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Facebook removed 1.3 billion accounts in Oct-Dec

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Facebook removed more than 1.3 billion accounts between October and December 2020, Facebook’s VP of Integrity Guy Rosen wrote in a blog post on Monday.

“We take a hard line against this activity and block millions of fake accounts each day, most of them at the time of creation. Between October and December of 2020, we disabled more than 1.3 billion of them,” Rosen wrote on Monday. “We also investigate and take down covert foreign and domestic influence operations that rely on fake accounts.”

Moreover, Rosen said that Facebook has more than 35,000 people working to tackle misinformation on the platform, adding that the platform uses artificial intelligence to crack down on “deceptive behavior.”

“We’re making progress thanks to these significant investments in both people and in technology such as [artificial intelligence].”

Facebook also removed more than 12 million pieces of content about COVID-19 and vaccines that global health experts flagged as misinformation.

“But it’s not enough to just limit misinformation that people might see,” Rosen said. We also connect people to reliable information from trusted experts.”

Rosen said that they feed users information through labels that attach to certain posts and notifications that appear in people’s feeds on both Facebook and Instagram.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a Big Tech hearing on Thursday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifying before the committee.

The hearing will be guided by the following principles: increasing meaningful transparency, enhancing oversight and accountability, pushing for consistency and objectivity and exploring competition issues so innovation is unleashed, not quashed.

“Unfortunately, Big Tech has broken any sense of trust that they can be fair stewards for speech and the truth,” Energy and Commerce ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers said in a statement. “It is time for Energy and Commerce Republicans to act. To be clear, we will not pursue government regulation of speech, but it’s a dereliction of our duty to our constituents to do nothing. As the committee of jurisdiction, we have the honor and duty to lead our conference on these issues.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Daily Wire investigation: Italian company may have illegally sold rights to the Vatican’s priceless art

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The Daily Wire has been conducting a fascinating investigation into the Vatican Museum’s priceless artwork. “Rights to the Vatican Museums’ priceless trove of art treasures may have been illegally sold without the Holy See’s approval in what one attorney described as a “high-tech heist,” the investigation finds.

An Italian company is allegedly selling the rights to reproduce the Vatican artwork in six-figure deals, while claiming to be working in “collaboration with” the Vatican Museums.

“This scheme is nothing less than a pre-meditated, high-tech heist of world-class treasured art from the Vatican Museums under the disguise of bogus licenses, as if sanctioned by the Vatican,” Sarah Rose Speno, a New York attorney, told The Daily Wire.

The Daily Wire’s report notes that Speno said she stumbled upon the alleged scheme in March when she sought permission to use images of Vatican art for an exhibition by a client.

“We discovered that a large table book had been published with high-resolution images of the interiors of the Vatican, including the Sistine Chapel,” Speno said. “We very much wanted to pursue an opportunity to license these images, as soon as possible.”

Speno contacted Scripta Maneant — the Italian publisher that licensed the photos in the book. Scripta Maneant claimed authority to broker the publishing rights via its “collaboration” with Vatican Museums vice director, Monsignore Paolo Nicolini. Scripta Maneant wanted $550,000 for the rights — with a portion being paid to the Vatican through Nicolini, according to Speno. Although Scripta Maneant claimed the fee would be shared with the Vatican, Speno said she later became suspicious.

“The Scripta Maneant scheme became obvious when the Scripta principals demanded a cash wire in the amount of $82,500 no later than their return from summer holiday in late August,” Speno said. “They said that they would produce Vatican approval for our Italian Renaissance Immersive project ‘if and only if’ the fee were wired to the Scripta bank account they provided. It was at this point that grave suspicion entered my mind.”

Ultimately, Speno said, “we terminated the deal when Scripta could not provide us with documented consent by the Vatican.”

Continue Reading: Daily Wire

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