Facebook tries to eradicate clickbait from your News Feed, Apple launches a bug bounty program, Google Maps makes the Himalayas fun, Oliver Stone hates smartphones, and unboxing the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in a water park.
Facebook Tries to Tackle Clickbait Again
Facebook is tackling clickbait once again, making another concerted effort to rid the social network of this style of headline. This is an ongoing effort on Facebook’s part, as it originally cracked down on clickbait in August 2014, and then tried again in April 2016.
Today we announced our plan to reduce clickbait in News Feed. To learn more about how we’re going to do this, visit: https://t.co/GPPpJ8Lkik
— Facebook (@facebook) August 4, 2016
This latest effort comes after users told Facebook that they “specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles”. These are “headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer”.
Everybody reading this should know what clickbait headlines are by now, but, just in case, Facebook offers up a couple of examples: “He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe,” and, “The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless.”
To combat these types of headlines, which can still prove very effective despite people knowing what they represent, Facebook is “making an update to News Feed ranking” in the next few weeks. This should mean “people will see fewer clickbait stories,” but I can’t say I’ve noticed the previous two efforts making a significant difference.
Facebook has divulged its methodology this time, revealing it’s using a system which “identifies phrases that are commonly used in clickbait headlines”. The two key factors are a) headlines which withhold information and b) headlines which create misleading expectations. Which is a great attempt at clarifying what does and doesn’t constitute clickbait.
Apple Is Launching a Bug Bounty Program
Apple is launching a bug bounty program designed to discover vulnerabilities in its products and services. This is the first time Apple has expressly offered cash rewards to developers for finding bugs. Until now, the company has merely maintained a tip-line for people to disclose bugs they happen to uncover.
Why is it that Apple can drop billions on marginally useful companies, but can’t throw a few million at a bug bounty to secure iOS / OS X?
— Jonathan Zdziarski (@JZdziarski) June 30, 2016
The bug bounty program will launch in September, and offer rewards for those finding working exploits in recent hardware and the latest version of iOS. Unfortunately, this isn’t open to everyone, with Apple initially inviting a select band of trusted security researchers. However, the program may be opened up over time.
Apple is one of the last big tech companies to launch a bug bounty program. Google pays out millions of dollars each year as a result of its bug bounty program, and even the Department of Defense has previously invited security researchers to “Hack the Pentagon” in an effort to uncover vulnerabilites.
Explore the Himalayas in Google Maps
Google has released a free app which turns exploring the Himalayas into a fun game. The app, called Verne: The Himalayas, takes the form of a simple free-roaming sandbox game, with the player controlling a yeti as he wanders the area discovering various things peppering the landscape.
Everything you find has an educational element to it, but it’s all presented in a fun style to help maintain kids’ interests. You can zoom in for a Street View-style perspective, fly up into the sky for a bird’s-eye view, or just seek out all of the speakers recounting facts about the region. Verne: The Himalayas is available on Android right now.
Oliver Stone Warns: “Turn Off Your Phone”
Acclaimed movie director Oliver Stone is keen for you to “Turn Off Your Phone”. In a PSA which will play before showings of his new movie Snowden, Stone reminds us just how powerful those devices we all carry around in our pockets are. For good and for bad.
In a frankly menacing tone Stone warns, “The information you put out into the world voluntarily is enough to burn your life to the ground. This will be our undoing”. He may have a point and it’s a theme Snowden will surely explore. So, are you going to turn your phone off now? Or just install the best security and privacy apps and hope for the best?
The Galaxy Note 7 Meets a Water Park
And finally, while I’m not particularly a fan of unboxing videos, because, well, they’re absolutely pointless, this one grabbed my attention and refused to let go. Why? Because it all takes place in a water park, and water parks, as we all know, are awesome.
The video shows a “T-Mobile Product Dude” unboxing the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 while riding down water slides. The idea, of course, is to demonstrate the water-resistance of the device, but the result is one of the funniest unboxing videos we have ever seen.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 — the company’s new flagship phablet, boasting a 5.7-inch screen, an octa-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and stylus support — is already available for pre-order, with a release date set for August 19. [H/T Android Authority]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Do you regularly encounter clickbait on Facebook? Does Apple need a bug bounty program? Will you be playing Verne: The Himalayas? Will you be taking any notice of Oliver Stone’s warning to “Turn Off Your Phone?” Are you impressed by the Samsung Galaxy Note 7?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
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