Facebook messenger, Hike, WhatsApp and Jio appear to be powerful competitors this year. With the introduction of video calling feature on Facebook messenger and Jio, WhatsApp could hurry up with the launch of the video calling feature.
As reported earlier, WhatsApp already unrolled a shot version of the video-calling feature just for WhatsApp employees. It may also allow you convert tu your audio-calls into a video chat, a bit like the Jio app.The new version can enable you to mute your calls or keep your calls on hold.
Media researchers have expected that the video calling feature can seem on WhatsApp this May. The launch will follow identical pattern as WhatsApp voice calling. The android users are the primary lucky ones to receive the video calling update this May.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter to appear before Congress in election tampering investigation
Representatives for Facebook, Google, and Twitter will appear in front of congress on November 1st to provide testimony on Russian election interference.
The congressional hearing is one of many government probes into Russian election interference, this one turns its focus on social media’s involvement.
All three tech companies found evidence of ad tampering over the course of internal investigations this year, and subsequently reported those findings to congress.
Facebook reported hundreds of Pages and advertisers tied to a Russian troll farm, which had purchased over 3000 advertisements totaling over $100,000.
Twitter uncovered at least 200 accounts tied to similar ones flagged by Facebook, and hundreds of bots spamming propaganda.
Google, for its part, found thousands of dollars in ads were purchased by Russian agents, and continues to investigate over $50,000 in questionable ad purchases from accounts that haven’t been confirmed to be bad actors yet.
And, to make matter worse, there’s more to worry about than just ad sales or bots. The same meddlers are using malware to hijack our browsers and use our Facebook accounts to like ads and fake-news stories — with us none the wiser.
McAfee labs recently reported “Faceliker” binaries comprised approximately nine percent of malware it detected. That’s nine percent of 52 million – meaning nearly 4.7 million instances of Faceliker were detected.
Vincent Weafer, VP of McAfee Labs, told TNW:
This is unusual because this one isn’t like most other malware. Faceliker is manipulating likes, which is a very specific kind of browser hijacking.
While some government officials – and members of the media – have called on Facebook, Twitter, and Google to do something about Russian interference, there’s an argument to be made that fighting propaganda is, well, everyone’s job.
We asked Weafer how an average Joe or Jane can protect themselves from unwittingly becoming a pawn in the real-life version of “Game of Thrones” that is Russian politics; his answer was terrifying:
Make sure you’re keeping up with patches. Research any tools or anti-virus you’re considering using. Don’t download the first “free tool” you find in the search engine just because its free.
Basically, the same novice IT security tips we’ve been hearing for the last 20 or so years. The reason that’s scary is because it shows we Americans can be counted on to download enough malware to potentially influence an election.
The real problem here is the Russian propaganda plays both sides of the fence. Meddling agents play issues like Black Lives Matter and The 2nd Amendment to anger both liberals and conservatives — just to stoke the divide. As long as American citizens are pissed off at each other the bad actors are accomplishing their mission.
Former State Representative Raj Goyle, CEO of Bodhala, told TNW that the problem wasn’t an easy fix, saying lawmakers have been “asleep at the switch for 20 years.” Goyle also said:
You’ve got this election overseas and there’s evidence that Russians have interfered in that one as well. Facebook and Google are having to explain why they allowed this to happen, but why the hell is a private company in charge of ensuring the integrity of a national election?
The solution to the problem won’t become apparent until we understand the depth of it. It’s not so infuriating that Facebook, Twitter, and Google allowed this to happen – but we need to speed up the investigation and get the cards on the table.
It’s time for the government to get educated on technology and start working with the companies behind it. The current status quo is a system of lobbyists preaching the future and a squad of politicians litigating from the past — and that’s not helping the problem at all today.
Netflix: Nielsen ratings for streaming shows mean nothing
Nielsen, the company which has been monitoring television show views and providing ratings for over ninety years, today announced it was creating a new service casting light on “Subscription-based Streaming Content Consumption” — in other words, Netflix, Hulu, and the like.
Nielsen says it’s providing a service for a number of studios who have no idea what kind of streaming numbers Netflix has. As Megan Clarksen, president of Watch at Nielsen, said:
The significant growth of SVOD services in entertainment markets across the world has created demand from rights owners to understand the size and composition of audiences relative to other programs and platforms. The syndication of SVOD measurement as part of Nielsen’s Total Audience offerings represents a big step forward in terms of moving closer to transparency within the SVOD marketplace.
One way the company is going to track ratings is via Nielsen meters — specifically, via audio recognition software. According to the New York Times, the company listens via its set meters, devices connected to TVs in several thousand homes across the country. The meters record data and send it back to Nielsen nightly. So if you watch Netflix on your TV and you have a Nielsen device in your home, the company will listen and note it.
That’s more than a little creepy, not to mention an ineffective way of monitoring Netflix. Nielsen might be able to measure who’s streaming stuff on their set top box, but it has no way of measuring Netflix views on devices, such as laptops or tablets — which is the only way I watch Netflix these days. Not to mention that Nielsen only has meters in a small number of houses, compared with Netflix’s 104 million subscribers.
It might be for that reason Netflix is so dismissive of Nielsen’s attempts. As one spokesperson told Variety, “The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix.”
Nielsen has never been able to gain a foothold on a Netflix audience, and this isn’t the first time the company has attempted to ally with newer media to study modern viewing habits. Last year, it announced it was partnering with Facebook and Twitter to track mentions and shares of shows on the social media sites, using the data to provide “Social Content Ratings.”
According to the Times and other sources, Nielsen is not releasing the numbers to the public or press, so apparently the company is taking a leaf from Netflix’s book by veiling its numbers in mystery.
Netflix will occasionally release its own material on ratings and views, but always on its own terms. For example, yesterday the company put out a list of the most “binge-raced” series — meaning watched an entire season within 24 hours of its release. According to Netflix, 8.4 million of their subscribers binge race.
But other than these small offerings, Netflix doesn’t really release numbers very often. That might be why eight networks and studios have, according to Nielsen, turned to an older, well-tested method of measuring viewership.
We’ve contacted Netflix for further comment.
Giant Robot Duel was a great commercial for STEM
America and Japan squared off in robot combat last night over the course of two fights. In a first-of-its-kind event the Japanese robot, Kuratas, took on America’s Iron Glory in one bout, and Eagle Prime in another. This was an event for the ages, with more than a few surprises in each contest.
Before we get into the exciting details, it’s worth pausing to point out that last night’s fights obviously weren’t live. In fact, it may even be a stretch to call them “fights.” The exhibitions were more like quality assurance testers gone wild than an actual gladiator fight. This is a good thing: there were people inside those giant robots piloting them.
It’s easy to point out that the majority of the firepower was for show and the pilots engaged in theatrics more-so than combat. We aren’t talking “Mortal Kombat” for robots here.
Though this is what the first step to unpiloted “Real Steel” style combat looks like, so if you’re underwhelmed by last night’s event just keep in mind that we had to have a Model T before we could have a Tesla.
Before you read any further, be forewarned: here there be spoilers. If you’d like to watch the fights first, here’s the video:
Fight one: Kuratas VS Iron Glory
The beauty of the “sport” was on display as Kuratas leapt into action with the opening bell. Its pilot displayed his true character in a courageous offensive that can only be described as the perfect attack. Instead of dancing, spinning, or trying to be deceptive the giant Japanese robot just slowly rolled forward.
Iron Glory tried to fire a canonball at Kuratas, which struck me as odd because I’d been led to believe the fight would be melee only — by this video:
It didn’t matter because the munition broke apart inside of the canon, rendering it useless.
The pilot inside of Kuratas then sent the signal to his mecha which made it hold it’s left arm out in an apparent attempt at a slow-motion clothesline move. This caused equal parts laughter and excitement at my watching party. But then Kuratas straightened its arm out in front of it at the last moment, and shocked the world.
Kuratas connected with its first strike, a jab, and showed off its one-punch knockout power. Down went Iron Glory! Down went Iron Glory! The fight was over and Japan’s robot was victorious.
Nobody came for Iron Glory. There were no robot doctors, or crying computer-parents, just a solitary broken machine abandoned by its creators for the newer, sexier model: Eagle Prime.
Fight Two: Eagle Prime VS Kuratas
The first fight showed of the power of Japan’s robot’s 272 kg (600 lb) fist. This, the second fight, the Americans hoped, would be a slobber-knocker that’d take more than a few moments to sort out. Eagle Prime slowly moved forward as Kuratas, fresh off its earlier victory, prepared to take on the next comer.
Then things got a little weird.
Again the robots broke melee, Eagle Prime fired off some cannonballs which, surprisingly, did a fair amount of damage.
Kuratas then released its secret weapon: a drone. I was beyond shocked, and would have definitely spit out my drink had I been drinking. Eagle Prime was mostly unfazed, and went all King Kong on the poor little thing.
I’m still not sure what the drone was supposed to accomplish. Maybe it could have been equipped with an ink-bomb or something? Either way, it became the second robot to get knocked out when Eagle Prime swatted it and moved on.
Finally, the moment we’d really been waiting for arrived: the robots clashed. Eagle Prime’s pilot got clever and used his robot’s cannon-arm as a battering-ram to prod and bash at Kuratas. The Americans quickly gained the upper-hand as Eagle Prime bashed away at Kuratas – whose armor was taking a serious beating.
Then, for some unknown reason, things stopped. Modifications were made by both teams and then, there in all its amazing glory stood Eagle Prime rocking a motherfricking chainsword.
Kuratas responded to the chainsword by firing off some kind of pellets from a rapid-fire gun-for-an-arm appendage, which seemed a little dangerous for the pilot of Eagle Prime, yet yielded no effect.
But the chainsword proved to be the ultimate weapon when the robots again clashed.
Steel collided with steel and Eagle Prime grabbed and twisted with its massive claw-hand. Then the chainsword fired up and the real carnage began. The American robot sawed through metal and cable; Kuratas’ fingers went flying everywhere as they were severed.
Finally, in a moment of mercy, the fight was ended before Eagle Prime could rip the smaller, lighter, weaker opponent limb from limb.
This was David versus Goliath, but this time Goliath beat David’s tiny butt.
Kuratas got some good shots in before the fight was stopped though, and our hats are off to its bravery and prowess. But Eagle Prime is not a robot to be trifled with.
Sure the whole thing was more entertainment than combat, after all it’s the first event that had giant robots actually fighting. Both pilots hammed it up and, if I’m being honest, I didn’t like the dramatics from the announcers – which otherwise did a great job of making the event feel real. Mike Goldberg’s presence made it feel like a UFC contest, which was great for ambiance.
At the end of the event I wasn’t standing with my jaw agape and my mind blown. In fact I chuckled, turned off the TV, and went to bed.
But, last night I dreamed of giant robots fighting. They were fast and violent – and there were no squishy humans inside of them to slow things down. The Giant Robot Duel was a good start.
And more importantly it was a fun way to show off robotics and STEM for audiences of all ages.
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