Terrible 2019 for Facebook

2019 was not fun for Facebook. The social networking giant spends most of the year explaining the alleged Russian affliction of 126 million people and meddling in the US election.

After that incident, Facebook’s reputation was greatly reduced and the company was put under scrutiny by the US government. Suddenly, members of Congress began to speak out about stricter federal law, foreshadowing bad news to Facebook. If the company thinks 2017 is bad, 2018 could be a nightmare.

In the first few months of 2018, a massive personal information leak affected millions of Facebook users. In March, it was discovered that Cambridge Analytica (CA) used a Facebook app called thisisyourdigitalife to collect users’ private information for political purposes, without their permission.

In April, Facebook announced that Cambridge Analytica could collect data for 87 million users, much larger than the original report.

Not bad enough, Facebook actually knew about the CA’s behavior but chose not to publish it. Only when the New York Times, Guardian and Observer reported together did the social network revealed the incident. The company said that the CA did not break into the user account, but that the user had chosen to register for the application of the CA. However, this announcement did not make the situation any brighter, especially when Facebook waited for 2 years after learning the new incident to speak out.

Not surprisingly, the CA case and Facebook’s views have sounded a warning bell for Washington politics as well as governments around the world. A month after the press spoke about the CA, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to go to Congress for a hearing.

Much of the hearing is an missed opportunity and we know nothing more about the world’s largest social network. Is it just a warning from the government that they will keep a close eye on Facebook. “Unless explicitly stated by the government agency,” Senator Richard Blumenthal told Zuckerberg, “I don’t see how you can change the business model that is maximizing profits and sacrificing the privacy of personal.”

The situation continues to deteriorate throughout the year for Facebook. The media reported that the WhatsApp messaging app helped the drug smuggling boom in Mozambique and other examples show how bad guys can use the platform to profit.

When we thought that might be enough for Facebook, it revealed a security issue that exposed the privacy of 29 million users, including 14 million records including very detailed information. about life. The leak was due to a bug on the Facebook website that allowed hackers to gain access to the user’s name and contact details, as well as the status of marriage, hometown, place of residence, education and business process. . There are also details such as check-in places, words searched on Facebook and devices they have used…

In October, the New York Times published an article about how Myanmar’s military used Facebook to spread fake news, citing the Rohingya massacre. The article called this an information war on social networks and its consequence was the trigger of a true ethnic massacre.

In mid-December, Facebook announced another bug that allowed third-party apps to access unpublished photos of nearly 7 million users. Worth mentioning is that Facebook has known this since September.

“Facebook’s reputation is in a death spiral, but I don’t think that’s important,” said Will Potter, a fake news expert at the University of Michigan. “The strength of Facebook does not come from prestige, but from the popularity. My real worry is that we are getting stumped with these cases, we are clinging to technology giants who are violating our rights. ”

The thought of 2018 is done with this social network, The New York Times quoted 60 people interviewed, including former Facebook employees, saying that companies like Amazon, Microsoft or Netflix … have greater access. into user data. They can even write, read and delete private messages. And Facebook, still the same, waited until the incident was exposed before saying anything …

So after a scandal-filled year, can we expect the government to monitor and correct Facebook’s problems? This is hard to say. It is still too early to see if laws such as the European General Information Privacy Regulation (GDPR) can put Facebook under control. This regulation will allow users to better control personal data, and require companies to disclose any information leak within 72 hours.

In the US, passing laws against Facebook is difficult because it must be passed by the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, and will cause controversy over freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Anyway, Facebook probably wouldn’t want its name to always be mentioned negatively by governments. Sure, the company will still make billions of dollars in revenue every quarter, but growth is slowing. Perhaps this endless chain of social network mistakes is gradually showing their consequences.

Worn with this robotic “mantle”, any object can move

Robot Skins technology developed by researchers at Yale University (USA) allows users to turn everyday objects into robots.

When we think of robots, we often envision a stereoscopic machine, designed to serve a purpose. However, researchers at Yale University approached from a different perspective, designing “robot skin layers” that wrap around an object and control its movement.

This is considered a great solution, which can help astronauts complete various missions in space. The inventors hope that it can also create certain applications on Earth.

Researcher Joran Booth said: “This is a flat robot with artificial muscles attached to it along with sensors that detect the elasticity of the aforementioned muscles. We can control what it wraps around. ”

Any soft object is capable of becoming a robot when this skin surrounds it, such as a piece of foam tube, a ball or even a stuffed horse, as shown in a video provided by Yale University. grant.

This robot can be used in all cases depending on the nature of the object underneath the skin and how the skin is covered.

In a space-like environment, where astronauts have limited mobility but must perform unforeseen missions, these robots, which don’t take up a lot of space, can help adjust. objects, will become very useful. They were designed in a robot lab by Professor Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio of Yale University’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

When NASA (USAF) proposed the design of a soft robot system to support astronauts, Professor Kramer-Bottiglio thought of some limitations when it came to space. is because shipping costs are relatively high. The question arises: should we reduce the number of robots in space together with reducing the weight and size of robots?

An unexpectedly difficult part of this project was to make all the parts of the robot work together, namely, the artificial muscles, the “skin” and the sensors that connected them. The team struggled to make the sensors recognize the length of the artificial muscle and make the entire system work together. In the study, they demonstrated that it is possible to create different shapes of skin layers and the type of “muscles” that move at will.

“In the future, these types of robot skin will have great potential,” Mr. Booth said. Following the examples given in the study, the elastic skin layer with pneumatic actuators (called muscles), the leather fabric and triangular cloth with the vertical alloy actuator. On both sides, they can all be applied to the same object by stacking if you want to create more complex gestures.

These flat robots have a lot of potential applications, from creating a shirt that can correct a person’s posture (shown in the study) to a clamping device for taking things.

“Our idea is simple, however, we couldn’t find anything like that in any of the documents. We think this is because the idea is not really biologically inspired, because we haven’t found any examples of natural organisms with passive bodies while the skin is active. However, when building artificial systems, this approach will give us a huge design space, ”said Professor Kramer-Bottiglio.

The research received a $ 2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to further streamline devices and apply 3D printing capabilities on components. This leather device can also be applied to search and rescue robot technology to technology accessories. The only question now is how to name this flat robot. “Roll” or “dumplings”?