Paypal competes with GoFundMe #1489



Paypal is attempting to compete with GoFundMe in a limited way.. After a series of unfortunate equipment failures, I am asking for your consideration of being an Insider supporter. While I am being very careful in my budgeting in the studio an unexpected equipment failure is having me dip into the reserves further than I want to. So your consideration in becoming a GNC Insider is greatly appreciated.

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How Twitter and Facebook Will Handle Trump’s Account After January 20



The New York Times reported some details about how Facebook and Twitter will handle President Trump’s accounts after he is no longer a world leader. Once again, it appears that the two social media companies have very different plans about how to respond to whatever Trump posts after his presidential term is over.

In a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Senators asked Facebook’s Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and Twitter’s Chief Executive, Jack Dorsey, questions about their platforms. It appears that the Republicans, and the Democrats, had differing ideas about the topics that were most important to ask questions about.

The New York Times Reported the following:

Jack Dorsey said, “If an account suddenly is not a world leader anymore, that particular policy goes away.” He was referring to Twitter’s current policy of adding a label to Trump’s tweets to indicate that the content of the tweet was disputed or glorified violence. Labeled Tweets cannot be liked or retweeted.

Most Twitter users have to abide by rules that forbid threats, harassment, impersonation, and copyright violations. If someone breaks one (or more) of these rules, they may be required to delete that tweet. Or, their account may be temporarily banned.

According to The New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg said at the hearing that Facebook would not change the way it moderates Trump’s posts after he leaves office. Facebook has labeled some of Trump’s posts in which he made claims that Facebook deemed to be false information. Facebook users could still like and share those posts.

This information is useful for people who currently use Facebook and/or Twitter, as it allows people to decide for themselves which policy they would prefer to see. Those who want to read Trump’s posts after he is no longer President might choose Facebook – who will label misleading posts and leave them up. Those who would prefer their Twitter feed not to be cluttered with reactions to Trump’s misleading Tweets, may stick with Twitter.


Apple Announces App Store Small Business Program



Apple announced the App Store Small Business Program. It will launch on January 1, 2021. The new program reduces App Store commission to 15 percent for small businesses earning up to $1 million per year.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our global economy and the beating heart of innovation and opportunity in communities around the world. We’re launching this program to help small business owners write the next chapter of creativity and prosperity on the App Store, and to build the kind of quality apps our customers love,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The App Store has been an engine of economic growth like none other, creating millions of new jobs and a pathway to entrepreneurship accessible to anyone with a great idea. Our new program carries that progress forward — helping developers fund their small businesses, take risks on new ideas, expand their teams, and continue to make apps that enrich people’s lives.”

Apple says the comprehensive details about the program will be released in early December. It has revealed the essentials of the program’s participation criteria.

  • Existing developers who made up to $1 million in 2020 for all of their apps, as well as developers new to the App Store, can qualify for the program and the reduced commission.
  • If a participating developer surpasses the $1 million threshold, the standard commission rate will apply for the remainder of the year.
  • If a developer’s business falls below the $1 million threshold in a future calendar year, they can requalify for the 15 percent commission the year after.

According to MacRumors, “The fee cut won’t benefit some of the developers that have been the most vocal about Apple’s commission rates, such as Epic Games, but it will relieve some of the pressure on the small business owners that need the most help.”


Huawei is Selling its Honor Smartphone Brand



Huawei Investment and Holding Co., Ltd. announced that it has decided to sell all of its Honor business assets to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology Co, Ltd. According to Huawei, this sale will help Honor’s channel sellers and suppliers make it through this difficult time.

Reuters reported that Honor is a budget brand smartphone unit of Huawei. It is being sold to a consortium of over 30 agents and dealers, according to a joint statement signed by 40 companies involved in the purchase.

Huawei will not hold any shares in the new Honor company after the sale, according to the statement, with the buyers setting up a new company, Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, to make the purchase, the statement said.

Reuters also reported that sources with knowledge of the matter said that the U.S. government will have no reason to apply sanctions to Honor after it separates from Huawei.

Forbes reported that Honor made a name for itself by selling cheap smartphones. It also has a range of other low-budget equipment including laptops and routers that, Forbes reported, Honor “is currently banned from selling in the U.S.”

The Forbes article includes statements from Chief of Research at CCS Insight, Ben Wood. He pointed out that the deal has been confirmed, but has yet to be completed. He expects that Huawei will wait until after the U.S. administration transition in January happens before the consortium that will purchase Honor will attempt to re-engage with suppliers.

To me, it appears that Huawei hopes that by selling its Honor brand that incoming U.S. President Biden will choose to overturn current President Trump’s executive order that affected Huawei. The order blocked Chinese telecommunications companies from selling equipment made in the United States.


Facebook Labels on Trump’s False Claims Didn’t Stop their Spread



Facebook has placed labels on content that includes misinformation about elections. The labels have been added to some of President Trump’s posts in which he made claims about the election that Facebook deemed to be false information. Unfortunately for Facebook (and its users), the labels did almost nothing to stop the spread of false information posted by President Trump.

BuzzFeed News reported that a Facebook employee asked last week whether Facebook had any data about the effectiveness of the labels. A data scientists revealed that the labels do very little to reduce the spread of false content.

The data scientist noted that adding the labels was not expected to reduce the spread of false content. Instead, they are used “to provide factual information in context to the post.” BuzzFeed News reported that the labels on President Trump’s posts (that contained false information) decreased reshares by about 8% and are among some of the posts that got the most engagement on the platform.

Why did that happen? The answer seems obvious, based on what BuzzFeed News reported. Facebook applied some labels to some of President Trump’s posts that contained misinformation about the election. It didn’t actually do anything to prevent users from liking or sharing those posts.

Twitter also applied labels to some of President Trump’s tweets that contained misinformation about elections. The addition of a label disables a user’s attempt to Retweet or Like those tweets. Users can Quote-Tweet them if they want to add their own commentary in regards to a specific labeled tweet.

On November 12, 2020, Twitter posted an update about their work regarding the 2020 U.S. Elections. In it, Twitter stated that they saw an estimated 29% decrease in Quote Tweets of the labeled tweets due in part to a prompt that warned people prior to sharing. In the same post, Twitter stated that they don’t believe that the Like button provides sufficient, thoughtful consideration prior to amplifying tweets.

I find it interesting that Twitter and Facebook appear to have entirely different ideas about what to do about election related content that is misinformation. Both applied labels, but Twitter took things a step further and disabled user’s ability to Like or Retweet those kinds of posts. Neither platform was 100% successful at stopping the spread of misinformation – but Twitter did a better job of it than Facebook.


GitHub Reinstated YouTube-dl and will Overhaul DMCA Reviews



GitHub announced that they reinstated youtube-dl after receiving additional information about the project that enabled GitHub to reverse a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown. As a result, GitHub has created a developer-focused approach that requires specific steps that will be performed before any takedown claim is processed.

TechCrunch reported that in October, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sent a DMCA complaint to GitHub over YouTube-dl. The project allowed viewers to download YouTube videos for offline viewing. The RIAA said that this circumvented DRM and promoted the piracy of several popular songs.

As a result, GitHub took down YouTube-dl because platforms like it have to comply with laws. In their blog post, GitHub noted: “DCMA takedown claims based on circumvention are a growing, industry-wide issue for developers with far-reaching implications.” There was also another problem:

Section 1201 dates back to the late 1990s and did not anticipate the various implications it has for software use today. As a result, Section 1201 makes it illegal to use or distribute technology (including source code) that bypasses technical measures that control access or copying of copyrighted works, even if that technology can be used in a way that would not be copyright infringement.

GitHub states that it received information that showed the youtube-dl project does not in fact violate the DMCA’s anticircumvention prohibitions. GitHub concluded that the allegations did not establish a violation of the law. As a result, GitHub reinstated the youtube-dl project.

There is a detailed list of things that GitHub is changing in their effort to overhaul their 1201 claim review process. They are doing this at their own cost and at no cost to the developers who use GitHub.

To me, these changes could prevent the RIAA from having a DMCA takedown request immediately acted upon. It also sounds like the changes enable GitHub to do some investigating about the validity of the RIAA claim before taking action.


AI Newscaster makes Debut in Korea #1488



Scientist in Korea has debuted the first-ever AI Newscaster that was modeled after a well-known newscaster in Korea. The likeness is startling and while I do not speak Korean an observation of the mannerisms and speech pattern were nearly duplicated after the newscaster spent 10 hours training the AI. We may need to go to something like this in America to bring semblance back to news reporting.

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