread of anti-Muslim content extends far beyond Facebook and Twitter:

  • TikTok apologized to a 17-year-old user for suspending her account condemning China’s mass crackdown on Uighur Muslims.
  • VICE has reported Muslim prayer apps like Muslim Pro had been selling location data on users to the US military.
  • Instagram banned Laura Loomer, a “proud Islamophobe,” years after Uber and Lyft banned her for a series of anti-Muslim tweets following a terror attack in New York.

Sanaa Ansari, a staff attorney with Muslim Advocates, said there’s been “clear evidence” of incitement to violence against Muslims potentially due to unchecked hate speech on social media. In 2019, 16-minute livestream of a gunman attacking two mosques and killing 51 people in New Zealand was uploaded to Facebook and spread quickly to Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter.

“There have been multiple calls to arms to Muslims, there have been organized events by anti-Muslim supremacists and militias who have organized marches, protests at mosques in this country,” Ansari told Insider in an interview. “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

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