All posts by MTechnology

Will Robot Baristas Replace Traditional Cafes?

There has been a long tradition of making and drinking coffee across cultures and continents. Now, a tech company in Austin, Texas, is adding to this tradition by creating robot baristas to make the coffee-drinking experience more convenient. For a price similar to a cup of Starbucks coffee, a robot can now make it, too.

“I think it’s super cool. It’s so innovative. I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s really fun to watch your coffee getting made by a robot,” said Wendy Cummings, who just received her drink made by the robot barista.

Created by the company Briggo, the barista is a robotic arm that makes coffee inside a kiosk that can brew a fresh cup of designer coffee at any time of day.

This robot barista also solves a global problem, said Charles Studor, Briggo’s founder.

“Coffee is ubiquitous, and this problem that we’re solving is common around the world. The problem is very high-quality coffee that’s convenient, that’s consistent, done just the way you like and that is very efficient in the use of the beans and the raw materials,” Studor said.

Customers can download the Briggo app on their mobile phones and customize their order. When their coffee is made, they can go to the robot barista and pick up their order.

“It’s perfect to just not wait in lines, just getting there picking your coffee, and you’re good to go for the day,” said Astrid Chacon, who just tried a robot-made coffee.

Plans for social impact

“I started the company really thinking about the way we consume quality products in the West,” Studor said. “We’re often very wasteful, and we don’t really understand what it’s taken to get those quality beans, in this case, beans to our mouth, essentially. And we want to be able to connect at the end of the day, not just solve the problem of quality coffee — convenient, but also back to origin.”

Studor’s long-term goal is to create social impact by connecting the consumer with the coffee grower. This kind of relationship can be possible through the internet and social media, Studor said.

“Maybe the farmers have some issues. Maybe we can do programs where we connect you and say, ‘Help with a water project,’ or ‘Help with a motor blower that’s gone down in a small cooperative.’ So, how do we use the technology of this century to connect people in lots of different ways? And coffee is a common ground that everyone can relate to,” Studor said.

Robots vs. humans

While big-name coffee brands such as Starbucks dedicate a portion of their business to bettering the farming communities that supply their products, will the robot barista with a social cause threaten more traditional cafes?

“It’s going to take a little bit of time, but I’m sure we’re going to be having this instead of Starbucks,” Chacon said.

Studor believes robot and human baristas can serve different coffee needs.

“It’s a big market. There are specialty coffee shops where there are high-quality trained baristas that I don’t think we’ll ever replace. I mean, there is a place and time for those. But there’s a lot of places around. Think about a hospital in the middle of the night. Where is the quality coffee there? Where is it at 5:30 in the morning at the airport? And so, we want to get that quality experience in all those places that are really underserved,” Studor said.

Briggo’s robot baristas are currently in the Austin area. The company plans to put a robot kiosk at Austin’s airport, as well as expanding to corporate campuses in other major Texas cities, and then to the U.S. East and West coasts and beyond.  

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Will Robot Baristas Replace Traditional Cafes?

There has been a long tradition of making and drinking coffee across cultures and continents. Now, a tech company in Austin, Texas, is adding to this tradition by creating robot baristas to make the coffee-drinking experience more convenient. For a price similar to a cup of Starbucks coffee, a robot can now make it, too.

“I think it’s super cool. It’s so innovative. I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s really fun to watch your coffee getting made by a robot,” said Wendy Cummings, who just received her drink made by the robot barista.

Created by the company Briggo, the barista is a robotic arm that makes coffee inside a kiosk that can brew a fresh cup of designer coffee at any time of day.

This robot barista also solves a global problem, said Charles Studor, Briggo’s founder.

“Coffee is ubiquitous, and this problem that we’re solving is common around the world. The problem is very high-quality coffee that’s convenient, that’s consistent, done just the way you like and that is very efficient in the use of the beans and the raw materials,” Studor said.

Customers can download the Briggo app on their mobile phones and customize their order. When their coffee is made, they can go to the robot barista and pick up their order.

“It’s perfect to just not wait in lines, just getting there picking your coffee, and you’re good to go for the day,” said Astrid Chacon, who just tried a robot-made coffee.

Plans for social impact

“I started the company really thinking about the way we consume quality products in the West,” Studor said. “We’re often very wasteful, and we don’t really understand what it’s taken to get those quality beans, in this case, beans to our mouth, essentially. And we want to be able to connect at the end of the day, not just solve the problem of quality coffee — convenient, but also back to origin.”

Studor’s long-term goal is to create social impact by connecting the consumer with the coffee grower. This kind of relationship can be possible through the internet and social media, Studor said.

“Maybe the farmers have some issues. Maybe we can do programs where we connect you and say, ‘Help with a water project,’ or ‘Help with a motor blower that’s gone down in a small cooperative.’ So, how do we use the technology of this century to connect people in lots of different ways? And coffee is a common ground that everyone can relate to,” Studor said.

Robots vs. humans

While big-name coffee brands such as Starbucks dedicate a portion of their business to bettering the farming communities that supply their products, will the robot barista with a social cause threaten more traditional cafes?

“It’s going to take a little bit of time, but I’m sure we’re going to be having this instead of Starbucks,” Chacon said.

Studor believes robot and human baristas can serve different coffee needs.

“It’s a big market. There are specialty coffee shops where there are high-quality trained baristas that I don’t think we’ll ever replace. I mean, there is a place and time for those. But there’s a lot of places around. Think about a hospital in the middle of the night. Where is the quality coffee there? Where is it at 5:30 in the morning at the airport? And so, we want to get that quality experience in all those places that are really underserved,” Studor said.

Briggo’s robot baristas are currently in the Austin area. The company plans to put a robot kiosk at Austin’s airport, as well as expanding to corporate campuses in other major Texas cities, and then to the U.S. East and West coasts and beyond.  

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Will Robot Baristas Replace Traditional Cafes?

There has been a long tradition of making and drinking coffee across cultures and continents. Now, a tech company in Austin is adding to this tradition by creating robot baristas to make the coffee-drinking experience more convenient. For a similar price of a cup of Starbucks designer coffee, a robot can now make it, too. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee finds out whether robots will replace traditional baristas.

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Will Robot Baristas Replace Traditional Cafes?

There has been a long tradition of making and drinking coffee across cultures and continents. Now, a tech company in Austin is adding to this tradition by creating robot baristas to make the coffee-drinking experience more convenient. For a similar price of a cup of Starbucks designer coffee, a robot can now make it, too. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee finds out whether robots will replace traditional baristas.

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Beijing Auto Show Highlights E-cars Designed for China

Volkswagen and Nissan have unveiled electric cars designed for China at a Beijing auto show that highlights the growing importance of Chinese buyers for a technology seen as a key part of the global industry’s future. 

General Motors displayed five all-electric models Wednesday including a concept Buick SUV it says can go 600 kilometers (375 miles) on one charge. Ford and other brands showed off some of the dozens of electric SUVs, sedans and other models they say are planned for China. 

Auto China 2018, the industry’s biggest sales event this year, is overshadowed by mounting trade tensions between Beijing and U.S. President Donald Trump, who has threatened to hike tariffs on Chinese goods including automobiles in a dispute over technology policy. 

The impact on automakers should be small, according to industry analysts, because exports amount to only a few thousand vehicles a year. Those include a GM SUV, the Envision, and Volvo Cars sedans made in China for export to the United States. 

China accounted for half of last year’s global electric car sales, boosted by subsidies and other prodding from communist leaders who want to make their country a center for the emerging technology. 

“The Chinese market is key for the international auto industry and it is key to our success,” VW CEO Herbert Diess said on Tuesday. 

Volkswagen unveiled the E20X, an SUV that is the first model for SOL, an electric brand launched by the German automaker with a Chinese partner. The E20X, promising a 300-kilometer (185-mile) range on one charge, is aimed at the Chinese market’s bargain-priced tiers, where demand is strongest. 

GM, Ford, Daimler AG’s Mercedes unit and other automakers also have announced ventures with local partners to develop models for China that deliver more range at lower prices. 

On Wednesday, Nissan Motor Co. presented its Sylphy Zero Emission, which it said can go 338 kilometers (210 miles) on a charge. The Sylphy is based on Nissan’s Leaf, a version of which is available in China but has sold poorly due to its relatively high price. 

Automakers say they expect electrics to account for 35 to over 50 percent of their China sales by 2025.

First-quarter sales of electrics and gasoline-electric hybrids rose 154 percent over a year earlier to 143,000 units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That compares with sales of just under 200,000 for all of last year in the United States, the No. 2 market. 

That trend has been propelled by the ruling Communist Party’s support for the technology. The party is shifting the financial burden to automakers with sales quotas that take effect next year and require them to earn credits by selling electrics or buy them from competitors. 

That increases pressure to transform electrics into a mainstream product that competes on price and features. 

Automakers also displayed dozens of gasoline-powered models from compact sedans to luxurious SUVs. Their popularity is paying for development of electrics, which aren’t expected to become profitable for most producers until sometime in the next decade. 

China’s total sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans reached 24.7 million units last year, compared with 17.2 million for the United States. 

SUVs are the industry’s cash cow. First-quarter sales rose 11.3 percent over a year earlier to 2.6 million, or almost 45 percent of total auto sales, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. 

On Wednesday, Ford displayed its Mondeo Energi plug-in hybrid, its first electric model for China, which went on sale in March. Plans call for Ford and its luxury unit, Lincoln, to release 15 new electrified vehicles by 2025. 

GM plans to launch 10 electrics or hybrids in China from through 2020. 

VW is due to launch 15 electrics and hybrids in the next two to three years as part of a 10 billion euro ($12 billion) development plan announced in November. 

Nissan says it will roll out 20 electrified models in China over the next five years. 

New but fast-growing Chinese auto trail global rivals in traditional gasoline technology but industry analysts say the top Chinese brands are catching up in electrics, a market with no entrenched leaders. 

BYD Auto, the biggest global electric brand by number sold, debuted two hybrid SUVs and an electric concept car. 

The company, which manufactures electric buses at a California factory and exports battery-powered taxis to Europe, also displayed nine other hybrid and plug-in electric models. 

Chery Automobile Co. showed a lineup that included two electric sedans, an SUV and a hatchback, all promising 250 to 400 kilometers (150 to 250 miles) on a charge. They include futuristic features such as internet-linked navigation and smartphone-style dashboard displays. 

“Our focus is not just an EV that runs. It is excellent performance,” Chery CEO Chen Anning said in an interview ahead of the show. 

Electrics are likely to play a leading role as Chery develops plans announced last year to expand to Western Europe, said Chen. He said the company has yet to decide on a timeline. 

Chery was China’s biggest auto exporter last year, selling 108,000 gasoline-powered vehicles abroad, though mostly in developing markets such as Russia and Egypt. 

“We do have a clear intention to bring an EV product as one of our initial offerings” in Europe, Chen said. 

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Beijing Auto Show Highlights E-cars Designed for China

Volkswagen and Nissan have unveiled electric cars designed for China at a Beijing auto show that highlights the growing importance of Chinese buyers for a technology seen as a key part of the global industry’s future. 

General Motors displayed five all-electric models Wednesday including a concept Buick SUV it says can go 600 kilometers (375 miles) on one charge. Ford and other brands showed off some of the dozens of electric SUVs, sedans and other models they say are planned for China. 

Auto China 2018, the industry’s biggest sales event this year, is overshadowed by mounting trade tensions between Beijing and U.S. President Donald Trump, who has threatened to hike tariffs on Chinese goods including automobiles in a dispute over technology policy. 

The impact on automakers should be small, according to industry analysts, because exports amount to only a few thousand vehicles a year. Those include a GM SUV, the Envision, and Volvo Cars sedans made in China for export to the United States. 

China accounted for half of last year’s global electric car sales, boosted by subsidies and other prodding from communist leaders who want to make their country a center for the emerging technology. 

“The Chinese market is key for the international auto industry and it is key to our success,” VW CEO Herbert Diess said on Tuesday. 

Volkswagen unveiled the E20X, an SUV that is the first model for SOL, an electric brand launched by the German automaker with a Chinese partner. The E20X, promising a 300-kilometer (185-mile) range on one charge, is aimed at the Chinese market’s bargain-priced tiers, where demand is strongest. 

GM, Ford, Daimler AG’s Mercedes unit and other automakers also have announced ventures with local partners to develop models for China that deliver more range at lower prices. 

On Wednesday, Nissan Motor Co. presented its Sylphy Zero Emission, which it said can go 338 kilometers (210 miles) on a charge. The Sylphy is based on Nissan’s Leaf, a version of which is available in China but has sold poorly due to its relatively high price. 

Automakers say they expect electrics to account for 35 to over 50 percent of their China sales by 2025.

First-quarter sales of electrics and gasoline-electric hybrids rose 154 percent over a year earlier to 143,000 units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That compares with sales of just under 200,000 for all of last year in the United States, the No. 2 market. 

That trend has been propelled by the ruling Communist Party’s support for the technology. The party is shifting the financial burden to automakers with sales quotas that take effect next year and require them to earn credits by selling electrics or buy them from competitors. 

That increases pressure to transform electrics into a mainstream product that competes on price and features. 

Automakers also displayed dozens of gasoline-powered models from compact sedans to luxurious SUVs. Their popularity is paying for development of electrics, which aren’t expected to become profitable for most producers until sometime in the next decade. 

China’s total sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans reached 24.7 million units last year, compared with 17.2 million for the United States. 

SUVs are the industry’s cash cow. First-quarter sales rose 11.3 percent over a year earlier to 2.6 million, or almost 45 percent of total auto sales, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. 

On Wednesday, Ford displayed its Mondeo Energi plug-in hybrid, its first electric model for China, which went on sale in March. Plans call for Ford and its luxury unit, Lincoln, to release 15 new electrified vehicles by 2025. 

GM plans to launch 10 electrics or hybrids in China from through 2020. 

VW is due to launch 15 electrics and hybrids in the next two to three years as part of a 10 billion euro ($12 billion) development plan announced in November. 

Nissan says it will roll out 20 electrified models in China over the next five years. 

New but fast-growing Chinese auto trail global rivals in traditional gasoline technology but industry analysts say the top Chinese brands are catching up in electrics, a market with no entrenched leaders. 

BYD Auto, the biggest global electric brand by number sold, debuted two hybrid SUVs and an electric concept car. 

The company, which manufactures electric buses at a California factory and exports battery-powered taxis to Europe, also displayed nine other hybrid and plug-in electric models. 

Chery Automobile Co. showed a lineup that included two electric sedans, an SUV and a hatchback, all promising 250 to 400 kilometers (150 to 250 miles) on a charge. They include futuristic features such as internet-linked navigation and smartphone-style dashboard displays. 

“Our focus is not just an EV that runs. It is excellent performance,” Chery CEO Chen Anning said in an interview ahead of the show. 

Electrics are likely to play a leading role as Chery develops plans announced last year to expand to Western Europe, said Chen. He said the company has yet to decide on a timeline. 

Chery was China’s biggest auto exporter last year, selling 108,000 gasoline-powered vehicles abroad, though mostly in developing markets such as Russia and Egypt. 

“We do have a clear intention to bring an EV product as one of our initial offerings” in Europe, Chen said. 

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Flying Taxi Start-Up Hires Designer Behind Modern Mini, Fiat 500

Lilium, a German start-up with Silicon Valley-scale ambitions to put electric “flying taxis” in the air next decade, has hired Frank Stephenson, the designer behind iconic car brands including the modern Mini, Fiat 500 and McLaren P1.

Lilium is developing a lightweight aircraft powered by 36 electric jet engines mounted on its wings. It aims to travel at speeds of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) per hour, with a range of 300 km on a single charge, the firm has said.

Founded in 2015 by four Munich Technical University students, the Bavarian firm has set out plans to demonstrate a fully functional vertical take-off electric jet by next year, with plans to begin online booking of commuter flights by 2025.

It is one of a number of companies, from Chinese automaker Geely to U.S. ride-sharing firm Uber, looking to tap advances in drone technology, high-performance materials and automated driving to turn aerial driving – long a staple of science fiction movies like “Blade Runner” – into reality.

Stephenson, 58, who holds American and British citizenship, will join the aviation start-up in May. He lives west of London and will commute weekly to Lilium’s offices outside of Munich.

His job is to design a plane on the outside and a car inside.

Famous for a string of hits at BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and McLaren, Stephenson will lead all aspects of Lilium design, including the interior and exterior of its jets, the service’s landing pads and even its departure lounges.

“With Lilium, we don’t have to base the jet on anything that has been done before,” Stephenson told Reuters in an interview.

“What’s so incredibly exciting about this is we’re not talking about modifying a car to take to the skies, and we are not talking about modifying a helicopter to work in a better way.”

Stephenson recalled working at Ferrari a dozen years ago and thinking it was the greatest job a grown-up kid could ever want.

But the limits of working at such a storied carmaker dawned on him: “I always had to make a car that looked like a Ferrari.”

His move to McLaren, where he worked from 2008 until 2017, freed him to design a new look and design language from scratch: “That was as good as it gets for a designer,” he said.

Lilium is developing a five-seat flying electric vehicle for commuters after tests in 2017 of a two-seat jet capable of a mid-air transition from hover mode, like drones, into wing-borne flight, like conventional aircraft.

Combining these two features is what separates Lilium from rival start-ups working on so-called flying cars or taxis that rely on drone or helicopter-like technologies, such as German rival Volocopter or European aerospace giant Airbus.

“If the competitors come out there with their hovercraft or drones or whatever type of vehicles, they’ll have their own distinctive look,” Stephenson said.

“Let the other guys do whatever they want. The last thing I want to do is anything that has been done before.”

The jet, with power consumption per kilometer comparable to an electric car, could offer passenger flights at prices taxis now charge but at speeds five times faster, Lilium has said.

Nonetheless, flying cars face many hurdles, including convincing regulators and the public that their products can be used safely. Governments are still grappling with regulations for drones and driverless cars.

Lilium has raised more than $101 million in early-stage funding from backers including an arm of China’s Tencent and Atomico and Obvious Ventures, the venture firms, respectively, of the co-founders of Skype and Twitter.    

 

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Flying Taxi Start-Up Hires Designer Behind Modern Mini, Fiat 500

Lilium, a German start-up with Silicon Valley-scale ambitions to put electric “flying taxis” in the air next decade, has hired Frank Stephenson, the designer behind iconic car brands including the modern Mini, Fiat 500 and McLaren P1.

Lilium is developing a lightweight aircraft powered by 36 electric jet engines mounted on its wings. It aims to travel at speeds of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) per hour, with a range of 300 km on a single charge, the firm has said.

Founded in 2015 by four Munich Technical University students, the Bavarian firm has set out plans to demonstrate a fully functional vertical take-off electric jet by next year, with plans to begin online booking of commuter flights by 2025.

It is one of a number of companies, from Chinese automaker Geely to U.S. ride-sharing firm Uber, looking to tap advances in drone technology, high-performance materials and automated driving to turn aerial driving – long a staple of science fiction movies like “Blade Runner” – into reality.

Stephenson, 58, who holds American and British citizenship, will join the aviation start-up in May. He lives west of London and will commute weekly to Lilium’s offices outside of Munich.

His job is to design a plane on the outside and a car inside.

Famous for a string of hits at BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and McLaren, Stephenson will lead all aspects of Lilium design, including the interior and exterior of its jets, the service’s landing pads and even its departure lounges.

“With Lilium, we don’t have to base the jet on anything that has been done before,” Stephenson told Reuters in an interview.

“What’s so incredibly exciting about this is we’re not talking about modifying a car to take to the skies, and we are not talking about modifying a helicopter to work in a better way.”

Stephenson recalled working at Ferrari a dozen years ago and thinking it was the greatest job a grown-up kid could ever want.

But the limits of working at such a storied carmaker dawned on him: “I always had to make a car that looked like a Ferrari.”

His move to McLaren, where he worked from 2008 until 2017, freed him to design a new look and design language from scratch: “That was as good as it gets for a designer,” he said.

Lilium is developing a five-seat flying electric vehicle for commuters after tests in 2017 of a two-seat jet capable of a mid-air transition from hover mode, like drones, into wing-borne flight, like conventional aircraft.

Combining these two features is what separates Lilium from rival start-ups working on so-called flying cars or taxis that rely on drone or helicopter-like technologies, such as German rival Volocopter or European aerospace giant Airbus.

“If the competitors come out there with their hovercraft or drones or whatever type of vehicles, they’ll have their own distinctive look,” Stephenson said.

“Let the other guys do whatever they want. The last thing I want to do is anything that has been done before.”

The jet, with power consumption per kilometer comparable to an electric car, could offer passenger flights at prices taxis now charge but at speeds five times faster, Lilium has said.

Nonetheless, flying cars face many hurdles, including convincing regulators and the public that their products can be used safely. Governments are still grappling with regulations for drones and driverless cars.

Lilium has raised more than $101 million in early-stage funding from backers including an arm of China’s Tencent and Atomico and Obvious Ventures, the venture firms, respectively, of the co-founders of Skype and Twitter.    

 

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Facebook Rules at a Glance: What’s Banned, Exactly?

Facebook has revealed for the first time just what, exactly, is banned on its service in a new Community Standards document released on Tuesday. It’s an updated version of the internal rules the company has used to determine what’s allowed and what isn’t, down to granular details such as what, exactly, counts as a “credible threat” of violence. The previous public-facing version gave a broad-strokes outline of the rules, but the specifics were shrouded in secrecy for most of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users.

Not anymore. Here are just some examples of what the rules ban. Note: Facebook has not changed the actual rules – it has just made them public.

Credible violence

Is there a real-world threat? Facebook looks for “credible statements of intent to commit violence against any person, groups of people, or place (city or smaller).” Is there a bounty or demand for payment? The mention or an image of a specific weapon? A target and at least two details such as location, method or timing? A statement to commit violence against a vulnerable person or group such as “heads-of-state, witnesses and confidential informants, activists, and journalists.”

Also banned: instructions on “on how to make or use weapons if the goal is to injure or kill people,” unless there is “clear context that the content is for an alternative purpose (for example, shared as part of recreational self-defense activities, training by a country’s military, commercial video games, or news coverage).”

Hate speech

“We define hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics – race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease. We also provide some protections for immigration status,” Facebook says. As to what counts as a direct attack, the company says it’s any “violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.” There are three tiers of severity, ranging from comparing a protected group to filth or disease to calls to “exclude or segregate” a person our group based on the protected characteristics. Facebook does note that it does “allow criticism of immigration policies and arguments for restricting those policies.”

Graphic violence

Images of violence against “real people or animals” with comments or captions that contain enjoyment of suffering, humiliation and remarks that speak positively of the violence or “indicating the poster is sharing footage for sensational viewing pleasure” are prohibited. The captions and context matter in this case because Facebook does allow such images in some cases where they are condemned, or shared as news or in a medical setting. Even then, though, the post must be limited so only adults can see them and Facebook adds a warnings screen to the post.

Child sexual exploitation

“We do not allow content that sexually exploits or endangers children. When we become aware of apparent child exploitation, we report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), in compliance with applicable law. We know that sometimes people share nude images of their own children with good intentions; however, we generally remove these images because of the potential for abuse by others and to help avoid the possibility of other people reusing or misappropriating the images,” Facebook says. Then, it lists at least 12 specific instances of children in a sexual context, saying the ban includes, but is not limited to these examples. This includes “uncovered female nipples for children older than toddler-age.”

Adult nudity and sexual activity

“We understand that nudity can be shared for a variety of reasons, including as a form of protest, to raise awareness about a cause, or for educational or medical reasons. Where such intent is clear, we make allowances for the content. For example, while we restrict some images of female breasts that include the nipple, we allow other images, including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breast-feeding, and photos of post-mastectomy scarring,” Facebook says. That said, the company says it “defaults” to removing sexual imagery to prevent the sharing of non-consensual or underage content. The restrictions apply to images of real people as well as digitally created content, although art – such as drawings, paintings or sculptures – is an exception.

 

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Facebook Rules at a Glance: What’s Banned, Exactly?

Facebook has revealed for the first time just what, exactly, is banned on its service in a new Community Standards document released on Tuesday. It’s an updated version of the internal rules the company has used to determine what’s allowed and what isn’t, down to granular details such as what, exactly, counts as a “credible threat” of violence. The previous public-facing version gave a broad-strokes outline of the rules, but the specifics were shrouded in secrecy for most of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users.

Not anymore. Here are just some examples of what the rules ban. Note: Facebook has not changed the actual rules – it has just made them public.

Credible violence

Is there a real-world threat? Facebook looks for “credible statements of intent to commit violence against any person, groups of people, or place (city or smaller).” Is there a bounty or demand for payment? The mention or an image of a specific weapon? A target and at least two details such as location, method or timing? A statement to commit violence against a vulnerable person or group such as “heads-of-state, witnesses and confidential informants, activists, and journalists.”

Also banned: instructions on “on how to make or use weapons if the goal is to injure or kill people,” unless there is “clear context that the content is for an alternative purpose (for example, shared as part of recreational self-defense activities, training by a country’s military, commercial video games, or news coverage).”

Hate speech

“We define hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics – race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease. We also provide some protections for immigration status,” Facebook says. As to what counts as a direct attack, the company says it’s any “violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.” There are three tiers of severity, ranging from comparing a protected group to filth or disease to calls to “exclude or segregate” a person our group based on the protected characteristics. Facebook does note that it does “allow criticism of immigration policies and arguments for restricting those policies.”

Graphic violence

Images of violence against “real people or animals” with comments or captions that contain enjoyment of suffering, humiliation and remarks that speak positively of the violence or “indicating the poster is sharing footage for sensational viewing pleasure” are prohibited. The captions and context matter in this case because Facebook does allow such images in some cases where they are condemned, or shared as news or in a medical setting. Even then, though, the post must be limited so only adults can see them and Facebook adds a warnings screen to the post.

Child sexual exploitation

“We do not allow content that sexually exploits or endangers children. When we become aware of apparent child exploitation, we report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), in compliance with applicable law. We know that sometimes people share nude images of their own children with good intentions; however, we generally remove these images because of the potential for abuse by others and to help avoid the possibility of other people reusing or misappropriating the images,” Facebook says. Then, it lists at least 12 specific instances of children in a sexual context, saying the ban includes, but is not limited to these examples. This includes “uncovered female nipples for children older than toddler-age.”

Adult nudity and sexual activity

“We understand that nudity can be shared for a variety of reasons, including as a form of protest, to raise awareness about a cause, or for educational or medical reasons. Where such intent is clear, we make allowances for the content. For example, while we restrict some images of female breasts that include the nipple, we allow other images, including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breast-feeding, and photos of post-mastectomy scarring,” Facebook says. That said, the company says it “defaults” to removing sexual imagery to prevent the sharing of non-consensual or underage content. The restrictions apply to images of real people as well as digitally created content, although art – such as drawings, paintings or sculptures – is an exception.

 

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