The State Of The Union Online, Facebook Promises Fewer Hoaxes [Tech News Digest]
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 .
Facebook Cuts Down On Misleading News
but my entire Facebook personality is a hoax
— Andy Orin (@andyorin) January 20, 2015
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 that is clearly meant to be humorous rather than merely eliciting involuntary clicks. So the likes of The Onion and Clickhole 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 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 of Arrested Development, House Of Cards, and Orange Is The New Black.
Wavelength Is Already On Life Support
“Wavelength is intended to allow users to stream and to NOT DOWNLOAD other users’ movies.” …..yeaahhh about that.
— Narky The Villain (@NarkyTheMaskot) January 18, 2015
Wavelength, a new service which lets you share movies with your friends, has already run aground. We told you all about Wavelength 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 wavelength.io 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 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 . 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