Amazon's Twitter Reps: Fact or Fiction?

1. Amazon’s Twitter Reps: Fact or Fiction?

The public-relations apparatus responsible for managing Amazon’s relationship with our democracy has continued to undertake information operations designed to burnish its image. And this week, the world took notice.

Amazon has long faced criticism over the working conditions in its fulfillment centers, where workers strive to remain marginally more useful than the package-sorting robot coworkers that will someday replace them. In response to this — and amid growing fears at the company that its workers would unionize — the company last year created a series of Twitter accounts for its “fulfillment center ambassadors.”

The tech world spent a day or two chuckling over this particular real-life Black Mirror episode, then moved on to the next. And then, sometime this year, the accounts were handed over to… other people. Robots. The ambassadors denied being robots, but the case still felt inclusive.

(Source: The Verge)


2. LGBT Youtubers Sue Google

Historically, YouTube hasn’t clearly explained why specific videos are excluded from advertising or flagged as “unsuitable for all audiences”. The lack of specific information has frustrated video-makers from all walks of life. The phenomenon was even given a nickname: the ad-pocalypse.

Now, a group of YouTube video-makers is suing YouTube and parent company Google, claiming both discriminate against LGBT-themed videos and their creators. YouTube says it does not discriminate against LGBT themes, and it is easy to find popular LGBT channels on YouTube that do carry advertisements.

However, YouTube’s ad-placement and content moderation decisions are mostly made by algorithms, which can struggle with the intricacies and nuances of human life. How accurately can its machines distinguish between sexual content and sexuality content?

If the group gets its case in front of a jury, YouTube may be under pressure to provide more clarity about how its algorithms work.

(Source: BBC)

3. A Cord That Hacks Your Computer

You probably know that plugging unknown USB flash drives into your computer is risky. There’s a chance that a malicious program could give a hacker access to your personal data. But now, it’s not just drives to be wary of. Mike Grover, a security researcher who reportedly works for Verizon Media and goes by “MG” online, has developed modified Lightning cables that can hack someone’s computer, as first reported by Motherboard.

MG tells The Verge that his cables look and function like the standard Lightning cable you get with your iPhone.

But MG hid software and hardware, including a wireless access point, inside its USB connector. When the cable is plugged into a computer, it can be triggered remotely to attempt to steal a user’s login credentials or install malicious software.

Tread lightly when you’re looking for new cables!

(Source: The Verge)

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