Connect with us

Tech News




The CEO of the world’s largest social network was supposed to charm European regulators. It didn’t work after he dodged some questions.

Mark Zuckerberg went to Brussels on the latest stop of his apology tour Tuesday to deliver yet another mea culpa for privacy and policy blunders that led to one of the largest data leaks in Facebook’s history and an unprecedented attack on democratic elections across the West.

If this was supposed to be part of a charm offensive for Facebook, it fell flat.

After listening to about an hour of questions from members of the European Union’s Parliament, Zuckerberg answered at the end — rather than responding to each question after it was posed. But he ended up only spending about 25 minutes giving his replies, ignoring some questions completely.

“I asked you six yes-and-no questions, and I got not a single answer,” said Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian politician. Zuckerberg paused and then responded, “I’ll make sure we follow up and get you answers to those” in the next few days.

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House of Representatives House Energy and Commerce Committee
Cardboard cutouts of Mark Zuckerberg with the words “Fix Fakebook” on their chests were staged in front of the EU’s hearing Tuesday.

Getty Images
The 34-year-old multibillionaire has been answering questions for weeks about everything from Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, which some argue handed a victory to Donald Trump, to the 87 million user profiles that were mistakenly shared with a now-defunct UK-based political consultancy called Cambridge Analytica.

European regulators were clearly unhappy.

“This represents an attack on our fundamental values,” said European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Tuesday. “We need to prevent this from happening again.”

One noted that Facebook had learned about Cambridge Analytica three years ago, but only acknowledged recently that the firm had gotten access to users’ data. Another pointed to the pervasiveness of Facebook’s data collection. And others raised concerns about free speech allowing for Nazi propaganda.

I asked you six yes-and-no questions, and I got not a single answer.
Guy Verhofstadt, member of the European Parlliament
Verhofstadt suggested that Facebook may be running afoul of European antimonopoly laws, especially because Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp are among the most popular messaging services in the world. He asked if Facebook will open its books to European regulators to consider whether his company is a monopoly. “It’s not enough to say ‘we’re going to fix it ourselves.'”

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage, who heads up Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, the European Parliament’s right-wing populist group, asked Zuckerberg to defend the platform’s political leanings and its transparency. Right-leaning Facebook users who hold mainstream, not extremist, political views “are being willfully discriminated against,” he said.

“Would you accept that today Facebook is not a platform for all ideas that is operated impartially?” said Farage. “I’m not someone who calls for legislation on the international stage, but I’m starting to think that we need a social media bill of rights.

Watch this: EU Parliament member to Zuck: Did you create a digital…
Zuckerberg insisted that hate speech, terror and violence have “no place on our services.” He added that his team is is creating artificial intelligence tools to identify, for example, almost all the content from ISIS. He also said Facebook is getting better at identifying bullying and possibilities of self harm.

“We’ll never be perfect,” Zuckerberg said. “Our adversaries, especially on the election side — the people trying to interfere — will have access to the same AI tools that we will. So it’s an arms race, and we’ll constantly be working to stay ahead.”

Zuckerberg ended the session telling Parliament, “I want to be sensitive to time because we are 15 minutes over.”

But members of Parliament didn’t care about time limits. And now they’re going to have to wait for answers.

Rebuilding trust
So far, Zuckerberg’s added new privacy controls that let people clear their web and app histories from Facebook, and he’s promised that the 10,000 curators the company is hiring this year will clean up fake news, hate speech and other objectionable content found on the social network.

Facebook’s chief also told EU lawmakers Tuesday that the company will add 3,000 workers across 12 European cities this year to help in its fight against online abuse, hate speech and election interference.

Watch this: Zuck’s mea culpa to EU Parliament
Zuckerberg has said the hiring is needed to address concerns that bad actors in Russia had used Facebook to spread propaganda and misinformation during the 2016 US presidential election.

When he introduced a new dating feature for Facebook at the company’s annual F8 developer conference last month, he was quick to add that it had been designed with “privacy and safety in mind from the beginning.”

Still, that hasn’t been enough.

Zuckerberg: We’ll block interference in European elections
Zuckerberg defends Facebook’s openness
The questions Mark Zuckerberg didn’t answer to European Parliament
Some advertisers, including Firefox web browser maker Mozilla and speaker maker Sonos, stopped advertising on Facebook as the scandal was unfolding. And while users started a campaign called #DeleteFacebook, the company said it actually saw user growth during the three months ended March 31. And through it all, it turns out Facebook still pulled in money hand over fist — counting nearly $5 billion in profits during that same time, a 63 percent increase over the previous year — by using the details its users share to direct more relevant ads to them.

Facebook makes the majority of its money selling ads.

Prominent tech executives, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook, have criticized team Zuck. Musk, who deleted Tesla and SpaceX pages from Facebook, said the social network gave him “the willies.” Cook said Facebook failed to regulate itself and vowed Apple wouldn’t make money off its user’s data.

“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm,” Zuckerberg said during his comments during two-days of testimony to Congress last month. “That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake.”

In Europe, Zuckerberg has to contend with regulators who take a much stronger stance on privacy than in the US.

Among the questions Verhofstadt asked — and didn’t get an answer to — was one about the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Those new privacy rules go into effect in Europe on May 25 and Facebook said last month that it will adhere to the GDPR. Verhofstadt wanted to know if Zuckerberg was “telling the truth” about embracing the strict new privacy provisions.

Get today’s top news and reviews collected for you.

Add your email
I have read and agree to the CBS Interactive Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. I understand I will receive the CNET newsletter(s) I’m signing up for. I can opt out at any time.
He also asked a stone-faced Zuckerberg how he’d like to be remembered: “As one of the great internet giants, together with Steve Jobs [and] Bill Gates, who have enriched the world and our societies? Or, on the other hand, [as] the genius who created a digital monster that is destroying our democracies and our societies?”

Verhofstadt said he’ll be watching to make sure Zuckerberg delivers the answers he promised on Tuesday.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tech News

Samsung harps on picture quality, smart apps in new OLED TV




Samsung Electronics at the weekend said picture quality and smart applications are supposed to be the hallmarks of new generation television technology, the OLED brands. Samsung The company said this was the result of long years of research which it carries out before releasing latest brands. These two qualities, according to the company are majorly what differentiates its new line of OLED TVs from competition. Announcing the debut of the brands recently in Lagos, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung Central Africa, Dudu Mokholo, said the 2019 OLED brands are powered by Samsung’s proprietary Quantum Processor, . “The line-up features more screen size options, stunning picture quality enhancements, dazzling colours from every angle, exciting new design elements and intuitive smart TV upgrades. As part of this special launch, those who purchase a 2019 QLED TV between July and August 2019will receive a Samsung UHD or FHD TV for free. “Our 2019 QLED line is designed for users who want the best combination of picture quality, smart TV capabilities and design. This year’s line-up represents our largest screen size offering ever. It brings together innovative feature enhancements and exciting content and service partnerships to deliver a truly ground-breaking viewing experience and unprecedented value. “The 2019 Q80 feature ‘Ultra Viewing Angle’ technology, which restructures the TV’s panels so the backlight passes through the panel with lights evenly onto the screen. Engineered to reduce glare and enhance colour, Ultra Viewing Angle provides a vibrant picture regardless of where you’re sitting. In addition, Q80, and Q900 models offer Direct Full Array technology that uses a panel featuring concentrated zones of precision-controlled LEDs. These LEDs adjust automatically to display deeper blacks and purer whites, delivering stunning images with pristine contrast. “Q900 Series 8K TVs incorporate Samsung’s proprietary Quantum Processor 8K, which up-scales lower resolution content. Depending on the content,it can allow for playback close to crystal clear 8K resolution. This year’s models also utilise the Quantum Processor 8K that optimises audio and video to the specific content on the screen. It can create an even more detailed sound experience by tailoring the audio settings to the specific layout of the room. Samsung’s new QLED 4K models also feature their own proprietary Quantum Processor 4K, which can use AI upscaling to deliver improved brightness, picture quality and sound optimised for each scene” he added. Samsung’s2019 QLED range has unique user experience by offering iTunes Movies and TV Shows and Apple AirPlay 2 support.


Continue Reading

Tech News

What Apple’s products could look like without Jony Ive leading design




It’ll truly be the end of an era when Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive walks out of the massive sliding glass doors of Apple Park to design things at his new company, LoveFrom.

Ive and his team of close-knit industrial designers have blessed the world with many iconic products, including the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch over the last 20 years. 

These are all devices that have changed the world. But in some ways, Ive’s obsession with stripping everything down to its purest form has also been the source of much frustration for users. Instead of products that provide the best form and function, in recent years, Apple products have felt too compromised.

Though many will view Ive’s departure from Apple as a turn for the worse — “The genius of Steve Jobs and Ive will never be matched; Apple is doomed!” — I see his leave as an opportunity for the company to embrace a new chapter of more sensible devices. Devices that are familiar, but better suit the many different kinds of users that have helped grow Apple into one of the most valuable companies in the world.

It’s unlikely Apple without Ive will vomit a dizzying lineup of new devices the same way the company did in the late ’80s to early ’90s under former CEO John Sculley. And I don’t expect Ive’s influence to suddenly disappear overnight. 

However, I strongly feel Apple’s industrial designers are at inflection point where they can step out of Ive’s shadow and improve on existing products by breaking with some of the principles he was so unrelenting on.

Next-gen iPhone

A thicker iPhone with a flush camera sure would be nice.
A thicker iPhone with a flush camera sure would be nice.

A decade since the iPhone’s introduction, Apple’s most revolutionary product now faces fierce assault from every direction. The iPhone no longer has one main rival (Samsung), but myriad competition, especially from China (Huawei, Xiaomi, OnePlusOppo, etc.) 

iPhone sales flatlined as prices became too high, hardware became more than good enough to last beyond two years, and Android phone alternatives have introduced irresistible mobile innovations such as notch- and hole-free displaysin-display fingerprint readers, and cameras capable of shooting ultra-wide photos and stunning night shots.

In comparison, the iPhone — as fantastic as the iPhone XR and XS/XS Max are — feel like they’re falling behind. This year’s new iPhones are expected to keep the same designs but add an ultra-wide camera inside of a big protruding bump.

New software and services, faster performance, and improved cameras are all great features, but consumers want more visible change for the iPhone.

Under Ive, the iPhone went on a diet until it became arguably too thin with the iPhone 6, which culminated in bendgate. Slowly, but surely, the iPhone has thickened with each new model going from the iPhone 6’s 6.9mm profile to 8.3mm on the iPhone XR.

I can’t speak for everyone, but anecdotally, I see more people with iPhone XRs than iPhone XS or XS Max. Not to mention almost everyone puts their iPhones in cases or carries battery packs or cases. This suggests to me people might not mind a thicker phone if the tradeoff’s for, say, a bigger battery or a camera that doesn’t jut out. It would be smart for Apple’s industrial team to take these use cases into consideration for any future iPhones.

“Consumers want more visible change for the iPhone.”

We’ve been hearing for years that the iPhone might switch to USB-C. It hasn’t happened under Ive’s watch. USB-C would mean one less proprietary cable to carry around. While it seems unlikely Apple would sever the healthy revenue it collects from third-party companies that license its Lightning tech, a thicker iPhone — even a millimeter or two — would allow physical room for USB-C to fit. USB-C would also endow the iPhone with iPad Pro-like functionality, like the ability to connect to monitors and USB-C flash drives.

A new smaller iPhone with a notch-free display and in-display Touch ID fingerprint reader could also compete with Android phones with the same features. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimsa 5.4-inch iPhone is reportedly slated for 2020 and a Credit Suisse analyst says Apple’s working on an in-display fingerprint reader, despite insisting Face ID is the better and more natural biometric system for iPhones.

I’d also love a design refresh that mirrors the iPad Pro’s straight edges and throws it back to the boxier iPhone 5/5S/SE days.

Future MacBooks and iMacs

Kill the Touch Bar, add a touchscreen, and bring back a memory card slot, please!
Kill the Touch Bar, add a touchscreen, and bring back a memory card slot, please!

I’ve outlined before what the death of the 12-inch MacBook could mean for future Apple laptops. Namely, this is Apple’s chance to kill its almost controversial “butterfly keyboard” and switch back to scissor-style keys with more travel. Similarly, Apple can dump the Touch Bar and bring back the row of function keys while still keeping Touch ID inside of the power button like on the MacBook Air

Like the iPhone, I wouldn’t mind if Apple made the MacBook Air and Pro marginally thicker and heavier to add in a touchscreen (gorilla arm is such a myth), higher-resolution webcam with Face ID, a memory card slot, and MagSafe. These features would put MacBooks more on par with Windows-powered alternatives such as the excellent Surface Laptop 2 and Google Pixelbook.

And while Apple’s at it making MacBooks a few hairs thicker, why not make internal components like the storage, RAM, and battery user-replaceable again? Soldering the SSD and RAM is good for making thin machines, but terrible for upgrades, repairs, and adds to e-waste.

The iMac deserves a makeover. It's been seven years since the last redesign.
The iMac deserves a makeover. It’s been seven years since the last redesign.

iMacs could also use a post-Ive revamp beyond a space gray colorway; the current design’s gone virtually unchanged since 2012. As a desktop — a computer that doesn’t move around much (if ever) — Apple has a lot more room to be bolder.

Who is the iMac for? What do people want it to do that it can’t? I imagine creatives would love an iMac that borrows from Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2 and has drafting table-like capabilities. A touchscreen with multi-touch and Apple Pencil support using a tilting stand would be neat. 

Design-wise, I’d love a Retina display that reaches closer to the edges with slimmer bezels like on the upcoming Pro Display XDR and does away with the iMac’s “chin.”

Face ID login, a new Magic Mouse that corrects this horrendous can’t-use-while-charging design, and user-swappable storage and RAM, or even a screen that rotates vertically like the Pro Display XDR would reimagine the iMac as a formidable modern all-in-one computer.

Apple Watch, Apple TV, HomePod, and beyond

There’s not much that needs improving for the Apple Watch. A camera underneath the display like the one Oppo showed off in a phone for FaceTime calls would be killer.

The Apple TV could become the game console it’s always been meant to be with its own Apple-designed gamepad; it makes even more sense with the launch of Apple Arcade this fall. The Apple TV’s Siri Remote could also use tweaking — small changes so that it’s easier to know which side is up or down.

It’s hard to say how Apple could turn around the HomePod’s misfortunes. Maybe a smaller and cheaper version or one with a screen like the Google Nest Hub

The sky really is the limit for the industrial design team Ive leaves behind. I’m not saying they should run wild and pull a Samsung with future iPhones or MacBooks that use unproven technologies like foldable screens or even release the rumored AR glasses. But bumping utility — real practical needs — higher up on the priority list could help ring in a new Apple era that’s less tone deaf.


Continue Reading

Tech News

For World Emoji Day, the Unicode Consortium redesigns its site to be more user-friendly




Ahead of World Emoji Day on Wednesday, July 17, Apple and Google announced plans to bring an expanded set of emoji to their respective platforms. Today, the Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit organization responsible for determining which emoji get the green light, is relaunching its website with an updated, modern design that aims to make its information more accessible to the general public.

Before, its website design was very basic — just text and links to various pages about the Consortium itself, the standard, miscellaneous FAQs, projects in progress and other information. It looked like a technical resource, and certainly one that hadn’t been updated in years.

With an outdated layout, ancient social share buttons and boring font choices, it really looked more like an ancient government website than a resource designed for public consumption.

Screen Shot 2019 07 17 at 2.05.49 PM

Above: the old site 

That changes with the redesign. Not only is the site more mainstream-friendly, it more actively encourages participation and involvement from the public.

Unicode  is a global technology standard that is one of the core building blocks of the internet,” said Unicode board member Greg Welch in an announcementabout the changes to the site. “Unicode has helped facilitate the work of programmers and linguists from around the world since the 1990s. But with the rise of mobile devices and public enthusiasm for emoji, we knew it was time to redesign the Unicode website to make information more easily accessible, and increase community involvement,” he says.

Screen Shot 2019 07 17 at 2.08.25 PM

Above: the Emoji section on the new site

Although the Consortium itself is focused more broadly on developing text standards, their work with emoji now gets the most attention. Today, emoji are used by 92% of the world’s online population, which has put the organization into the spotlight, it says.

The updated site was built with help from a team of designers from Adobe, and features a homepage covered in emoji. The main navigation directs visitors to information about emoji, including how to submit a proposal for a new emoji (which is still not a user-friendly a process), as well as information about “adopting” an emoji — that is, a way to offer a tax-deductible donation to the Unicode Consortium while gaining access to a custom badge you can show off on your own website or social media accounts.

There are currently 136,000 emoji available for “adoption,” the organization notes, including the newly announced additions like the sloth, sea otter, waffle and Saturn.

The new site is definitely more attractive and easier to use following the redesign. But for those who miss the classic look, it’s still live at (Often, you’ll hit the old site when you click through links from the new one. The redesign only goes so deep, it seems.)

While the redesign is welcome, people in search of information about their favorite emoji — like, how it looks on different platforms, when it was officially added or what the emoji means, for example — may find the website Emojipediaa better bet.


Continue Reading


%d bloggers like this: