Connect with us

News

Facebook will try to ‘nudge’ teens away from harmful content

Published

 on

A Facebook Inc executive said Sunday that the company would introduce new measures on its apps to prompt teens away from harmful content, as U.S lawmakers scrutinize how Facebook and subsidiaries like Instagram affect young people’s mental health.

Nick Clegg , Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, also expressed openness to the idea of letting regulators have access to Facebook algorithms that are used to amplify content. But Clegg said he could not answer the question whether its algorithms amplified the voices of people who had attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The algorithms “should be held to account, if necessary, by regulation so that people can match what our systems say they’re supposed to do from what actually happens,” Clegg told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

He spoke days after former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen testified on Capitol Hill about how the company entices users to keep scrolling, harming teens’ well-being.

“We’re going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference, which is where our systems see that the teenager is looking at the same content over and over again and it’s content which may not be conducive to their well-being, we will nudge them to look at other content,” Clegg told CNN.

In addition, “we’re introducing something called, ‘take a break,’ where we will be prompting teens to just simply just take a break from using Instagram,” Clegg said.

U.S. senators last week grilled Facebook on its plans to better protect young users on its apps, drawing on leaked internal research that showed the social media giant was aware of how its Instagram app damaged the mental health of youth.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, has argued for more regulation against technology companies like Facebook.

“I’m just tired of hearing ‘trust us’, and it’s time to protect those moms and dads that have been struggling with their kids getting addicted to the platform and been exposed to all kinds of bad stuff,” Klobuchar told CNN on Sunday after Clegg’s interview.

She said the United States needs a new privacy policy so that people can “opt in” if they favor allowing their online data to be shared. The United States also should update children’s privacy laws and its competition policy, and require tech companies to make their algorithms more transparent, Klobuchar said.

Clegg noted that Facebook had recently put on hold its plans for developing Instagram Kids, aimed at pre-teens, and was introducing new optional controls for adults to supervise teens.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker)

News

No end in sight to volcanic eruption on Spain’s La Palma – Canaries president

Published

 on

There’s no immediate end in sight to the  volcanic eruption that has caused chaos on the Spanish isle of La Palma since it began about a month ago, the president of the Canary Islands said on Sunday.

There were 42 seismic movements on the island on Sunday, the largest of which measured 4.3, according to the Spanish National Geographical Institute.

“There are no signs that an end of the eruption is imminent even though this is the greatest desire of everyone,” President Angel Víctor Torres said at a Socialist party conference in Valencia, citing the view of scientists.

Streams of lava have laid waste to more than 742 hectares (1833 acres) of land and destroyed almost 2,000 buildings on La Palma since the volcano started erupting on Sept. 19.

About 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes on the island, which has about 83,000 inhabitants and forms part of the Canary Islands archipelago off northwestern Africa.

Airline Binter said it had cancelled all its flights to La Palma on Sunday because of ash from the volcano.

“Due to the current situation of the ash cloud, operations with La Palma will continue to be paralyzed throughout today. We continue to evaluate the situation,” the airline tweeted.

Almost half – 22 out of 38 – of all flights to the island on Sunday have been cancelled, state airport operator Aena said, but the airport there remains open.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley; Editing by Pravin Char)

Continue Reading

News

Son of ex-Somali political aide held over UK lawmaker stabbing

Published

 on

Ali Harbi Ali, the son of an ex-media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia, has been arrested by British police under  anti-terrorism laws following the killing of lawmaker David Amess, a source close to the investigation and British media said.

Amess, 69, from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, was knifed repeatedly as he met constituency voters in a church on Friday in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London.

The killing took place five years after the murder of Jo Cox, a lawmaker from the opposition Labour Party, and has prompted a review of politicians’ security.

Police said they had arrested a 25-year-old British man at the scene on suspicion of murder and have said it is believed he acted alone. They have not named the suspect but used additional powers under anti-terrorism laws to detain him until Oct. 22.

A British source close to the investigation named Ali Harbi Ali, a British citizen, as the detained suspect.

Harbi Ali Kullane, the father of Ali Harbi Ali, told The Sunday Times that his son had been arrested in connection with the murder.

“At this particular moment we are going through (an)unprecedented and horrific situation,” Harbi Ali Kullane, a former adviser to Hassan Ali Khaire, a former Somali prime minister, told Reuters in an email when asked about this.

“Due to the ongoing early investigation I am obliged and commanded not to talk about it,” said Harbi Ali Kullane, who is a former director of the Somali government’s media and communication department.

British police were on Sunday searching an address in north London linked to Ali Harbi Ali, Reuters reporters said.

Interior Minister Priti Patel said on Sunday Britain is considering a number of options to boost the security of lawmakers.

(Reporting by Nazanine Moshiri in Nairobi and Guy Faulconbridge in LondonAdditional reporting by Costas PitasEditing by Alex Richardson and Frances Kerry)

Continue Reading

News

Yemen’s Houthis advance in Shabwa and Marib

Published

 on

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement said on Sunday it has seized new territory in the energy-rich provinces of Shabwa and Marib, gains confirmed by sources, as it presses an offensive likely to further complicate international peace efforts.

Military spokesman Yahia Sarea said Houthi forces, who are battling a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, had taken three districts in Shabwa in southern Yemen and two more in Marib, the Saudi-backed government’s last northern stronghold.

The U.S. State Department on Saturday condemned the Houthi escalation in Marib, which hosts hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people, as a “flagrant disregard for the safety of civilians”.

Marib has Yemen’s biggest gas fields, while Shabwa has several oil fields and the country’s sole liquefied natural gas terminal.

Local authorities and residents confirmed the Houthis were now in control of the Assilan, Bayhan and Ain districts in Shabwa as well as the al-Abdiyah and Harib districts in Marib, where fighting is still raging in al-Jubah and Jabal Murad.

This leaves the internationally recognised government – based in the south after the Houthis ousted it from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014 – in control of Marib City and one other district.

Sarea said in a televised statement that Houthi forces would continue to “liberate and cleanse” Marib and called on “mercenaries and agents in Marib City” to quit the coalition.

The Saudi-led alliance intervened in Yemen in March 2015 but the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and caused a dire humanitarian crisis, has been in military stalemate for years.

The United Nations says nearly 10,000 people were displaced in Marib last month alone. The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, David Gressly, and U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price have both called for safe passage of civilians and aid.

 

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari, Reyam Mokhashef and Yemen team; Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Jan Harvey)

Continue Reading

Trending