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Facebook allows Ukraine war posts urging violence against invading Russians, Putin

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(Last Updated On: March 11, 2022)

Meta Platforms (FB.O) will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion, according to internal emails seen by Reuters on Thursday, in a temporary change to its hate speech policy, Reuters reported.

The social media company is also temporarily allowing some posts that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, according to internal emails to its content moderators.

“As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement.

The calls for the leaders’ deaths will be allowed unless they contain other targets or have two indicators of credibility, such as the location or method, one email said, in a recent change to the company’s rules on violence and incitement.

Citing the Reuters story, Russia’s embassy in the United States demanded that Washington stop the “extremist activities” of Meta.

“Users of Facebook & Instagram did not give the owners of these platforms the right to determine the criteria of truth and pit nations against each other,” the embassy said on Twitter in a message that was also shared by their India office.

According to Reuters the temporary policy changes on calls for violence to Russian soldiers apply to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine, according to one email.

In the email recently sent to moderators, Meta highlighted a change in its hate speech policy pertaining both to Russian soldiers and to Russians in the context of the invasion.

“We are issuing a spirit-of-the-policy allowance to allow T1 violent speech that would otherwise be removed under the Hate Speech policy when: (a) targeting Russian soldiers, EXCEPT prisoners of war, or (b) targeting Russians where it’s clear that the context is the Russian invasion of Ukraine (e.g., content mentions the invasion, self-defense, etc.),” it said in the email.

“We are doing this because we have observed that in this specific context, ‘Russian soldiers’ is being used as a proxy for the Russian military. The Hate Speech policy continues to prohibit attacks on Russians,” the email stated.

Last week, Russia said it was banning Facebook in the country in response to what it said were restrictions of access to Russian media on the platform. Moscow has cracked down on tech companies, including Twitter (TWTR.N), which said it is restricted in the country, during its invasion of Ukraine, which it calls a “special operation.”

Many major social media platforms have announced new content restrictions around the conflict, including blocking Russian state media RT and Sputnik in the European Union, and have demonstrated carve-outs in some of their policies during the war, Reuters reported.

Emails also showed that Meta would allow praise of the right-wing Azov battalion, which is normally prohibited, in a change first reported by The Intercept.

The Meta spokesperson previously said the company was “for the time being, making a narrow exception for praise of the Azov Regiment strictly in the context of defending Ukraine, or in their role as part of the Ukraine National Guard.”

Science & Technology

Musk expects Neuralink’s brain chip to begin human trials in 6 months

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

Elon Musk said on Wednesday he expects a wireless brain chip developed by his company Neuralink to begin human clinical trials in six months, after the company missed earlier timelines set by him, Reuters reported.

The company is developing brain chip interfaces that it says could help disabled patients to move and communicate again, with Musk adding on Wednesday it will also target restoring vision.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin, Texas, Neuralink has in recent years been conducting tests on animals as it seeks approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin clinical trials in people, read the report.

“We want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work well before putting a device into a human,” Musk said during a much-awaited public update on the device.

Speaking to a crowd of select invitees in a presentation at Neuralink headquarters that lasted nearly three hours, Musk emphasized the speed at which the company is developing its device.

“The progress at first, particularly as it applies to humans, will seem perhaps agonizingly slow, but we are doing all of the things to bring it to scale in parallel,” he added. “So, in theory, progress should be exponential.”

The FDA said it cannot comment on the status or the existence of any potential product applications.

The first two human applications targeted by the Neuralink device will be in restoring vision and enabling movement of muscles in people who cannot do so, Musk said. “Even if someone has never had vision, ever, like they were born blind, we believe we can still restore vision,” he said.

The event was originally planned for Oct. 31 but Musk postponed it just days before without giving a reason, Reuters reported.

Neuralink’s last public presentation, more than a year ago, involved a monkey with a brain chip that played a computer game by thinking alone.

Musk, who also runs electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla (TSLA.O), rocket firm SpaceX, and social media platform Twitter, is known for lofty goals such as colonizing Mars and saving humanity. His ambitions for Neuralink, which he launched in 2016, are of the same grand scale.

He wants to develop a chip that would allow the brain to control complex electronic devices and eventually allow people with paralysis to regain motor function and treat brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s. He also talks of melding the brain with artificial intelligence, read the report.

Neuralink, however, is running behind schedule. Musk said in a 2019 presentation he was aiming to receive regulatory approval by the end of 2020. He then said at a conference in late 2021 that he hoped to start human trials this year.

Neuralink has repeatedly missed internal deadlines to gain FDA approval to start human trials, current and former employees have said.

Musk approached competitor Synchron earlier this year about a potential investment after he expressed frustration to Neuralink employees about their slow progress, Reuters reported in August.

Synchron crossed a major milestone in July by implanting its device in a patient in the United States for the first time. It received U.S. regulatory clearance for human trials in 2021 and has completed studies in four people in Australia.

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Elon Musk says Twitter beginning to block fake, spam accounts

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2022)

Twitter owner and US billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk said that the social media platform has begun blocking fake and spam accounts, which may result in decreasing the number of followers for Twitter users.

“Twitter is purging a lot of spam/scam accounts right now, so you may see your follower count drop,” Musk tweeted on Wednesday.Musk closed a $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter on October 28 after months of negotiations and legal disputes with the company about the number of fake accounts on the social media platform, which the entrepreneur believed was much higher than the company reported.

After becoming Twitter’s new owner and CEO, Musk introduced significant changes to the company’s policies and day-to-day operations.

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Rumors fly that Apple iPhone 15 series to come with a new design

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2022)

It’s been a couple of months since Apple released the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro series smartphones in the market but the rumors and leaks for the next-generation iPhone 15 lineup have already started surfacing online.

Reports have emerged that the new Apple iPhone 15 series will come with a new design language, something that many users had been waiting for as the company hasn’t changed the design of the phone for quite some time.

As per the reports, the Apple iPhone 15 lineup will be redesigned to have a rounder body instead of the flat design that it currently features.

It is also being claimed that the upcoming iPhone models will have a titanium body to make the devices lightweight. However, in that case, we expect to see the change only in the Pro models of the smartphones while the standard models could keep using aluminum, gizmochina.com reported. .

Apart from design and material changes for the iPhone 15 series, there are a few more changes that are expected to happen with the upcoming lineup. The phones are expected to come powered by a new chipset manufactured using a 3nm process and the devices will have USB-C port instead of Lightning port.

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