Category Archives: Technology

silicon valley & technology news

Data Firm at Center of Facebook Privacy Scandal Will Close

The data firm at the center of Facebook’s privacy scandal is declaring bankruptcy and shutting down.

In a statement, Cambridge Analytica says it has been “vilified” for actions it says are both legal and widely accepted as part of online advertising. The firm says the media furor stripped it of its customers and suppliers, forcing it to close.

Cambridge Analytica has been linked to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The British firm suspended CEO Alexander Tayler in April amid investigations. 

Cambridge Analytica sought information on Facebook to build psychological profiles on a large portion of the U.S. electorate. The company was able to amass the database quickly with the help of an app that appeared to be a personality test. The app collected data on tens of millions of people and their Facebook friends, even those who did not download the app themselves.

Facebook has since tightened its privacy restrictions. Cambridge has denied wrongdoing, and Trump’s campaign has said it didn’t use Cambridge’s data.

The firm has said it is committed to helping the U.K. investigation into Facebook and how it uses data. But U.K. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in March the firm failed to meet a deadline to produce the information requested.

Denham said the prime allegation against Cambridge Analytica is that it acquired personal data in an unauthorized way, adding that the data provisions act requires services like Facebook to have strong safeguards against misuse of data.

 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Data Firm at Center of Facebook Privacy Scandal Will Close

The data firm at the center of Facebook’s privacy scandal is declaring bankruptcy and shutting down.

In a statement, Cambridge Analytica says it has been “vilified” for actions it says are both legal and widely accepted as part of online advertising. The firm says the media furor stripped it of its customers and suppliers, forcing it to close.

Cambridge Analytica has been linked to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The British firm suspended CEO Alexander Tayler in April amid investigations. 

Cambridge Analytica sought information on Facebook to build psychological profiles on a large portion of the U.S. electorate. The company was able to amass the database quickly with the help of an app that appeared to be a personality test. The app collected data on tens of millions of people and their Facebook friends, even those who did not download the app themselves.

Facebook has since tightened its privacy restrictions. Cambridge has denied wrongdoing, and Trump’s campaign has said it didn’t use Cambridge’s data.

The firm has said it is committed to helping the U.K. investigation into Facebook and how it uses data. But U.K. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in March the firm failed to meet a deadline to produce the information requested.

Denham said the prime allegation against Cambridge Analytica is that it acquired personal data in an unauthorized way, adding that the data provisions act requires services like Facebook to have strong safeguards against misuse of data.

 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Facebook Taps Advisers for Audits on Bias and Civil Rights

Facebook has enlisted two outside advisers to examine how it treats underrepresented communities and whether it has a liberal bias.

Civil rights leader Laura Murphy will examine civil rights issues, along with law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax. Former Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, will examine concerns about a liberal bias on Facebook.

The moves come as Facebook deals with a privacy scandal related to access of tens of millions of users’ data by a consulting firm affiliated with President Donald Trump. CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress on the issue last month. Facebook also has faced criticisms over a deluge of fake news and Russian election interference.

The audits were reported earlier by Axios. Facebook says the feedback will help Facebook improve and serve users more effectively.

 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Tomorrow’s Jobs Require Impressing a Bot with Quick Thinking

When Andrew Chamberlain started in his job four years ago in the research group at jobs website Glassdoor.com, he worked in a programming language called Stata.

Then it was R. Then Python. Then PySpark.

“My dad was a commercial printer and did the same thing for 30 years. I have to continually stay on stuff,” said Chamberlain, who is now the chief economist for the site. Chamberlain already has one of the jobs of the future — a perpetually changing, shifting universe of work that requires employees to be critical thinkers and fast on their feet. Even those training for a specific field, from plumbing to aerospace engineering, need to be nimble enough to constantly learn new technologies and apply their skills on the fly.

When companies recruit new workers, particularly for entry-level jobs, they are not necessarily looking for knowledge of certain software. They are looking for what most consider soft skills: problem solving, effective communication and leadership. They also want candidates who show a willingness to keep learning new skills.

“The human being’s role in the workplace is less to do repetitive things all the time and more to do the non-repetitive tasks that bring new kinds of value,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce in the United States.

So, while specializing in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field can seem like an easy path to a lucrative first job, employers are telling colleges: You are producing engineers, but they do not have the skills we need.

It is “algorithmic thinking” rather than the algorithm itself that is relevant, said Carnevale.

Finding gems

Out in the field, Marie Artim is looking for potential. As vice president of talent acquisition for car rental firm Enterprise Holdings Inc, she sets out to hire about 8,500 young people every year for a management training program, an enormous undertaking that has her searching college campuses across the country.

Artim started in the training program herself, 26 years ago, as did the Enterprise chief executive, and that is how she gets the attention of young adults and their parents who scoff at a future of renting cars.

According to Artim, the biggest deficit in the millennial generation is autonomous decision-making. They are used to being structured and “syllabused,” she said.

To get students ready, some colleges, and even high schools, are working on building critical thinking skills.

For three weeks in January at the private Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, students either get jobs or go on trips, which gives them a better sense of what they might do in the future.

At Texas State University in San Marcos, meanwhile, students can take a marketable-skills master class series.

Case studies

One key area zeroes in on case studies that companies are using increasingly to weed out prospects. This means being able to answer hypothetical questions based on a common scenario the employer faces, and showing leadership skills in those scenarios.

The career office at the university also focuses on interview skills. Today, that means teaching kids more than just writing an effective resume and showing up in smart clothes.

They have to learn how to perform best on video and phone interviews, and how to navigate gamification and artificial intelligence bots that many companies are now using in the recruiting process.

Norma Guerra Gaier, director of career services at Texas State, said her son just recently got a job and not until the final step did he even have a phone interview.

“He had to solve a couple of problems on a tech system, and was graded on that. He didn’t even interface with a human being,” Guerra Gaier said.

When companies hire at great volume, they try to balance the technology and face-to-face interactions, said Heidi Soltis-Berner, evolving workforce talent leader at financial services firm Deloitte.

Increasingly, Soltis-Berner does not know exactly what those new hires will be doing when they arrive, aside from what business division they will be serving.

“We build flexibility into that because we know each year there are new skills,” she said.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Tomorrow’s Jobs Require Impressing a Bot with Quick Thinking

When Andrew Chamberlain started in his job four years ago in the research group at jobs website Glassdoor.com, he worked in a programming language called Stata.

Then it was R. Then Python. Then PySpark.

“My dad was a commercial printer and did the same thing for 30 years. I have to continually stay on stuff,” said Chamberlain, who is now the chief economist for the site. Chamberlain already has one of the jobs of the future — a perpetually changing, shifting universe of work that requires employees to be critical thinkers and fast on their feet. Even those training for a specific field, from plumbing to aerospace engineering, need to be nimble enough to constantly learn new technologies and apply their skills on the fly.

When companies recruit new workers, particularly for entry-level jobs, they are not necessarily looking for knowledge of certain software. They are looking for what most consider soft skills: problem solving, effective communication and leadership. They also want candidates who show a willingness to keep learning new skills.

“The human being’s role in the workplace is less to do repetitive things all the time and more to do the non-repetitive tasks that bring new kinds of value,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce in the United States.

So, while specializing in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field can seem like an easy path to a lucrative first job, employers are telling colleges: You are producing engineers, but they do not have the skills we need.

It is “algorithmic thinking” rather than the algorithm itself that is relevant, said Carnevale.

Finding gems

Out in the field, Marie Artim is looking for potential. As vice president of talent acquisition for car rental firm Enterprise Holdings Inc, she sets out to hire about 8,500 young people every year for a management training program, an enormous undertaking that has her searching college campuses across the country.

Artim started in the training program herself, 26 years ago, as did the Enterprise chief executive, and that is how she gets the attention of young adults and their parents who scoff at a future of renting cars.

According to Artim, the biggest deficit in the millennial generation is autonomous decision-making. They are used to being structured and “syllabused,” she said.

To get students ready, some colleges, and even high schools, are working on building critical thinking skills.

For three weeks in January at the private Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, students either get jobs or go on trips, which gives them a better sense of what they might do in the future.

At Texas State University in San Marcos, meanwhile, students can take a marketable-skills master class series.

Case studies

One key area zeroes in on case studies that companies are using increasingly to weed out prospects. This means being able to answer hypothetical questions based on a common scenario the employer faces, and showing leadership skills in those scenarios.

The career office at the university also focuses on interview skills. Today, that means teaching kids more than just writing an effective resume and showing up in smart clothes.

They have to learn how to perform best on video and phone interviews, and how to navigate gamification and artificial intelligence bots that many companies are now using in the recruiting process.

Norma Guerra Gaier, director of career services at Texas State, said her son just recently got a job and not until the final step did he even have a phone interview.

“He had to solve a couple of problems on a tech system, and was graded on that. He didn’t even interface with a human being,” Guerra Gaier said.

When companies hire at great volume, they try to balance the technology and face-to-face interactions, said Heidi Soltis-Berner, evolving workforce talent leader at financial services firm Deloitte.

Increasingly, Soltis-Berner does not know exactly what those new hires will be doing when they arrive, aside from what business division they will be serving.

“We build flexibility into that because we know each year there are new skills,” she said.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Vows to ‘Keep Building’ in No-apology Address

With a smile that suggested the hard part of an “intense year” might be behind him, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed developers Tuesday and pledged the company would build its way out of its worst-ever privacy debacle.

It was a clear and deliberate turning point for a company that’s been hunkered down since mid-March. For first time in several weeks, Zuckerberg went before a public audience and didn’t apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a political data-mining firm accessed data from as many as 87 million Facebook accounts for the purpose of influencing elections. Or for a deluge of fake news and Russian election interference.

Instead, Zuckerberg sought to project a “we’re all in this together” mood that was markedly different from his demeanor during 10 hours of congressional testimony just a few weeks ago. His presentation also marked a major change for the company, which seems relieved to be largely done with the damage control that has preoccupied it for the past six weeks.

On Tuesday, speaking in San Jose at the F8 gathering of software developers, Zuckerberg said to cheers that the company was reopening app reviews, the process that gets new and updated apps on its services, which Facebook had shut down in late March as a result of the privacy scandal.

Investing in security

Zuckerberg then vowed to “keep building,” and reiterated that Facebook was investing a lot in security and in strengthening its systems so they can’t be exploited to meddle with elections, including the U.S. midterms later this year. The company had previously announced almost all of those measures.

“The hardest decision I made wasn’t to invest in safety and security,” Zuckerberg said. “The hard part was figuring out how to move forward on everything else we need to do, too.”

He also unveiled a new feature that gives users the ability to clear their browsing history from the platform, much the same way people can do in web browsers. Then Zuckerberg returned to techno-enthusiasm mode.

Facebook executives trotted out fun features, most notably a new dating service aimed at building “meaningful, long-term relationships,” in a swipe at sites like Tinder. After Facebook announced its entry into the online dating game, shares of Tinder owner Match Group Inc. plummeted 22 percent.

Poking fun at himself, Zuckerberg unveiled a “Watch Party” feature that gives users the ability to watch video together — such as, he suggested, “your friend testifying before Congress.” Up flashed video of Zuckerberg’s own turn on Capitol Hill.

“Let’s not do that again soon,” he said.

Zuckerberg got big cheers when he announced that the thousands of people in attendance would get Facebook’s latest virtual reality headset — the portable $199 Oculus Go — for free. “Thank you!” he yelled.

Salute to WhatsApp CEO

Zuckerberg also went out of his way to thank Jan Koum, the co-founder and CEO of messaging platform WhatsApp, who announced his departure Tuesday. Facebook paid $19.3 billion for WhatsApp in 2014.

Despite reports that Koum left over concerns about how the company handles private data, Zuckerberg described him warmly as “a tireless advocate for privacy and encryption.”

Some analysts said Zuckerberg’s performance bolstered his chances of navigating the company out of its privacy scandal and overcoming concerns that it can’t handle its fake-news and election problems.

By leading off with Facebook’s security and privacy responsibilities, then continuing to extend Facebook’s ambitions to connect people in new ways, Zuckerberg successfully “walked the tightrope,” said Geoff Blaber, vice president of research and market analysis firm CCS Insight.

“F8 felt like the first time Facebook has been on the front foot since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke,” Blaber said.

Dan Goldstein, president of digital marketing agency Page 1 Solutions, said the company “is getting the message” about privacy.

“Time will tell, but this may help Facebook overcome the shadow of the Cambridge Analytica scandal,” he said. 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Vows to ‘Keep Building’ in No-apology Address

With a smile that suggested the hard part of an “intense year” might be behind him, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed developers Tuesday and pledged the company would build its way out of its worst-ever privacy debacle.

It was a clear and deliberate turning point for a company that’s been hunkered down since mid-March. For first time in several weeks, Zuckerberg went before a public audience and didn’t apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a political data-mining firm accessed data from as many as 87 million Facebook accounts for the purpose of influencing elections. Or for a deluge of fake news and Russian election interference.

Instead, Zuckerberg sought to project a “we’re all in this together” mood that was markedly different from his demeanor during 10 hours of congressional testimony just a few weeks ago. His presentation also marked a major change for the company, which seems relieved to be largely done with the damage control that has preoccupied it for the past six weeks.

On Tuesday, speaking in San Jose at the F8 gathering of software developers, Zuckerberg said to cheers that the company was reopening app reviews, the process that gets new and updated apps on its services, which Facebook had shut down in late March as a result of the privacy scandal.

Investing in security

Zuckerberg then vowed to “keep building,” and reiterated that Facebook was investing a lot in security and in strengthening its systems so they can’t be exploited to meddle with elections, including the U.S. midterms later this year. The company had previously announced almost all of those measures.

“The hardest decision I made wasn’t to invest in safety and security,” Zuckerberg said. “The hard part was figuring out how to move forward on everything else we need to do, too.”

He also unveiled a new feature that gives users the ability to clear their browsing history from the platform, much the same way people can do in web browsers. Then Zuckerberg returned to techno-enthusiasm mode.

Facebook executives trotted out fun features, most notably a new dating service aimed at building “meaningful, long-term relationships,” in a swipe at sites like Tinder. After Facebook announced its entry into the online dating game, shares of Tinder owner Match Group Inc. plummeted 22 percent.

Poking fun at himself, Zuckerberg unveiled a “Watch Party” feature that gives users the ability to watch video together — such as, he suggested, “your friend testifying before Congress.” Up flashed video of Zuckerberg’s own turn on Capitol Hill.

“Let’s not do that again soon,” he said.

Zuckerberg got big cheers when he announced that the thousands of people in attendance would get Facebook’s latest virtual reality headset — the portable $199 Oculus Go — for free. “Thank you!” he yelled.

Salute to WhatsApp CEO

Zuckerberg also went out of his way to thank Jan Koum, the co-founder and CEO of messaging platform WhatsApp, who announced his departure Tuesday. Facebook paid $19.3 billion for WhatsApp in 2014.

Despite reports that Koum left over concerns about how the company handles private data, Zuckerberg described him warmly as “a tireless advocate for privacy and encryption.”

Some analysts said Zuckerberg’s performance bolstered his chances of navigating the company out of its privacy scandal and overcoming concerns that it can’t handle its fake-news and election problems.

By leading off with Facebook’s security and privacy responsibilities, then continuing to extend Facebook’s ambitions to connect people in new ways, Zuckerberg successfully “walked the tightrope,” said Geoff Blaber, vice president of research and market analysis firm CCS Insight.

“F8 felt like the first time Facebook has been on the front foot since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke,” Blaber said.

Dan Goldstein, president of digital marketing agency Page 1 Solutions, said the company “is getting the message” about privacy.

“Time will tell, but this may help Facebook overcome the shadow of the Cambridge Analytica scandal,” he said. 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Facebook to Offer Dating Service

Facebook Inc plans to add a dating service, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday, marking the first time the world’s largest social media network has actively tried to help people form romantic relationships.

Zuckerberg told software developers at Facebook’s annual F8 conference that a dating service would be a natural fit for a company that specializes in connecting people online.

 “There are 200 million people on Facebook that list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here,” Zuckerberg said.

Dating service optional

The feature would be for finding long-term relationships, “not just hook-ups,” he said. It will be optional and will launch soon, he added, without giving a specific day.

The dating service is being built with privacy in mind, so that friends will not be able to see a person’s dating profile, Zuckerberg said.

Concerns about Facebook’s handling of privacy have grown since the social network’s admission in March that the data of millions of users was wrongly harvested by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

‘Clear history’

Zuckerberg also said Facebook was building a new privacy control called “clear history” to allow users to delete browsing history.

“This feature will enable you to see the websites and apps that send us information when you use them, delete this information from your account, and turn off our ability to store it associated with your account going forward,” the company said in a separate blog post.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!