Facebook Paid Contractors to Transcribe Users’ Audio Chats

What Is YouTube Pushing You to Watch Next? ; Lightning Struck Near North Pole 48 Times ; and More Picks

Facebook, privacy, audio
The author writes, “Facebook Inc. has been paying hundreds of outside contractors to transcribe clips of audio from users of its services, according to people with knowledge of the work. The work has rattled the contract employees, who are not told where the audio was recorded or how it was obtained — only to transcribe it, said the people. ... They’re hearing Facebook users’ conversations, sometimes with vulgar content, but do not know why Facebook needs them transcribed. ... Facebook confirmed that it had been transcribing users’ audio, and said it will no longer do so.” Photo credit: Brian Solis / Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)
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Facial Recognition Misidenitified 26 California Lawmakers as Criminal Suspects (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the ACLU, said the organization ran [an] experiment using Amazon’s Rekognition software and screened 120 lawmakers’ images against a database of 25,000 mugshots.”

Trump Crackdown on Legal Immigrants Could Damage California Economy (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The Trump administration’s new immigration crackdown — which could deny green cards to immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance — would have major ramifications on the California economy, experts and advocates said Monday. Laurel Lucia, director of the healthcare program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, says the policy could have a damaging effect on California and the country’s overall economy. Many in California who already have a green card or have become citizens may dis-enroll from public benefits such as Medi-Cal or CalFresh out of fear for what the policy may mean for themselves and for their family members, causing a chilling effect on the economy, she said.”

The Student Loan Game Show ‘Paid Off’ Is Supposed to Upset You (Chris)

From Teen Vogue: “[Michael] Torpey, the host and creative force behind the show, … agrees with the idea that the show is dystopian, but views it as a form of satire. ‘You’re supposed to expose these truths, and that’s the goal of this show,’ he says. ‘I want you to be pissed off that the show has to exist and that we’re leaving students out in the cold.’”

‘The Rabbit Hole’: What Is YouTube Pushing You to Watch Next? (Chris)

From the New York Times: “In a country driven to the edge by economic and political crises, YouTube’s algorithms may have played a decisive role in [Jair] Bolsonaro’s rise. The site’s recommendation feature boosts fringe videos into the mainstream and can unwittingly help spread conspiracies and misinformation…”

Lightning Struck Near the North Pole 48 Times. It’s Not Normal. (Mili)

The author writes, “A warmer Arctic in general provided the fuel for lightning-producing thunderheads to move north.”

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