Friday roundup: A week in tech | News

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The Innovation and Technology Network

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Friday roundup: A week in tech

The Australian Government vs the World’s Tech Firms War has taken its first casualties: sulky, literalist Facebook has scrubbed its network of all news, leaving those Australians who rely on it in the dark and at the mercy of fake news, hearsay, and drivel – so, in many ways, things are exactly as they were.

Moaning that the government hasn’t been clear enough in its legislative efforts to make firms pay for the news content they display, the gigantic time-wasting enterprise has blanket banned everything from its blue pages – health services, charities, dingo grooming services (probably) etc.

Rather than galvanising the support of the social media-addicted public behind it, the recalcitrant network has scored yet another own goal (not that they ever seem to hurt it) by bringing the people out in support of the government.

Of course, it’s perhaps not for nothing that this sudden rebellion in the face of the seemingly indomitable tech firms has happened in Australia, which as far as I can tell is sort of run/owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Fellow content parasite Google has already acquiesced to the new rules and agreed to pay for the news it displays – well, pay Mr Murdoch, anyway.

It’s hard to know which side to root for: the obnoxious, tax-dodging, democracy damning, fanatical information spreading side, or Facebook.

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Yet more Facebook news: the social media giant/world controller has announced plans to try and combat misleading information about climate change.

Apparently recently learning of the threat to human survival, and the efforts of some to tell lots of lies about it, the company will now attempt to tags posts that disseminate fluid mendacity with labels that direct readers to its own Climate Science Information Centre. We’re all saved!

Cambridge academic Dr Sander van der Linden has been roped in to help Facebook with its rampant carbon fabrication problems.

She said: “The spread of damaging falsehoods endangers the level of international cooperation required to prevent catastrophic global warming.

“Facebook is in a unique position to counter the circulation of online misinformation, and the new climate ‘myth-busting’ section is an important step toward debunking dangerous falsehoods.”

She could, of course, have added that it’s in the primary position to spread those damaging falsehoods in the first place, but it’s 2021 now and a bit late to worry about something we should have dealt with about 15 years ago.

But good luck, anyway.

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The world’s latest richest man, and sometime accuser of people being paedophiles sans evidence, Elon Musk, has reached out to another very rich man, Vladimir Putin, to invite him for a digital chat.

The Kremlin has described the offer to shoot-the-polonium on the app Clubhouse as “very interesting”, adding that it “would be a great honour to speak with you”.

According to this typically speculative Independent article I ripped this story from, Mr Musk may be eager to discuss his Starlink satellite project, which aims to bring high-speed space-based internet to the world.

Having already fallen out over satellites with the world’s most powerful man – Jeff Bezos of Amazonia – the Tesla boss is more than likely keen to get the Russian leader on side, as the country has its own internet satellite service, Sphere.

Having said that, he invited Kanye West for a Clubhouse chat last week so maybe he’s merely being wacky. It’ll be Les Dennis next week.