Five years ago in 2014, the future of Facebook trust was in the balance. What happened?
‘When I joined Facebook in 2016, my mom was so proud of me, and I could walk around with my Facebook backpack all over the world and people would stop and say, ‘It’s so cool that you worked for Facebook.’ That’s not the case anymore,’ a former product manager says. ‘It made it hard to go home for Thanksgiving.’
First of all, Thanksgiving is literally a holiday created by Abraham Lincoln after the defeat of pro-slavery forces that had been aiming to break apart the United States. It’s supposed to be the easiest time to get back together with family, even for those unwilling to give up human slavery.
Second, 2016? Let’s talk about warnings as early as 2011, which are easy to find even in the public forums…and maybe the better question is what didn’t happen? Facebook didn’t hire a qualified CSO during these years, and didn’t have executive leadership committed to respect for human rights (e.g. privacy) let alone ethics.
Third, recent studies by the Eller College of Management, University of Arizona cited that only 14% of Facebook users deleted their account after Cambridge University researchers violated privacy. More importantly, the studies found that user behavior changed measurably and “sensitive words” were removed as users start self-censoring and encoding their meanings in a manner similar to slaves in American history.
Being caught as a non-native speaker can have serious implications, like death. That probably is why a BBC article about overcoming the exact cause of accents is going to be of more than just casual interest.
Recent studies show that native speakers develop expertise with a specific oscillation range:
Every human language oscillates at a different range of frequencies, with British English fluctuating considerably between 2,000 to 12,000 Hz and French much less so between 15 to 250 Hz and 1,000 to 2,000 Hz. If French can be described as flat, English is very wavy. Russian fluctuates between an incredible 125 to 12,000 Hz. This means that some languages, like English and Russian, can go much higher and lower in pitch than say French.
There are many recent examples of risk to draw from. The BBC goes with an ancient history one to highlight why being identified by accent is so dangerous; why some work so hard to understand how to more easily jump into different ranges:
Speech has been used to segregate people for millennia. When the Tribe of Gilead defeated the Ephraimites in The Bible, they used accent as a means of identifying surviving Ephraimites trying to flee.
Anyone who claimed not to be a survivor was asked to say the Hebrew word “Shibboleth”, which means stream. People from Gilead pronounced it with a “sh” sound, whereas Ephraimites could not say “sh”, so anyone who said “Sibboleth” was killed on the spot: 42,000 people failed the test, according to the Old Testament.
Of course accent is just the beginning. Cultural meaning is another problem entirely. Take being happy, for example:
- Chinese “Xingfu” – Sustainability and meaningfulness through sufficiency
- Greek “Meraki” – Focused attention that achieves devoted precision to creative tasks
- Japanese “Wabi Sabi” – Appreciation of the imperfection and complexity of reality
- Brazilian “Saudade” – The longing for a happiness that once was or could be
- Finnish “Kalsarikaanit” – Staying home wearing only your underwear and drinking
The US government has just reduced the official critical vulnerability remediation timeline from 30 days after a report has been issued to 15 days after detection, according to the freshly published DHS BOD 19-02.
This announcement is significant not least of all because I don’t have to explain why a 30 day response timeline to critical vulnerabilities exists on the Internet. “It’s an outlier because government” only goes so far. Wonderful to see the change, even though it’s still far from the 24 hour turnaround expected in commercial space.
Lawfare has posted a short analysis of why airstrikes to destroy a “cyber operations” facility are nothing new or special. To be precise, the analysis offers the reader two options:
Either the news is “descriptively true, but it is uninteresting” or “interesting if true, but it is not true”.
Spoiler alert…the author argues it’s the former, and therefore uninteresting.
It’s an excellent read, and the sentence that really stood out to me was characterizing a targeted facility as “civilian members of organized armed groups who have a continuous combat function“.