9 Brands That Should Delete Their Account After That Tweet

First, a brand tweets an offensive or objectively funny thing, like McDonald’s did when its corporate Twitter published threw shade directed at President Donald Trump.

Then, typically, the brands will attribute the errant tweet to a hack or a rogue employee ― and occasionally they will issue an apology.

Last but not least, the rest of the internet makes fun of them or promises to boycott, and then we all move on. First, a brand tweets an offensive or objectively funny thing, like McDonald’s did when its corporate Twitter published threw shade directed at President Donald Trump.

But some Twitter campaigns should not be forgotten, because they are very bad, and also serve as a warning to the next generation of tweeters: Stop tweeting. Delete your account. You’re going to ruin your life.

Now come downstairs for dinner. First, a brand tweets an offensive or objectively funny thing, like McDonald’s did when its corporate Twitter published threw shade directed at President Donald Trump.

The Pros And Cons Of The Remote Work Revolution

Just under a year ago, computer manufacturer Dell announced plans to further expand their telecommuting and remote work initiatives. In doing so, they not only pointed to the time and money their employees saved by not having to commute but also the $12 million per year the company was saving in office space costs. Additionally Dell reported that productivity had not been affected negatively at all even as their remote workforce headed toward 50 percent of their total employees. However it now seems that another computer industry giant that had previously embraced a similar philosophy on telecommuting is reversing course in a big way.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, IBM has issued an ultimatum to many of their remote workers: start commuting to a regional office or resign. This decree is surprising for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that as many as 40 percent of the company’s employees worked outside of a traditional office at one point in time. Furthermore the company has even created products for what they dubbed “the anytime, anywhere workforce” — so why the change of heart?

IBM says that bringing their employees back to the office will lead to better collaboration and faster output. This may be surprising considering collaborative tools have only improved in recent years. From various cloud services that allow employees to work on the same document at one time to messaging services like Slack that make it easy for teams to communicate in a quick and organized way, arguing that collaboration is a problem now might strike some as odd. Still, one could easily argue that no amount of instant messaging and video chat compares to the creativity that flows when great minds gather in one room.

Uber Vows To Repay NYC Drivers ‘Tens Of Millions’ After Tax Snafu

Uber says it will reimburse its New York City drivers “tens of millions” of dollars in lost earnings for miscalculating its commission there for several years.

The ride-hailing company said it had inadvertently calculated its commission since November 2014 based on drivers’ “gross” fares ― before taxes and fees are taken out. Instead, it should have collected a percent of the smaller, post-tax “net” fare.

Uber said it realized the error last Friday, after it revamped how it shows drivers their earnings and discovered their commissions violated the terms of service.

The company told HuffPost it would refund drivers’ backpay they’re due, plus 9 percent interest. The average driver should receive around $900.

“We are committed to paying every driver every penny they are owed – plus interest – as quickly as possible,” said Rachel Holt, Regional General Manager, US & Canada, in an emailed statement. “We are working hard to regain driver trust, and that means being transparent, sticking to our word, and making the Uber experience better from end to end.”

But New York’s Independent Drivers Guild said the news is just one more sign of an industry in need of regulation.

“Uber’s theft of drivers’ hard-earned wages is the latest in a long history of underhanded tactics in this industry,” IDG founder Jim Conigliaro Jr. told HuffPost in an emailed statement.  “Year after year, companies like Uber, Lyft, Juno and Gett become more valuable and year after year they find new ways to take advantage of hard-working drivers,” he added. “This is exactly why we have been calling for industry-wide pay protections to stop the exploitation of New York’s drivers once and for all.”

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Uber President Jeff Jones abruptly quit the ride-hailing company on Sunday. Recode, which broke the news, reported that Jones’ resignation was directly related to Uber’s recent pileup of controversies that included a culture of rampant sexism and harassment.

Jones’ tenure with the tech company lasted just six months: He left his role as chief marketing officer for Target in August 2016 to become Uber’s president. Recode, citing unnamed sources within the company, characterized Jones as a conflict-averse leader who determined that Uber’s problems were bigger than he had realized

“It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber,” Jones said in a statement to Recode.

Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick confirmed Jones’ departure in an email to employees on Sunday:

The past month and a half have been particularly bruising for the company’s image.

Kalanick was recently caught on a dashcam video chewing out one of his own drivers and bragging about the company’s hard-nosed culture. The embarrassing video prompted the 40-year-old to release a statement saying, “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up.”

Kalanick’s behavior made headlines just days after Susan Fowler, a former engineer, penned an explosive viral blog post about her year working with the company. Fowler described Uber’s workplace as a sexist, aggressive culture where her complaints of being sexually harassed by her manager were met with indifference by the human resources department and retribution by upper management.

The post prompted Uber’s early investors to call on Kalanick to change what they said was the company’s “destructive culture.”

Around the same time, the company was also contending with drivers angry over various workplace and compensation issues ― and received little relief following a public and disastrous Q&A that Jones led via Facebook.

Prior to that, Uber endured the first of two #DeleteUber campaigns after users protested the company. The company deliberately turned off surge pricing during a taxi strike at major airports around the country. Taxi drivers were striking in solidarity with the thousands of protesters who had gathered to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

Facebook Hires Thousands To Review Posts After Rash Of Live-Streamed Violence

Facebook plans to expand its community operations team by adding 3,000 people as part of a growing effort to screen and combat harmful content on the social network.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement on his Facebook page Wednesday, pledging that the new hires will help the company “get better at removing things we don’t allow on Facebook like hate speech and child exploitation.”

Zuckerberg also said the company will simplify the process for users flagging questionable content for review, and will make it easier for employees to contact law enforcement when necessary.

The additional 3,000 screeners represent a near doubling of the company’s community operations team, currently 4,500 strong.

Moderators have struggled to stamp out horrific videos before they go viral in real time. Last month, a 20-year-old man in Thailand killed his infant daughter and streamed the death on Facebook Live. Days before that, a 37-year-old man in Cleveland uploaded a video of him shooting and killing another man on Easter Sunday. That video was live on Facebook for around two hours before moderators took it down.

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Within the past ten years, the European Union (EU) has enacted laws creating a “right to be forgotten.” The basic idea is that individuals should not be perpetually stigmatized by past actions. While not without practical problems, I suggest that a formal U.S. blue-ribbon panel of experts, perhaps at the level of the American Bar Association or American Law Institute, to name two examples, study the numerous issues surrounding the question of whether or not the U.S. needs a specifically identifiable legal right to be forgotten.

Many capable commentators have already written about the pros and cons of the right to be forgotten and the right of privacy. Much recent commentary occurred after a 2014 decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Google Spain v. Agencia Espanola de Protection de Dados, Mario Costeja Gonzalez. The CJEU held that an Internet search engine must consider individual requests to remove links to Web pages when the search results “… appear to be inadequate, irrelevant …, that they are not kept up to date,… or no longer relevant or excessive… in light of the time that had lapsed.” A rejection of the request could be appealed to public authorities.

The CJEU decision in reviewing European Union law noted that the preamble of the relevant Directive (Directive 95/46) states “… data-processing systems are designed to serve man;… they must, whatever the nationality or residence of natural persons, respect their fundamental rights and freedoms, notably the right to privacy, and contribute to … the well-being of individuals;….” Essentially the EU law envisions in particular situations a balancing test between the “legitimate interest of internet users potentially interested in having access to that information…” and “the data subject’s fundamental rights….” The case in question involved a Google link to a newspaper publication 16 years earlier mentioning a private individual’s name and relating to a real estate auction for the recovery of certain debts. The CJEU ordered that the Google search link be deleted but noted that the result might be different under a variety of circumstances including “the role played by the data subject in public life.”

The following is a brief and incomplete overview of the current US legal environment with minimal legal citations in the interest of brevity.

1. The word “privacy” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution although significant U.S. Supreme Court decisions have inferred that a right to privacy does exist. The First Amendment does specifically provide powerful protection to freedom of speech and press. Hence, a preliminary question is if a Constitutional amendment directly addressing privacy is desirable, and if so, how should it be worded?

2. The idea of a right to privacy in U.S. law dates from an 1890 Harvard Law Review article, “The Right to Privacy,” written by Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren, in reaction to the sensational journalism of the yellow press. The concept was expanded to a “right to be left alone” that recognized legal tort actions for intrusion upon seclusion, public disclosure of embarrassing private facts, publicity that places one in a false light, and commercial appropriation of one’s name of likeness. Thousands of court decisions address these issues. However, much of this law was developed before the Internet age.

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Numerous reports have emerged in the past five years about a decline in petty violent crime such as muggings, pickpocketing, and even good, old-fashioned armed robbery while simultaneously witnessing a rise in cybercrime, or felonies committed over the Internet. As a result of the World Wide Web becoming the 21st century version of Central Park after midnight, increased security protocols have been invented and initiated. One of the most reliable and frequently used is the Virtual Private Network.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network technology that creates a secure network connection over a public network such as the Internet or a private network owned by a service provider. Large corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies use VPN technology to enable remote users to securely connect to a private network.

To be granted access to this private network, the user must have authentication granted through the use of a unique personal ID and password. For additional security, an authentication token is frequently used for access to the private network via a personal identification number (or PIN) which is entered by the user. The PIN is a one-time generated code that changes according to a programmed frequency, usually in 30 second intervals.

There are a number of VPN protocols in use that secure the transport of data traffic over a public network infrastructure. Each protocol varies slightly in the way that data is kept secure.

VPN technology employs sophisticated encryption to ensure security and prevent any unintentional interception of data between private sites. All traffic over a VPN is encrypted using algorithms to secure data integrity and privacy. VPN architecture is governed by a strict set of rules and standards to ensure a private communication channel between sites. Corporate network administrators are responsible for deciding the scope of a VPN, implementing and deploying a VPN, and ongoing monitoring of network traffic across the network firewall. A VPN requires administrators to be continually aware of the overall architecture and scope of the VPN to ensure communications are kept private.

A VPN is an inexpensive effective way of building a private network. The use of the Internet as the main communications channel between sites is a cost effective alternative to expensive leased private lines. These costs, to both corporations and individuals, include the network authentication hardware and software used to authenticate users and any additional mechanisms such as authentication tokens or other secure devices. The relative ease, speed, and flexibility of VPN provisioning in comparison to leased lines makes VPNs an ideal choice for businesses or individuals who require flexibility. For example, an individual can adjust the number of sites in the VPN according to changing requirements.

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When I was twelve years old and immersed in Alister MacLean, my father bemoaned the decline of reading ethics. “At your age, I could recite Hamlet backwards, you youngsters have no patience for deep reading” being the refrain. A few decades later, I have to stop myself from saying, lest I sound like grandpa, “at your age, I could read Alister MacLean in one sitting, and did not flit between 140 words“ to my twelve-year-old. Ironically, this is not a new phenomenon in human history. Socrates ranted against replacing oral learning by reading. “Literacy”, he is reported to have cautioned Plato, “could alter the kind of memory and probative processes required for the young to deeply pursue and internalize knowledge”.

Ignoring the natural resistance to change, it cannot be denied that the process of reading has changed with the emergence of digital technology. For example, the introduction and developments in e-readers in recent years, have rendered digital books competitive to conventional paper-based books. According to Pew Research Center, 27% of Americans read e-books in 2015, and this number is steadily rising. Some of the reasons for the popularity of e-books over paper books include space savings, cost cutting and reading ease; the possibility of increasing font size and backlighting in e-readers can help hypermetropic readers read more easily, to which I can attest through experience. But is there a difference in how people perceive/understand between reading from paper books and reading using digital media?

Perhaps yes. A 2013 Norwegian study of the reading pattern of tenth-graders showed that students who read on paper scored significantly better in reading comprehension than those who read texts digitally. This is attributed to the fact that paper gives spatio-temporal markers; the feel of the paper and the act of turning pages serve as memory markers that are absent while scrolling down a screen. But there are contradictory views as well, wherein, the performance vis-à-vis mode of reading is argued to depend on the attitude and preference of the reader. In one such study, readers who preferred to read from screens were found to perform as well as those who had read the text from paper. The Internet is peppered with arguments for and against e-readers, and there is no consensus yet on whether e-readers will replace paper books or not. Having used both forms of books, my verdict is that it won’t. While e-readers will certainly usurp a significant share of the books market, it may not replace paper books for the following reasons:

  • While backlight and adjustable font could indeed help reading, the very same backlight has been known to already cause maladies such as computer vision syndrome.
  • But, short of adopting Aristotle’s wisdom of oral understanding rather than literary understanding, the eye would bear the brunt one way or the other.
  • With adequate precautions (blinking more often, taking breaks, periodic eye checkups etc.), this drawback of digital readers could be overcome.
  • On reading a paper book, one can easily flip the pages to refer to something that appeared earlier or will appear later in the book. Such random flipping is difficult with an e-reader where, the reader has to repeatedly press buttons or swish and swipe the screen (Carpal Tunnel anyone?) for the same activity.
  • This is particularly a problem when reading non-linear text, such as non-fiction, where need for constant reference to earlier content can be a serious problem in e-readers.

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‘Let’s build a single supercomputer that is smarter than all of humanity put together.’ While that sounds ominously similar to what a mad scientist in a fictional universe would say before unleashing a deadly robotic that destroys all humanity, that is exactly the ideal behind the advancement of artificial intelligence as we have come to call it. Technologists around the world have long fantasized about an artificial intelligence so powerful, that it is smarter than all of humanity combined.They have had romantic dreams about how an advancement of that caliber could forward the scientific advancement of the human race by several millennia, provided it doesn’t kill them first.

While such a negative utopia is still far from being realized

The development of artificial intelligence has officially commenced, the only question that remains is whether it will be humanity’s greatest achievement or its biggest mistake.

Artificial intelligence is a vast and expansive genre. Progress in this genre will obviously lead to massive changes in almost every faction of life, depending on how technology as we know it impacts it today. Most of the AI manufactured today can expertize in no more than one area of intelligence and nothing more. One such example is the AI chess bot that can beat any known human in its own game, but that’s basically all it can do. The artificial intelligence in these devices is limited to a single area of functioning. While this means that a multipurpose domestic robot with near-human intelligence is yet to be scientifically possible, the drawback also allows inventors to focus on the development of intelligence in a specific genre of impact and make significant changes to it. And as long as we are talking about AI and its impact on specific areas of human life, why not discuss when and how artificial intelligence can impact and transform the internet as we know it.

For a while, the concept of AI for the Internet seemed to be pretty much in the hands of giant powerhouses like Google and Facebook, each doing its best to monopolize the genre for profit. But lately, smaller organizations with none of the funds have come up with revolutionary ideas on how to improve the web using artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence has already been creatively implemented in several ways across the internet to highlight content based on user-preference,  show targeted advertisements, predict and manipulate behavioral traits amongst users and even create and design high quality content in a breeze.

One of the most popular ways artificial intelligence has found use on the internet is via its ability to intelligently target visitors based on their behavioral patterns and use the data thus collected to supply them with content recommendations. Cybernetic giants like Google and Facebook have been known to adapt this technology quite welcomingly. Rankbrain, the revolutionary new algorithm from Google, makes use of artificial intelligence to process unique search engine queries and supply users with customized results. AdWords, Google’s advertisement counterpart, makes heavy use of artificial intelligence to target visitors on the web and supply them with tethered advertisements customized according to their behavioral patterns. As for Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has made quite a sensation these days after announcing that Facebook will be using AI to sort items in its news feed. Apart from these, several content developers such as Netflix and Amazon Cloud have adapted similar artificial intelligence technologies to target users and provide them with a selective assortment of relevant content based on their browsing history.

Rankbrain, the revolutionary new algorithm from Google, makes use of artificial intelligence to process unique search engine queries and supply users with customized results. AdWords, Google’s advertisement counterpart, makes heavy use of artificial intelligence to target visitors on the web and supply them with tethered advertisements customized according to their behavioral patterns. As for Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has made quite a sensation these days after announcing that Facebook will be using AI to sort items in its news feed. Apart from these, several content developers such as Netflix and Amazon Cloud have adapted similar artificial intelligence technologies to target users and provide them with a selective assortment of relevant content based on their browsing history.

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Free Internet
If you are a light Internet user and you live in their service area, free high-speed Internet is now available through the telecom company FreedomPop. Just go to freedompop.comand type in your address to find out if they serve your location. If they do, you’ll need to buy the $89 Freedom Hub Burst home modem that allows you to access the Internet. You simply plug it in and you’re ready to go.

FreedomPop is a non-contract service that provides 1 gigabyte (GB) of data per month for free, which is adequate for sending and receiving emails and surfing the web. If, however, you want more data for things like watching Internet videos or sharing photos you can pay $10/month for 5 GB or $18/month for 10 GB.

Cheap Internet
If FreedomPop is not available in your area, there are other providers that offer high-speed Internet at a low cost. For example, NetZero and Juno now have DSL plans for only $10 per month for the first six months with no data restrictions, provided you live in their service areas and you have a home phone line. After six months the price jumps up to $18 per month.

To search for other high-speed Internet service providers in your area, see ispprovidersinmyarea.com.

Another strategy to get cheaper high-speed Internet is to combine, or bundle it together with your TV and/or phone service. Check with the television and phone providers in your area to see what types of bundle packages they offer.

If, however, you can’t find a high-speed service that fits your budget, and you don’t mind slower service, consider getting dial-up Internet. If you have a home phone line, NetZero and Juno again provide some very inexpensive dial-up services running $10 and $11 per month respectively.

Low Income Internet
If your income is low enough and you live in a participating state, there are also a number of programs that offer low-cost high-speed Internet services. One that’s most fitting for financially challenged seniors is CenturyLink’s Internet Basics program, which is available in 37 states. This program offers high-speed DSL Internet service for just $10 a month for the first year ($21/month afterwards). It also offers offer a personal computer for just $150 and free introductory computer classes.

To qualify, you’ll need to show that you’re receiving certain types of government benefits, such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, SSI, home energy assistance or public housing assistance. Or, that your household income is at or below 135, 150 or 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines — it varies by state.