Google announced that it has acquired Toro, a startup that helps developers promote their apps on Facebook. The company is led by Amitt Mahajan and Joel Poloney and was formally known as Red Hot Labs. Financial details have not been disclosed. The San Francisco-based startup Toro is known to offer services and tools to help software engineers promote their user numbers. Amitt Mahajan and Joel Poloney previously co-founded MyMiniLife, which played a key role in the creation of FarmVille, as pointed out by TechCrunch. The report also adds that the main aim of the company is to make launching and optimizing a Facebook ad campaign, super easy for mobile app developers to use. A Google spokesperson confirmed the acquisition and said that Toro will be joining the mobile ads team. Recommended Link: How To Control Your MacBook With Android Smartphones: 8 Tips And Tricks The blog by Toro says that the company will continue to optimize campaigns and update dashboards for existing marketing, customers but as of now, the campaign creation has been suspended. The company recommends to work with an alternative Facebook PMD (Preferred Marketing Developer) for new campaigns. In their announcement, Toro also added that joining Google will give team members access to more resources and distribution, allowing them to continue their mission of making the lives of app development easier. Toro had earlier raised $1.5 million in funding from investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, SV Angel, General Catalyst, Keith Rabois, Chris Dixon, Bill Tai and Guitar Hero co-creators Charles Huang and Kai Huang, points out the report.
INSTAGRAM IS USING AI TO DETECT BULLYING IN PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS
Last year, Instagram introduced an enhanced comment filter that uses machine learning to spot offensive words and phrases in challenging contexts. Now, the company is expanding similar coverage to photos and captions. Today, it announced that it will use AI to “proactively detect bullying” before sending content to human moderators for review.
The new feature will roll out to users in the coming weeks, launching in time for October’s National Bullying Prevention Month in the US and just before Anti-Bullying Week in the UK. The same technology is also being added to live videos to filter comments there as well.
This is the first product announcement under new Instagram chief Adam Mosseri who took over following the hasty departure of co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger last month. The split was reportedly due to simmering tensions between the pair and parent company Facebook, which has frequently meddled with Instagram’s product.
With public trust in Facebook continuing to fall, Instagram remains the bright spot in the company’s product lineup. It’s popular, profitable, and it has yet to be tainted by the scandals that have undermined Facebook. In this context, using AI to help weed out offensive content and keep Instagram a home for good vibes is extremely important.
A story published in Wired last year explained some of the details of Instagram’s machine learning comment filters, but it’s well-established that this sort of technology is no silver bulletfor content moderation. AI is cheap to deploy at scale, yes, but it still has trouble dealing with human context and nuance. That’s why it’s good that these new bullying filters also send content to human moderators to perform the final check. Automation without oversight is a recipe for disaster.
Interestingly, Instagram says it’s not just analyzing photos captions to identify bullying, but also the photo itself. Speaking to The Verge, a spokesperson gave the example of the AI looking for split-screen images as an example of potential bullying, as one person might be negatively compared to another. What other factors the AI will look for though isn’t clear. That might be a good idea considering that when Facebook announced it would scan memes using AI, people immediately started thinking of ways to get around such filters.
Along with the new filters, Instagram is also launching a “kindness camera effect,” which sounds like it’s a way to spread a positive message as a method to boost user engagement. While using the rear camera, the effects fill the screen with an overlay of “kind comments in many languages.” Switch to your front-facing camera, and you get a shimmer of hearts and a polite encouragement to “tag a friend you want to support.”
FACEBOOK IS TESTING ITS VERY OWN DATING APP
Yes, Facebook Dating is a real thing. And we may have just received a sneak peek.
Jane Manchun Wong — an app researcher who’s spotted Facebook features in the past, like Talent Show — posted photos from what she claims is an internal test of Facebook Dating.
The company wouldn’t say whether these pics are the real deal, although it did confirm it’s testing Facebook Dating internally.
Two months ago, at its F8 developer conference, Facebook shared that it was developing a dating app. Aspiring yenta Mark Zuckerberg explained it was “going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not hookups.”
Later, on its blog, Facebook dished out a few more details: “People will be able to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile — and potential matches will be recommended based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends. They’ll have the option to discover others with similar interests through their Groups or Events.”
From Wong’s photos, it looks like the app will let you prevent your current Facebook friends from seeing your dating profile, thus avoiding potential embarrassment. It’ll also offer a variety of gender options, including trans man, trans woman, and non-binary.
No word on when, exactly, Facebook Dating will become available to the public. Guess you’ll just have to make do with Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, Happn, Grindr, Hinge, and the thousands of other dating apps out there in the meantime.
WHATSAPP MESSAGES AND SENDERS CAN BE ALTERED AFTER YOU RECEIVED THEM, SAY RESEARCHERS
Security researchers have discovered that it’s possible for hackers to change both the content and the sender of a WhatsApp message after you’ve received it …
This includes the ability to change quoted messages, to make it appear you said something you didn’t.
CNET reports that the possibility was discovered by Check Point Software Technologies.
The firm] found that hackers can create a hacked version of the app and alter a quoted message (a past one that someone is replying directly one) to change the content or sender.
The hacker would, however, need to be part of the chat, so the vulnerability mostly applies to group chats.
WhatsApp told the NYT that it was not aware of the technique being used in the wild, and a cure would be worse than the problem.
One solution would be to create transcripts of every message exchange to verify the accuracy of every quote. Creating such a transcript is a significant privacy risk because those accounts of what people wrote to each other must be stored somewhere, the company said.
All WhatsApp messages are protected by end-to-end encryption, which means that only those within a chat would be able to exploit the loophole. Storing a transcript would effectively mean removing that end-to-end encryption.