Category Archives: news

Artifact Adds A Social Discussions Feature

Artifact wrote on Medium a post titled  “Introducing Artifact Comments”. It was written by the Artifact Team.

…Creating a positive community is also important to us; we want to build a respectful medium where everyone feels free to participate. To accomplish this, we’re introducing reputation scores for all commenters based on a variety of factors.

Community members have the ability to upvote and downvote comments – both of which will increase or decrease your reputation respectively. The score represents the earned trust from the community and will help you weigh people’s opinions and help us filter out bad behavior. You can read our Community Guidelines to learn more about the best practices for thoughtful conversation on Artifact.

What’s Available Now:

Create a profile. Anyone can now create a public profile with display name, photo, and bio. Profiles are required to participate.

Comment on any article. You can now access comments from any articles to see what people are discussing or to leave your own thoughts.

Upvote and downvote. You will be able to upvote or downvote comments to help moderate the discussion and bring attention to the most insightful and valuable contributions.

Earn Reputation. You gain reputation when your comments are upvoted or you add a photo or bio to your profile. You lose a small amount of reputation when your comment is downvoted.

Stay Connected. We’ll let you know when your comments get upvotes or replies, or people in your network add a comment.

TechCrunch reported that Artifact the recently launched personalized news app from Instagram’s founders, is launching a key new feature: a social discussions component. Previously in private testing, the feature introduces a way for users to comment and engage in conversations around news articles they’re reading on the service. With this update, all Artifact users will now see comments on articles, the company says.

According to TechCrunch, to leave a comment of your own, Artifact users will have to first create a profile on the service – a relatively simple process that requires you to add and verify your phone number. This initial step will help mitigate spam, the company notes.

These display names are not unique, which means no one has to fight over their name as they did on Instagram. While Artifact will encourage people to use their full names, it will allow pseudonyms.

Artifact says it will address moderation in a couple of ways. For starters, it will give each new profile a “reputation score” that’s based on community upvotes and downvotes on users’ comments. This is similar to Reddit’s voting mechanism, or even Twitter’s Community Notes fact-checking feature, but with the addition of an actual, visible score that is displayed to users.

Gizmodo reported that users who want to leave comments on articles on Artifact will have to create an Artifact account and add a verified phone number. Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger, who started Instagram together, said in a press release the app is requiring users’ phone numbers in an effort to curtail spam and moderate content.

Ideally, Systrom said he believes these protections should help prevent the platform from devolving into a toxic cesspool like other prominent news sharing apps. Krieger said the app encourages users on the platform to use their real names though they can still use pseudonyms, according to Gizmodo.

I think the creators of Artifact need to proceed very carefully. They seem very hopeful that everyone on the platform will “play nice”. However, it is also entirely possible that bad actors will come to Artifact specifically to cause harm to other user’s reputation score. I hope they hired plenty of moderators.

Facebook and Instagram down, seemingly worldwide

This is a breaking story so we’ll provide updates as they become available.

As of this writing, both Facebook and Instagram are down, at least here within the United States. We are also receiving reports of an outage in Europe. Oddly enough, the website IsItDownRightNow also seems to be experiencing problems making information harder to come by.

Right now, all information is coming in from Twitter.

While we have no reason to think this anything out of the ordinary, we should mention that there was a perhaps controversial release of information regarding the Facebook platform reported on 60 Minutes last night and it certainly has some people talking today.

Continue to check back for new information.

UPDATE 1: While the service IsItDownRightNow is running fine again (seems to have just been a short glitch), Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp remain completely down

UPDATE 2: Per @TheInsiderPaper “Facebook’s DNS problem is actually affecting the internet. DNS providers are being hammered with queries.”

The service has been communicating with users via Twitter. There are also rumors that internal systems are down and that workers are communicating with one another via Outlook email.

UPDATE 3: Facebook is back up, but rolling out to users slowly.

Startups are Excluded from Paycheck Protection Program

One of the ways that the U.S. government is attempting to help businesses affected by COVID-19 is through a business loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program. It is a temporary loan program that provides for forgiveness of up to the full principal amount of qualifying loans guaranteed under the Paycheck Protection Program. Startups are excluded from obtaining these SBA loans.

Tech Crunch reported that is seems that non-profits and faith-based groups are eligible to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program. Most venture-backed companies are still not covered.

At its essence, the issue for startups seems to be centered on the board rights that venture investors have when they take an equity state in a company. For startups with investors on the board of directors, the decision-making powers that those investors hold means the startup is affiliated with other companies that the partner’s venture firm has invested in – which could mean they’re considered an entity with more than 500 employees.

In order to be eligible for the Paycheck Protection program, a company must have fewer than 500 employees. The company must also meet the affiliation rule which excludes most small businesses from qualifying as small businesses if they are owned by a private equity firm – by “affiliating” all of the company’s employees with those of the private equity firm’s other portfolio companies.

There’s been some confusion regarding which types of businesses can get a PPP Loan. On April 2, 2020, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) told Axios that venture capital-backed startups will become eligible for $350 billion in PPP business loans. But, things changed after that.

The Treasury Department released information clarifying who can apply for a PPP Loan. “All businesses – including nonprofits, veterans organizations, Tribal business concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors – with 500 or fewer employees can apply.” There’s no mention of venture capital-backed businesses.

Trove is Shutting Down

Trove says FarewellTrove is a news aggregator that collected stories from thousands of sources, including the big publications and smaller niche blogs. Readers were able to pick the stories that were considered to be the most share-worthy. It functioned like a community of people who were picking out, and sharing, news that interested them.

Trove recently posted a blog titled “Goodbye from Trove”. The blog post said that the Trove team has been integrated with SocialCode. and its corresponding apps will be shutting down, forever, on December 16, 2015.

SocialCode posted their own blog which stats that the Trove team will be integrated into the SocialCode team. It also says:

Specifically, we will integrate Trove’s technology and engineering, design, business operations and product teams to accelerate the development of software and services to deliver large-scale advertising campaigns across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Reddit to Launch News Site

Reddit logoFor years, social sharing message board Reddit has carried the tagline “The Front Page of the Internet.” Thanks in part to Reddit’s “upvoting” system, which allows users to push items they like to its front page, Reddit has become a reliable source for bringing interesting things to a wider audience.

With this history in mind, Reddit will launch a dedicated news site. Cleverly called Upvoted, the new site will consist of a mixture of different topics, handpicked by a dedicated editorial team. Upvoted itself will actually work quite different from Reddit. Upvoted won’t have a user voting system of its own, nor will it allow for public comments.

The launch of Upvoted is being seen by many as an opportunity to make Reddit more “friendly.” Not just to users but also to advertisers. Reddit has had somewhat of a checkered past, having been embroiled in a number of controversies. Many of its users view Reddit as an “anything goes” zone, where they can post whatever they want. But this mentality can be problematic, as it may offend other users or drive potential sponsors away who don’t want to be associated with Reddit’s Internet drama.

Upvoted launches Tuesday, October 6th. The site is currently showing only a login screen on a protected WordPress page.

Reddit Announces New Anti-Harassment Policy

In the wake of concerns regarding abuse and harassment on social networking site Reddit, the company has adopted a new anti-harassment policy with stricter rules and consequences for abusive activity.

reddit-logo-01-674x501A survey of 15,000 Reddit users in April found that negative and offensive content is the number one reason why users avoid the site and encourage their friends to do the same. In a recent statement, interim CEO Ellen Pao said, “The community wants these improvements… We believe less harassment means more participation, leading to more free expression, better conversations, and better communities.”

Since its creation in 2005, Reddit has been a haven for free expression on the web. Although the site’s openness has provided artists, satirists, and enthusiasts of nearly any topic under the sun, this anything-goes nature has also made the site a hotspot for trolling and cyber abuse. Subreddits promoting revenge porn (the practice of getting “revenge” by posting of sexually explicit images of someone without their consent), child pornography, and other illegal activities have popped up, casting a dark shadow over Reddit’s reputation.

Reddit banned child pornography in 2012; they again updated their policy in February to ban “involuntary pornography” such as revenge porn. With these new changes, Reddit has broadened their policy by defining “harassment” as:

Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that Reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.

Under the new policy, users can report abusive content by emailing Reddit moderators, who can remove inappropriate content and ban offending users.

Reddit continues to recognize the importance of free speech, stating that the updated policy “will have no immediately noticeable impact on more than 99.99 percent of our users.” The company hopes to make Reddit a safe, inspiring place to share and interact without the underlying threat of abuse and harassment.

Annoying Advert In News Story

Newspapers. I know that you are having a tough time of it at the moment, but here’s a way to make sure that I never visit your website and never buy your newspaper ever again. It’s easy, just insert an advert into a news story and force me to click on it before you show me the rest of the story.

Here’s what you get at the start of the story.

Annoying Advert

After clicking on the correct answer, you now get the rest of the story and an inserted promotional video. How annoying is that? Even worse, you have to click on the correct answer. Clicking on a wrong answer gets you further patronising information about the programme.

Annoying Advert 2

You can check it out for yourself here.

Goodbye Belfast Newsletter – as “the world’s oldest continuously published English publication”, you should know better.