The New Zealand Attack Exposed How White Supremacy Has Long Flourished Online

Before opening fire on worshippers at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch last Friday, killing 50 and wounding many more, the far-right terrorist who carried out the attack uploaded a post to an anonymous online message board called 8chan.

“Well lads, it’s time to stop shitposting and time to make a real life effort post,” he wrote, shortly before live-streaming the massacre on Facebook. Then, addressing 8chan’s denizens, he added a request: “Please do your part by spreading my message, making memes and shitposting as you usually do.”

His appeal was heeded by a decentralized, international network of white supremacists and their sympathizers, many of them users of anonymous message boards like 8chan, who proceeded to repost copies of the horrific video to sites like Facebook and YouTube. More than 1.5 million copies of the video were uploaded to Facebook within 24 hours, with 300,000 bypassing its upload filter to appear for users as young as 13 years-old to watch. YouTube did not release numbers, but told the Guardian the uploading was “unprecedented both in scale and speed — at times as fast as a new upload every second.”

The shocking repost campaign illustrated not only the unprecedented reach of online white supremacist networks, but also how they have learned to exploit new tools offered by the large, ill-equipped social media platforms in order to spread messages of hatred online.

The white supremacist ideology espoused by the New Zealand terrorist has been a fringe conspiracy theory for decades, but the Internet has given it unprecedented reach and pushed it into mainstream political discourse. The trend began as early as the 1980s, when white supremacists recognized that they could get around constraints imposed by gatekeepers in the traditional media by posting their own resources on the web.

In the 1990s, new anonymous message boards became spaces where users could post whatever text, images and links they wanted, with no usernames to tie a post to the person posting it. That allowed people to “say disgusting things, post violent and horrible images, link to disgusting videos and blogs, all without any fear that their personal relationships would be disrupted,” says Joan Donovan, a Harvard researcher on white supremacist online networks. “That format really incentivizes some of the worst kinds of behavior and disgusting kinds of content.”

These sites, initially forums populated by privacy-minded, tech-savvy users looking …read more

Source:: Time – Technology


EU Fines Google 1.49 Billion Euros for Abusing Its Dominance in Online Ads

(BRUSSELS) — European Union regulators have hit Google with a 1.49 billion euro ($1.68 billion) fine for abusing its dominant role in online advertising.

The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, announced the results of the long-running probe of Google’s AdSense advertising business case at a news conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

It’s the third time the commission has slapped Google with an antitrust penalty, following multibillion-dollar fines resulting from separate probes into two other parts of the Silicon Valley giant’s business.

Last year Vestager hit the company with a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) fine following an investigation into its Android operating system. In 2017, she slapped Google with a 2.42 billion euro fine in a case involving its online shopping search results.

…read more

Source:: Time – Technology


Stadia, Google’s Big Push Into Video Games, Could Change Everything About How We Play

Google has officially announced a major new effort in the video game world — and it might just change the future of the roughly $135 billion industry.

Speaking at the annual Games Development Conference (GDC) in San Francisco on Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pinchai unveiled Stadia, a long-rumored cloud-based games streaming service. Unlike with a traditional video game console or computer, which processes a game locally as it’s being played, Stadia games are processed in the cloud, with the action beamed instantaneously to players over the Internet. Google promises a lag-free experience, as long as you have a fast enough Internet connection.

“We are starting our next big challenge: building a game platform for everyone,” Pinchai said. “I think we can change the game by bringing together the power and creativity of the entire community, people who love to play games, people who love to watch games, and people who love to build games.”

Launching sometime later this year, Stadia gamers play on devices they already own, with controllers they already own (though Google also announced its own Stadia controller). “There is no box,” Google Vice President Phil Harrison, a former Sony and Microsoft executive, said. “The data center is your platform.”

Google and partners made it clear that, with Stadia, Google is doing more than simply testing the deep waters of the video game industry. Rather, Stadia is a full-bore effort to fully compete in the industry in four big ways. With Stadia, Google is openly competing as a platform against the industry’s largest players: Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Thanks to close integration with Google’s YouTube, Stadia will also compete against massive streaming services like Twitch. It will go up against enormous games distribution juggernauts like Steam and the upstart Epic Games Store. Finally, the announcement of a new first party game studio potentially puts them in competition with other large publishers like EA and Activision Blizzard. And even if it fails, Stadia will most likely change the video game industry forever.

Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and now Google

Stadia’s biggest impact will depend on how the largest console makers — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — will react to Stadia’s presence. The streaming service comes at a pivotal time in gaming. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are thought to be in their waning months as rumors and confirmations have swirled for the past year about the consoles’ official successors.

One facet that Google harped on over …read more

Source:: Time – Technology