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Facebook bans researchers who slammed it for spreading misinformation

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Facebook has banned the accounts of New York University researchers who criticised the tech giant

Facebook says it banned the researchers because of the threat they posed over privacy protection. However, the researchers have slammed the social media platform over this move.

Researcher Laura Edelson says the move is an attempt to silence them and other researchers who use the tool they developed to analyse the spread of misinformation. 

“The work our team does to make data about disinformation on Facebook transparent is vital to a healthy internet and a healthy democracy,” she said.

“Facebook is silencing us because our work often calls attention to problems on its platform”

“If this episode demonstrates anything it’s that Facebook should not have veto power over who is allowed to study them,” said Edelson.

“Worst of all, Facebook is using user privacy, a core belief that we have always put first in our work, as a pretext for doing this.”

It follows months of battling between the tech giant and the researchers over the Ad Observer tool they developed. The tool allows Facebook users to share limited anonymous information about the political ads shown to them by the platform.

Facebook will label false posts more clearly as part of an effort to  prevent 2020 election interference - The Verge

“Facebook should not be able to cynically invoke user privacy”

Another one of the researchers Damon McCoy says that Facebook shouldn’t be able to invoke user privacy to “shut down research that puts them in an unflattering light”.

“Particularly when the ‘users’ Facebook is talking about are advertisers who have consented to making their ads public,” McCoy said.

Read more here.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

Business

EU plans to force USB-C chargers for all phones

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EU plans to make USB-C connectors the standard port for all smartphones and tablets, angering Apple

The European Commission rules to force manufacturers to create a universal charging solution for phones and small electronic devices. The European Commission is aiming to have a common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets, cameras, headphones, and handheld videogame consoles.

The ruling has been in the making for a decade, with environmental concerns the main driving force behind the historic move.

Reducing waste

The rule will reduce waste by encouraging consumers to re-use existing chargers when buying a new device. Politicians have been pushing for this uni9versal charging rule for over a decade.

Disposed and unused charging cables generate approximately 11,000 tonnes of waste per year.  Research shows the average person owns around three mobile phone chargers.

A decade ago there were about 30 different types of chargers, now, phones use either USB-C, lightning, and USB micro-B.

Rotten Apple

The move would see all smartphones in the EU sold with the same charger, a motion Apple is not happy about. The tech giant says this move would damage ongoing innovation.

The tech giant is the main manufacturer of smartphones using a custom charging port, as its iPhone series uses an Apple-made “Lightning” connector. Apple argues its Lightning connector is used by one billion active iPhone users.

“We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world,”

Apple spokesperson

The proposed changes would apply to the charging port on the device body and will also standardise charging speeds. It may be a number of years before the proposals come into effect.

It will be thoroughly debated by the European Parliament and national Governments.

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Tech

Facebook CTO resigns as Zuckerburg announces replacement

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Facebook is about to close an important chapter in its history

In some major news, the social network’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer is stepping down from his role after a total 13 years at the company.

He’ll move to a part-time position as Facebook’s first Senior Fellow at some point in 2022.

CEO Mark Zuckerburg has now appointed hardware lead Andrew Bosworth to be the new CTO.

Schroepfer first joined Facebook in 2008 as a vice president of engineering. He took the CTO position in 2013.

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Business

American plane maker to open major factory in Australia

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Major US-based aircraft maker, Boeing is heading for Australia’s sunshine state

The new Boeing manufacturing facility is planned to be built at Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport in an Australian first.

The facility would be involved in manufacturing the Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft for the Royal Australia Air Force.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stated that the Boeing project would bring more than 300 jobs to the area, and was ‘very welcome’

The Queensland Government also confirmed that the interior of the aircraft manufactured at the new site would be painted maroon and stamped with “Made In Queensland”.

The Loyal Wingman is an unmanned aircraft but works alongside crewed aircraft, with Defence currently examining how it will be deployed once it’s put into use.

The new facility isn’t the first to be opened and operated by Boeing, with the plane maker also operating sites across Australia’s east coast, including in major cities; Melbourne and Sydney.

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