Technology

The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

March 25, 2019

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – European shares fell on Monday on concerns over sluggish global growth but an unexpected rise in German business sentiment eased fears of a recession in the bloc’s largest economy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index pared early losses to dip 0.12 percent while Frankfurt’s DAX, Milan’s, Madrid’s and Paris’s briefly turned positive after data showed German business morale improved unexpectedly in March, suggesting the country’s economy is likely to pick up in the coming months. London’s FTSE was marginally lower.

European stocks on Friday witnessed their biggest weekly decline this year following weak manufacturing data from Europe and the United States that inverted a part of the U.S. yield curve. In the past, that has signaled an upcoming recession.

“It’s the uncertainty around the outlook of the manufacturing sector which is causing the selloff which should be put into context of still a very healthy service sector,” said Mike Bell, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

“There seem to be conflicting signals from the data with one survey telling things that things are deteriorating a bit in the manufacturing side but on the other hand the IFO survey is showing a pick up.”

Among the biggest weights on the pan-region index was Germany’s Bayer, down 2.1 percent. Its chief executive said over the weekend that management retained the backing of its supervisory board despite a second U.S. ruling that its glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused cancer.

While losses in health and technology sectors weighed on the index, a rise in auto stocks and banks limited losses.

Fiat Chrysler jumped 3.2 percent. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Italian carmaker had rebuffed merger approaches by Peugeot earlier this year.

British satellite operator Inmarsat jumped 8.6 percent to lead gains on STOXX after a private equity-led consortium agreed to buy the company for about $3.4 billion in cash.

Majestic Wine tanked 11.2 percent, on course for its worst day since November after it said it would review its dividend policy as it looks to focus on its online wine retail business Naked Wines.

Investors are also dealing with the uncertainty surrounding the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, with the risk of a potentially major “no-deal” shock to the European economy just over two weeks away.

Prime Minister Theresa May is under pressure to give a date for leaving office to swing Brexit-supporting rebel lawmakers in her party behind her twice-defeated European Union divorce treaty.

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru,; Editing by Keith Weir and Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

A woman passes by a Chase bank in Times Square in New York
A woman passes by a Chase bank in Times Square in New York City, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

March 25, 2019

By Anna Irrera

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co has awarded 47 financial grants to university faculty and PhD students for artificial intelligence research, ramping up its efforts in the emerging technology, the bank plans to announce later on Monday.

Winners of the JPMorgan’s first AI Research Awards will study the use of AI and machine learning in areas including investment advice, risk management, digital assistants and trading behavior.

The bank declined to disclose the size of the grants.

JPMorgan and other financial institutions have been investing more to develop artificial intelligence-based technology to better process the vast amounts of data they collect and produce, and to become more efficient.

But they are struggling to compete for the best computer-science talent with Silicon Valley startups and large technology companies such as Alphabet Inc’s and Amazon.com Inc.

Through the awards, the bank hopes to deepen ties with academia following the creation of its AI research division less than a year ago, Manuela Veloso, head of JPMorgan’s AI Research, said in an interview.

Veloso’s 16-member unit helps the bank come up with ways for AI to improve its internal processes, by automating more mundane tasks, and enhance services to clients.

The bank spends around $11.5 billion a year on technology and employs more than 50,000 workers in IT.

“The world is becoming increasingly digital and there is a lot of data,” Veloso said. “The only way for this data to be truly useful is to have an AI solution to process it.”

The division’s areas of research include data and cryptography and ethics and fairness.

While the grants do not require PhD fellows to join JPMorgan upon completing their studies, the hope is the awards can help attract talent.

“We want AI and other technical students, when they finish, to also consider joining JPMorgan instead of only thinking about the tech companies,” said Veloso, who is on leave from Carnegie Mellon University.

(Reporting by Anna Irrera in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Apple is seen at a store in Zurich
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Apple is seen at a store in Zurich, Switzerland January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann – RC1889786FE0/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Stephen Nellis and Lisa Richwine

SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Apple Inc is expected to finally lift the curtain on Monday on a secretive, years-long effort to build a television and movie offering designed to compete with big media companies and boost digital services revenue as iPhone sales taper.

“It’s show time” is how the iPhone maker billed the affair slated for the Steve Jobs Theater at its Cupertino, California, headquarters. Analysts believe it will be the technology company’s first splashy launch event that will not feature new gadgets or hardware.

Hollywood celebrities are likely to trek to Apple’s Cupertino home to greet the debut of a revamped Apple TV digital storefront. Apple has commissioned programming from A-list names such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

The Apple original shows are expected to be offered alongside the option to subscribe to content from Viacom Inc and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp’s Starz, among others, sources have told Reuters.

Apple will join a crowded field where rivals such as Amazon.com’s Prime Video and Netflix Inc have spent heavily to capture viewer attention and dollars with award-winning series and films.

The big tech war for viewers ignited a consolidation wave among traditional media companies preparing to join the fray. Walt Disney Co, which bought 21st Century Fox, and AT&T Inc, which purchased Time Warner Inc, plan to launch or test new streaming video services this year.

Apple’s jump into original entertainment signals a fundamental shift in its business. Sales of hardware money-makers the iPhone, iPad and Mac were either stagnant or flat in its most recent fiscal year. Without another category-defining new gadget announced to the public, Apple is expected to rely on selling subscriptions and services like video, music and hardware insurance.

Revenue from its “services” segment – which includes the App Store, iCloud and content businesses such as Apple Music – grew 24 percent to $37.1 billion in fiscal 2018.

The services segment accounted for only about 14 percent of Apple’s overall $265.6 billion in revenue, but investors have pinned their hopes for growth on the segment.

Apple’s TV push has been cloaked in mystery. Even producers of Apple’s shows are unsure about many of the details about when and how audiences will be able to see their work.

On Monday, Apple also is expected to unveil an Apple News subscription option featuring content from major publishers and a new credit card with Goldman Sachs to bolster Apple Pay.

NOT TAKING ON NETFLIX

While Apple plans to spend $2 billion on original shows this year and has hired Hollywood veterans to oversee them, it is unlikely to take on Netflix or Amazon directly by including libraries of older shows. Instead, its model is expected to more closely resemble the App Store, offering paid subscriptions to other media companies’ programming and keeping a cut of sales.

Ahead of the launch, Apple negotiated deals that would let Apple bundle and sell networks at a discount, replicating a business model from the cable TV industry, one source familiar with the matter said.

Apple’s goal, other sources have told Reuters, is to bring together television shows in one place to make it easier to find, buy and watch them. Apple has worked to make it easier to watch the shows on traditional television from manufacturers such as Sony Corp, VIZIO Inc, LG Electronics Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Apple’s pitch to Hollywood is that it has the potential to reach hundreds of millions of viewers. The company said in January there were 1.4 billion active Apple devices, 900 million of which are iPhones. It has positioned that as leverage against Netflix’s 139 million global customers and the 100 million subscribers to Amazon’s Prime shipping program, which includes the video service.

But the Silicon Valley company has a history of making quick progress when coming from behind: It launched its Apple Music streaming service years after rival Spotify Technology SA but has garnered 50 million listeners, nearly half of Spotify’s 96 million premium subscribers. And Apple in January said its Apple News service had 85 million active users after being released less than four years ago.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Kenneth Li in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Source: OANN

A miner works inside the Novovolynska-9 coal mine in Novovolynsk
A miner works inside the Novovolynska-9 coal mine in Novovolynsk, Ukraine August 2, 2018. Picture taken August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

March 25, 2019

By Natalia Zinets

NOVOVOLYNSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian police are investigating two companies and a factory over a coal deal which some anti-corruption campaigners say epitomizes the difficulties of doing business in the east European country.

The sums involved in the deal are small but the Anti-Corruption Action Centre, an independent watchdog, says it illustrates the lack of transparency in Ukrainian business, an issue in a presidential election on Sunday that has cost President Petro Poroshenko support.

State-run coal company Volynvuhillia ordered the Novovolynska-9 mine it oversees in Novovolynsk, northwestern Ukraine, to sell coal to privately held Ukrainskiy Natsionalniy Product (UNP), company documents show. A contract was agreed in December 2017 and sales began two months later.

Volodymyr Yurkiv, the mine’s director at the time, told Reuters he complained to the energy ministry about the contract because it allowed UNP to pay eight percent less for its coal than the minimum price set by the ministry for private buyers.

He and trade unions also protested to the ministry when miners went unpaid as Volynvuhillia spent on other projects and went into the red. Police are now probing Volynvuhillia over the non-payment of 5.9 million hryvnias ($220,000) in salaries from July 15 to Sept. 5, 2018, suspecting unnamed UNP officials of lining their pockets while the miners struggled to make ends meet, according to court documents. Police declined to name the officials.

Energy ministry figures show wage arrears in state mines had reached 138.8 million hryvnias by Jan 1. Former Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk told Reuters the arrears were largely caused by company officials spending money that should go to salaries on big purchases such as equipment because of the kickbacks that often go with such purchases.

Asked about the sales contract with UNP, Andriy Pylypiuk, acting manager of Volynvuhillia, said the coal purchase price in the original contract was an error that was corrected after the deal and that UNP quickly started paying more for its coal.

Company documents seen by Reuters confirmed the price increase.

Pylypiuk said his company supported selling to UNP because no other firm wanted to buy coal from Novovolynska-9 and that UNP had offered to pay up front. He denied wrongdoing.

Andriy Dombrov, who owns UNP, declined to answer Reuters’ questions. Police provided no details of how the investigation is going. The energy ministry declined comment.

(For election graphic click https://tmsnrt.rs/2EEQ22R)

COAL ENRICHMENT

A second police investigation is underway into an arrangement under which Volynvuhillia pays a local factory to enrich, or clean, the coal sold to UNP. Police are probing whether this arrangement, part of the sales contract between UNP and Volynvuhillia, is a criminal conspiracy.

Mykhailo Bondar, head of a parliamentary subcommittee on the coal industry, says Lvivska Vugilna Compania (LVC) enrichment factory is being paid for a job it does not do because it lacks the technology needed. Yurkiv said the coal had previously gone directly to electricity generators without being enriched.

Andriy Vengryn, who is a principal at LVC as well as a representative of UNP, denied any wrongdoing in the deal with Volynvuhillia. He confirmed LVC is doing the enriching and said the factory needs the extra coal to improve its financial well-being, telling Reuters: “I am in full compliance with the law.”

He added that under his management LVC had been rescued from the verge of bankruptcy. “There are a lot of unfair rumors about me,” he said.

When Energy Minister Ihor Nasalyk tried to step in last May, his order that the deal with UNP be canceled was not acted on. Nasalyk did not respond when asked about his order not being carried out.

A special energy ministry commission has twice recommended Pylypiuk’s dismissal, in March last year and in May. But the energy ministry said Pylypiuk had provided written justifications for his and Volynvuhillia’s actions and that it found no grounds to dismiss him.

“The deal between UNP and Volynvuhillia epitomizes many of the problems of doing business in Ukraine,” Andriy Savin, a lawyer at the Anti-Corruption Action Centre in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, told Reuters. “Such deals show why foreign investors are so wary of investing in Ukraine.”

“This (situation around the sales deal between Volynvuhillia and UNP) … is undermining Poroshenko’s authority,” said Mykhailo Volynets, leader of the Ukrainian miners’ trade union.

Looking ahead to this month’s election, he said the situation helped explain why people “want changes, new faces in power,” he said.

Poroshenko’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment but the president has dismissed such criticism in the past.

“We launched the first decisive battle against corruption in Ukraine — we have created reliable independent anti-corruption bodies … We have cleared the stable of corruption schemes in the energy sector and public procurement,” he said in January.

($1 = 26.8645 hryvnias)

(Writing by Matthias Williams, Editibg by Timothy Heritage)

Source: OANN

China's Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei speaks at the annual session of CDF 2018 in Beijing
China’s Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei speaks at the annual session of China Development Forum (CDF) 2018 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

March 25, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will reduce direct government intervention in its vast industrial sector, the industry minister said on Monday, as Beijing seeks to ease concerns about its industrial policy, core to Washington’s complaints in the Sino-U.S. trade war.

The government’s pledge to reduce its influence over operational matters in China’s manufacturing sector follows an apparent toning down of its high-tech industrial push, which has long annoyed the United States.

“We will gradually reduce the government’s micro-management and direct intervention, in order to allow the market to effectively decide resource allocation and support the development of the manufacturing industry”, Miao Wei, minister of industry and informational technology, said at the China Development Forum.

But China will continue to encourage higher-value production, he said.

In his speech, Miao did not touch on the so-called “Made in China 2025” plan, an initiative intended to help China catch up with global rivals in sophisticated technologies such as semiconductors, robotics, aerospace and artificial intelligence (AI).

The state-backed industrial policy has provoked alarm in the West, due to China’s open efforts to deploy state support and subsidies.

The comments came days ahead of the latest round of high-level trade talks between China and the United States starting in Beijing on Thursday.

Washington has threatened further action if China does not change its practices on issues ranging from industrial subsidies to intellectual property.

China is not conceding to U.S. demands to ease curbs on technology companies, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing three people briefed on the discussions.

‘VALLEY OF DEATH’

The latest conciliatory tone struck by Beijing to placate Washington does not mean China is less serious about its high-tech manufacturing drive, with local governments still rolling out plans to help manufactuers move up the value chain.

Local governments have also been told to pursue new engines of industrial growth by developing innovative technologies, such as new energy vehicles (NEVs) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Miao said technology manufacturers needed to survive “the Valley of Death” as they seek to turn laboratory samples into mass production.

The southern province of Hunan this month issued a three-year plan for the AI sector, pledging more support for a local industry whose size is projected to reach 10 billion yuan ($1.49 billion) by 2021.

In the central province of Henan, production of service robots rose 14.3 times in January-February from a year earlier, according to local media. [nL3N216108]

When asked to comment on President Donald Trump’s wish to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, Miao said that such decisions could not be made by a single person because an entire supply chain was involved.

“Every company will consider putting its supply chain in a country were costs are relatively lower, this the purpose of the law of economics,” he said.

“If, after comparisons are made, that the United States has lower costs and possess advantages versus other countries, I’m sure that a company…will bring its manufacturing back to the United States.”

In a bid to support to small companies, many of which have been struggling to get financing, Miao said small and medium-sized companies will play a bigger role in the sector’s innovation.

China is planning to launch a highly-anticipated Nasdaq-style technology board – a move by Beijing to counter U.S. curbs on China’s technology advances.

The government’s next move is to implement policies such as tax reductions and to improve the protection of intellectual property rights, according to Miao, adding that the general manufacturing sector will be fully liberalized.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh and Shu Zhang; Writing by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump meets with former hostage Danny Burch and his family in the Oval Office at the White House
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a question as he meets with former hostage Danny Burch, an oil engineer who was taken hostage in Yemen in September 2017, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By David Lawder, Philip Blenkinsop and Michael Martina

WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS/BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s blunt-force use of tariffs in pursuing his “America First” trade agenda has angered many, from company executives to allied governments and members of both parties of Congress.

But there’s one effort which has drawn broad support from those who oppose him on almost everything else – his push to force Beijing to change what are widely viewed as China’s market-distorting trade and subsidy practices.

As U.S.-China talks to end a trade war reach their endgame, politicians, executives and foreign diplomats are urging Trump and his team to hold out for meaningful structural reforms in China to address entrenched problems in the relationship that hurt U.S. and other foreign companies and workers.

Trump’s trade war “has let the genie out of the bottle” by lifting expectations that the trade war will force China to reform policies that businesses and foreign governments regard as unfair, said Steven Gardon, vice president of indirect taxes and customs at Lear Corp. Gardon’s firm is an automotive seating and electrical supplier with plants in 39 countries, including the United States and China.

“Now that all these issues have been raised, there’s a lot more domestic political support to address these issues, and I don’t think you can pull back from that,” Gardon said at a Georgetown Law School forum this month. “There’s now pressure politically that they have to be addressed for the long term.”

Gardon’s comments reflect a broad shift in U.S. and international business sentiment towards China’s economic and trade policies, one that is aligned with Trump’s goals, if not his tactics.

Trump’s trade team say they are in the final stages of negotiating what would be the biggest economic policy agreement with China in decades. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin head to Beijing this week to try to accelerate talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. Liu is set to travel to Washington for another round of negotiations in early April.

Eight months into the trade war that has disrupted the flow of billions of dollars of goods between the world’s two largest economies, it is unclear if a deal acceptable to both sides can be done.

China’s President Xi Jinping is seen as reluctant to make economic reforms under pressure from the United States, and Trump has said he may keep tariffs on Chinese goods in place for “a substantial period” even if a deal is struck.

Xi may find it easier to live with the tariffs Trump has imposed on trade than to change China’s model for economic development.

As part of a deal, Beijing has offered to make big-ticket purchases from the United States to help reduce a record trade gap. Trump’s team has said those purchases would be worth more than a trillion dollars over about six years.

While big Chinese purchases might be tempting for Trump’s administration, they would do nothing to address what U.S. firms competing in China or against Chinese firms say are structural problems with a system stacked against them.

The United States complains China engages in systematic intellectual property theft, forces foreign firms to give up trade secrets for market access and spends huge sums subsidizing its own industry. Redressing those complaints would require policy reform at the highest level from Xi and China’s ruling Communist Party.

A survey released by the American Chamber of Commerce in China in late February showed that a majority of member U.S. companies supported increasing or maintaining tariffs on Chinese goods, and nearly twice as many as last year want the U.S. government to push Beijing harder to create a level playing field.

The U.S. tariff demands have even encouraged some reform-minded Chinese officials and private-sector business executives to call for a faster pace of reform in China as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of its first steps toward capitalism.

Lighthizer told lawmakers in late February that Chinese-American business people in particular have urged him to “hang tough” in the talks and not to “sell out for soybeans.”

STAY THE COURSE

When Trump delayed a threatened tariff increase well before a March 1 deadline for a deal, he stoked fears that he may be swayed by the big purchase order and leave longstanding structural problems unresolved.

Since then, a steady drumbeat of lobbyists, company executives, foreign diplomats and U.S. lawmakers from both parties have urged Trump to stay the course on his structural demands.

Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, one of the most pro-trade Republicans and a critic of Trump’s tariffs, recently joined that call.

“While we want China to buy more U.S. goods … it’s even more important for us to hold China accountable to meeting high international standards on intellectual property rights, subsidization, overcapacity, and the other structural ways in which China distorts the global economy,” he said at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing just days after the tariff delay was announced.

Last week, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, a longtime China trade hawk, took to the Senate floor to urge Trump not to “back down” and take a deal based largely on Chinese purchases of American soybeans and other goods.

On Thursday, Schumer tweeted: “Now’s not the time to drop $200B in tariffs just because China’s close to a deal, @realDonald Trump.”

QUIETLY ROOTING FOR TRUMP

European Union members, traditional allies of the United States, are still smarting about the steel and aluminum tariffs Trump imposed on imports into the United States last year. The EU is also worried that Trump will impose duties on autos. But the bloc shares many of the same frustrations over China’s technology transfer policies and market access constraints.

“We get complaints every day from our companies,” one European official told Reuters in Beijing, noting that despite repeated pledges from the Chinese government to make life easier for foreign companies, little had changed.

    EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom’s assessment of China’s behavior sounds almost like it was written by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, charging that China has abused global trading rules.

China has “blurred the lines between state and private sector. The state has undue influence,” she said in a Washington speech this month. “Intellectual properties of companies are stolen. State subsidies, direct or indirect, are common. And these impacts are felt at home and abroad.”

Malmstrom says that while the U.S. and EU “agree on the diagnosis,” they differ on tactics, and she argues for a more multilateral approach, citing the EU’s work with the United States and Japan to address the issues through reform of World Trade Organization rules.

Some worry that Europe could lose out if Washington and Beijing strike a deal to purchase billions of dollars more in products to try to shrink the U.S. goods trade deficit with China.

“If China is buying more from America then inevitably it will buy less from Europe,” a second European official based in Beijing said, adding that could in particular affect large European multinationals.

But European diplomats and officials acknowledge a begrudging support for Trump’s goals, even if they are repulsed by his blunt tactics. Many are secretly rooting for his success.

“We are against unilateral measures, but nobody is exactly sorry for China. On content we think he does have a point,” said one EU diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity in Brussels. “Beijing has to understand that without reform, the system could just stop working.”

Trump administration officials insist that he has gotten the message and is holding out for “structural changes” to the U.S.-China relationship, along with an enforcement mechanism that holds China to its pledges.

Clete Willems, a White House trade adviser, told the Georgetown Law School forum that Trump is determined to fix problems with China’s trade relationship that he has railed against for years, long before he ever sought office.

“The notion that he’s just going to suddenly accept a bad deal is totally inaccurate. The president is going to walk away from bad deals,” said Willems, who announced on Friday that he is leaving the White House for family reasons.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Simon Webb and James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

Chris White | Energy Reporter

  • A new report suggesting that Facebook is using a secret code to deboost conservative content is sparse on evidence, according to tech experts.
  • It’s likely that reports showing Facebook suppressing conservative content could be overblown, experts warn. Examples of Facebook deboosting conservative content could be evidence of the company’s inability to moderate its platform.
  • Facebook’s inability to be transparent about the limits of artificial intelligence is creating a lot of problems for the social media giant, one artificial intelligence researcher warns.

Tech experts are criticizing a recent Project Veritas report suggesting Facebook is involved in a secret project designed to suppress conservative content on the platform.

Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe produced a report in February suggesting that Facebook is suppressing the distribution of conservative pages. The report included documents from an insider who claimed the company’s engineers were using a piece of code designed to weed out videos on suicide as a tool to deboost conservative content.

The tool the insider saw during her time at Facebook was labeled Sigma:ActionDeboostLiveDistribution, which is a type of artificial intelligence that does real-time voice-to-text analysis of live stream videos, then records the text, and tries to decipher what the content of the text means.

Content from The Daily Caller, internet pundit Mike Cernovich and others was allegedly targeted using this tool, according to the insider. (RELATED: Daily Caller Editor In Chief Locked Out Of Account For Tweeting ‘Learn To Code”)

Project Veritas’ report also included a memo from Facebook engineer Seiji Yamamoto, who reportedly told a colleague that Facebook should address “… quite a bit of content near the perimeter of hate speech.” Yamamoto, a data science manager, and others discussed in the memos how best to collect information about internet troll behavior for the purpose of shutting down supposedly malicious content.

Screenshot of internal Facebook memo explaining reason for deboosting Mike Cernovich’s page (Screenshot)

The report gained some traction on Twitter after its release, but got elevated to a higher level after Donald Trump Jr. wrote a March 17 editorial on big tech censoring conservatives. He mentioned O’Keefe’s reporting in the piece, writing that “we now know that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant developed algorithms to ‘deboost’ certain content, limiting its distribution and appearance in news feeds.”

Software engineers are now poking holes in Project Veritas’ conclusions. Neil Stevens, director of information technology at The Daily Caller, believes there is not much evidence supporting the conclusion O’Keefe’s group is making. Stevens is responsible for building up and maintaining websites for both TheDC and The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Facebook is trying to block suicide content but doing it on the cheap. Instead of using human beings to monitor videos, they’re using artificial intelligence/machine learning systems to scan mass amounts of video without any human intervention,” he told TheDCNF. “And in this case, it failed,” Stevens said, referring to the content O’Keefe provided as evidence that Facebook is deboosting conservatives.

Another likely scenario is that Facebook took note of how internet trolls were jumping into YouTube videos and editing them to include clips of people promoting suicide. Such videos might look normal until a jump-cut halfway through reveals a person demonstrating how to slit a wrist. Facebook tried to use this specific code to flush out such content, but their AI experienced false-positives, Stevens believes.

Screenshot of internal Facebook guide explaining reason for deboosting Mike Cernovich’s video content (screenshot provided by Project Veritas)

Facebook has faced criticisms of censoring individuals, many of whom are conservatives, though some Democrats are also dinging the Silicon Valley giant. Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, has advocated for breaking up what she believes is Facebook and Amazon’s monopoly. Conservatives meanwhile have hammered the company during the past few years over concerns related to censorship.

President Donald Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino Jr. was temporarily blocked on March 18 from making public Facebook comments. The ban claimed that “some of your comments have been reported as spam,” and that “to avoid getting blocked again,” he should “make sure your posts are in line with the Facebook Community Standards.” The president assured his supporters in a March 19 tweet that he “will be looking into this!” His tweet linked to a story about Facebook targeting Scavino.

Other engineers made similar observations. Emily Williams, a data scientist and founder of Whole Systems Enterprises, for one, argued that Facebook’s lack of transparency about the frailties of their AI-deep learning instruments makes it difficult for people to understand why and how content is being throttled. (RELATED: GOP Lawmakers Grill Social Media Giants Over Alleged Censorship Of Conservatives, Again) 

FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Facebook logo is placed on broken glass above a printed EU flag in this illustration taken January 28, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

“I think that is a very big stretch,” she said, referring to the belief that Facebook is using the code for anything other than flushing out content promoting suicide. “If Facebook came out and was transparent, that would be one thing, but a lot of people are arrogant and don’t want to admit their algorithms are imperfect,” said Williams, whose company provides AI solutions for a variety of industries.

She added: “If I were trying to weed out extremists I would not use this code. These codes are very good at what they are trained for but not very good at anything else.” Facebook is a profit-driven corporation, so if it wanted to target conservatives or liberals, then it would probably not use a code for a purpose other than what it was designed to do, Williams noted.

A more efficient process would be to “write an algorithm that tries to find those people specifically. Write one for the extreme left and extreme right. And a different one for ISIS and neo-Nazis,” she said. Stevens mirrored her comments, telling TheDCNF that using code for reasons other than the stated purpose risks creating a much higher rate of false-positives, all of which could affect content across the platform.

Facebook fired the insider in 2018 for breaking multiple employment policies, a company spokesman told TheDCNF. Project Veritas’ spokesman Marco Bruno told TheDCNF that his group stands behind O’Keefe’s report. “We happen to trust what our insider saw behind closed doors, and the documents she leaked, more than what Facebook will say on a podium,” Bruno said.

A Facebook spokesman directed TheDCNF to a section of the company’s policy page, which explains that deboosting sometimes occurs on the platform when users upload pre-recorded videos on the Facebook Live feature. The company has tools detecting when a person has misused the feature and can then prompt AI to deboost the non-live videos. Live videos are considered more newsworthy and thus take priority.

Follow Chris White on Facebook and Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Source: The Daily Caller

Super Male Vitality

Limited Advanced Release

69.95

31.47

The all new and advanced Super Male Vitality formula uses the newest extraction technology with even more powerful concentrations of various herbs and extracts designed to be even stronger.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/smv-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

Super Male Vitality

69.95

31.47

The all new and advanced Super Male Vitality formula uses the newest extraction technology with even more powerful concentrations of various herbs and extracts designed to be even stronger.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/smv-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

Brain Force Plus

39.95

15.98

Flip the switch and supercharge your state of mind with the all-new Brain Force PLUS: 20% more capsules and a critically enhanced formula featuring a brand new ingredient and increased potency* – all for the same low price.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/bf-300-1.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

Brain Force Plus

39.95

15.98

Flip the switch and supercharge your state of mind with the all-new Brain Force PLUS: 20% more capsules and a critically enhanced formula featuring a brand new ingredient and increased potency* – all for the same low price.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/bf-300-1.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

Survival Shield X-2 – Nascent Iodine

39.95

17.95

Leading the way into the next generation of super high -quality nascent iodine, Infowars Life Survival Shield X-2 is back and available for you to purchase!

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/x2-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

Survival Shield X-2 – Nascent Iodine

39.95

17.95

Leading the way into the next generation of super high -quality nascent iodine, Infowars Life Survival Shield X-2 is back and available for you to purchase!

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/x2-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

Source: InfoWars

Super Male Vitality

Limited Advanced Release

69.95

31.47

The all new and advanced Super Male Vitality formula uses the newest extraction technology with even more powerful concentrations of various herbs and extracts designed to be even stronger.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/smv-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

Super Male Vitality

69.95

31.47

The all new and advanced Super Male Vitality formula uses the newest extraction technology with even more powerful concentrations of various herbs and extracts designed to be even stronger.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/smv-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

Brain Force Plus

39.95

15.98

Flip the switch and supercharge your state of mind with the all-new Brain Force PLUS: 20% more capsules and a critically enhanced formula featuring a brand new ingredient and increased potency* – all for the same low price.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/bf-300-1.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

Brain Force Plus

39.95

15.98

Flip the switch and supercharge your state of mind with the all-new Brain Force PLUS: 20% more capsules and a critically enhanced formula featuring a brand new ingredient and increased potency* – all for the same low price.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/bf-300-1.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

Survival Shield X-2 – Nascent Iodine

39.95

17.95

Leading the way into the next generation of super high -quality nascent iodine, Infowars Life Survival Shield X-2 is back and available for you to purchase!

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/x2-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

Survival Shield X-2 – Nascent Iodine

39.95

17.95

Leading the way into the next generation of super high -quality nascent iodine, Infowars Life Survival Shield X-2 is back and available for you to purchase!

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/x2-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

Source: InfoWars

Super Male Vitality

Limited Advanced Release

69.95

31.47

The all new and advanced Super Male Vitality formula uses the newest extraction technology with even more powerful concentrations of various herbs and extracts designed to be even stronger.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/smv-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

Super Male Vitality

69.95

31.47

The all new and advanced Super Male Vitality formula uses the newest extraction technology with even more powerful concentrations of various herbs and extracts designed to be even stronger.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/smv-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/super-male-vitality.html?ims=jftqm&utm_campaign=IW+-+SuperMale+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SuperMale-55%25off-Widget

Brain Force Plus

39.95

15.98

Flip the switch and supercharge your state of mind with the all-new Brain Force PLUS: 20% more capsules and a critically enhanced formula featuring a brand new ingredient and increased potency* – all for the same low price.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/bf-300-1.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

Brain Force Plus

39.95

15.98

Flip the switch and supercharge your state of mind with the all-new Brain Force PLUS: 20% more capsules and a critically enhanced formula featuring a brand new ingredient and increased potency* – all for the same low price.

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/bf-300-1.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/brain-force.html?ims=bnlem&utm_campaign=IW+-+Brain+Force+-STFA+-+60%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-BrainForce-60%25off-Widget

Survival Shield X-2 – Nascent Iodine

39.95

17.95

Leading the way into the next generation of super high -quality nascent iodine, Infowars Life Survival Shield X-2 is back and available for you to purchase!

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/x2-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

Survival Shield X-2 – Nascent Iodine

39.95

17.95

Leading the way into the next generation of super high -quality nascent iodine, Infowars Life Survival Shield X-2 is back and available for you to purchase!

https://www.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/x2-200.jpg

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

https://www.infowarsstore.com/survival-shield-x-2-nascent-iodine.html?ims=jyedx&utm_campaign=IW+-+SSX2+-STFA+-+55%25+Off+-+Widget&utm_source=Infowars+Widget&utm_medium=Widget&utm_content=IW-STFA-SSX2-55%25off-Widget

Source: InfoWars


Current track

Title

Artist