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Comment: Re:Outrage due to Censorship, not the test (Score 1) 219

by lennier (#47354819) Attached to: Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?

I talked to several (non-tech) friends about this, and they were more upset about Facebook "censoring" out posts than the emotional manipulation.

YES. This is exactly the problem.

Those of us who understand the tech already understand that Facebook's Newsfeed is not a 'dumb pipe' and that it runs an extremely opaque and proprietary filtering algorithm. We realise that a lot of posts get silently dropped; we constantly switch from 'Top Stories' to 'Most Recent' to try to counteract this. Many of us use Twitter instead and crosspost to Facebook because we know that Twitter tends to deliver all posts rather than silently screen them.

But non-tech-savvy people - our parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts - don't realise this. They think that the posts they see on the Newsfeed are exactly and only what their friends are saying. They think that if they see something with a thousand Likes, it's because their friends like it too. And why wouldn't they? To them, Facebook is a messaging service, not a media service. They know that TV and newspapers filter and select content. But they don't see Facebook as a newspaper. Their prior examples of messaging services are the telephone, post office, and then email - all three systems are ones that place a very high priority, almost a moral imperative, on the message always goes through unchanged without alteration or censorship. If they thought about it - which they generally don't - they'd expect that there was actually something in the user contract that specified this, because hey, isn't that the way things have always been? Isn't there something in the Constitution about freedom of speech? They don't realise just to what extent the Facebook terms and conditions say 'we reserve the right to hide posts from you, and not pass your posts on'. They don't realise that Newsfeed is far more like Rupert Murdoch paper than the Post Office.

That's the scandal here. It's shocking and it should be shocking to all your non-techy, non-cynical friends to see Facebook proudly talking about how they deliberately manipulate people's Newsfeeds to not actually be a representative sample of their actual friends' actual posts.

Keep the focus on that. The scandal is about censorship, free speech, and trust, not the esoterica of experimental protocols. It's important.

Comment: Re:The difference with the USA (Score 0) 80

Like the last left-leaning government that did more damage to the nation's healthcare, social security, employee protection, financial market regulation and other sectors than the previous conservative government could've ever dreamed during its 16 years of majority?

Comment: Re:English to German is relatively easy (Score 1) 169

by lennier1 (#47118277) Attached to: Microsoft Demos Real-Time Translation Over Skype

Even with languages that share a common ancestry, these programs still have trouble when it comes to context, as shown in the following screenshot on the same topic.

In this case the software tried to translate "move", which the original text uses in the context of "cancel the lease on your apartment and move to a different address" (German word would be "umziehen") and instead picks the German word "verschieben", which is the translation in the context of "grab and item and push it until it's no longer in spot A but in spot B".
Unless the software can actually factor in the context (as Google's search algorithm often tries to do), Murphy's Law will still have a field day with words that can translate into several different and distinct ones in the other language.

Comment: Re:The Forbes author misquoted the finding. (Score 1) 557

by D-Fly (#46932067) Attached to: Actual Results of Crimean Secession Vote Leaked

Glad somebody pointed this out. The Forbes writer, and the Slashdot headline and introduction are extremely, and in the case of Forbes intentionally, misleading. Who knows, the numbers may well be true. But to say that "Actual Results were Leaked" is a crock of shit; this is just some Putin-sock-puppet human rights "council" *speculating* on what the true numbers might have been. Sort of funny that his own people are saying this, but not actually informative. Makes you more suspicious of Forbes than anything else.

They are relatively good but absolutely terrible. -- Alan Kay, commenting on Apollos