Zuckerberg fires back at Trump over Facebook barb

In this Feb. 21, 2016, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2016 event on the eve of this week's Mobile World Congress wireless show, in Barcelona, Spain. (AP)
Updated 28 September 2017
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Zuckerberg fires back at Trump over Facebook barb

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg fired back at US President Donald Trump on Wednesday after he accused the leading social network of being “always anti-Trump.”
Zuckerberg rejected the notion, countering that Facebook is working to ensure “free and fair elections” with an online platform that does not favor one side over another.
Zuckerberg’s post at Facebook came after Trump accused the social network of bias in a morning tweet that read:
“Facebook was always anti-Trump.The Networks were always anti-Trump hence,Fake News, @nytimes(apologized) & @WaPo were anti-Trump. Collusion?“
Early morning Twitter tizzies have become a hallmark of Trump’s presidency.
“Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump,” Zuckerberg said in his post.
“Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like. That’s what running a platform for all ideas looks like.”
Facebook last week said that Russia-linked ads on the social network aimed at inflaming tensions around last year’s US presidential election will be given to Congress.
The ads sought to sow discord among Americans on hot-button social issues.
News of the decision came with word that Facebook is cracking down on efforts to use the leading social network to meddle with elections in the US or elsewhere.
“After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea,” Zuckerberg said.
“Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive.”
He held firm that Facebook biggest role in the election was as a platform for candidates and citizens to communicated directly with one another regarding issues.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked top tech companies Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify about Russian interference in US politics, a Senate aide confirmed Wednesday.
The three Internet and online social media giants are expected to appear on November 1 in an open hearing on the rising evidence that they were covertly manipulated in a campaign to help Donald Trump win the presidency.
A core question in the congressional investigation is the extent to which online social networks were manipulated by Russian interests to covertly influence the US election, according to Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat and the ranking member of the House permanent select committee on intelligence.
Russia has denied meddling with the US election.
“We will do our part to defend against nation states attempting to spread misinformation and subvert elections,” Zuckerberg said.


Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

A Google sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

  • Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability
  • Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is not close to launching a search engine app in China, its chief executive said at a companywide meeting on Thursday, according to a transcript seen by Reuters, as employees of the Alphabet Inc. unit called for more transparency and oversight of the project.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told staff that though development is in an early stage, providing more services in the world’s most populous country fits with Google’s global mission.
Hoping to gain approval from the Chinese government to provide a mobile search service, the company plans to block some websites and search terms, Reuters reported this month, citing unnamed sources.
Whether the company could or would launch search in China “is all very unclear,” Pichai said, according to the transcript. “The team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options.”
Disclosure of the secretive effort has disturbed some Google employees and human rights advocacy organizations. They are concerned that by agreeing to censorship demands, Google would validate China’s prohibitions on free expression and violate the “don’t be evil” clause in the company’s code of conduct.
Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability,” according to an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.
After a separate petition this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the US military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones.
The China petition says employees are concerned the project, code named Dragonfly, “makes clear” that ethics principles Google issued during the drone debate “are not enough.”
“We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building,” states the document seen by Reuters.
The New York Times first reported the petition on Thursday. Google declined to comment.
Company executives have not commented publicly on Dragonfly, and their remarks at the company-wide meeting marked their first about the project since details about it were leaked.
Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects that raise substantial ethical questions.
Pichai told employees: “We’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record here” on Dragonfly, according to the transcript. He noted the company guards information on some projects where sharing too early can “cause issues.”
Three former employees involved with Google’s past efforts in China told Reuters current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all.
The same rationale led Google to enter China in 2006. It left in 2010 over an escalating dispute with regulators that was capped by what security researchers identified as state-sponsored cyberattacks against Google and other large US firms.
The former employees said they doubt the Chinese government will welcome back Google. A Chinese official, who declined to be named, told Reuters this month that it is “very unlikely” Dragonfly would be available this year.