Facebook launches $10m community leader awards

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Updated 09 February 2018
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Facebook launches $10m community leader awards

LONDON: Facebook has launched a community leadership program that will award $10 million in total to more than 100 people who have successfully built groups on the social network as part of its push to create “meaningful” interactions.
The initiative, announced at a Facebook Communities Summit in London, will give five people with a track record in creating groups up to $1 million to fund a project, Facebook’s Jennifer Dulski said.
Another 100 leaders from around the world will receive up to $50,000 each, she said in an interview.
“We are looking for communities that provide meaning to the people that are in them, we are looking for initiatives that drive positive impact, and we are looking for communities that have both online and offline components,” said Dulski, Facebook’s head of groups and community.
Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said last June that the company’s new mission was “to bring the world closer together,” and he set a goal of helping one billion people join “meaningful communities” built around hobbies, neighbors, churches, pets and the like.
The focus on groups came after the social network, which has 1.4 billion daily active users, had been criticized for its role in the distribution of so-called fake news.
Facebook and other Internet groups such as Google’s YouTube and Twitter have also faced pressure from the EU and European governments to do more to stem the proliferation of extremist content on their platforms.
The company’s top European executive, Nicola Mendelsohn, said in December that the number of people working on safety on the platform would double to 20,000 by the end of 2018, including more engineers in London. The contest is open to Facebook community leaders worldwide, with the winners chosen by a panel of independent experts and Facebook employees, Dulski said.


Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

In this June 22, 2012 file photo, a smoker extinguishes a cigarette in an ash tray in Sacramento, Calif. (AP)
Updated 18 August 2018
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Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

  • Quitters saw their risk of diabetes increase by 22 percent in the six years after they kicked the habit
  • The people enrolled in the studies were all health professionals, and did not mirror current smokers in the general population, who are disproportionately low-income, less-educated and more likely to smoke heavily

NEW YORK: If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may seem like you’re trading one set of health problems for another. But a new US study finds you’re still better off in the long run.
Compared with smokers, even the quitters who gained the most weight had at least a 50 percent lower risk of dying prematurely from heart disease and other causes, the Harvard-led study found.
The study is impressive in its size and scope and should put to rest any myth that there are prohibitive weight-related health consequences to quitting cigarettes, said Dr. William Dietz, a public health expert at George Washington University.
“The paper makes pretty clear that your health improves, even if you gain weight,” said Dietz, who was not involved in the research. “I don’t think we knew that with the assurance that this paper provides.”
The New England Journal of Medicine published the study Wednesday. The journal also published a Swedish study that found quitting smoking seems to be the best thing diabetics can do to cut their risk of dying prematurely.
The nicotine in cigarettes can suppress appetite and boost metabolism. Many smokers who quit and don’t step up their exercise find they eat more and gain weight — typically less than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms), but in some cases three times that much.
A lot of weight gain is a cause of the most common form of diabetes, a disease in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal. Diabetes can lead to problems including blindness, nerve damage, heart and kidney disease and poor blood flow to the legs and feet.
In the US study, researchers tracked more than 170,000 men and women over roughly 20 years, looking at what they said in health questionnaires given every two years.
The people enrolled in the studies were all health professionals, and did not mirror current smokers in the general population, who are disproportionately low-income, less-educated and more likely to smoke heavily.
The researchers checked which study participants quit smoking and followed whether they gained weight and developed diabetes, heart disease or other conditions.
Quitters saw their risk of diabetes increase by 22 percent in the six years after they kicked the habit. An editorial in the journal characterized it as “a mild elevation” in the diabetes risk.
Studies previously showed that people who quit have an elevated risk of developing diabetes, said Dr. Qi Sun, one the study’s authors. He is a researcher at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
But that risk doesn’t endure, and it never leads to a higher premature death rate than what smokers face, he said.
“Regardless of the amount of weight gain, quitters always have a lower risk of dying” prematurely, Sun said.