Tech Companies Fear Regulations
Companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google could face regulation nightmares if the recent recommendations of the UK parliament’s report come to pass. The regulations are mostly based on fake news. According to the report, there should be a new legal framework for technology companies, imposing a requirement for them to take down any content that’s illegal and harmful. So far, tech companies were not liable for the content hosted by them if it’s not been marked as inappropriate or harmful.
The report argues that companies should be liable for “both content that has been referred to them for takedown by their users, and other content that should have been easy for the tech companies to identify for themselves”.
The recommendation would formalize in law what some of the largest companies have been doing in practice from the start. Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook are the three largest platforms in the UK. All the stated platforms police their sites for any illegal content.
Twitter removes 73% of terror accounts proactively before they even tweet. However, companies such as Twitter worry that the law could lead to censorship that would be less than desirable. For example. YouTube struggles to distinguish terrorist propaganda and news reports on terrorism. Currently, YouTube is making mistakes in both directions, but with the law imposed on them, it would likely lead them to remove some valid materials that should stay online.
X-Ray Technology Reveals Matter Around Black Hole
A collaboration between Sweden and Japan resulted in scientists clarifying how gravity affects the shape of never-before-seen matter around a black hole. Their findings which were published in Nature Astronomy could help scientists understand strong gravity and evolution of galaxies and black holes.
Near the center of the constellation of Cygnus there is a star orbiting the first black hole discovered in the universe. The binary system is known as Cygnus X-1. The black hole is also the brightest source of x-rays in the sky.
Talking a photo of a black hole is not an easy task since there is no possibility of observing a black hole since light can’t escape it. Instead of observing the black hole, scientists can observe the light coming from the matter close to the black hole. In the case of Cygnus X-1, the matter comes from the star which closely orbits the black hole.
The team of scientists were trying to figure out the source of the light and where it was scattered. To make these measurements they managed to launch an X-ray polarimeter. Researchers are planning to discover more characteristics of black holes. They are focusing on its spin that which could provide more clues into the evolution of the black hole. It could be slowing down or spinning faster since the beginning of the universe.
“The black hole in Cygnus is one of many,” according to Takahashi. “We would like to study more black holes using X-ray polarimetry, like those closer to the center of galaxies. Maybe we better understand black hole evolution, as well as galaxy evolution.”
Google Following Apple by Cleaning its Play Store
Google is checking the apps which were published in the Play Store. According to their recent update, the company will ban a wide variety of apps including cryptocurrency, miners, companies selling firearms and accessories, those apps that aim to trick children to download adult-themed apps, and apps built on automated tools or wizards services. Apple did the same thing last year in December and it resulted in great controversy and backlash. Even a US Congressman reached out to Apple to clarify its intentions and to reconsider their policy.
Apps made with wizards and simple templates often spam apps and make the App or Play store filled with clutter. However, two tech companies are wiping out small business from being able to participate in the app world.
Last year, many small businesses and non-profit organization who used an app template service had to create their own app. Wizards and templates are often used by schools, clubs, restaurants, churches and other small business that could not afford to create a new design for their app. It remains to be seen how Google will deal with cleaning up their Play Store.