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150 African AI workers vote to unionize



MMore than 150 workers behind the artificial intelligence systems of Facebook, TikTok and ChatGPT gathered in Nairobi on Monday and pledged to create the first African Union of Content Moderators, with serious business implications for some of the world’s biggest tech companies.

Current and former workers hired by third-party outsourcing companies provided content moderation services for AI tools used by Meta, Bytedance and OpenAI — the respective owners of Facebook, TikTok and the disruptive AI chatbot ChatGPT. Despite the psychological pressure of the job, which causes many content moderators to suffer from PTSD, their jobs are among the lowest paid in the global tech industry, with some workers earning as little as $1.50 an hour.

As the news of the successful union registration vote was read, a crowded workers’ hall at the Mövenpick Hotel in Nairobi erupted in applause and applause, video footage of the event shown by TIME shows. Confetti fell onto the stage and jubilant music played as the crowd continued to applaud.

The creation of the Content Moderators Union is the culmination of a process that began in 2019 when Daniel Motaung, a Facebook content moderator, was fired from his position at outsourcing company Sama after he tried to form a union called Alliance. Motaung, whose story was first revealed by TIME, is now suing Facebook and Samu in a Nairobi court. Motaung traveled from his home in South Africa to attend a Labor Day gathering of over 150 content moderators in Nairobi and addressed the group.

Read more: Facebook faces new human trafficking and anti-union lawsuit in Kenya

“I never thought that when I created the Alliance in 2019, we would be here today – with moderators from all the major social media giants forming the first African Moderators Union,” Motaunga said in a statement. “We have never been more. Our cause is just, our path is just, and we will win. I am very proud of today’s decision to register the Union of Content Moderators.”

TIME’s report on Motaung “started a wave of lawsuits and organizational action that culminated in two judgments against Meta and planted the seeds for today’s massive workers’ summit,” Foxglove, a non-profit legal NGO backing the cases, said in a report. Press release.

Among those two judgments against Meta is one in April, in which a Kenyan judge ruled that Meta could be sued in a Kenyan court – after the company’s argument that because it did not officially trade in Kenya, it in addition, a separate $2 billion lawsuit has been filed against Meta alleging that it did not act quickly enough to remove messages that the case says led to deadly violence in Ethiopia. .

“It takes a village to solve the problem, but today the Kenyan moderators have formed an army,” said Martha Dark, co-director of Foxglove. “From TikTok to Facebook, these people are facing the same problems. Toxic content, lack of concern for mental health, non-standard work – these are systemic failures in content moderation.

Moderators from TikTok, hired by outsourcing company Majorel, also said they would participate in the merger. “To see so many people together today was incredible,” said James Oyange, a former TikTok content moderator at Majorel, who has taken on a leadership role in organizing his former colleagues. “People need to know that this is not just Meta – every social media firm has workers who have been abused and exploited. But today I feel brave seeing how many of us are determined to change. Companies should listen, but if they don’t, we will force them. And we hope that Kenyan legislators and society will join with us to transform this work.”

The Nairobi event was attended by workers who helped OpenAI take down the revolutionary ChatGPT AI chatbot and said they would also join the union. TIME was the first to disclose the conditions these workers found themselves in, many of whom were paid less than $2 an hour for viewing traumatic content, including descriptions and images of child sexual abuse. “For far too long, we as the workers behind the AI ​​revolution have been treated differently than moderators,” said Richard Matenj, a former ChatGPT content moderator who worked on outsourcing company Sama’s contract with OpenAI that expired in 2022. “Our work is no less important and dangerous. Today we have taken a historic step. The road is long, but we are determined to fight so that people are not abused like we are.”

Read more: Exclusive: OpenAI used Kenyan workers for less than $2 an hour to make ChatGPT less toxic

Mercy Mutemi, a lawyer at the Nzili and Sumbi Advocates law firm that sued Meth in both the Motaung case and the Ethiopian hate speech case, said Monday’s events were a watershed. “The moderators faced incredible intimidation trying to exercise their basic right of association,” she said. “Today they made a powerful statement: their work should be celebrated. They will no longer live in fear. Moderators take pride in their work and we are ready to offer the support they need as they register a union and trade fair.”

Foxglove, funded in part by the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundation, sponsored the Nairobi event with German nonprofit Superrr Lab.

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FTC seeks total ban on young users’ Meta data



The Federal Trade Commission intensified its fight against the tech industry’s biggest companies on Wednesday when it decided to impose a so-called “total ban” on the collection of young people’s personal data by Meta, Facebook’s parent company.

The commission wants to significantly expand the company’s record $5 billion consent from 2020 and said Meta has not fully met the legal obligations it has made to review its privacy practices to better protect its users.

The regulators also said that Meta misled parents about their ability to control who their children communicate with on its Messenger Kids app and misrepresented the access it gave some app developers to users’ personal data.

The proposed changes mark the third time the agency has taken action against the social media giant over privacy concerns.

“The company’s recklessness puts young users at risk,” Samuel Levin, director of the FTC Consumer Protection Bureau, said in a press statement. “Facebook must answer for its failures.”

The FTC’s administrative action, an agency internal procedure called an “order to show cause,” serves as a preliminary warning to the meta that regulators believe the company has violated a 2020 confidentiality agreement. The paper outlines the commission’s allegations against Meta, as well as proposed restrictions.

Meta, which has 30 days to contest an application that was not given prior notice of the FTC’s action.

Following Facebook’s response, the commission said it would consider the company’s arguments and make a decision. The Meta can then appeal the agency’s decision to a federal appeals court.

The FTC’s proposed changes will prevent Meta from profiting from the data it collects from users under 18 and will apply to Meta’s businesses, including Facebook, Instagram and Horizon Worlds, the company’s new virtual reality platform. Regulators want to prevent companies from monetizing this data even after those users turn 18.

This means that Meta may be prevented from using young people’s activity data to show them ads based on their behavior, or to sell them digital goods, such as virtual clothing for their avatars.

Whether the court will approve such changes is unknown. IN statement On Wednesday, Alvaro M. Bedoya, the commissioner who voted in favor of issuing the administrative order, said he had concerns about whether the agency’s proposal to limit the use of Meta young people’s data was sufficiently relevant to the original case.

In a statement, Meta called the FTC’s administrative warning a “political stunt” and said the company had implemented an “industry-leading” privacy program in accordance with an agreement with the FTC. The company vowed to fight the agency’s actions.

“Despite three years of continuous communication with the FTC regarding our agreement, they did not provide an opportunity to discuss this new, completely unprecedented theory,” Meta said in a statement.

Meta has already announced restrictions on targeting ads to users under the age of 18. In 2021, the company said that advertisers will be able to target ads based on the location, age, and gender of minors, but will no longer be able to target ads based on young people’s interests or activity on other websites. And this year, Meta said it would also stop targeting ads. depending on the gender of the minor.

The FTC’s aggressive action is the first time the commission has proposed such a blanket ban on data use to try to protect the privacy of minors online. And it comes amid the biggest government effort to isolate young Americans online since the 1990s, when the commercial internet was still in its infancy.

Fueled by growing concerns about depression in children and the role the online experience could play in exacerbating it, lawmakers in at least two dozen states have introduced bills over the past year that would require certain sites, such as social media, to ban or restrict young people. on their platforms. Regulators are also stepping up their efforts by imposing penalties on online services whose use or misuse of data could put children at risk.

Over the past few years, Meta has been accused by critics of recommending self-harm and extreme dieting content to teenage girls on Instagram, and of failing to adequately protect young users from child sexual exploitation.

The FTC case against the social media giant dates back more than a decade.

In 2011, the agency accused Facebook of deceiving users about privacy. In the agreement, Facebook agreed to implement a comprehensive privacy program, including agreeing not to misrepresent its privacy practices.

But after news reports surfaced in 2018 that voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica had collected data from millions of Facebook users without their knowledge, the Federal Trade Commission cracked down again.

In a consent order signed in 2020, Facebook agreed to restructure its privacy procedures and practices and allow an independent assessor to examine the effectiveness of the company’s privacy program. The company also paid a record $5 billion fine to settle the agency’s charges.

The FTC says Facebook has violated this agreement. In its executive order on Wednesday, the agency cited reports from a privacy assessor, noting that it found “gaps and weaknesses” in the Meta privacy program that require significant additional work.

Although most the report has been edited, it showed that the evaluator found issues with how Meta assessed privacy risks to user data and managed privacy incidents. He also cited Meta’s review of his data sharing arrangements with third parties.

The FTC crackdown on Meta is the latest signal that the agency is delivering on promises by Lina M. Khan, its chairman, to curb the power of the technology industry’s dominant companies. In December, the agency decided to stop consolidating video game makers when sued to try to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the company behind the popular Call of Duty franchise.

The FTC has also become more aggressive on privacy regulation. Rather than simply trying to protect consumers from increasingly powerful surveillance tools, regulators are working to ban certain types of data collection and use they consider high-risk.

In December, the FTC accused Epic Games, the company behind the popular game Fornite, of illegally collecting data on children and putting them at risk by matching them with strangers and providing real-time chat. Epic agreed to pay a $520 million fine to settle these and other allegations. The settlement order also required Epic to disable live voice and text chat by default, the first time regulators have introduced such a remedy.

But the data restrictions the agency now wants to place on Meta go much further.

The FTC’s proposed changes would prevent Meta-owned sites and products from monetizing young people’s data. This will allow company platforms such as Horizon Worlds to collect and use information about minors only to provide services to users and for security purposes.

The FTC also wants to block Meta from releasing any new products or features until the company can show written confirmation from an independent privacy assessor that its privacy program is fully compliant with the 2020 consent order.

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Sesame Workshop Celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month with Emotional Wellbeing Initiative



May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and even Elmo and friends are joining the call for a broader view of youth mental health. Under the direction of Sesame Workshop, sesame streetnon-profit educational unit, organization new campaign(will open in a new tab) aims to support the emotional well-being of young children.

“Responding to the growing mental health crisis of young children and building on years of experience in developing social-emotional learning content for families, the workshop will address this urgent need with a wide range of activities and engaging content designed for the whole family and available on multiple platforms to reach children. and families, wherever they are,” the organization said in a statement. “The youngest children are often overlooked in mental health discussions, but evidence is mounting that young children are struggling now more than ever.”

The corporate initiative Sesame Workshop is a response to February report(will open in a new tab) by the American Pediatric Association, which declared a nationwide mental health crisis for children.

“Our country is not meeting the behavioral health needs of our young people,” the researchers write. “While problems with the child mental health system have been known for decades, recent factors, including the 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic, hastened its breakdown… The factors that triggered this crisis are complex, but not insurmountable.”


What to do if social media insists you have to be a “gentle” parent

The campaign will offer strategies that caregivers, families and community workers can use to recognize signs of emotional distress in children and provide support in managing strong feelings and acquiring essential social-emotional skills.

As part of a multi-year, multi-platform campaign, families can enjoy sesame street neighbors across a range of cross-platform content, including a new 45-minute YouTube episode titled “Elmo’s Impressive Mindfulness”(will open in a new tab) in which the iconic character learns to calm his anxiety ahead of YouTube’s “Big Talent Show”. Celebrities and creators such as Jenny Slate, Juanpa Zurita and LaurDIY have joined the group to learn about mindfulness and calming activities.

Credit: Sesame Street/Sesame Workshop.

Credit: Sesame Street/Sesame Workshop.

Other resources include a special edition aimed at parents. happiness laboratory(will open in a new tab) podcast hosted by Yale University professor Dr. Laurie Santos. The episode will feature Sesame Workshop CEO Steve Youngwood and Kay Wilson Stallings, Executive Vice President and Director of Production and Creative Development, and Elmo, who will share additional emotional regulation strategies for parents and caregivers. It will be followed by another three-episode series about happiness with favorite characters and songs sesame street.

So, Sesame Workshop wants to bring their Good night world!(will open in a new tab) the podcast is back for a second season in collaboration with meditation app Headspace. “Developed by a team of early childhood and meditation specialists. Good night world! reimagines the popular Sleepcast format to help kids practice the transition from their active days to daytime naps or naps,” the organization wrote.

The campaign will venture into literature with a six-book series based on sesame streetX Video “Monster Meditation”(will open in a new tab) on YouTube in partnership with Headspace and Penguin Random House. The organization also announced a publishing collaboration with Mayo Clinic Press Kids(will open in a new tab)imprint of Mayo Clinic Press, to create a series of books on whole body health and emotional wellness, scheduled for fall 2024.

In addition, the Sesame Workshop has recently been launched. resource center(will open in a new tab) contains a digital storybook, worksheets, videos, and activities, including resources in English and Spanish, to support parents, caregivers, and service providers in building a strong foundation for emotional well-being. Video resources can also be streamed on PBS Kids.

In April, Sesame Workshop partnered with the Advertising Council to release a Sound it Out ad campaign titled “Me and My Adult,” a video that sings along about the importance of caring for caregivers for a child’s emotional development. And when viewed around the world, a prime time episode Takalani Sesame, sesame streetSouth African show that will premiere May 20, titled “Special Great Feelings”.

“We at Sesame are committed to a vision of a world where all children can thrive and feel the joy of life, and do so with gratitude for their mental health and well-being. Through the power of our beloved characters and proven resources, we will “re-raise awareness of the importance of caring for children’s emotional well-being and reduce the stigma associated with seeking support for children’s mental health,” said Sherry Westin, President of Sesame Workshop.

To learn more about the new Sesame Workshop resources, visit center of emotional well-being of the organization(will open in a new tab). Families can tune in sesame street on HBO Max.

I want more family and upbringing or mindfulness stories in your inbox? subscribe to Mashable Newsletter “Top Stories” Today.

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Google’s new login password will help you get rid of passwords



you can now sign in to your google using passwords. Google has added the capability in what is arguably the biggest step in encouraging the use of authentication technology designed to address many of the weaknesses of passwords.

Access keys – developed by Apple, Microsoft, Google. and other allies – use a strong cryptographic security framework that ties your login rights to your phone or computer. There are no obscure strings of letters, numbers, and punctuation to remember. Access keys typically use a biometric authentication step such as a fingerprint or facial recognition, although other options are possible.

Google has already built support for passkeys into its Android phone software and the Chrome web browser, but it wasn’t until Wednesday, the eve of World Password Day, that you could use passkeys to sign into Google websites. For now, access keys work alongside other login methods, so you can try them without giving up other previous authentication methods like passwords or hardware security keys.

If the access keys work as expected, they will be secure and easy enough to use to completely destroy passwords. Considering how many millions of us use Gmail, YouTube and Workspace, password support in Google services is a big deal for this technology.

“Password keys are the beginning of the end for passwords,” said Christian Brand and Sriram Karra, two Google executives who oversaw the project. says the blog post Wednesday

in my access key tests, I was able to easily generate a passkey on my primary Android phone and propagate those credentials to my Mac and then to my iPhone. My existing authentication options—hardware security keys, app authentication, and Google app prompts—are still available.

Passwords are familiar but not easy to use. We choose guessable passwords that hackers can crack. We reuse passwords across multiple apps and services, so stolen credentials can be used in “credential stuffing” attacks to compromise other accounts. We support passwords with two-factor authentication, but it has its own issues, especially with login codes sent in a text message.

Access codes are designed to bypass all of this. They are based on cryptographic standards that secure e-commerce transactions and network communications. Fast Identity Online Alliance for use in authentication. The FIDO Alliance started with hardware security keys, the strongest core authentication technology, but repackaged it into access keys in an attempt to make it easier and cheaper to use.

While passwords are new, some sites have surpassed Google in login support. Among companies offering login password are eBay, Docusign, PayPal and Shopify.

As with hardware security keys, login credentials are configured to work with an application or website service. Your phone or computer does the actual authentication locally on its own hardware. This prevents one of the biggest security threats today, phishing attempts that try to get you to share your credentials or other sensitive information with fake websites.

You can set up passwords on multiple devices. And if you’re temporarily logging in using your friend’s phone or a public library computer, Google offers a QR code scanning mechanism that allows you to temporarily log in without permanently storing your password.

Password managers use passwords

One of the complexities of access keys is that they are, at least for the moment, tied to specific technology ecosystems – mainly Apple and Google. For example, when you install a Google passkey on an Android phone, Google automatically generates passkeys on other Android devices, but not on your iPhone.

But password manager makers Bitwarden, LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password are now active in the FIDO Alliance and are working on technology that allows you to export and import passwords. However, it’s not clear how easy the process will be, and while Google has expressed support for the idea, Apple has remained silent.

“Today, with Google enabling passwords, 1.5 billion people worldwide now have the ability to use passwords,” 1Password CEO Jeff Shiner said Wednesday. “However, in order to be widely adopted, users need the ability to choose where and when they want to use access keys so that they can easily switch between ecosystems.”

Password Manager Dashlane already knows how to store passwordsand on Wednesday added the opportunity login to your password manager with a password instead of the master password too.

“By eliminating the master password, Dashlane will allow users to create new password-free phishing-resistant accounts that are free from the vulnerabilities of traditional passwords and multi-factor authentication,” the company said, arguing that access keys are also easier to use than passwords. .

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