Tech News

The State Of The Union Online, Facebook Promises Fewer Hoaxes [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 21-01-2015

The State Of The Union debuts online, Facebook reduces hoaxes, Netflix plans to expand, Wavelength waves goodbye, get Theme Hospital for free, and watch the trailer for Unfriended.


The State Of The Union Online Embargo

U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the 2015 State Of The Union address on Tuesday (Jan. 20). However, while some of the proposals made in the speech are newsworthy, the most newsworthy aspect of all is the way the entire speech was posted online to Medium before the President even began speaking.

This wasn’t as the result of a leak or hack, but was instead a decision made by the White House in order to let the public see it first. Tradition dictates that an embargoed copy of the speech is sent out to the press just before the State Of The Union is delivered, but the Obama administration is aiming to change that.

As reported by The Guardian, this is just the latest salvo in an ongoing attempt to bypass the filter of the press by delivering information directly into the hands of everyday citizens. Whether such an effort will stick with successive governments remains to be seen, but it does at least mean people can make their own minds up about current policy changes Obama Plans Faster Internet For All, Facebook Pushes AMBER Alerts [Tech News Digest] President Obama wants faster Internet, Facebook adds AMBER Alerts, Microsoft ends Scroogled, Grand Theft Auto V on PC gets delayed again, Ship Your Enemies Glitter, and why you should consider disconnecting from Facebook & Twitter. Read More .

Facebook Cuts Down On Misleading News

Facebook has promised to reduce the number of hoaxes and misleading news stories appearing in your News Feed. A new update to the algorithm means these types of spammy, scammy stories will be distributed less than they were previously. Annotations will be added to those stories reported as being false by multiple people.

Facebook is keen to point out that this change shouldn’t affect satirical content Faking It: 8 Of The Best Spoof News Websites Keeping up with the news of the day, whether it be local, national, or international, is important. It's never good to bury your head in the sand, unaware of what is happening around you. However,... Read More that is clearly meant to be humorous rather than merely eliciting involuntary clicks. So the likes of The Onion and Clickhole Don't Tear Up On Clickbait -- Cull It With ClickHole From The Onion [Weird & Wonderful Web] You will have clicked on clickbait at some point, whether or not you're aware of having done so. The practice has recently evolved into something much more insidious and annoying. Enter ClickHole. Read More should be safe from being flagged as misinformation, even when they report that aliens have landed in Washington.


Netflix Plans To Expand To 200 Countries

Netflix Is Netflix Worth The Money? There are more people who don't subscribe to Netflix as those who do, and that swathe of the population wants to know if they're missing out on anything. Is Netflix worth the money? Read More has made great strides in recent years in expanding out to markets beyond the borders of the United States. Rather impressively, the streaming service is now available in around 50 countries. But Netflix wants to achieve global domination, and fast.

During the company’s recent earnings release for Q4 2014, CEO Reed Hastings stated, “We now believe we can complete our global expansion over the next two years, while staying profitable, which is earlier than we expected.” And just in case anyone was in doubt as to what that global expansion means, Hastings classified it as, “acceleration to 200 countries.

This all means that if you live in a country in which Netflix currently doesn’t operate, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing the streaming service become available in your area by 2017. Cue binge-watching marathons A Short Guide To Binge-Watching [Weird & Wonderful Web] Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video have turned binge-watching into a mainstay of the mainstream. Before you begin binge-watching TV you should arm yourself with some important information. This short guide helps. Read More of Arrested Development, House Of Cards, and Orange Is The New Black.

Wavelength Is Already On Life Support

Wavelength, a new service which lets you share movies with your friends, has already run aground. We told you all about Wavelength Google Glass Goes On Hiatus, Legally Share Movies Via Wavelength [Tech News Digest] Google Glass is dead, Wavelength offers free movies, KeySweeper spies on keyboards, using Facebook at Work, YouTube interviews Obama, and an iPhone 6 doesn't get lost in space. Read More last week, detailing how the service uses Hollywood’s own cloud locker service Ultraviolet to enable “friends” to legally share their film collections.


Unfortunately, the Wavelength beta has been temporarily suspended with founder Spencer Wang explaining that he needs to “speak with key industry constituents to showcase that is a great thing for consumers and the film business.

Whether this change has been prompted by legal threats or Wang trying to stay one step ahead of any accusations of wrongdoing isn’t clear. However, he promised that “this is the right move in order to build a sustainable and awesome service for you,” before signing off with a vague, “We hope to be back soon.” We won’t be holding our breath.

Theme Hospital Is Now Free On Origin

Fans of retro gaming 6 Websites Where You Can Indulge In Your Love of Retro Gaming There are lots of websites on the Internet dedicated to the love of retro gaming. Those websites are exactly what we are looking at today. If you love retro gaming, these websites will be perfect... Read More can now pick up a copy of Theme Hospital for free through Origin. EA regularly gives away games through its On The House program, and Theme Hospital is a particularly good offering which remains highly playable despite originally being released in 1997.

Theme Hospital is a strategy game which sees the player trying to run a hospital efficiently while coping with strange maladies and incompetent doctors. If you’re anything like me you’ll screw things up quite badly, but you’ll still keep on playing this addictive game from Bullfrog regardless.


Unfriended Offers Horror For Millenials

And finally, this is the trailer for Unfriended, a horror movie aimed squarely at millenials 10 College Blogs You Wouldn't Have Wanted To Miss As A 20-Something There's the stress that originates from the uncertainty of becoming an adult and entering the "real world". You can rest aren't alone. These blogs may provide you with new perspectives. Read More . Unfriended tells the story of what happens when a teenage girl’s life is ruined by one of her friends posting a video online. She commits suicide, and one year later someone wants to avenge her death.

What makes Unfriended unique is how the action all takes place online: on YouTube, Skype, etc. Which lends the whole film a creepy, real-world quality similar to that seen in The Blair Witch Project and the Paranormal Activity films. Unfriended is being released in theaters on April 17.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Should the White House have posted the State Of The Union online before it even began? Have you ever been fooled by a hoax on Facebook? Does Unfriended tap into the way teenagers now communicate with each other?

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.


Image Credit: Landin Hollis via Flickr

Related topics: Facebook, Movie Trailer, Netflix.

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  1. dragonmouth
    January 21, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    "this is just the latest salvo in an ongoing attempt to bypass the filter of the press by delivering information directly into the hands of everyday citizens."
    You mean that the citizens do not need talking heads, pundits and "experts" to interpret what the POTUS said??? OMG, what a novel idea!

    • Dave Parrack
      January 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm

      The Internet has been a great leveler in this regard. No longer does the message need to be filtered by biased news outlets.