Friday, October 20, 2017

Twitter Fights Sexual Harassment Tweets

Siggestive Tweets
Twitter has just announced its tough new rules on tweets that contain "non-consensual nudity" and sexual harassment, which could be seen as fallout from the Harvey Weinstein abuse scandal.

The rules will come into force in the coming weeks, Twitter said in a statement on 17 October, after company co-founder Jack Dorsey posted a series of tweets promising policy changes.

The San Francisco-based social media giant will "immediately and permanently suspend any account we identify as the original poster/source of non-consensual nudity and/or if a user makes it clear they are intentionally posting said content to harass their target," the statement read.

Twitter defines "non-consensual nudity" as including "content like upskirt imagery, 'creep shots,' and hidden camera content."

Since people appearing in these pictures "often do not know the material exists, we will not require a report from a target in order to remove it," the statement said.

Twitter said that while it recognizes that there is "an entire genre of pornography dedicated to this type of content, it's nearly impossible for us to distinguish when this content may/may not have been produced and distributed consensually.

"We would rather error on the side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it," the statement read.

Twitter also said that sexually charged conversations and the exchange of sexual media will now be "unacceptable," and promised to take action when such exchanges are reported by participants or by observers.

Twitter's statement follows an uproar caused by the temporary suspension of the account of Rose McGowan, an actress who says that Weinstein raped her.

The account was suspended after McGowan posted an obscenity directed at actor Ben Affleck, whom she said lied about his ignorance of Weinstein's history of sexual abuse.

Twitter however said her account was suspended because McGowan broke usage rules by including a personal phone number in a tweet.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WikiLeaks Profited From BitCoin

WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims his organization has made a 50,000 percent return on bitcoin after investing in the cryptocurrency in 2010 — and it's all thanks to the U.S. government.

In a tweet over the weekend, Assange posted a screenshot of bitcoin prices on 18 July 2010 and 14 October 2017 on industry website CoinDesk. In this period, the price of bitcoin went from US$ 0.06 to around US$ 5,814. This represents a 9,689,900 percent increase.

Assange, however, said that he has made a 50,000 percent return, presumably investing in bitcoin over the six-year period. And the WikiLeaks founder said this was because the U.S. government forced payment companies like Visa and MasterCard to carry out "an illegal banking blockade" against his organization.

In 2010, MasterCard blocked its products being used to pay WikiLeaks. Paypal also restricted the account used by WikiLeaks after it said the group has violated its policy. Assange said that this is the reason WikiLeaks invested in bitcoin. The cryptocurrency allows anonymous payments and can be moved around the world easily. It is, however, very volatile.

WikiLeaks is notorious for publishing classified government documents. Assange was fighting a legal battle with Swedish prosecutors who accused him of rape, a claim he denied. Earlier this year, Sweden dropped its investigation into Assange. In 2012, Assange was granted asylum in the Ecuador embassy in London and has holed up there ever since.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Facebook Security on Biased Algorithm

Mini Speaker
"I am seeing a ton of coverage of our recent issues driven by stereotypes of our employees and attacks against fantasy, strawman tech cos" wrote Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos last 8 October in a reeling tweetstorm.

He claims journalists misunderstand the complexity of attacking fake news, deride Facebook for thinking algorithms are neutral when the company knows they aren't, and encourages reporters to talk to engineers who actually deal with these problems and their consequences.

Some believes that this argument minimizes many of Facebook's troubles. The issue isn't that Facebook doesn't know algorithms can be biased or that people don't know these are tough problems. The issue is that the company didn't anticipate abuses of the platform and work harder to build algorithms or human moderation processes that could block fake news and fraudulent ad buys before they impacted the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. And Stamos’ tweetstorm allegedly glosses over the fact that Facebook will fire employees that talk to the press without authorization.

The sprawling response to recent backlash comes right as Facebook starts making the changes it should have implemented before the election. Today, Axios reports that Facebook just emailed advertisers to inform them that ads targeted by "politics, religion, ethnicity or social issues" will have to be manually approved before they're sold and distributed.

And a few days ago, Facebook updated an October 2nd blog post about disclosing Russian-bought election interference ads to congress to note that "Of the more than 3,000 ads that we have shared with Congress, 5 percent appeared on Instagram. About US$ 6,700 was spent on these ads", implicating Facebook's photo-sharing acquisition in the scandal for the first time.

Stamos' tweetstorm was set off by Lawfare associate editor and Washington Post contributor Quinta Jurecic, who commented that Facebook's shift towards human editors implies that saying "the algorithm is bad now, we're going to have people do this" actually "just entrenches The Algorithm as a mythic entity beyond understanding rather than something that was designed poorly and irresponsibly and which could have been designed better."

Understanding of the risks of algorithms is what's kept Facebook from over-aggressively implementing them in ways that could have led to censorship, which is responsible but doesn't solve the urgent problem of abuse at hand.
Now Facebook's CSO is calling journalists' demands for better algorithms as fake news, because these algorithms are hard to build without becoming a dragnet that attacks innocent content too.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

A Filipino Model Was Also Harassed By Harvey Weinstein

Ambra Gutierrez
The controversial movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is heard in a newly revealed audio recording pressuring a 22-year-old model to watch him take a shower.

Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a Filipina-Italian model, told police she was invited to meet Weinstein at his office at The Tribeca Film Center in lower Manhattan. She says he touched her inappropriately and put his hand under her skirt.

When she went to police, the NYPD Special Victims Unit secretly wired her for a follow-up meeting with Weinstein at a hotel just a few blocks away in March 2015.

An abridged transcript from the police wire worn by Gutierrez, as reported by The New Yorker:

Harvey Weinstein: I'm telling you right now, get in here.

AG: What do we have to do here?

HW: Nothing! I'm gonna take a shower, you sit there and have a drink. Water.

AG: I don't drink.

HW: Then have a glass of water.

AG: Can I stay on the bar?

HW: No, you must come here now.

AG: No.

HW: Please?

AG: No, I don't want to.

HW: I'm not doing anything with you, I promise. Now you're embarrassing me.

AG: I know, I don't want to. I'm sorry, I cannot.

HW: No come in here.

AG: No, yesterday was kind of aggressive for me.

HW: I know.

AG: I need to know a person to be touched.

HW: I won't do a thing.

AG: I don't want to be touched.

HW: I won't do a thing, please... Don't embarrass me in the hotel, I'm here all the time. Sit with me, I promise.

AG: I know, but I don't want to.

HW: Please sit there, please. One minute I ask you.

AG: No, I can't.

HW: Go to the bathroom.

AG: Please, I don't want to do something I don't want to.

HW: Go to the bath... hey, come here. Listen to me.

AG: I want to go downstairs.

HW: I'm not going to do anything, you'll never see me again after this. OK? That's it. If you don't – if you embarrass me in this hotel where I'm staying at.

Weinstein was not charged.

The audio is part of a jnew bombshell article in the New Yorker magazine alleging that Weinstein raped three women including actress Asia Argento.

"I know he has crushed a lot of people before. That's why this story -- in my case, it's 20 years old, some of them are older -- has never come out," she said.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Breathing New Life To Your Business

By Armando O. Bartolome

You are attending to your business when you noticed that you have been getting inquiries via e-mail or letters from people asking if you are offering a franchise of your business. Upon verification with your staff, you find out there have been people who dropped by the office asking the same. You begin to wonder and ask yourself why you are receiving such inquiries. This scenario is not uncommon nowadays. Oftentimes inquiries like these begin to increase that the businessman or the staff may just give a flat 'No' for an answer. Such an answer, however, may spell a lost of opportunity.

So why do you get these inquiries? Simply put, people see a potential in your business and would like to partake in it. This happens to many growing business. In fact, may companies who never thought success in franchising was possible are realizing the business advantages that come with it. For readers who own businesses, take heed of the following advice for it’s not too late to explore and make franchising work for you.

BUSINESS CONCEPT
If one takes a look at the business districts in Makati or Ortigas, one easily notices the proliferation of coffee shops. They are everywhere, and always filled with patrons no matter what time of the day even if they are spitting distance from each other. Better check out the convenience stores open 24/7. Amazing one need not walk a great distance just to pick up a few grocery items. How about Laundromats? They too can be found in every area to offer dry cleaning facilities. Pre-schools? Hair Salons? Spas? Business Centers? Internet Café? Courier Services? Car Repair? TV Repair? A lot of businesses offer similar services but notice how each company would differ from the way they project their business. These companies have taken time in studying their business concept and are now successful in establishing numerous branches via franchising. Perhaps it’s about time you as an entrepreneur need to pause, take a piece of paper and pen and review your concept. In analyzing your concept, compare it from the time you first thought of it to the present. Is there any uniqueness to it that will draw your market? Think about why would people patronize your business.

REPLICATION
A strong suit of a good business is the ability to expand and put up branches. The latter is an exact copy of the original store. Ever seen a McDonald’s outlet? Upon entering and facing the counter, look at the far left and you will see the French fries maker, at the center will be the pass thru window where food products are displayed, far right will be the soft serve ice cream. Most of the 32,000 outlets worldwide do carry such layout. In fact even in their façade there will always be the tall pylon sign with the big letter “M” or better known as the Golden Arches. Replication, however, is not just confined in the physical design of the business. It also covers how the services and products are brought to the customers. Many franchisees may have put up a branch or two. Spreading beyond five units may be cumbersome for the owner to manage, as he or she worries if his/her supervisors or managers are doing their jobs or merely waiting for the favorite dates in the calendar: the 15th and 30th. In franchising, it’s actually the franchise who manages the branch. Having invested money for the franchise, they cannot afford to be clock-watchers—they have to immerse themselves with the business, hands-on. Find out if your business can be easily taught and managed.

PROFITABILITY
For a business to succeed, it needs to be profitable. There are times when a business may not be profitable simply because there are weak spots which need to be plugged. Products, for example, have to be reviewed for its profit margin and contribution to the total sales. One advantage of franchising is seeing a business have a healthy payback. In general, out of five years in a typical franchise set-up, the investment should have been realized within 12 months to a maximum of 24 months. It is a must for the business owner to do pencil pushing and see how profitable his business is. Remember both owner and franchisees are to make money, as opposed to unilateral profits.

Franchising can only succeed if you have fortified the foundation of your business. It is pathetic to see how some business owners’ jump-start the franchise process without even looking at their present status. They immediately grant franchise to parties only to discover there are too many things, which need to be improved. It shatters the brand and dream of the entrepreneur, as well the hard earned money of the poor franchisee wanting to have a business too. Done right, your business will expand to various places and even beyond the Philippine shores. You will have franchisees who will be proud of having your business. I salute those companies who began micro and have turned into global entrepreneurs. The franchising as an option in breathing a new life to your business?

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