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YouTube clarifies rules on pranks as risky memes rage

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SAN FRANCISCO: YouTube on Tuesday clarified rules against posting videos of dangerous pranks, as risky “challenges” prompt people to video themselves doing things like biting into laundry soap or driving blindfolded.

The company already forbid content inciting dangerous activities likely to result in serious harm.

But the clarifications “make it clear that challenges like the Tide pod challenge or the Fire challenge, that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances, have no place on YouTube,” the company said in a blog post.

“We’ve made it clear that our policies prohibiting harmful and dangerous content also extend to pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury,” said YouTube, which like other social networks is trying to show that it is better tackling problematic content.

It made clear the updated policies ban pranks that trick people into thinking they are in danger, such as fake home invasions or drive-by shootings.

“YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, like Jimmy Kimmel’s ‘Terrible Christmas Presents’ prank or the water bottle flip challenge,” said YouTube, owned by Google’s parent Alphabet.

“That said, we’ve always had policies to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous.”

While playful or goofy challenges or pranks have become raging trends online, with video shared at YouTube or Facebook, some “memes” have put people in jeopardy.

A “Fire Challenge” dared people to put flammable liquid on their bodies then ignite it, while a “Tide Pod Challenge” involved people, typically teens, biting or chewing the encapsulated candy-colored laundry detergent.

A “Bird Box” thriller released on Netflix a month ago inspired a challenge for people to do things blindfolded, mimicking characters in the original streaming film.

A US teenager over the weekend crashed while driving with her eyes covered, taking part in a challenge inspired by the hit Netflix show, according to media reports.

YouTube policy also bans pranks that cause children trauma, for example the fake death of a parent or severe abandonment, according to the firm.

 

 

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Tesla unveils ambitious full self-driving chip for next-generation vehicles

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SAN FRANCISCO: U.S. electric car manufacturer Tesla unveiled a new full self-driving (FSD) chip for its next-generation autonomous vehicles.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors during the company’s Autonomy Day that FSD-powered computers will turn its electric cars into self-driving vehicles without human intervention.

He said all new models of Tesla cars including Model 3, X and S have been equipped with the chips featuring full self-driving capabilities, but the next-generation chip, which is currently under development, would be “three times better” than the existing system.

Musk said Tesla will probably have more than 1 million cars with full driving capabilities running on the road by 2020.

“Probably two years from now, we’ll make a car with no steering wheels or pedals,” he said. He predicted the new powerful FSD chip will come out in two years.

Musk touted his company’s FSD technology while mocking the LIDAR technology by calling it a “fool’s errand.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Facebook hires high-ranking US State Department lawyer

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SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook said Monday it has hired a high-ranking US State Department lawyer credited with helping craft the controversial Patriot Act as the social network’s new general counsel.

Jennifer Newstead will replace Colin Stretch, who announced in July that he planned to leave Facebook.

Newstead will oversee global legal functions at the California-based social network as it faces continued pressure from regulators regarding how well it safeguards user privacy and protects against the spread of misinformation or abuse on its platform.

“Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission,” Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement.

“We are also truly grateful to Colin for his dedicated leadership and wise counsel over the past nine years.”

Newstead was the first woman to lead the Office of the Legal Adviser at the State Department, a post she took in January 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

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Samsung delays launch of folding Galaxy smartphone

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SAN FRANCISCO: Samsung said Monday it was delaying the launch of its folding smartphone after trouble with handsets sent to reviewers.

Some reviewers who got their hands on the Galaxy Fold early reported problems with screens breaking.

Samsung said it decided to put off this week’s planned release of the Fold after some reviews “showed us how the device needs further improvements.”

The South Korean consumer electronics giant planned to announce a new release date for the Galaxy Fold in the coming weeks.

Initial analysis of reported problems with Galaxy Fold screens showed they could be “associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge,” Samsung said.

There was also an instance where unspecified “substances” were found inside a Galaxy Fold smartphone with a troubled display, according to the company.

“We will take measures to strengthen the display protection,” Samsung said.

“We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer.”

A handful of US-based reporters were given the flagship Galaxy Fold phones, priced at $1,980, ahead of the model’s official release, and they reported screen issues within days of using the devices.

Samsung spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, which is part of the leading smartphone maker’s strategy to propel growth with groundbreaking gadgets.

The company essentially gave reviewers a “beta product” without enough information, such as not to peel off a protective coating meant to be permanent, according to independent technology analyst Rob Enderle.

“It was all avoidable for a company the size of Samsung,” Enderle said.

The failure of a “halo product” meant to showcase innovation and quality could tarnish the brand and send buyers to rivals.

“If a halo product fails, people don’t trust that you build quality stuff,” Enderle said.

“It can do incredible damage. And Huawei is moving up like a rocket, so this could be good for Huawei.”

 

 

 

 

 

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