People are now looking to WhatsApp for news, study says


A new study shows people are increasingly using WhatsApp instead of Facebook for their news consumption.

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People are increasingly worried about fake news from Facebook, so they’re looking to other places to stay informed — like WhatsApp.

No, really. This trend has “jumped significantly” and is demonstrated in “a number of markets,” according to the Digital News Report, a study from the Reuters Institute and the University of Oxford which surveyed 71,805 respondents from 36 countries.

While 47 percent of respondents said they get their daily dose of news from Facebook, making the social network the most popular platform for this purpose, its popularity has declined in over half of all surveyed countries.

On the other hand, 15 percent of respondents use WhatsApp for news consumption, where news items are messaged between friends directly or in groups. Despite the smaller figure, the report says it’s a “significant” jump from the previous year, and it’s the second most popular social media platform for news consumption in nine countries. 

Using WhatsApp as a source of news consumption is most popular in Malaysia, where 51 percent of respondents say they use it to share or discuss news every week. It’s less popular in the US, where only three percent of respondents use it for the same purpose.

Only 24 percent of the study’s respondents said they thought social media does a good job at distinguishing real and fake news, less than the 40 percent that said they trusted traditional news media to do the same. Just under 30 percent of respondents said they intentionally avoid the news, with some citing unreliability as the reason. 

Facebook has been pressed to fix its fake news problem since the issue came to the public’s attention following the US presidential elections last year. The company has since announced measures to fight fake news by enabling a feature that allows users to flag fake news, working with third-party fact-checkers to identify misinformation and shutting down bot accounts.

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IBM-powered DNA sequencing could find bacteria in raw milk

To be able to build those tools, they first need to be intimately familiar with the substance and the microorganisms that tend to contaminate it. They’ll sequence and analyze the DNA and RNA of dairy samples from Cornell’s farm, as well as of all the microorganisms in environments milk tends to make contact with, including the cows themselves, from the moment it’s pumped. Their tests will characterize what’s “normal” for raw milk, so the tools they make can easily tell if something’s wrong even if it’s an unknown contaminant we’ve never seen before.

This project however, is just the beginning. They plan to apply what they learn to other types of produce and ingredients in the future in order to ensure that they’re safe for consumption, especially if they were imported from abroad. Martin Wiedmann, Gellert Family Professor in Food Safety, from Cornell University said in a statement:

“As nature’s most perfect food, milk is an excellent model for studying the genetics of food. As a leader in genomics research, the Department of Food Science expects this research collaboration with IBM will lead to exciting opportunities to apply findings to multiple food products in locations worldwide.”

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Rank ’em: Which player made the best fashion statement at the 2017 NBA draft?

The NBA draft is a chance for the latest crop of basketball talent to make eye-catching fashion choices — and the 2017 NBA draft class did not disappoint.

Some players, such as Malik Monk with his “The Woodz” pattern or Zach Collins with his homage to the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, incorporated nods to their hometowns. Other fashion decisions carried deeper sentiment: The lining of No. 5 overall pick De’Aaron Fox‘s suit featured breast cancer ribbons as a tribute to his mother, a breast cancer survivor.

Which prospect made the best fashion statement at this year’s draft? Using the arrows next to each choice, weigh in by ranking the sharply dressed players below.

Bowties and shoes

Still other prospects went for flashy, unique accessories and footwear:

While the NBA draft picks were dressed for success at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday night, it remains to be seen how they’ll look — or play — in the uniforms of their new teams when the 2017-18 NBA season begins.

— Brendan C. Hall

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This iPhone rival’s touchscreen could read your finger first

The first phone to successfully integrate a fingerprint sensor in the screen may not be an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy at all. It could be a phone from Chinese brand Vivo, which isn’t well known outside China. 

A Vivo Twitter post hints that the company will “unlock” “a new solution” at a trade show next week. Pair that with the image of what looks like a fingerprint going through a panel and you have a pretty strong suggestion that Vivo’s phone could kick off the next phone trend. 

The tweet echoes last week’s short (and very unofficial) YouTube video of a Vivo smartphone with a fingerprint sensor built into its display.

What’s the big deal about embedded fingerprint sensors? As phone makers aim for bigger displays with smaller bezels (like the Galaxy S8 and LG G6) phones that have a home button or scanner beneath the screen could ditch it to save more space (think iPhone 7 in particular). Companies that can get ahead of the curve to use this software will have more options for reconfiguring the placement of the fingerprint sensor on their phones.

It was rumored that the Galaxy S8 would do this, but that wasn’t the case. Now rumors say the iPhone 8 could come with the feature, but it’s been reported that Apple may be having difficulty getting the tech to work in time for the iPhone launch. If Vivo’s able to snag an industry first, Apple, Samsung — two typical market leaders — will be the ones to follow.

We’ll have to stay tuned to Vivo’s event in Shanghai to see if this rumored feature actually becomes a reality.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

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Tesla inches closer to building EVs in China with new talks

An American automaker does not simply walk into China and start building cars. It’s an arduous process, but Tesla is one step closer to going through with it.

Tesla is in exploratory talks with the Shanghai municipal government regarding setting up shop and building some of its electric vehicles in China, Reuters reports. There’s no timeline in place, as the talks are at a very early stage, but it could help Tesla avoid the markup that currently plagues the cars it sells in China.

Telsa Opens New Flagship Store In San FranciscoEnlarge Image

The Model S and Model X are expensive, tariff or not, so it’s likely that Tesla will place its Chinese focus on its more affordable upcoming models.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

China’s an odd place to sell a car. If you want to import vehicles into China for sale, the country will add a 25 percent tariff, making even affordable vehicles somewhat expensive. The other option is to partner with a local manufacturer and set up shop on the mainland, which allows foreign automakers to bypass the tariff. The foreign company must own no more than 50 percent of that joint venture, as well.

The original goal, according to the New York Times, was to give additional support to Chinese automakers so that they may one day export vehicles to other regions. That was years ago, though, and some Chinese automakers are even preparing to sell vehicles in the US. Yet, the program still exists.

Right now, it’s unclear what company Tesla plans to partner with, and the automaker did not immediately return a request for comment. But Reuters pointed out speculation that could involve Tencent, a Chinese tech firm that recently purchased 5.0 percent of Tesla at a cost exceeding $1 billion.

It’s also unclear what cars Tesla will build in China, if it receives the go-ahead to do so. A supplier told Reuters that the Model 3 and its crossover complement, the Model Y, are the most likely choices. I’d be inclined to agree, given the relative affordability of at least the Model 3, which is one of its selling points in the US. Building it in China would allow it to be affordable there, as well, thanks to the tariff bypass.

Tesla Model 3

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Stanford study uses big data to highlight racial biases in policing

The project began a couple of years ago. Interested in figuring out what role racial bias plays in everyday traffic stops, the research team, made up of scientists and journalists, began collecting records of traffic and pedestrian stops from law enforcement agencies in every state. As of now, they’ve analyzed — and made available — data from 31 state police agencies, which includes 130 million records.

From this data, the group found that black and Hispanic drivers are stopped more frequently than white drivers. Black and Hispanic drivers are 20 percent and 30 percent more likely to be ticketed than white drivers, respectively. And compared to white drivers, black and Hispanic drivers are searched based on less evidence — a finding calculated from both search rates and how often police actually found contraband during a search.

The researchers are continuing to collect data and have begun to look at records from major cities. You can access their findings and all of their data on the project’s website and you can watch the video below for more information on the research.

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