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Last Week Online #42 - The vein in your forehead might determine who shows up on Tinder

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
3 min read

The vein in your forehead might determine who shows up on Tinder...

Facebook launches "quality journalism" feature for the platform – includes Breitbart as a source

After an on and off relationship with the media, Facebook's new feature 'News Tab' rolled out in a test to around 200 000 users in the United States this week. News Tab is highlighting quality journalism from about 200 publishers – including Fox News and Breitbart. The decision to include Breitbart is heavily criticised not only because of their degree of made-up content and alt-right political agenda, but their current owner and their former president were also owners of Cambridge Analytica.

News Tab is a new section inside the Facebook app, and it will show a personalised selection of the most recent and relevant stories for its users. But the algorithms need guidance. Facebook said that journalists will help curate News Tab, and the company plan to hire experienced journalists from multiple outlets for the job.

"When news is deeply-reported and well-sourced it gives people information they can rely on. When it's not, we lose an essential tool for making good decisions," said Facebook in their press release. But, in the context of the companies political ad policy, this feels more like a populist quote than a demonstration of Facebook's company values.

Google's new search algorithm will impact results for one in ten queries

Google researchers have developed cutting edge natural language processing (NLP) techniques that are now being implemented into Google's core search algorithm. The change could change the ranking of results for as many as one in ten queries made in English, and everyone optimising content for search engine traffic should be on their toes over the next weeks to make sure they come out on top

Google says they can improve the results by better understanding how words in a sentence relate to each other. Previously Google looked at search queries as a "bag of words", identified the crucial words in the string and returned local results. But the new algorithm can understand the context of the words and return the right results.

One example Google gave during a press briefing was the query: "parking on a hill with no curb." The word "no" is essential to this query, but before implementing the new technology, Google's algorithms missed it. Nandu Payak, Google fellow and VP of Search says that "this is the single biggest [...] most positive change we've had in the last five years and perhaps one of the biggest since the beginning."

Twitter's share price fell 21% after their Q3 earnings report, but the number of daily users grew

Advertising problems, including product bugs and remarkably low demand over the summer, was behind the worse than expected third-quarter revenue and profit Twitter reported on Thursday. This made Twitter's share price fall by 21%. However, the platform had a rise in daily users who view ads on the site, exceeding analyst estimates.

It was forecasted that third-quarter revenue growth would be lower than for the first two quarters since Twitter was ending of some older ad formats. Still, Twitter had problems with bugs impacting its ad targeting and data sharing with ad partners. There were also fewer big events compared with the previous summer, so ad sales were worse than expected.

Still, Twitter's revenue rose 9% from a year earlier to $824 million, but it missed Wall Street expectations of $874 million. Twitter's total advertising revenue was $702 million, an increase of 8% since last year. Twitter doesn't reveal monthly active users anymore. Instead, they report how many users that see ads daily, on the site or in Twitter apps that can show ads. This number grew during Q3.

McDonald's is using AI to sell you more Big Macs.

New York Times

Tool of the week:

Stealing Ur Feeling

Stealing Ur Feeling is an augmented reality experience that teaches you how your favourite apps use "facial emotion recognition technology" to make decisions about your life, promote inequalities, and destabilise democracy.

Using the same AI techniques described in corporate patents, Stealing Ur Feelings learns your deepest secrets just by analysing your face. Although, compared to Big Tech, it's not saving your data. Stealing Ur Feelings is the winner of Mozilla's $50.000 award for art and advocacy exploring AI.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.


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