The CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter will face questions about misinformation, hackers breach surveillance cameras globally, and cellphone data shows more people are on the move.
It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Thursday, March 11, and I’m your host Baneet Braich.
The CEOS of Facebook, Google, and Twitter will appear before a U.S. House subcommittee this month regarding the spread of misinformation linked to the 2020 election and COVID-19. Walter Isaacson who wrote the biography of Steve Jobs says social media platforms should take more responsibility for the extremism and misleading information. According to a report by a U.K.-based advocacy group, Center for Countering Digital Hate, Instagram suggested about one false post per week to each of 15 profiles created by the nonprofit. Isaacson says he’s concerned about how people feel enraged, and spread misinformation. He’s also criticizing the algorithms that determine what users see and describes them as dangerous. Last May, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the platform would not interfere with inflammatory posts from Trump, Twitter, on the other hand, was more active and used alerts to warn readers of misleading to manipulated content.
Verkada, a popular surveillance and facial recognition camera company, has been compromised by hackers. Vice is reporting that hackers managed to access live feeds of thousands of cameras globally as well as its customer list. The breach has shown facial recognition-enabled cameras in bars, parking lots, schools. Bloomberg also reports that hackers accessed live video feeds from companies such as Tesla and Cloudflare, and even jails and hospitals. Verkada’s cameras can also filter individuals by their gender, clothing colours and other attributes. There is also a spreadsheet that Hackers shared with Vice Motherboard showing more than 24,000 unique entries of organizations that use the cameras. From the spreadsheet, it’s not clear which specific customers are deploying Verkada’s facial recognition capabilities however, those features appear to be basic functions of the cameras. Yikes.
Cellphone data shows that more people are on the move again and shopping despite experts warning of a third coronavirus wave. Between Jan. 18 and Feb. 28, average mobility across Ontario increased from 58 per cent to 65 per cent, according to the marketing firm Environics Analytics. Environics defines mobility as the percentage of residents 15 or older who travelled 500 metres or more beyond their home postal code. Since the pandemic began, cellphone mobility data has been used as a way to determine how people are behaving and as a good indicator of where the pandemic is headed. [Twitter]
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