June 4, 2021

Five questions posed by Facebook’s two-year ban on Donald Trump

On Friday, Facebook announced that it would suspend former president Donald Trump from the social network for two years, until at least January 7, 2023, and said he would “only be reinstated if conditions permit.” The announcement comes in response to recommendations last month from Facebook’s recently created Oversight Board. Facebook had hoped that the board would decide how to handle Trump’s account, but while it upheld the company’s initial decision to ban Trump from the platform for inciting violence on January 6, it punted the long-term decision back to executives in Palo Alto. The news that Trump would be banned from Facebook for another 19 months was meant to provide some answers on the platform’s relationship with the former president—but instead it leaves many open questions. Who is this decision supposed to please? Although the announcement provides some actual rules about how politicians can use Facebook—and some guidance on how those rules will be enforced—the decision to ban Trump for at least two years isn’t going to be its most popular one. Advocacy groups like Ultraviolet and Media Matters, which have long pushed Facebook to ban Trump, released statements saying that anything less than a permanent ban is inadequate. Meanwhile, the people who feel any rule enforcement against conservative politicians is proof that Facebook penalizes conservative content continue to feel that way, despite lots of evidence that, if anything, the opposite is true.  And it leaves open the possibility that Trump will be Back Online in time for

BrandPost: As Standards Evolve, Edge Deployments Follow Business Cases

IT leaders have no shortage of priorities to balance as they position their organizations for resiliency and growth. And one of the hot spots for growth and transformation is the Edge.Like all emerging technologies, edge computing is evolving right along with the standards that will someday set parameters and best practices for implementation. Until then, organizations are crowd-sourcing their approach, says Chris Smith, Vice President of Platform Applications with Lumen Technologies.  “It still requires thoughtful design and consulting to deploy modern applications in a distributed fashion,” Smith told IDG in Episode 2 of Lumen’s podcast series (listen below).To read this article in full, please click here

BrandPost: Edge Infrastructure: A Modern, Flexible Framework

IT leaders have no shortage of priorities to balance as they position their organizations for resiliency and growth. And one of the hotspots for growth and transformation is the Edge.For IT, the term “infrastructure” evokes images of rows of server racks, cables, blinking lights, and cold rooms. Today, Edge Computing is changing the way we think about infrastructure. Edge computing takes workloads out of the data center and moves them into the field —  to the edge — along with all the compute, storage, networking, devices, and other typical infrastructure components.For Lumen’s Chris McReynolds, edge infrastructure is distributed, spanning cloud and on-premises — think a retail point-of-sale — and flexible. It starts with defining the business outcomes you want from your edge deployments, McReynolds says in Episode 1 of Lumen’s podcast series (listen below).To read this article in full, please click here

BrandPost: The Beauty of Edge Computing

The age-old saying that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” may help explain why virtually everyone has their own view on what we can expect from computing at the edge. For some it’s the realization of autonomous vehicles; for others it may be industrial automation or more effective monitoring of patient health. The reality is that edge is a concept that is subjective to an individual’s experience and vision, with applications and use cases still taking shape and many more not yet on the drawing board.Just as today’s cloud computing environment has moved seemingly light years beyond the application service provider bubble that went bust more than two decades ago, edge computing has moved far beyond early concepts of the Internet of Things (IoT). What is increasingly clear is that edge computing is intersecting with the cloud and revealing new ways of leveraging the capabilities of distributed and centralized computing.To read this article in full, please click here

China’s Tiananmen anniversary crackdowns reach far beyond the firewall

The 24-hour vigil started just after 8 a.m. US Eastern Time on June 3—more or less on schedule, and without any major disruptions. The event, hosted on Zoom and broadcast live on other platforms such as YouTube, was put together by Chinese activists to commemorate the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Beijing’s bloody clampdown on a student-led pro-democracy movement that took place on June 4, 1989. The fact that it could take place wasn’t certain: organizers were worried that they’d see a repeat of last year, when Zoom, the Californian videoconferencing company, shut down three Tiananmen-related events including theirs after a request from the Chinese government. The company even temporarily suspended the accounts of the coordinators, despite the fact that all of them were located outside of mainland China and four of them were in the US. Zoom’s actions led to an investigation and lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice in December. “We strive to limit actions taken to only those necessary to comply with local laws. Our response should not have impacted users outside of mainland China,” Zoom wrote in a statement posted to its website, in which it admitted that it “fell short.” It was one of the most extreme examples of how far western technology companies will go to comply with China’s strict controls on online content. A suite of suppression This kind of self-censorship is standard for Chinese technology companies, who—unlike American businesses shielded by rules such as Section 230—are held responsible for user content by

AI still sucks at moderating hate speech

For all of the recent advances in language AI technology, it still struggles with one of the most basic applications. In a new study, scientists tested four of the best AI systems for detecting hate speech and found that all of them struggled in different ways to distinguish toxic and innocuous sentences. The results are not surprising—creating AI that understands the nuances of natural language is hard. But the way the researchers diagnosed the problem is important. They developed 29 different tests targeting different aspects of hate speech to more precisely pinpoint exactly where each system fails. This makes it easier to understand how to overcome a system’s weaknesses and is already helping one commercial service improve its AI. The study authors, led by scientists from the University of Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute, interviewed employees across 16 nonprofits who work on online hate. The team used these interviews to create a taxonomy of 18 different types of hate speech, focusing on English and text-based hate speech only, including derogatory speech, slurs, and threatening language. They also identified 11 non-hateful scenarios that commonly trip up AI moderators, including the use of profanity in innocuous statements, slurs that have been reclaimed by the targeted community, and denouncements of hate that quote or reference the original hate speech (known as counter speech). For each of the 29 different categories, they hand-crafted dozens of examples and used “template” sentences like “I hate [IDENTITY]” or “You are just a [SLUR] to me”

SAP brings new tools and modularity to Rise

SAP kicked off 2021 with a bold bet on migrating its customers’ core ERP applications to the cloud. Introduced in January, “Rise with SAP” offers to move customers’ systems of record to S/4HANA to their choice of cloud provider and manage them there with a single SLA.Now SAP is adding new applications to Rise with SAP, including support for more business functions and for five industry verticals.“We are expanding our initial offering beyond S/4HANA Cloud. Customers want a holistic, modular ERP cloud solution. That’s why we are including HR and procurement capabilities,” CEO Christian Klein told attendees at the company’s Sapphire Now 2021 customer event, held online for the second year running.To read this article in full, please click here

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