All posts in “Mark Zuckerberg”

Mark Zuckerberg slams neo-Nazis and ‘polarization’ after Charlottesville

Zuck has weighed in on Charlottesville.
Zuck has weighed in on Charlottesville.

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

We can now add Mark Zuckerberg to the growing list of CEOs and public figures who have weighed in on the events of Charlottesville.

Writing in a Facebook post Wednesday, the CEO said white supremacists and neo-Nazis are a “disgrace,” while criticizing the “polarization in our culture.”

“With the potential for more rallies, we’re watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm,” Zuckerberg wrote. Facebook’s policies have long banned violent threats and hate speech, but the platform has sometimes struggled with enforcement. 

Zuckerberg also specifically called out neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, saying “it’s a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong — as if this is somehow not obvious.”

The carefully phrased 326-word post comes four days after violence first kicked off in Charlottesville, and made no reference to Trump or his comments defending some of the protesters.

Zuckerberg also took the opportunity to criticize the “polarization in our culture.” 

“There’s not enough balance, nuance, and depth in our public discourse, and I believe we can do something about that.”

His comments come after months of debate surrounding Facebook’s role in the presidential election and whether the social network contributes to the very polarization Zuckerberg referenced. 

On his part, Zuck — who also happens to be in the midst of a nationwide tour of the U.S that’s definitely not a precursor to a political campaign — has maintained that emphasizing community-focused groups is key to increasing empathy on the platform.

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This is how Mark Zuckerberg’s Oculus VR gloves actually work

Those mysterious virtual reality gloves Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off back in February still aren’t available to the public, but now we have video of exactly how they work. 

Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash published a blog post on Monday with a few notes from his recent speech at the Global Grand Challenges Summit in D.C., and along with those notes he included video of Zuckerberg’s secret Oculus gloves in action. 

The post is full of powerful technical insights on current and future VR, but the real stand out is a video showing the white VR gloves in action. 

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When Zuckerberg posted a photo of himself trying them out months ago, he said, “Wearing these gloves, you can draw, type on a virtual keyboard, and even shoot webs like Spider Man. That’s what I’m doing here.” Now, we finally have an idea of what he was talking about.

Looking at the precision accuracy of the gloves on the user’s hands in the video in concert with the person’s virtual hands indicates Zuckerberg wasn’t exaggerating. Among some hardcore VR users, Oculus’ current Touch controllers are viewed as the best on the market. 

But if Oculus manages to introduce a mainstream version of these retroreflector-covered VR gloves in the near future, it would it represent the absolute cutting-edge in hand presence on any commercial VR system. 

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Abrash’s blog post also showed off a video of how future VR headsets will track facial expressions, capturing everything from a mild frown to a huge smile. Alas, this is all still skunkworks lab stuff, and not scheduled to hit stores in the near future, as far as we know. 

But if VR manages to survive the oncoming wave of AR, pairing these gloves with an inside-out tracking, tetherless headset like the ones shown off by Google earlier this year would suddenly make commercial VR a lot easier, more immersive, and even harder to separate from reality. 

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Tim Cook showed up to Trump’s big tech meeting — but not Mark Zuckerberg

President Donald Trump wants to modernize government systems, and he is asking the CEOs of the world’s largest tech companies for help. Many executives, like those at Apple, Amazon, and Google, are listening and offering their words of wisdom, while others, like Facebook, appear to be keeping their distance — at least publicly.

On Monday, tech leaders, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt, and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, arrived at the White House. The day-long affair kicked off a week of conversations about the state of the government infrastructure as well as tech policies like cybersecurity, talent recruitment, and government and private sector partnerships. 

It included a meeting with President Donald Trump, a photo opportunity that showed Cook and Nadella front and center: 

A handful of reporters were in attendance, but the tech event was not live-streamed. Mashable obtained transcripts from correspondents and connected with the companies in attendance, as well as spotted the most relevant tweets. At the moment, it seems to have been one grand showcase, with executives bringing up whatever issues is most relevant to their business and Trump responding with quips and thank yous, without assurances that there will be change. 

Monday’s ceremonies were led by White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and Assistant to the President Chris Liddell. 

“We certainly know the problems. We have some of the ideas about what the solutions are. But we really want to engage your minds and get the best of the private sector applied to these problems,” Liddell said during the introduction. 

And yet, the Trump administration has repeatedly worked against tech’s best interests. Last month, it dropped out of the Paris climate accord, causing Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, to drop out of the government’s business advisory council; he did not attend Monday’s events. Many of the world’s tech giants rely on the H1B visa program, which the administration has worked to dismantle. Trump’s travel ban drew ire from many in Silicon Valley, whose work force is made up of immigrants

No one from Facebook was in attendance, despite receiving an invite. A spokesperson for the world’s largest social network cited “scheduling conflicts,” Axios reported. Facebook declined to comment for this story. 

That could be true. Some of Facebook’s top executives are at Cannes Lions, an international festival for the creative communications industry, this week. Facebook is also prepping for VidCon, the annual online video conference, later this week. Thirdly, Facebook is hosting its first-ever Communities Summit in Chicago, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox will be speaking. 

But Facebook’s lack of attendance — despite the abundance of conflicts — inspired debate, on Twitter, over whether it was making a political statement. 

Zuckerberg subtly spoke out against Trump’s immigration policies at Harvard’s commencement last month. The company is also reliant on the H1B visa program

Still, Facebook doesn’t seem to be completely snubbing the Trump White House. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg attended a different summit of tech CEOs, with a similar attendee list, at Trump Tower in New York City back in December, before Trump officially took office. 

Sandberg didn’t visit the White House Monday, but Bloomberg did air an exclusive television interview where she spoke about jobs in the technology industry and the economy. 

“It’s our responsibility to help small businesses and large businesses all around the world use technology to grow their businesses so that they can grow jobs,” Sandberg said. 

For Trump and his administration Monday, the day wasn’t just about jobs. He said he hoped for better government operations in general. 

“Today many of our agencies rely on painfully outdated technology, and yet, we have the greatest people in technology,” Trump said at the event, according to Recode’s Tony Romm. 

In addition to Musk, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was also absent, although he is on leave from his company and mourning the recent death of his mother. He too dropped Trump’s council in January after pressure from the #DeleteUber movement. 

Still, many of the world’s most powerful tech executives attended the meeting with Trump, each with their own agendas. Cook’s priorities included discussing immigration, encryption, veterans’ affairs, and human rights, Axios reported prior to the meeting. He mentioned education as a concern, and cited coding in public schools, during the press-attended portion of the event. 

Despite evidence that the Trump administration may not act in the attendees’ best interests, Cook, for example, has expressed the need for executives like himself to engage. 

“It’s very important. Governments can affect our ability to do what we do. They can affect it in positive ways and they can affect in not so positive ways. What we do is focus on the policies,” Cook wrote in a memo to his employees at Apple after he met with Trump at a roundtable in December. 

Also in attendance were Ajay Banga, CEO of MasterCard; Zachary Bookman, CEO of OpenGov; Safra Catz, Co-Chief Executive of Oracle; John Doerr, Chairman of Kleiner Perkins; Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware; Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir; Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel; Tom Leighton, CEO of Akamai; Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP; Steven Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm; Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe; Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM; Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture; and Peter Thiel of the Founders Fund who has served as an advisor to the president.

Of course, it remains to be seen what will be done. 

WATCH:

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Nowhere on Facebook is safe from ads—including instant articles

The Guardian is out. So is The New York Times.

Facebook has failed to keep the two of the most reputable newspapers on board with Instant Articles, the publishing platform where articles are uploaded directly to the social network.

But Facebook is not giving up. On Thursday, the social network added more ad placements in Instant Articles. Any publisher can now insert ads in the related articles section, located at the bottom of the page. 

The format, which was running as a beta test since March, is another way Facebook is hoping to drive more revenue to publishers, while putting a bit more money into Facebook’s own pocket. The test partners have seen an “incremental increase” in average revenue per 1,000 page views, according to a blog post from Facebook. 

When Facebook introduced Instant Articles in May 2015, it preached a better reading experience for users. The new feature boasted a super-fast experience for users. Publishing partners could take advantage of Facebook’s own rich-media tools. 

Sounds good except for a little thing called ad revenue, which is how most media companies pay the bills. At launch, media outlets could keep 100 percent of the revenue if they sold the ads themselves and 70 percent if Facebook sold them. The articles didn’t have much in the way of ads, but Facebook promised things would get better.

They didn’t. Publishers weren’t finding success and began to walk away. While The New York Times was a launch partner, the media outlet dropped Instant Articles last month. 

“The simple answer is [Instant Articles] simply wasn’t performing for us on an advertising and subscription conversion front,” Kinsey Wilson, editor for strategy and innovation at The New York Times, told Mashable in April. “We’re not testing an ideological position. We continue to work closely with Facebook and have a very strong partnership.”

Of course, not everyone is out of Instant Articles. Facebook now has more than 10,000 publishers using the system, growing more than 25 percent over the last six months. It pays out more than $1 million per day to publishers via Facebook Audience Network, the social network’s own ad network. 

Facebook isn’t unaware that publishers are still deterred by the lack of revenue and subscription conversion. The company created the Facebook Journalism Project in January and has been on a listening tour for the last six months, hearing publishers’ complaints. 

At F8, Facebook’s annual developers conference, Facebook hosted an off-the-record day of events specifically for publishers. Several attendees told Mashable the event was a failure, but Facebook is working on what it determines to be solutions. 

Instant Articles has been a topic of debate at many of the largest digital publishing conferences. For example, Campbell Brown, Facebook’s first-ever head of news partnerships, spoke at ROAR,  social media management company SocialFlow’s user conference held in May. 

“For those who aren’t achieving that goal we want to work on that,” Brown said during her keynote. “If we can get the monetization right, we think it will be better for everybody.”

Facebook is also promoting other tools within Instant Articles. Publishers can build “call-to-action” units, where they can encourage newsletter sign-ups or Facebook Page likes. 

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Hillary Clinton just called out the ‘conspiracy, lies, false information’ of Twitter and Facebook

Hillary Clinton is not happy with Twitter. Or Facebook.

Responding to a question from Mashable Tech Editor Pete Pachal at the Code Conference regarding whether Twitter has been “bad or good for our national discourse,” the former presidential candidate expounded upon the ways that Twitter has negatively impacted our politics.

“I think it has certainly provided, as you say, positive information, quick turnaround information to a very large audience,” observed Clinton. “But I think it has become victimized by deliberate efforts to shape the conversation and push it toward conspiracies, lies, false information.”

“[Twitter] has become victimized by deliberate efforts to shape the conversation, and push it toward conspiracies, lies, false information.”

In other words, Twitter can’t handle its shit. 

The service is overrun with disinformation, argued Clinton, and an adult is desperately needed in the digital room to bring some order. 

But take a deep breath, At Jack, because Clinton doesn’t think it’s all on you.

“And I think it’s the same problem Facebook faces,” she continued—not letting Mark Zuckerberg off the hook. “That when you try to be all things to all people, and you try to open up your platform so that people can come in, and you want to be influential ’cause you expect people will actually tune you in and read and watch what you have—what do you do to try to contain the weaponization and manipulation of that information? I don’t think we know yet.”

And sure, while she acknowledged that Facebook and Twitter are working to solve the problem of fake news, she doesn’t think the companies are moving fast enough.  

“I would just urge them to hurry up,” she added forcefully.

Got that Dorsey? You listening Zuckerberg? Clinton is calling you out — and the rest of us can only hope you’re listening. 

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