International stories and articles from our Flipboard mag.

MAY
22

Facebook's secret guide on sex, violence, and hate speech leaked

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Facebook's secret rules and guidelines which lay out how moderators should tackle everything from self-harm to violence and hate-speech reveal the daily struggle the firm shoulders to control content sharing on the network.

Facebook Live is a livestreaming service originally intended to act as a rival of other livestreaming platforms including YouTube, Ustream, and Twitch. Recording and sharing video footage on-the-go has become popular in recent years, and with the expansion of Facebook's platform to include the feature, more of us than ever are either recording or tuning into our contact's streams.

However, criticism has been levied against Facebook since the launch of the platform as the livestreaming service has not only been used for benign videos but also to broadcast a number of violent incidents.

According to the Wall Street Journal, at least 50 acts of violence have been broadcast to the network's 1.8 billion users, including live suicides, murder, and sexual assaults.

The line between free speech and protecting users from such content is a difficult one to draw. Due to the size of the network, Facebook will often take a few hours -- with the assistance of reports -- to take down unacceptable footage and to help shoulder this task, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised to hire an additional 3,000 people on top of the 4,500 members of staff already monitoring livestreams and video uploads.

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MAY
21

Apple allegedly retaining deleted iCloud notes past the 30-day grace period

Russian software company ElcomSoft has made headlines in the past for making discoveries related to how Apple handles cloud data. Now, the company claims that Apple is holding onto deleted notes well past the thirty-day grace period during which they’re kept in the “Recently Deleted” folder…

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In a blog post, the company explains that using a version of its Phone Breaker tool, it extracted notes that were outside of the thirty-day grace period. ElcomSoft writes that its tool extracted nearly 50 notes that had been deleted by the user over a month ago. In fact, the oldest note it was able to retrieve was from 2012. What this means is that Apple is holding on to deleted notes for much longer than it should be and it’s unclear why.

ElcomSoft notes that the results vary on an account-by-account basis, with some accounts returning a large number of deleted notes, while others return fewer. The company says that in order to know the full breadth of this issue, it needs a larger test base.

We discovered that Apple apparently retains in the cloud copies of the users’ notes that were deleted by the user. Granted, deleted notes can be accessed on iCloud.com for some 30 days through the “Recently Deleted” folder; this is not it. We discovered that deleted notes are actually left in the cloud way past the 30-day period, even if they no longer appear in the “Recently Deleted” folder.

The research and software company has made several other discoveries in the past. Earlier this year, ElcomSoft reported that iCloud was storing more Safari history than it should, and Apple quickly corrected the flaw the same day.

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MAY
21

Facebook and Twitter 'harm young people's mental health'

Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young people’s mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.

Instagram has the most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young people’s feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact.

The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate children’s and young people’s body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

The findings follow growing concern among politicians, health bodies, doctors, charities and parents about young people suffering harm as a result of sexting, cyberbullying and social media reinforcing feelings of self-loathing and even the risk of them committing suicide.

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MAY
21

I am slave to Apple Watch no more

I suffer from phantom smartwatch syndrome -- an ailment that hopefully will disappear over time. Nearly four weeks ago, I put aside Apple Watch 2 stainless steel and replaced it with the simple but appealing ManchesterWatchWorks Iconik 3. Problem: Almost any shifting movement of the timepiece causes me to reflexively flip my wrist and look down; there is false perception of haptic sensation. Apple has trained me well, and I'm tired of being its dog doing tricks. Woof. Woof. Growl.

I feel free! Gone are the nagging alerts -- and I had them barreled down to a minimum of approved services: Some for breaking news; emails from a half-dozen people; and text messages. Among this still seeming torrent, the Activity app annoyed with congratulatory badges and prompts that one of the four main exercise goals (Calories, Exercise Time, Stands, and Steps) -- Apple's athletic lifestyle version of the four food groups -- would soon be achieved. The badges are about as infantile as gold stars that teachers give kindergarteners and with similar purpose: To make the recipient feel good, whether or not deserved. The achievement badge for Earth Day flipped my goat. Seriously? I ordered the Iconik 3 that evening.

These nags are disruptive, distracting, and I can't help but wonder what nutcases turn them on for Facebook, Instagram, and other ridiculous temples of narcissistic worship. If the alerts don't drive you looney, you got to be a mental hospital patient candidate to allow so many of them. Is not a smartphone -- hehe, criticizing parent or partner -- nuisance enough? My neighbor's dog, who has bladder problems and wees way too often, demands less attention than Apple's divine device blessed as companion to the Jesus phone released during the second coming of Steve Jobs. Praise be. Blessed be the fruit. (Okay, someone has been watching too much "The Handmaid's Tale" on Hulu.)

Bad Behavior

My Apple Watch turnabout progressed slowly over many months. I have worn both versions of the timepiece and found many of the features -- from phone calls to exercise assistance -- to be beneficial. But in early 2017, I reached a daily activity plateau: 2 miles distance stepped; 12 Stands (how stupid a concept is that); 30 minutes exercise; 440 active calories burned. I consistently exceeded them all every day, often bountifully, but found myself -- me to blame, not Apple -- waiting until Midnight before taking another spin on the indoor bicycle or doing before-bed pushups so the efforts would count for the new day. I also kept modest goals, even when beating them, to maintain an unbroken achievement record. Shameful behavior, I know.

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MAY
20

Windows 7, not XP, was the reason last week’s WCry worm spread so widely

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Eight days ago, the WCry ransomware worm attacked more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries. The outbreak prompted infected hospitals to turn away patients and shut down computers in banks and telecoms. Now that researchers have had time to analyze the self-replicating attack, they're learning details that shed new and sometimes surprising light on the world's biggest ransomware attack.

Chief among the revelations: more than 97 percent of infections hit computers running Windows 7, according to attacks seen by antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab. By contrast, infected Windows XP machines were practically non-existent, and those XP PCs that were compromised were likely manually infected by their owners for testing purposes. That's according to Costin Raiu, director of Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team, who spoke to Ars.

While the estimates are based only on computers that run Kaspersky software, as opposed to all computers on the Internet, there's little question Windows 7 was overwhelmingly affected by WCry, which is also known as "WannaCry" and "WannaCrypt." Security ratings firm BitSight found that 67 percent of infections hit Windows 7, Reuters reported.

The figures challenge the widely repeated perception that the outbreak was largely the result of end users who continued to deploy Windows XP, a Windows version Microsoft decommissioned three years ago. In fact, researchers now say, XP was largely untouched by last week's worm because PCs crashed before WCry could take hold. Instead, it now appears, the leading contributor to the virally spreading infection were Windows 7 machines that hadn't installed a critical security patch Microsoft issued in March

The Kaspersky figures are illuminating because they show Windows 7 x64 Edition, which is widely used by large organizations, being infected close to twice as much as Windows 7 versions mostly used in homes and small offices. It's not clear if that means enterprises are less likely to patch or if there are other explanations.

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