SINGAPORE: A YouTube fact-check feature which is meant to tackle misinformation accidentally tagged live broadcasts of a fire engulfing Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris with details about the 9/11 terror attacks.
The blaze erupted in the UNESCO world heritage landmark in the French capital Monday, sending its spire and roof crashing to the ground as flames and clouds of smoke billowed into the sky.
The fire, which at one point threatened the entire edifice, was brought under control early Tuesday about nine hours after it broke out.
News outlets began live-streaming broadcasts of the fire on YouTube, but below some of the clips an unusual text box popped up — an entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica about the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
In those attacks, Al-Qaeda militants hijacked two passenger planes and flew them into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York, causing them to collapse, while a third hijacked jet smashed into the Pentagon. Some 3,000 people were killed.
A spokesman for YouTube, which is owned by Google, said the text box feature had been disabled for live streams related to the fire.
“These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call,” the spokesman said.
“We are deeply saddened by the ongoing fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral.”
The feature, which also links to other outside sources such as Wikipedia, was introduced last year after YouTube faced intense criticism over videos containing misleading and extreme content.
The panels are supposed to combat misleading videos about well-known events — such as the first successful manned landing on the moon — by presenting the true facts, in a bid to stop the spread of conspiracy theories.
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter came under fire last month after a horrific video of a gunman’s deadly rampage at two New Zealand mosques was circulated on the sites.
The Christchurch massacre, in which 50 people were killed, was live-streamed on Facebook, which moved to block the footage. But it was then shared repeatedly on the other two sites.
China slams US ‘lies’ about Huawei-government ties
BEIJING: Beijing on Friday accused the United States of spreading “lies” about Huawei after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the telecom giant was not being truthful about its ties to the Chinese government.
Huawei has been thrust at the centre of escalating tensions between the world’s two top economies, with President Donald Trump saying Thursday the fate of the company could be included in any deal to resolve their trade war.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware of the “specifics” of Trump’s comments and repeated that dialogue must be based on “mutual respect”.
The Trump administration has infuriated Beijing by blacklisting the smartphone and telecommunications company over worries that China uses it as a tool for espionage and allegations of breaking Iran related sanctions.
Huawei has repeatedly denied that it works with the Communist-led government.
“To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement,” Pompeo said.
Lu said US politicians have spread rumours about Huawei without providing evidence.
SpaceX launches first satellites of its internet network
WASHINGTON: SpaceX on Thursday launched a rocket containing the first 60 satellites of its “Starlink” constellation, which is intended to provide internet from space and could one day number 12,000 satellites.
One of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets took off without incident from Cape Canaveral in Florida around 10:30 pm (0230 GMT).
The second stage of the rocket will begin to release them one hour after launch, at an altitude of 270 miles (440 kilometers), and then the satellites will use their thrusters to take up their places in a relatively low orbit of 340 miles (550 kilometers).
That’s slightly higher than the International Space Station, but well below the majority of terrestrial satellites, the highest of which sit in a geostationary orbit of 22,400 miles (36,000 kilometers).
The launch was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed, first due to high winds and then due to the need for a software update.
Billionaire Elon Musk’s firm, which is leading the private space race when it comes to rocket launches, is now looking to seize a chunk of the future space internet market.
The launch will make it an early forerunner, along with rival OneWeb, a startup, but well ahead of Amazon’s Project Kuiper, the brainchild of Musk’s space rival Jeff Bezos.
Each of the satellites weighs just 227 kilograms (500 pounds) and was built in-house in Redmond, near Seattle.
Starlink will become operational once 800 satellites have been activated, which will require a dozen more launches.
Boeing 737 MAX: Regulators fail to set return to service date
FORT WORTH (US): Civil aviation regulators from around the world failed to make a determination Thursday on when Boeing’s popular 737 MAX aircraft can return to the skies after being grounded following two deadly crashes.
“The only timetable is to make sure the aircraft is safe to fly,” Daniel Elwell, acting head of the US Federal Aviation Administration, said at the conclusion of the day-long meeting in Texas.
There was “enthusiastic agreement to continue the dialogue,” he said, but acknowledged that “each country has to make its own decision.”
Until the 737 MAX crashes in Ethiopia in March and Indonesia in October which left a combined 346 people dead, the common practice was that air regulators would follow the assessment of the agency overseeing the model, in this case, the FAA.
On Wednesday, Elwell threw cold water on hopes of a speedy resolution, after revealing that Boeing had held off submitting a proposed software fix for review after his agency raised additional questions.
Investigators have focused on the MAX’s anti-stall Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System in inquiries into the two deadly crashes.
Boeing last week said the MCAS update was ready for the certification process, and US airlines were hoping the planes could be back in the skies in time for part of the summer travel season.
But Elwell on Thursday said the process could take one month, two months or longer.
“It is all determined by what we find in our analysis of the application,” he told the Media.
Once Boeing has submitted all documentation, the FAA will conduct a test flight and detailed analysis to evaluate the safety of the software.
Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at Teal Group, said Boeing wants to avoid having to repeat the process.
“There’s a lot at stake in terms of the first impression by the world’s regulators,” he told the Media.
US air carriers that operate the 737 MAX, including American Airlines, Southwest and United, have said they hope to have the planes flying again by mid-August at the latest.