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Facebook Reportedly Collects Data About Abortion Seekers

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Facebook Dragged To Court For Spying On Instagram Users

According to reports, Facebook is gathering data on people who visit the websites of so-called crisis pregnancy centers, causing privacy experts to worry that information about abortion seekers could be misused.

An examination by journalism non-profits in collaboration The Center for Investigative Reporting’s The Markup and Reveal evaluated over 2,500 crisis pregnancy center websites and discovered that at least 294 of them shared visitor information with Facebook. Information on whether a person is considering abortion or attempting to obtain emergency contraception or a pregnancy test was among the sensitive personal data.

Concerns about how such data could be used to identify abortion seekers have grown since Politico reported in early May on a leaked Supreme Court draft judgment suggesting the court will overturn the historic Roe v. Wade ruling. Late in May, US legislators requested Google to stop collecting and storing user location data, claiming that it may be used to track down women seeking abortions. Although the Supreme Court judgment has not yet been made public, it is expected to overturn national constitutional protections for abortion rights. Individual states would then decide whether abortion should be restricted or prohibited.

According to Reveal and The Markup, Facebook’s usage of data about abortion seeking is unclear.

However, privacy experts warn that in states where abortion is illegal, opponents of the procedure could use such information to prosecute abortion seekers. They claim that crisis pregnancy clinics, which exist to urge people not to have abortions, might use the information to target advertising or misinformation at them to discourage them from doing so.

According to the news sources, Facebook parent firm Meta’s system is “intended to screen out potentially sensitive data,” and sending “sensitive information about people” through the company’s business tools is against Facebook’s regulations for apps and websites. CNET received the same statement from Hogan.

It’s unclear whether Facebook’s filters spotted the sensitive material, according to Reveal and The Markup. Strengthening the social media platform’s filters or getting rid of a technology called the Meta Pixel, which allows websites to track visitor activity, are two suggestions from privacy experts for preventing data exploitation.

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Instagram Testing New Tool for Age Verification

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According to parent company Meta, Instagram is developing a new feature to stop minors from impersonating adults. Instagram will request identification if a user whose account indicates they are under 18 tries to manually change their date of birth on the platform.

A valid ID or driver’s license, “social vouching,” in which three adult users are asked to verify the age, or a video selfie are the three methods that people can demonstrate their age.

With social vouching, the three adult users must answer to the request within three days and cannot be vouching at the same time for anybody else. Instagram sends a video selfie to Yoti, a business whose technology can determine someone’s age based on their facial traits. Instagram explains how to take the video and claims that the selfies are erased once the verification process is over.

Younger users who have already informed Instagram that they are adults will not be caught by its new tool. Although Meta’s blog post does not specifically mention it, the new tool will be used to verify that users of the app are at least 13 years old in order to join up. 

Over the past year, Instagram has been the subject of inquiries questioning the app’s influence on teenagers. Attorneys general from a number of jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, Florida, and California, started scrutinizing Meta, claiming the firm was aware that Instagram could be harmful to children’s physical and emotional health. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal ran a series based in part on hacked papers, one of which claimed that Facebook was aware of Instagram’s “toxic” effects on teen girls’ body image and mental health.

Meta disputed the claims made by the states and added that the Journal had incorrectly described the leaked documents. The business said that some internal studies had revealed that using Instagram had improved some youngsters’ perceptions of their bodies.

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Alexa Could One Day Speak in Your Dead Loved One’s Voice

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One day, Amazon Alexa might be able to speak to you in the voices of departed loved ones. At Amazon’s re:MARS conference on Wednesday, the new voice assistant feature was noted as a method to “make memories last.”

Alexa would be able to mimic a person’s voice when speaking after less than a minute of listening to that person’s speech. According to Sky News, a child in a video of the feature asked Alexa to read them a story, and she agreed before changing her voice.

It’s unclear how far along the feature is in development or when Alexa voice assistants might start receiving it. We might not see this functionality any time soon because the re:MARS (for machine learning, automation, robots, and space) event highlights what Amazon is doing in ambient computing, including developments in Alexa.

The capacity to replicate a voice pattern precisely raises security concerns as well, but we’ll reserve judgment until we know how well Alexa can imitate a voice after only hearing it briefly. We’ll also watch how the function is accepted; even though it appears to require consent from users, there are ethical concerns over the rights of the deceased’s voice and how long they should be preserved.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the voice-imitating tool isn’t specifically designed for family members who have passed away. It is based on recent developments in text-to-speech technology, which are detailed in an Amazon white paper from this year. The team applied a voice filter to produce high-quality voice with much less data than was required when hours-long voice recordings in a professional studio were used to create the voice files.

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Twitter Tests Long-Form Notes That Let People Go Beyond the Character Limit

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Twitter said on Wednesday that it is testing Notes, a tool similar to a blog post that lets users publish longer pieces of writing on the social network.

By eliminating the need to use the Twitter thread and divide their views across numerous tweets, the functionality makes it simpler for people to publish long-form work. The content of notes can also contain images, videos, tweets, or GIFs.

“As the platform for writers, it’s clear that Twitter is essential — from the proximity to an engaged audience, to the conversation around a writer’s work, to the community of readers (and, often, cheerleaders) that Twitter provides, to the critical role it plays in the livelihoods and careers of writers, on and off Twitter,” Twitter’s editorial director, Rembert Browne, said in a Note on the platform.

Both on and off Twitter, users can read Notes, and you can see all of a person’s Notes on the new tab on their profile. According to Twitter, the Notes test is being conducted by a small number of writers in the US, Canada, UK, and Ghana. When Notes might be made more readily available is not yet known by the company.

A long-requested feature from anyone who has ever made a typo in a tweet, an edit button was finally being tested by Twitter in April. The website has now launched Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service that enables users to edit tweets, submit longer videos, and read news without advertisements.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is in the middle of a proposed $44 billion acquisition of the platform. Musk has said he wants to quash bots on the platform and get 1 billion users on Twitter.

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