News Bytes – July
Facebook’s Fight against Fake News
Facebook has just announced new initiatives to prevent the dissemination of fake news on its platform. In addition to using technological devices and human input to recognize and delete counterfeit accounts, they will be employing fact checkers and educating users on how to identify fake news. Facebook’s program will also be introduced into new countries.
Companies such as Associated Press, Snopes, and FactCheck.org will be working with Facebook, along with advanced computer programs that also check for fake news, and accounts will be censored or deleted as necessary. According to early reports, this initiative has already lowered the number of fake stories by around 80%.
It remains to be seen whether the company’s efforts will really reduce the prevalence of fake news on Facebook, or whether it is simply window dressing to address the concerns of politicians and other critics.
Emergency iOS Hits iPhones
Apple’s latest iteration of its iOS, iOS 12, has a new safety feature that means iPhones employed for emergency calls will automatically give the responders the location of the phone. Around 80% of emergency calls are made from mobiles, but the dated systems used for 911 calls make it hard to pin down locations. With landline emergency calls, the customer database can be interrogated to match an incoming number with an address, something that’s not possible with mobiles.
Apple has paired with RapidSOS, a company that has been building enhancements to the emergency call system for the last five years. Part of the problem associated with identifying callers is that the 6300 emergency response centers in the USA use 25,000 different types of software. With the RapidSOS system, as soon a 911 call is received, RapidSOS’s database will be interrogated for additional information regarding the caller, which will then be passed on to the 911 operatives.