X Is Making Likes Private For Everyone



Thanks to X showing what its users “like” on its platform, politicians and public personalities have been caught looking at salacious and unsavory tweets in the past. Now, the platform formerly known as Twitter is making likes mostly private, and according to company chief Elon Musk, it’s an important change so that people can “like posts without getting attacked for doing so.” Engadget reported.

The company originally launched the ability to hide the likes tab as a perk for X Premium subscribers last year. “[K]eep spicy likes private,” X said when it announced the feature.

In a new tweet, X’s Engineering account has revealed that the social network is making likes private for everyone this week. Users will no longer be able to see who liked someone else’s post, which means likes on the platform will no longer cause PR crises for public figures who like sexual, hateful, and other unpalatable posts in general.

They can still see who liked their tweets, however, along with their like count and other metrics for their own posts.

NBC News reported X is now hiding what posts users like from other users. The news rolled out in a post Wednesday morning from Elon Musk as the site update was being rolled out.

“Important change: your likes are now private,” Musk said, quoting an explanation posted by the company’s engineering account on Tuesday.

According to the post, users will still be able to see which posts they have liked themselves, and who liked their own posts, but not who liked someone else’s posts.

On Wednesday, the tab on most users’ profiles showing what posts they had liked had disappeared.

According to NBC News, Haofei Wang, X’s director of engineering, had teased the update in a post on May 21.
“Public likes are incentivizing the wrong behavior,” Wang wrote. “For example, many people feel discouraged from liking content that might be ‘edgy’ in fear of retaliation from trolls, or to protect their public image. Soon, you’ll be able to like without worrying who might see it.”

He added that if users now more freely like posts they’re interested in, X’s algorithm will become more tailored to them.

The Verge reported X is rolling out private likes as soon as today, according to a source at the company. That means what users like on the platform will be hidden by default, which is already an option for X’s Premium subscribers. Following the publication of this story, X owner Elon Musk reshared a screenshot of it, saying it’s “important to allow people to like posts without getting attacked for doing so!”

According to The Verge, late last year, Musk told the platform’s engineers that he wanted to get rid of the tweet action buttons altogether and instead place a stronger emphasis on post views (also called “impressions”). Musk’s goal was to remove the section that contained the like and repost buttons entirely because Musk believed likes weren’t important.

In my opinion, it is possible that by removing the ability to publicly “like” someone else’s post on X might make the platform easier to navigate. That said, the platform itself is going to still know what you chose to “like”.


Apple Unveils macOS 15 Sequoia with AI Features #1746



Apple announced the macOS 15 Sequoia at WWDC 2024, featuring the Apple Intelligence AI suite, iPhone mirroring, and Continuity updates. The new OS introduces automatic window tiling, a cross-platform Passwords app, and enhanced Safari features. macOS Sequoia is compatible with Apple Silicon and select Intel-based Macs

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Show Notes and Full Summary:

In this episode of Geek News Central, host Todd Cochrane discusses several critical topics primarily focusing on Apple’s announcement of macOS 15 Sequoia during WWDC 2024. The new operating system introduces several innovative features, including the Apple Intelligence AI suite, iPhone mirroring, and enhanced continuity updates. MacOS Sequoia supports automatic window tiling, a cross-platform Passwords app, and improved Safari features. It is compatible with Apple Silicon and select Intel-based Macs.

Todd Cochrane seamlessly transitions into sponsor promotion, specifically highlighting GoDaddy as Geek News Central’s primary sponsor. He encourages listeners to take advantage of special deals provided through his GoDaddy affiliate link. He emphasizes the importance of supporting the podcast by signing up to become a GNC insider or using modern podcast apps that allow listeners to contribute directly through the value-for-value model.

Cochran shares anecdotes from his travels in the Philippines, reminiscing about his experiences in the Subic Bay area. He provides a rundown on notable spots and changes in the Olongapo area, reflecting on the region’s transformation.

The episode shifts back to tech topics, delving deeper into the features of macOS Sequoia. Todd discusses Apple Intelligence at length, describing how the AI will enhance functionality across Apple devices by introducing new capabilities in writing tools, Siri, and user interactivity between Mac and iPhone.

Further, Todd covers a variety of additional tech news stories, including NATO’s funding for a German startup developing autonomous war robots, Google’s settlement over an antitrust lawsuit, and a piracy lawsuit filed by significant publishers against Google. He also briefly touches upon personal internet security tips and wraps up with news of Tesla’s door design issues potentially affecting car windows.

Throughout the episode, Todd encourages listener interaction through emails and sharing feedback on modern podcast apps. He also mentions significant contributions from dedicated listeners who support the podcast through financial donations or streaming sats with modern Podcast Apps.

To conclude, Todd outlines the upcoming changes and challenges related to his podcast setup, sharing his transition from a studio to potentially building a new working space at home and ending with acknowledgments for the ongoing support from the Geek News Central community.


Apple Intelligence Is The Company’s New Generative AI Offering



On Monday, at WWDC 2024, Apple unveiled Apple Intelligence, its long-awaited, ecosystem-wide push into generative AI. As earlier rumors suggested, the new feature is called Apple Intelligence (AI, get it?). The company promised the feature will be built with safety at its core, along with highly personalized experiences, TechCrunch reported.

According to TechCrunch, the company has been pushing the feature as integral to all of its various operating system offerings, including iOS, macOS, and the latest, visionOS.

The system is built on large language and intelligence models. Much of that processing is done locally according to the company, utilizes the latest version of Apple silicon. “Many of these models run entirely on device,” SVP Craig Federighi claimed during the event.

That said, these consumer systems still have limitations. As such, some of the heavy lifting needs to be done off device in the cloud. Apple is adding Private Cloud Compute to the offering. The back end uses services that run Apple chips, in a bid to increase privacy for this highly personal data.

Apple introduced Apple Intelligence. Here is part of the press release:

Apple today introduced Apple Intelligence, the personal intelligence system for iPhone, iPad, and Mac that combines the power of generative models with personal context to deliver intelligence that’s incredibly useful and relevant. 

Apple Intelligence is deeply integrated into iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia. It harnesses the power of Apple silicon to understand and create language and images, take action across apps, and draw from personal context to simplify and accelerate everyday tasks. With Private Cloud Compute, Apple sets a new standard of privacy in AI, with the ability to flex and scale computational capacity between on-device processing and larger, server-based models that run on dedicated Apple silicon servers.

“We’re thrilled to introduce a new chapter in Apple innovation. Apple Intelligence will transform what users can do with our products — and what our products can do for our users,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Our unique approach combines generative AI with a user’s personal context to deliver truly helpful intelligence. And it can access that information in a completely private and secure way to help users do the things that matter most to them. This is AI as only Apple can deliver it, and we can’t wait for users to experience what it can do.”

Engadget reported Apple Intelligence will be powered by both Apple’s homegrown tech as well as a partnership with OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, Apple announced.

One of Apple’s biggest AI upgrades is coming to Siri. The company’s built-in voice assistant will now be powered by large language models, the tech that underlies all modern-day generative AI. Siri, which has languished over the years, may become more useful now that it can interact more closely with Apple’s operation systems and apps. 

Apple Intelligence will also use AI to record, transcribe, and summarize your phone calls, rivaling third-party transcription services like Otter. All participants are automatically notified when you start recording, and a transcript if the conversation’s main points is automatically generated at the end.

In my opinion, I’m not thrilled about any of the AI-Generated additions that have suddenly popped up. I’m hoping that Apple will allow me to turn off the AI-Generated stuff.


New York Times Source Code Stolen From Exposed GitHub Token



Internal source code and data belonging to The New York Times was leaked on the 4chan message board after being stolen from the company’s GitHub repositories in January 2024, The Times confirmed to BleepingComputer.

As first seen by VX-Underground, the internal data was leaked on Thursday by an anonymous user who posted a torrent to a 273GB archive containing the stolen data.

“Basically all source code belonging to The New York Times Company, 270GB,” reads the 4chan forum post. “There are around 5 thousand repos (out of them less than 30 are additionally encrypted I think), 3.6 million files total, uncompressed tar.”

In a statement to BleepingComputer, The Times said the breach occurred in January 2024 after credentials for a cloud-based third-party code platform were exposed. A subsequent email confirmed this code platform was GitHub.

“The underlying event related to yesterday’s posting occurred in January 2024 when a credential to a cloud-based third-party code platform was inadvertently made available. The issue was quickly identified and we took appropriate measures in response at there time. There is no indication of unauthorized access to Times-owned systems nor impact to our operations related to this event. Our security measures include continuous monitoring for anomalous activity” – The New York Times

Mashable reported reported the controversial image board 4Chan is back in the news this week after two big data dumps were posted on the site.

Now, it appears that the New York Times Company is the largest establishment to have its data leaked on 4Chan over the past week. The data allegedly includes source code to its viral World game.

Mashable reported X user @vxunderground appears to be the first to notice that 270GB of internal data connected to the New York Times was posted online. The data contains the company’s internal source code and consists of more than 5,000+ source code repositories. The leak is made up of a total of roughly 3,600,000 files.

According to a text file shared by the hacker, 6,223 folders were stolen from the New York Times’ GitHub repository. This includes internal company IT documents and source code, which includes the popular word game that the Times acquired in 2022, Wordle.

The Register reported a 4chan user claims to have leaked 270GB of internal New York Times data, including source code and other web assets, via the notorious image board.

According to the unnamed netizen, the information includes, “basically all source code belonging to The New York Times Company,” amounting to roughly 5,000 repositories and 3.6 million files now available for download from peer-to-peer networks. Details on how to get the files where shared by the poster on 4chan.

Of the files listed – whose names indicate everything from blueprints to Wordle to email marketing campaigns and ad reports — “less than 30” repositories are “encrypted,” the 4channer claimed. Again, take this with a healthy does of salt considering the source — an unnamed 4chan user.

In my opinion, stealing files and data from a large company’s GitHub is not a good idea. It is entirely possible that the New York Times may have already hired someone to find the hacker who did this.


Microsoft Will Make Recall An Opt-In Feature



Microsoft says it’s making its new Recall feature in Windows 11 that screenshots everything you do on your PC an opt-in feature and addressing various security concerns, The Verge reported.

The software giant first unveiled the Recall feature as part of its upcoming Copilot Plus PCs last month, but since then, privacy advocates and security experts have been warning that Recall could be a “disaster” for cybersecurity without changes.

Thankfully, Microsoft has listened to the complaints and is making a number of changes before Copilot Plus PCs launch on June 18th. Microsoft had originally planned to turn on Recall by default, but the company now says it will offer the ability to disable the controversial AI-powered feature during the setup process of new Copilot Plus PCs.

“If you don’t proactively choose to turn it on, it will be off by default” says Windows chief Pavan Davuluri.

According to The Verge, Microsoft’s changes to the way the database is stored and accessed come after cybersecurity expert Kevin Beaumont discovered that Microsoft’s AI-powered feature currently stores data in a database in plain text. That could have made it easy for malware authors to create tools that extract the database and its contents. Several tools have appeared in recent days, promising to exfiltrate Recall data.

Microsoft posted an “Update on the Recall preview feature for Copilot+ PCs”

Today, we are sharing an update on the Recall (preview) feature for Copilot+ PCs, including more information on the set-up experience, privacy controls, and additional details on our approach to security…

Listening to and acting on customer feedback

Even before making Recall available to customers, we have heard a clear signal that we can make it easier for people to choose to enable Recall on their Copilot+ PC and improve privacy and security safeguards. With that in mind, we are announcing updates that will go into effect before Recall (preview) ships to customers on June 18.

* First, we are updating the set-up experience of Copilot+ PCs to give people a clearer choice to opt-in to saving snapshots using Recall. If you don’t proactively choose to turn it on, it will be off by default.

* Second, Windows Hello enrollment is required to enable Recall. In addition, proof of presence is also required to view your timeline and search in Recall.

* Third, we are adding additional layers of data protection including “just in time” decryption protected by Windows Hello Enhanced Sign-In Security (ESS) so Recall snapshots will only be decrypted and accessible when the user authenticates. In addition, we encrypted the search index database.

CNBC reported Microsoft has been trying to balance competing interests of late as it moves to incorporate new generative AI tools into its products and to keep up with the competition.
Microsoft is adding security protections to Recall in addition to requiring people to manually turn it on once Copilot+ PCs become available on June 18. The search index database will be encrypted, Microsoft said.

In my opinion, I am really happy that I don’t use a PC. Copilot+ appears to be really unpopular with a lot of people, especially when it comes to security.


Adobe Responds To “Terms of Use” Controversy



Adobe released a new blog post explaining in its Terms of Use, when Adobe applications may access a user’s content, and whether a user’s content will be used to train Adobe’s artificial intelligence (AI) models and services, PetaPixel reported.

The need for clarification came after numerous users, including some established creative professionals, received pop-up notifications in Adobe that said, among other things, that Adobe could access users content through automated and manual methods. The resulting anger among the creative community is easy to understand.

The pop-up, which required consent for a person to continue using Adobe software, failed to explain precisely what had been updated in the Terms of Use and how Adobe may access someone’s content. Adobe’s opaqueness left the door open for speculation, confusion, and fear.

9TO5Mac reported: When we requested a comment from Adobe, the company’s initial statement didn’t really help, thanks to a dismissive ‘nothing to see here, move along’ tone. 

“This policy has been in place for many years. As part of our commitment to being transparent with our customers, we added clarifying examples earlier this year to our Terms of Use regarding when Adobe may access user content. Adobe accesses user content for a number of reasons, including the ability to deliver some of our most innovative cloud-based features, such as Photoshop Neural Filters and Remove Background in Adobe Express, as well as to take action against prohibited content. Adobe does not access, view or listen to content that is stored locally on any user’s device.”

Adobe posted “A Clarification on Adobe Terms of Use”:

We recently made an update to our Terms of Use with the goal of providing more clarity on a few specific areas and pushed a routine re-acceptance of those terms to Adobe Creative Cloud and Document Cloud customers. We have received a number of questions resulting from this update and want to provide some clarity.

We remain committed to transparency, protecting the rights of creators and enabling our customers to do their best work.

What is different in the Terms of Use

The focus of this update was to be clearer about the improvements to our moderation processes that we have in place. Given the explosion of Generative AI and our commitment to responsible innovation, we have added more human moderation to our content submissions review processes.

To be clear, Adobe requires a limited license to access content solely for the purpose of operating or improving the services and software to enforce our terms and comply with law, such as to protect against abusive content.

When Adobe applications and services may access content

Access is needed for Adobe applications and services to preform the functions they are designed and used for (such as opening and editing files for the user or creating thumbnails or a preview for sharing).

Access is needed to deliver some of our most innovative cloud-based feature such as Photoshop Neural Filters, Liquid Mode, or Remove Background. You can read more information, including how users can control how their content will be used.

In my opinion, it looks like Adobe has gotten the message that artists do not want Adobe to be tracking them or using their artwork to feed to a generative AI. That said, I think a lot artists with their work on Adobe will start searching for better alternatives.


Adobe Responds To Uproar Over Terms of Service Language



Adobe has been one of the leading legacy enterprise software companies to embrace generative AI and make it accessible to users through the likes of its proprietary (and enterprise-safe) Firefly AI image generational model, Generative Fill and other gen AI features in Photoshop, and, just today, an AI Assistant for its customer experience — plus much more, VentureBeat reported.

But the company has also taken backlash among some of its users and Adobe Stock contributors for this pro-gen AI stance. And lately, as gen AI tech overall faces an increasing number of critics and doubters, Adobe has found itself in hot water over new “Terms of Service” (ToS) language that is requiring users to agree to before continuing to use its apps.

According to VentureBeat, the ToS doesn’t actually mention AI, apart from a reference to “machine learning,” which can be used to train gen AI models, but also many other programs, and a clause stating that AI models cannot be trained on Adobe software.

It’s section 2.2 in the updated Adobe ToS that has really inflamed a handful of users on social media, namely X. This section states:

2.2 Our Access to Your Content. We may access, view, or listen to your Content (defined in section 4.1) (Content) below) through both automated and manual methods, but only in limited ways, and only as permitted by law. For example, in order to provide the Services and Software, we may need to access, view, or listen to your content to:

(A) respond to Feedback or support requests;
(B) detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security, legal, or technical requests;
(C) enforce the Terms, as further set forth in Section 4.1 below.

Our automated systems may analyze your Content and Creative Cloud Customer Fonts (defined in section 3.10 (Creative Cloud Customer Fonts) below) using techniques such as machine learning in order to improve our Services and Software and the user experience.

PetaPixel reported a pop-up notice being served to some Adobe users — none at PetaPixel as of yet — says that Adobe has updated the Adobe General Terms of Use regarding the use of its Software and Services, including clarifications concerning content access (sections 2.2 and 4.1), the right to delete content for inactive accounts (section 5.3), and reduced the period to informally resolve disputes from 60 to 30 days (Section 14.1).

If users want to continue using the Adobe app in question, they must accept the revised terms of use, which is standard practice. They cannot continue using Adobe apps and services if they close the window without accepting.

Mashable reported: On a separate page that breaks down how Adobe uses machine learning, Adobe says it doesn’t use content stored locally on your device, so only content that’s stored in the Creative Cloud.

Otherwise, content that users make public, such as contributions to Adobe Stock, submissions to be featured on Adobe Express to be used as tutorials in Lightroom, are used to “train [Adobe’s] algorithms and those improve [it’s] products and services.”

In my opinion, Adobe’s decisions to feed the art of its users into an AI – without compensating the artists – is going to cause Adobe’s stock to drop like a brick.