Covid-19 Misinformation in Social Media

The issue of infertility caused by the Covid-19 vaccine has been in the rise, especially being shared across social media – google, facebook, etc. Scientists say there’s no evidence that supports the claim. Seems this is same as being shared before about the Flu shot that causes same level of uncertainty. Public health officials though are trying to help the public to feel more comfortable in getting the vaccine in order to reach herd immunity.

The Influence of Social Media in Politics — Monday Matters Blog by Ragan

In the article, “The Power of Social Media in Politics continues in 2021”, Arika Ho reviews the many ways that social media has influenced politics not only in the United States but all over the world. Ho argues that social media media has created a lot of momentum and awareness to many political campaigns and […]

The Influence of Social Media in Politics — Monday Matters Blog by Ragan

Google acquires Fitbit

Fitbit just announced today that they will be joining Google, here’s James Park (CEO, President and Co-Founder) official statement —

I’m writing today to let you know that Fitbit is now officially part of Google. It’s an incredibly exciting moment for us as a company and for our Fitbit community of users around the globe.

When Eric and I founded Fitbit 13 years ago, we did so with a simple, but bold idea: to make everyone in the world healthier. Since shipping the original Fitbit tracker in 2009 to now having sold more than 120 million devices in over 100 countries, this mission has never wavered. Instead, millions of you joined that mission, and made Fitbit a movement that transformed lives. In some cases, we heard from our users that we even helped save lives. Together, we’ve taken 275 trillion steps and logged over 15 billion hours of sleep.

This is just the beginning because becoming part of the Google family means we can do even more to inspire and motivate you on your journey to better health. We’ll be able to innovate faster, provide more choices, and make even better products to support your health and wellness needs. On our own, we pushed the bounds of what was possible from the wrist, pioneering step, heart rate, sleep and stress tracking. With access to Google’s incredible resources, knowledge and global platform, the possibilities are truly limitless.

I have no doubt that this acquisition will create so many opportunities. But I also want you to know that many of the things you know and love about Fitbit will remain the same. We’ll stay committed to doing what’s right, to putting your health and wellness at the center of everything we do and to offering a no-one-size-fits-all approach with choices that work across both Android and iOS.

The trust of our users will continue to be paramount, and we will maintain strong data privacy and security protections, giving you control of your data and staying transparent about what we collect and why. Google will continue to protect Fitbit users’ privacy and has made a series of binding commitments with global regulators, confirming that Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google ads and this data will be kept separate from other Google ad data. Google also affirmed it will continue to allow Fitbit users to choose to connect to third party services. That means you’ll still be able to connect your favorite health and wellness apps to your Fitbit account. These and other commitments by Google reinforce why Google is an ideal partner for Fitbit who will continue to put our users first and help further our mission to make everyone in the world healthier.

Thank you for letting us be part of your lives and your health journey.

Sincerely,

James Park
CEO, President & Co-Founder

In a related post Google’s Senior VP Rick Osterioh adds,

Technology can change the way people manage their health and wellness, and that’s especially important these days. We’ll work closely to create new devices and services that help you enhance your knowledge, success, health and happiness. Your privacy and security are paramount to achieving this and we are committed to protecting your health information and putting you in control of your data. 

This deal has always been about devices, not data, and we’ve been clear since the beginning that we will protect Fitbit users’ privacy….

Amazon countersuits Parler

The attempted coup on the US Capitol on January 6th forced several tech companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to ban US President Donald Trump for its failure to comply with its policies inciting an insurrection, which caused deaths, damages, and theft. Parler, a “free speech” social media app used by pro-Trump members was also shut down filed a breach of contract against Amazon. On Tuesday January 12th however, Amazon submitted a new filing in Federal court in response to Parler’s claims (see snapshot of the case below)

This case is not about suppressing speech or stifling viewpoints. It is not about a conspiracy to restrain trade. Instead, this case is about Parler’s demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove from the servers of Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) content that threatens the public safety, such as by inciting and planning the rape, torture, and assassination of named public officials and private citizens. There is no legal basis in AWS’s customer agreements or otherwise to compel AWS to host content of this nature. AWS notified Parler repeatedly that its content violated the parties’ agreement, requested removal, and reviewed Parler’s plan to address the problem, only to determine that Parler was both unwilling and unable to do so. AWS suspended Parler’s account as a last resort to prevent further access to such content, including plans for violence to disrupt the impending Presidential transition.

Despite Parler’s rhetoric, its lawsuit is no more than a meritless claim for breach of contract. But the facts are unequivocal: If there is any breach, it is Parler’s demonstrated failure and inability to identify and remove such content. AWS was well within its rights to suspend Parler immediately for those failures. Parler also cannot hold AWS liable in tort for enforcing the agreement’s express terms. And there is no antitrust claim where, as here, Parler cannot plausibly plead an agreement to cause it harm and the complained-of conduct is undeniably compatible with a legitimate purpose.

Compelling AWS to host content that plans, encourages, and incites violence would be unprecedented. Parler has no likelihood of prevailing on the merits, and the balance of equities and public interest strongly tip against an injunction. The motion for a temporary restraining order should be denied.

Read the full story from [gizmodo.com]

Google – Year in Search 2020

2020 brought all sorts of challenges to people across the globe. This year, many tried to understand and find meaning of the events that have happened, we asked “Why” more than ever this year.

“Why is it called Covid-19?”, “Why is Parasite so good?” and “Why is Australia burning?” were some of the questions people searched for this year per Google. This along with major events — Covid-19 pandemic, Kobe and Gianna’s untimely demise, Black Lives Matter, and the US elections made 2020 a year truly worth remembering.

2020 may have been tough for most of us, but it has also shown our resilience. Here’s to a hopeful and better 2021, Happy New Year!

Explore more trends from the year at https://google.com/yearinsearch #YearInSearch

Find Your Inner Poet with Google’s Verse by Verse AI

“when art and science intertwine, the world becomes much more fine”… yep that’s a sad attempt of the poet in me.. well i hope things get better as today Google launched Verse by Verse, an experiment using artificial intelligence (AI) to augment the creative process of composing a poem.

using Verse by Verse, you can compose a poem with suggestions coming from some of America’s classic poets: Dickinson, Whitman, Poe, Wheatley, Longfellow and others. in order to make this possible, they’ve trained AI systems that provide suggestions in the style of each individual poet to act as your muses while you compose a poem of your own.

Verse by Verse is a creative helper and for sure an inspiration. try it out! visit [https://sites.research.google/versebyverse/] or learn more via [Google Blog]

tech companies take a stand on #blacklivesmatter

We are certainly in dire times, but one good thing that came out of the recent protests over the death of George Floyd, is how technology and social media played its role to enforce awareness of police violence and the long-running systemic racism against black people in America.  This has also caught the eye of the world and lately, several tech companies showed where they stand.
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook also has more work to do to keep people safe and ensure our systems don’t amplify bias.“ However, he also declined to take down President Trump’s “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” message.
Jeff Bezos – “You’re the kind of customer I’m happy to lose” referring to a man who has hateful messages even using the n-word when Amazon last weekend showed “Black Lives Matter” banner on its site.  He further pledges $10M to organizations fighting systemic racism against black Americans.
Twitter, Reddit, Google, and Airbnb are among the other companies that have endorsed Black Lives Matter and committed to anti-racism (see more via axios.com)
Want to know more about how systemic racism works? See this video by act.tv