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Category: #COVID19 (Page 1 of 2)

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YouTube bans Senator Rand Paul for a week after he posts that cloth masks “don’t work”

Republican Senator Rand Paul’s YouTube account flatlined last night, and this morning it emerged he’d been handed a weeklong ban after posting Covid misinformation there: a claim that cloth masks are ineffective at preventing transmission of the virus.

A spokesman for YouTube told the Times that the video violated company policy on Covid-19 misinformation, which includes “claims that wearing a mask is dangerous or causes negative physical health effects” or that masks don’t play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19.

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Source: https://boingboing.net/2021/08/11/youtube-bans-senator-rand-paul-for-a-week-after-he-posts-that-cloth-masks-dont-work.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=youtube-bans-senator-rand-paul-for-a-week-after-he-posts-that-cloth-masks-dont-work
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Rob Beschizza

Who is the ‘pizza king’? The secret language being used by anti-vaccine groups to skirt detection

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Some anti-vaccination groups on Facebook are changing their names to euphemisms like “Dance Party” or “Dinner Party,” and using code words to fit those themes.

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/anti-vaccine-groups-changing-dance-parties-facebook-avoid-detection-rcna1480
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny

How much COVID misinformation is on Facebook? Its execs don’t want to know

How much COVID misinformation is on Facebook? Its execs don’t want to know

Enlarge (credit: KJ Parish)

For years, misinformation has flourished on Facebook. Falsehoods, misrepresentations, and outright lies posted on the site have shaped the discourse on everything from national politics to public health.

But despite their role in facilitating communications for billions of people, Facebook executives refused to commit resources to understand the extent to which COVID-19-related misinformation pervaded its platform, according to a report in The New York Times.

Early in the pandemic, a group of data scientists at Facebook met with executives to propose a project that would determine how many users saw misleading or false information about COVID. It wasn’t a small task—they estimated that the process could take up to a year or more to complete—but it would give the company a solid understanding of the extent to which misinformation spread on its platform.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/07/facebook-willfully-ignored-its-covid-misinformation-problem-report-says/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Tim De Chant

Majority of Covid misinformation came from 12 people, report finds

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CCDH finds ‘disinformation dozen’ have combined following of 59 million people across multiple social media platforms

The vast majority of Covid-19 anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories originated from just 12 people, a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) cited by the White House this week found.

Related: ‘They’re killing people’: Biden slams Facebook for Covid disinformation

Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/17/covid-misinformation-conspiracy-theories-ccdh-report
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Erum Salam

Major dating apps including Tinder, OkCupid adding vaccination badges to dating profiles

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Major dating apps are adding vaccination badges and special benefits to users’ profiles who say they received the coronavirus vaccine in an effort to reach the Biden administration’s July 4 inoculation goal. …

Source: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/554687-major-dating-apps-including-tinder-okcupid-adding-vaccination-badges
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Lexi Lonas

Google Assistant can now sing you a weird song about vaccines

If you’re a Google Assistant user in the United States, you can now have the voice assistant sing you a somewhat cheesy, cringy jingle about the COVID-19 vaccine. The tune is available with the request for a song about vaccines and it is, mercifully, quite short in nature, meaning your friends won’t be able to use it to drive you … Continue reading

Source: https://www.slashgear.com/google-assistant-can-now-sing-you-a-weird-song-about-vaccines-08671974/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brittany A. Roston

Uber teams with Walgreens to help riders get COVID-19 vaccine

Ride-sharing company Uber has teamed up with Walgreens to help customers get appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time they schedule a ride to the pharmacy. With this new feature, users can browse vaccination appointment time slots at Walgreens in the Uber app, claim the time they want, then continue on to book a ride for the appointment. … Continue reading

Source: https://www.slashgear.com/uber-teams-with-walgreens-to-help-riders-get-covid-19-vaccine-28670825/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brittany A. Roston

An Android Bug Let Some Apps Improperly Access COVID-19 Tracing Data

Google Android figure standing on laptop keyboard with code in backgroundquietbits/Shutterstock.com

A privacy flaw in the Android version of Apple and Google’s COVID-19 exposure notification app potentially allowed other preinstalled apps to see sensitive data, including if users had contact with a COVID-positive person. Google is now working on rolling out a fix.

Privacy analysis firm AppCensus first noticed the bug in February and reported it to Google. However, according to The Markup, Google failed to address it at the time. The bug goes against multiple promises made by Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and several public health officials that the data collected from the exposure app would not be shared beyond an individual’s device.

“The fix is a one-line thing where you remove a line that logs sensitive information to the system log. it doesn’t impact the program, it doesn’t change how it works,” said Joel Reardon, co-founder and forensics lead of AppCensus in the same interview with The Markup. “It’s such an obvious fix, and I was flabbergasted that it wasn’t seen as that.”

The article also shared a quote from Google spokesperson José Castañeda, who stated “We were notified of an issue where the Bluetooth identifiers were temporarily accessible to specific system level applications for debugging purposes, and we immediately started rolling out a fix to address this.”

Hands holding Android phone and iPhone together displaying their logos, respectivelyDaria Nipot/Shutterstock.com

In order for the exposure notification system to work, it needs to ping anonymized Bluetooth signals of devices with the system activated. Then, in the event one of the users tests positive for COVID-19, it works with health authorities to send an alert to other users who came into contact with that person with corresponding signals that are logged in the phone’s memory.

The issue is that, on Android phones, contract-tracing data is logged in privileged system memory. While most of the apps and software running on these devices don’t have access to this, apps that are preinstalled by manufactures like Google or LG or Verizon do have special system privileges that allow them to potentially access these data logs, making them vulnerable. 

AppCensus has found no indications that any preinstalled apps have collected data, however, nor did it find this to be the case with the exposure notification system on iPhones. The company’s Chief Technology Officer, Serge Egelmen, emphasized on Twitter that the bug is an implementation issue and not the fault of the exposure notification system and that it should damage the public’s trust in public health technologies. 

via The Verge

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/80201/an-android-bug-let-some-apps-improperly-access-covid19-tracing-data/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Suzanne Humphries

The staying power of the stay-at-home economy

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The pandemic proved a large swath of the population can produce services and consume goods without leaving their homes — if supported by other workers.

Why it matters: We risk becoming an even more divided society — with Peloton-riding, Amazon Prime-ordering office workers living within a convenient, luxurious stay-at-home economy and essential workers servicing that lifestyle while scraping by themselves.


The big picture: Income inequality was a huge — and growing — issue before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, but the last year widened the chasm between rich and poor.

  • In Q1 of 2020, the top 1% of Americans held 29.9% of the wealth and the bottom 50% held 1.9%. The gap grew to 31.4% for the top and 2.0% for the bottom by the end of the year, per Fed data.
  • “Let’s not kid ourselves that this is a new problem,” says Richard Reeves, the director of the Future of the Middle Class Initiative at the Brookings Institution. “The pandemic was just a flash of an X-ray bulb exposing these fractures.”

What’s happening: Remote work has become the ultimate privilege, giving those who can work from home sovereignty over time and place, Reeves says. Going to work every day used to be something of an equalizer. The pandemic dismantled that.

  • Remote office workers can come and go as they please, spend more time with family, or even work from exotic locations. In-person workers, who tend to be lower-skilled and lower-income, still have to deal with the rigidity of clocking in and clocking out — and juggling child care, health care and life around it.
  • For example, the Ford Motor Company recently announced all of its office workers can telework as often as they like. But all of the workers in production don’t have that option.

“We’re going to keep seeing this growth of home being the epicenter of life,” says Zara Ingilizian, an expert on the future of consumption at the World Economic Forum. “And not everyone will have access to this at-home future we’re discussing. That has tremendous implications.”

We’re already seeing the far-reaching effects of telework on businesses and individuals alike.

  • As the stay-at-home economy pushes independent restaurants and shops to shutter in droves, retail behemoths who can offer delivery, like Amazon, Walmart and Kroger, have had blockbuster years.
  • Jobs in hospitality and tourism are still down 25% compared with February 2020, while jobs in software development and finance are up 13% and 12%, respectively, according to the jobs site Indeed.

Yes, but: There are silver linings.

  • Flexibility was always an option for workers at the top, Reeves says. At least now it’s spreading to all workers who can telework. “I’d rather leaders have to justify that inequality rather than it being unspoken that managers can come in later than everyone else,” he says.
  • And we could see companies offer new perks to their essential workers to hold onto them. “One implication is companies feel pressure to compensate people who work in-person higher because that is now seen as a detriment,” says Jonathan Rothwell, chief economist at Gallup.

What to watch: Workers in jobs being created by the stay-at-home economy — in food delivery, warehousing and trucking — face a double whammy, says Ingilizian.

  • Many of these roles are gig jobs, without stability and with low pay. And they’re also on the automation chopping block. Per a recent WEF report, 40% of retail job activities and 54% of consumer goods production job tasks are subject to automation.
  • Automation is poised to make the inequality induced by the stay-at-home future even worse, Ingilizian says.

Source: https://www.axios.com/staying-power-stay-at-home-economy-74c6b2c7-e061-40ef-ba7b-a2a6d1a0863c.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Erica Pandey

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