Facebook Hosts Conservative Leaders to Air Political Bias Allegations

Today's topics include Facebook’s meetings with conservatives to discuss allegations of bias, Google’s release of Android N and many new APIs, Microsoft’s report that lists the United States, Italy and Canada as top ransomware targets and an economist’s declaration that there was no fair use of Java APIs in Android.

Facebook hosted more than a dozen leading conservatives at a meeting on its campus May 18, to foster conversation about its policies and practices, particularly concerning the content in its "Trending Topics" section."

Trending Topics" is a small box on the right column of the site when it's viewed on a PC." We've built Facebook to be a platform for all ideas," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a May 18 Facebook update.

The meeting followed from a May 9 Gizmodo article that cited former Facebook staff members saying they had been instructed to suppress some stories from conservative news outlets, even when they were trending in Facebook's internal algorithms.

On May 18, the first day of Google I/O 2016, Google brought to the Shoreline Amphitheater stage news involving Android N, the latest version of it mobile operating system, unveiled a powerful analytics engine and even introduced a new server chip.

This demonstrates once again that Google not only creates software of all kinds, but it also makes server hardware components. In fact, it's been building its own servers, networks and storage facilities for as long as it's been in business, which is just shy of two decades.

Microsoft, one of several sponsors of Ransomware Info Day on May 19, did its part to raise awareness about the threat of ransomware by sharing information about this cyber-threat and on how to avoid it.

Microsoft's Malware Protection Center reports that the United States, Italy and Canada are the top three targets for Ransomware infections. Once ransomware worms its way into a victim's PC, it encrypts the user's files, effectively blocking access to the content stored on the infected system.

Victims are typically instructed to pay a ransom to a botnet operator for the encryption key, enabling them to regain access to their documents, photos and other files.

Ransomware can be a relatively minor inconvenience if users are diligent about regularly backing up their data—they can simply wipe their systems and start anew from a clean backup.

However for individuals and enterprises that have failed to adequately protect their systems or backup data, fixing the damage caused by a ransomware attack can be time-consuming and expensive.

An economist testifying for Oracle in federal court May 18, Day 8 of its copyright infringement case against Google, told the jury that the search company's use of Java APIs in Android should not be considered "fair use" of the open-source programming language.

The testimony by economist Adam Jaffe was the last of the day on May 18 in the Oracle v. Google trial that involves litigation that began six years ago when Oracle sued Google for its use of 37 Java APIs that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems earlier that same year.

Oracle, in court papers, told the judge that no reasonable jury could back Google's fair use argument, based on the evidence previously presented in the trial. The trial will continue while U.S. District Judge William Alsup considers Oracle's legal arguments. Closing arguments are expected to begin May 23.

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