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Scrutiny of Facebook ramps up with flurry of new reports based on leaked documents – CNET

James Martin/CNET The critical spotlight on Facebook intensified this weekend, as several major media outlets published new reports based on the cache of internal company documents leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen.On Saturday, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal published stories about misinformation and hate speech on Facebook services in India, the…

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Scrutiny of Facebook ramps up with flurry of new reports based on leaked documents     – CNET

James Martin/CNET
The critical spotlight on Facebook intensified this weekend, as several major media outlets published new reports based on the cache of internal company documents leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen.On Saturday, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal published stories about misinformation and hate speech on Facebook services in India, the company’s largest market. And The Washington Post reported on concern among Facebook employees about the role the site played in the spread of misinformation that helped fuel the deadly Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol.

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The Post’s report followed stories on Friday by Bloomberg and NBC News that also focused on the spread of misinformation on Facebook in the US, and those reports came on top of similar Friday stories in the Journal and the Times.In its story about the social network and India, the Times reports that in February 2019, a Facebook researcher opened a new user account in Kerala, India, to get an idea of what site users there would see. The researcher followed the recommendations generated by the social network’s algorithms to watch videos, check out new pages and join groups on Facebook. “The test user’s News Feed has become a near constant barrage of polarizing nationalist content, misinformation, violence and gore,” an internal Facebook report said later that month, according to the Times.That echoes the findings of a similar 2019 project conducted by a Facebook researcher in the US, who set up a test account for “Carol Smith,” a fictitious “conservative mom” in North Carolina. In two days, NBC News reported, the social network was recommending that she join groups dedicated to the bogus QAnon conspiracy theory. According to NBC, the experiment was outlined in an internal Facebook report called “Carol’s Journey to QAnon,” a document also referenced by the Times, the Journal and the Post.

“The body of research consistently found Facebook pushed some users into ‘rabbit holes,’ increasingly narrow echo chambers where violent conspiracy theories thrived,” the NBC News report reads. “People radicalized through these rabbit holes make up a small slice of total users, but at Facebook’s scale, that can mean millions of individuals.”The flurry of new reports based on documents leaked by Haugen follows an earlier investigation in the Journal that relied on that same cache of information. The new stories also come after Haugen’s testimony this month before the US Congress as lawmakers in the US and elsewhere wrestle with whether to regulate Facebook and other Big Tech companies, and if so, how. Haugen is scheduled to testify before the UK Parliament on Monday.In a broad sense, the issue has to do with whether Facebook can be relied on to responsibly balance business motives with social concerns and do away with the flood of dangerous content that has spread on its various social-networking platforms. The company’s algorithms drive user engagement, but they can also create problems when it comes to misinformation, hate speech and the like. The issue is complicated by the need to respect free speech while cracking down on problematic posts.Critics say Facebook has already dropped the ball too many times when it comes to policing its platforms and that the company puts profits ahead of people. In her testimony before the US Congress, Haugen alleged that Facebook’s products “harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy.”Facebook, on the other hand, has said that internal documents are being misrepresented and that a “false picture” is being painted of the social-networking giant. “I’m sure many of you have found the recent coverage hard to read because it just doesn’t reflect the company we know,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in an email to employees earlier this month. “We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health.”Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday on the new batch of reports based on documents leaked by Haugen. In a Friday blog post, the head of Facebook’s integrity efforts defended the company’s actions to protect the 2020 US presidential elections and outlined the steps taken by the social network.In regard to the Times’ report about India, a Facebook spokesman told the news outlet that the social network had put significant resources into technology designed to root out hate speech in various languages, including Hindi and Bengali, and that this year, Facebook had halved the amount of hate speech that users see worldwide.In regard to its “Carol’s Journey to QAnon” report, a Facebook spokesperson told NBC News that the document points to the company’s efforts to solve problems around dangerous content. “While this was a study of one hypothetical user, it is a perfect example of research the company does to improve our systems and helped inform our decision to remove QAnon from the platform,” the spokesperson told the news outlet.

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Holiday gift ideas you can send instantly, no shipping required – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift. Holiday shoppers might run into a few obstacles this season in their quests to stuff stockings. Even with stores launching early Black Friday deals, supply chains are feeling…

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Holiday gift ideas you can send instantly, no shipping required     – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.

Holiday shoppers might run into a few obstacles this season in their quests to stuff stockings. Even with stores launching early Black Friday deals, supply chains are feeling the impact of COVID-19. Online shopping skyrocketed last year with more people being at home. As a result, manufacturers, retailers and the shipping companies struggled to keep up without compromising workers’ health and safety.Holiday shopping might be a bit challenging this year with supply chain shortages.
Sarah Tew/CNET
Even ordering gifts before Black Friday isn’t a guarantee that your stuff will arrive in time for Christmas or Hanukkah. We’re not saying the holidays are a wash and your purchases are guaranteed to be late, but 2021 might be the year to think out of the gift-giving box. We rounded up a list of great subscription service gifts that everyone on your shopping list will love. Added bonus? They won’t go out of stock. We’ve linked either to the service’s page where you can buy directly, or the appropriate website to buy a gift card.

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Apple Watch SE sale: Save $60 for Black Friday and Cyber Monday – CNET

The Apple Watch SE is available for an all-time low of $220, and it’s unlikely to hit a lower price in 2021. Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift. Black Friday has…

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Apple Watch SE sale: Save $60 for Black Friday and Cyber Monday     – CNET

The Apple Watch SE is available for an all-time low of $220, and it’s unlikely to hit a lower price in 2021.
Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET
This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.

Black Friday has brought the Apple Watch SE to $220 Target and Amazon. The Apple Watch SE usually starts at $279, so would-be smartwatch owners stand to save about $60. If you’re on the hunt for Apple Black Friday deals, this is one of the best you’ll find. Best Buy also offered the Apple Watch SE at the same discount earlier, but prices have since gone back up. Last year’s Black Friday sales brought the Apple Watch SE to $229, and the current sale price will probably be best Black Friday Apple Watch deal we get in 2021.That price applies to the GPS-only version of the watch in the 40mm size option, and available color choices include silver, gold and space gray. The watch is currently backordered but should still arrive before Christmas, as Amazon estimates it should be delivered by Dec. 16. With the Apple Watch SE, you get a larger display like the Series 5 and 6 without the always-on aspect. You get most of the same great health-related features, activity tracking and notifications right on your wrist. While we know that the Apple Watch Series 3 will be down to $109 at Walmart next week, the Apple Watch SE is a much better long-term purchase. There are newer competing watches that work with iOS and Android, have modern features that the Series 3 doesn’t have, like an always-on display, and will likely get continued support for years. That last point is worth keeping in mind, since there’s no guarantee that the Series 3 will see the inevitable next WatchOS version (probably WatchOS 9) after already receiving four years of support. So be sure to grab an Apple Watch SE now before they sell out.

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The best Black Friday and early Cyber Monday deals at Target – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift. Black Friday has come and gone but the deals are lingering like that one cousin on Thanksgiving. Speaking of deals, Cyber Monday savings are in full swing at Target.…

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The best Black Friday and early Cyber Monday deals at Target     – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.

Black Friday has come and gone but the deals are lingering like that one cousin on Thanksgiving. Speaking of deals, Cyber Monday savings are in full swing at Target. The retailer’s Black Friday into Cyber Monday sale includes one of the lowest prices ever on the Apple Watch SE (but act fast, as there is limited availability). You’ll also find major price drops on Google Pixel 6, Oculus Quest 2 and more. The sale is officially set to expire today (Saturday, Nov. 27), but if we know anything about these big holiday sales you can bet some of the best Black Friday deals will roll over into Cyber Monday too.You can browse all of the hundreds of deals happening now at Target on its Black Friday homepage above, but with huge sales at other major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart, who’s got the time? Well, we do. We’ve plowed through page after page to bring you the absolute best deals Target is offering right now. Note that some of these items have limited availability, and will require you to pick them up in person if they’re available at a store in your area. Without further ado, these are the best deals happening at Target.Best Black Friday deals at Target

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