In five years, this headline will be written by AI

Barling with Dubai Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum.
Updated 12 February 2019

In five years, this headline will be written by AI

  • Artificial intelligence would restore the golden age of journalism, Knowhere news sites co-founder tells World Government Summit
  • Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief emeritus “ says AI will make it easier to work in newsrooms by fighting false news

DUBAI: News headlines across the globe in five years will be drafted by artificial intelligence, Knowhere news site’s co-founder and editor-in-chief said on Monday.

“Artificial intelligence in the newsroom reduces the cost of production, so the individual will not have to pay much for information,” Nathaniel Barling said, adding that AI “would restore the golden age of journalism.”

Speaking at a session on “Automation: Breaking the News” at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Barling said: “Newspapers have lost control because people are now relying on social networks.”

“Newsrooms need to fundamentally transform their revenue models, and re-image the profession of journalism as a whole,” he said.

Barling also spoke of the need for free access to information for all, and said that while paywalls did not affect the quality of journalism, they did allow for more fake news to be spread more easily.

“Paywalls do not hurt the quality of reporting and more consumers are now willing to pay for in-depth long-form content, yet it also raises the question of hiding information from some,” he said.

“Good information is coming to those who pay for it, but this is not the world in which we want to live.”

As AI enters workplaces across several domains, other journalists believe the technology could be detrimental to newsrooms.

Gerard Baker, editor-at-large of The Wall Street Journal, questioned whether artificial intelligence will threaten or strengthen confidence in newsrooms.

“Can we rely on algorithms to settle the big disputes across the globe?” he asked.

However, Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief emeritus, said: “Artificial intelligence will make it easier to work in newsrooms by fighting false news.

“Fake news is not a new phenomenon, and the advent of AI will evolve the newsroom, but not threaten it,” he said.

Mina Al-Oraibi, editor-in-chief of The National in the UAE, said that journalists were being strengthened by AI, which allowed them to focus on the story instead of on sources of information.

“Journalists are now feeling the threat of artificial intelligence, so they are focusing on how much the news is more influential than its accuracy,” she said.


Facebook to create privacy panel, pay $5bn to US to settle allegations

Updated 24 July 2019

Facebook to create privacy panel, pay $5bn to US to settle allegations

  • As part of the settlement, Facebook will agree to create a board committee on privacy
  • It will also agree to new executive certifications that users’ privacy is being properly protected

WASHINGTON: The Federal Trade Commission is set to announce on Wednesday that Facebook Inc. has agreed to a sweeping settlement of significant allegations it mishandled user privacy and pay $5 billion, two people briefed on the matter said.
As part of the settlement, Facebook will agree to create a board committee on privacy and will agree to new executive certifications that users’ privacy is being properly protected, the people said.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg will have to certify every three months that the company is properly safeguarding user privacy, a person briefed on the matter said.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the FTC will allege Facebook misled users about its handling of their phone numbers and its use of two-factor authentication as part of a wide-ranging complaint that accompanies a settlement ending the government’s privacy probe, citing two people familiar with the matter.
Separately, the US Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to announce a related settlement with Facebook for around $100 million over allegations it failed to disclose risks to investors over its privacy practices. The Wall Street Journal reported the SEC settlement earlier.
The Post also reported the FTC also plans to allege Facebook provided insufficient information to about 30 million users about a facial recognition tool, an issue identified earlier by Consumer Reports.
The settlement comes amid growing concern among US policymakers about the privacy of online users and have sparked calls for new legal protections in Congress. Separately, the US Justice Department said late Tuesday it is launching a broad antitrust probe into the competitive practices of large tech companies like Facebook.
Two people briefed on the matter confirmed the Post report the FTC will not require Facebook to admit guilt as part of the settlement. The settlement will need to be approved by a federal judge and will contain other significant allegations of privacy lapses, the people said.
The fine will mark the largest civil penalty ever paid to the FTC.
The FTC and Facebook declined to comment.
The FTC confirmed in March 2018 it had opened an investigation into allegations Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The probe has focused on whether the data sharing violated a 2011 consent agreement between Facebook and the regulator and then widened to include other privacy allegations.
A person briefed on the matter said the phone number, facial recognition and two-factor authentication issues were not part of the initial Cambridge Analytica probe.
Some in Congress have criticized the reported $5 billion penalty, noting Facebook in 2018 had $55.8 billion in revenue and $22.1 billion in net income. Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, said last week the fine should be $50 billion.
While the deal resolves a major regulatory headache for Facebook, the Silicon Valley firm still faces further potential antitrust probes as the FTC and Justice Department undertake a wide-ranging review of competition among the biggest US tech companies. Facebook is also facing public criticism from President Donald Trump and others about its planned cryptocurrency Libra over concerns about privacy and money laundering.
The Cambridge Analytica missteps, as well as anger over hate speech and misinformation on its platform, have prompted calls from people ranging from presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren to a Facebook co-founder, Chris Hughes, for the government to force the social media giant to sell Instagram, which it bought in 2012, and WhatsApp, purchased in 2014.
But the company’s core business has proven resilient, as Facebook blew past earnings estimates in the past two quarters. Facebook is set to report earnings on Wednesday.