Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 12th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt April 12 - 2017
A female Aedes aegypti mosquito, known to be a carrier of the Zika virus, acquires a
blood meal on the arm of a researcher at the Biomedical Sciences Institute of
Sao Paulo University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A report by the United Nations Development
Program and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
says the Zika virus epidemic is expected to have a significant short and long-term
economic and social impact in the Americas.
NEW YORK - Facebook is launching a
resource to help you spot false news and
misleading information that spreads on its
The resource, similar to previous efforts
around privacy and security, is basically a
notification that pops up for a few days.
Clicking on it takes you to tips and other
information on how to spot false news and
what to do about it.
Tips to spot false news include looking
closely at website addresses to see if they
are trying to spoof real news sites, and check-
ing websites' "about" sections for more
information. Some sites might look like real
news at first glance, but their "about" sec-
tions inform the visitor that they are in fact
Adam Mosseri, vice president of News
Feed at Facebook, said he hopes people will
become "more discerning consumers" of
The new feature is part of a broader plan
by Facebook to clamp down false news sto-
ries, which gained outsized attention in the
months leading up to the 2016 U.S. presi-
False news, of course, was around long
before the election. But supermarket tabloids
peddling stories about aliens and celebrity
miracles are less insidious than, say, "Piz-
zagate," a false internet rumor that led a
gunman to fire an assault weapon inside a
Washington pizzeria in December.
Facebook has been "working very hard to
figure out how to get their arms wrapped
around this," said Lucy Dalglish, journalism
dean at the University of Maryland. "Face-
book was always very interested technology
but not the social and civic implications of
technology. It's like they have become citi-
She praised the company for seeking help
from outside experts, including academics,
researchers and nonprofit journalism orga-
The company, for instance, is working
with outside fact-checking and media orga-
nizations to identify false news as such. And
once they are identified, Facebook is trying
to dry up the "economic incentives" of false
news sites by making it difficult for them
to buy ads on Facebook.
Mosseri said most of the false news con-
tent on Facebook is from spammers trying
to seek a profit and not, for example, polit-
ical propaganda. This is apparent as the sites
often flip-flop around opposing political
candidates or ideologies, for example, or
have multiple pages that support different
Facebook's other efforts include the cre-
ation, with other companies, groups and
tech leaders, of a "news integrity" nonprof-
it to promote news literacy and increase the
public's trust in journalism. A nascent Face-
book Journalism Project , meanwhile, is a
lofty effort to work with news organizations
to develop products, provide tools for jour-
nalists and generally promote trust in news.
The new feature will be available in 14
countries, including the U.S., Germany,
France, Italy, the U.K., Philippines, Taiwan
Also on Thursday, Facebook said that its
messaging app, Messenger, will soon start
showing users suggestions from a virtual
assistant to users in the U.S. The artificial
intelligence-powered assistant, called M, will
suggest things it deems might be helpful to
users based on the conversations they are
having. This can include sending stickers,
sharing your location with a friend to meet
up, hailing a ride or sending money to friends.
The more someone uses M, the "smarter"
it gets - and if the suggestions are routine-
ly ignored, it will stop providing them. While
having a virtual assistant monitor your pri-
vate messages can sound creepy, Facebook
stresses that there is no advertising com-
ponent to the move.
Facebook unveiled M in 2015, but until
now it's only been testing out the suggestions
with a small percentage of Messenger users.
REPORT SAYS COST OF ZIKA
ESTIMATED AT UP TO $18 BILLION
SAO PAULO - A new international report says the Zika
virus epidemic may be imposing billions of dollars of costs
on nations across the Americas.
The report issued in New York Thursday by the U.N.
Development Program and the International Federation of
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says the costs through
2017 alone are likely to total $7 billion to $18 billion.
It says greater efforts are needed to control the Aedes
aegypti mosquito that spreads Zika as well as dengue,
chikunguya and yellow fever.
The virus wasn't considered a major health threat until
a 2015 outbreak in Brazil revealed that Zika can lead to
severe birth defects. In February 2016, the World Health
Organization declared Zika a global emergency, and epi-
demics have been reported in at least 70 countries. (AP)
Facebook launches resource
to help spot misleading news
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