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Google reportedly put fake news ads on fact-checking sites

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Google’s ad program reportedly put fake news on a fact-checking website.


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The fake news plague has reportedly spread to fact-checking websites.

Fake news ads popped up as recently as last week on fact-checking pages like Snopes and PolitiFact, reported The New York Times. One ad falsely said that First Lady Melania Trump was leaving the White House, according to the report.

The fake news ads were served up by Google‘s AdWords system, which automatically places ads based on a target audience. The ads reportedly had enticing fake headlines, that once clicked, would take people to sites that mimicked legitimate publications like People or Vogue. “The fake stories began with headlines and large photos of the celebrities in question, but after a few sentences, they transitioned into an ad for an anti-aging skin cream,” reported the Times.

It’s unclear how the fake news ended up on Snopes and PolitiFact. Google didn’t comment on how the ads were approved.

“As always, when we find deceptive ad practices on our platforms we move swiftly to take action, including suspending the advertiser account if appropriate,” said Suzanne Blackburn, a Google spokeswoman.

The spread of fake news has caused public scorn for companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, as tech giants fail to keep up with viral propaganda. Google has pledged to help stop the spread of fake news, but hoaxes and bad ads have still found a way to slip by the search engine. The company said in January that it removed 1.7 billion “bad ads” — everything from payday loan ads to ads for illegal products like black market pharmaceuticals — in 2016.

An internal Google investigation also found that Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads across Google’s properties, including in search results, YouTube and Gmail. The ads were reportedly part of a campaign to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact’s executive director, said they were aware of the fake news ads on the website for days and believed Google’s ad system was the cause.

“The revenue those advertisements provide is critical to funding a website like ours, but it’s equally important that we do everything we can to make sure the advertisements appearing on our site are not deceptive or intentionally misleading,” Sharockman said in a statement. He said they’re working with Google to remove the advertisements. 

Snopes didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

Google started giving publishers control over ads on their sites in February and added a feature last week specifically to filter out fake news

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LG G7 ThinQ Is Now Available In the US for $750

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LG waited longer than normal to announce its big 2018 flagship phone, but it finally took the wraps off the LG G7 ThinQ a few weeks ago. Today, the phone is available for purchase on most US carriers. While LG has had trouble competing with the likes of Samsung, it’s still targeting the same premium space. Although, it’s got an iPhone-style screen notch now. That’s what consumers want, right?

The LG G7 ThinQ is the epitome of all things 2018 in smartphone design. It has a glass back, dual cameras, and a display notch that isn’t done particularly well. The missing bit of screen provides a place for the camera, earpiece, and some other sensors. It does seem a little excessively large for how compact these components are, though. In addition, the G7 has a “chin” at the bottom with a larger bezel than the top and bottom. This asymmetric look isn’t as striking as the iPhone X it imitates. The 6.1-inch 1440p display is also an OLED, which lacks the vibrancy of modern OLED panels.

Inside, this phone has all the current flagship hardware you’d expect with a Snapdragon 845, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. Unlike many other current smartphones, the company has opted to keep the headphone jack for the G7 ThinQ. LG also touts the G7’s unique speaker design that uses the entire chassis as a resonator to boost sound output.

You may be wondering about the name — specifically the “ThinQ” bit. Well, that’s LG’s expanded brand for all its AI technologies. What that means for the G7 is that there’s an AI mode in the camera that looks for objects it can identify and offers possible filters. It’s not very accurate or useful, but LG didn’t even develop any AI software or hardware for this phone. It just licensed a machine vision library from a third-party.

The LG G7 ThinQ is available from all major carriers in the US except AT&T. Apparently, AT&T chose to sell the LG V35 instead of the G7. This marks the third variant of the V30 that LG has sold since it debuted last year. At other carriers, the G7 ThinQ will run you $750, give or take a few dollars. Carriers offer payment plans to split the cost over two years. It will launch on Google’s Project Fi soon, as well. If you don’t want to go through carriers, the phone is also available from Amazon.

 

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Google Doodle honors ‘Prince of Mathematicians’ Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss

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Maths is the latest to receive the Google Doodle homage.

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, otherwise known as “The Prince of Mathematicians”, made instrumental contributions to number theory, algebra, geophysics, mechanics and statistics.

Gauss was born on April 30 in 1777 in Brunswick, a city in the north of Germany, near Wolfsburg. Despite poor working-class parents and an illiterate mother, Gauss was a child prodigy, believed to have been able to add up every number from 1 to 100 at 8-years-old.

One of his first major equations was working out his date of birth, which his mother hadn’t recorded. He used the only information she had: that it was a Wednesday, eight days before an Easter holiday.

At university when he was 19, Gauss discovered a heptadecagon, or a 17-sided polygon. He requested that a regular heptadecagon be inscribed on his tombstone, but it was too difficult for the stonemason, who said it would just look like a circle.

513px-regular-polygon-17-annotated-svg
 A heptadecagon.

 


László Németh/Wikipedia

And remember your prime numbers? That year Gauss was involved with proving the prime number theorem, helping understand how prime numbers are distributed among the integers, or whole numbers.

Again the same year, a productive one for Gauss, he discovered the quadratic reciprocity law, which allows mathematicians to determine the solvability of any quadratic equation in modular arithmetic.

At 24, Gauss’ work on number theory, which he completed when he was 21, was published as a textbook. Not only did it involve his original work, but it reconciled that of other mathematicians. It would be considered his magnum opus and had an extraordinary impact on the field.

Oh, and add to those achievements a discovery in astronomy — in the same year, 1801, Gauss calculated the orbit of an asteroid called Ceres.

After a much-accomplished life, Gauss died aged 77 on Feb. 23, 1855.

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