#413 May 11th, 2015 – Facebook Users Prefer to Engage with Like-Minded People

This week’s headline story: Facebook Users Prefer to Engage with Like-Minded People

facebook_friendsFacebook utilizes filtering algorithms to determine which items to post to each users’ news feed, in an effort to keep users engaged and logged in. In doing so, Facebook algorithms often filter out opinions and comments that differ from the user’s own opinions and beliefs. Some are concerned that the filtering contributes to the deep divisions between people’s beliefs, making for a less understanding and compassionate society. Data Scientists from Facebook and the University of Michigan, recently conducted a study on the diversity of news and opinions posted by members of Facebook, in an effort to determine whether its manipulation of News Feed algorithms could be responsible for creating an echo chamber of viewpoints. The results of the study were published last week in the journal Science. The researchers concluded that users themselves are to blame if all they’re exposed to are like-minded posts. Facebook’s fiddling with filters also plays a role, the researchers acknowledged — but its influence was “less consequential” than the self-filtering carried out by users.

Users Choose to Wear Blinders, Facebook Suggests [Ecommerce Times]

Other Tech News

  • Some Tesla Owners Pimp Their Rides with Code [MIT’s Technology Review]
    Tesla’s expensive, high-end electric car is a favorite of silicon valley millionaires. Now those tech savvy millionaires are hacking the car’s systems. Reverse engineering the software, hackers are creating custom software that allows drivers to access a range of data and configure various systems in their cars. “You can unlock the doors, and you can turn on the heater or air conditioner, and you can change the temperature, open the sunroof—things like that. You can get location information; you can control the charging function” says Joe Pasqua who recently released a free app called Visible Tesla. Using the app, Pasqua is able to have his Tesla send him text reminders based on its current location, and preheat his Tesla on cold mornings.

in Information Security News…

  • Microsoft Kills Off Patch Tuesday in Favor of Automatic Updates [NewsFactor]
    Could it really be the end of “patch Tuesday”? It’s true! Microsoft’s famous monthly update strategy will be retired with the release of Windows 10 in favor of automatic updates as needed. Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of operating systems, made the announcement at Ignite. He explained that Windows 10 was designed with security at all layers of the stack, from device protection to identity protection to application protection to information protection. Against that backdrop, he introduced Windows Update for Business. “Windows Update for Business will reduce management costs, provide controls over update deployment, offer quicker access to security updates, and provide access to the latest innovation from Microsoft on an ongoing basis.”

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Google Makes $150 Million Push for Greater Workplace Diversity [NewsFactor]
    Like most tech companies, the makeup of Google’s workforce is heavily slanted towards white males with only 30 percent female, 3 percent Hispanic, 2 percent African-American and 30 percent Asian. Google is hoping to change all that by investing $150 million in diversity programs focused on four key areas: more diverse hiring; fostering an inclusive workplace culture; expanding the hiring pool of technologist; and “bridging the digital divide.”

and finally,

  • Apple Has Plans for Your DNA [MIT Technology Review]
    Your iPhone may soon allow you to access, and share your DNA. Apple is collaborating with U.S. researchers to help launch apps that would offer some iPhone owners the chance to get their DNA tested, many of them for the first time, according to people familiar with the plans. In two initial studies planned, Apple isn’t going to directly collect or test DNA itself. That will be done by academic partners. The data would be maintained by scientists in a computing cloud, but certain findings could appear directly on consumers’ iPhones as well. Eventually, it’s even possible consumers might swipe to share “my genes” as easily as they do their location.

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