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Facebook showcases wrist-worn AR interface concept

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Facebook’s hardware strategy often looks pretty opaque from the outside. The company has done fairly well with Oculus sales amid pandemic demand. Even its Echo Show competitor Portal has seen a bump as people have been forced to socially distance. The company’s smartphone partnership with HTC, meanwhile, fell flat eight or so years back.

Earlier this year, reports surfaced that the company was working on its own Apple Watch competitor. The smartwatch was said to have a health focus, running on an open-source version of Android. That, of course, would mark an interesting alternative from Google’s chosen wearOS.

This week, the company highlighted another wrist-based wearable. The specifics of the project don’t line up super closely with earlier reports, which could well mean two separate projects. Facebook is a big company, after all.

This particular project out of Facebook Reality Labs is more focused on providing an alternative computer interface. Specifically, it seems in line with the company’s augmented reality efforts.

Per yesterday’s blog post:

A separate device you could store in your pocket like a phone or a game controller adds a layer of friction between you and your environment. As we explored the possibilities, placing an input device at the wrist became the clear answer. The wrist is a traditional place to wear a watch, meaning it could reasonably fit into everyday life and social contexts. It’s a comfortable location for all-day wear. It’s located right next to the primary instruments you use to interact with the world — your hands. This proximity would allow us to bring the rich control capabilities of your hands into AR, enabling intuitive, powerful and satisfying interaction.

I will say that, based on the information presented, this seems more conceptual. As in, this could be the key to offering more seamless control for some future augmented reality system. And even still, it’s presented as a step on the way to a more deeply integrated human-computer solution. How deeply you want Facebook to integrate with your neurons is apparently a question we’re all going to have to ask ourselves in the not too distant future.

This interface specifically is designed to use electromyography (EMG) sensors to interpret motor nerve signals and interact with the interface accordingly. The subject interestingly came up during a Clubhouse event featuring Mark Zuckerberg last night. After Pebble founder/YC partner Eric Migicovsky discussed experiences dealing with Apple for his own smartwatch startup, the Facebook CEO said the following:

If you’re trying to build a watch, which we’re exploring as we talked about the wrist thing and I don’t want to call it a watch, but it’s the basic neural interfaces work that our Facebook reality labs team demoed some of our research about today. With the neural interface on the wrist, if you want that to integrate with the phone in any way, it’s just so much easier on Android than iOS. My guess is that this is an area where there probably should be a lot more focus. And I do think the private APIs are just something that makes it really difficult to have a healthy ecosystem.

“Exploring” seems like an operative word here. But it’s always cool/fascinating to see these projects in their early stages. Even if the promises might still seem a tad…overzealous.

EMG will eventually progress to richer controls. In AR, you’ll be able to actually touch and move virtual UIs and objects, as you can see in this demo video. You’ll also be able to control virtual objects at a distance. It’s sort of like having a superpower like the Force.

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How much do we shape-shift across social media?

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How much do we shape-shift across social media?

Like the spaces we frequent in the physical world, each social app serves a different, fairly obvious purpose. If LinkedIn is a job fair of some sort, Instagram is a playground, or a party — both of which can be simultaneously bright, loud, and exhausting. The distinctions between these platforms are very much known.

But these are places we go to everyday, and in each, we shift. We flick through a handful apps everyday, the more prominent ones arguably being TikTok, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. On some, our tone may be nonchalant; on another, indignant. These are emotions expressed daily, sometimes concurrently, with different interfaces displaying alternative views, moods, even personas.

How much do we actually do shape-shift across social media? Turns out, a lot.

Samara Madhvani, who owns a boutique social media consultancy(Opens in a new window), says that what she shares on TikTok is vastly different from her posts on Instagram.

“Most of my friends don’t use [TikTok], so I feel like I can post more freely without being judged,” she tells Mashable. “It’s a great space to experiment with different kinds of content, that I would probably never share on Instagram.”

Similarly, brand management and development specialist MaryKate tells Mashable that she shows her “full authentic self” solely on Snapchat.

“Snapchat is for [my] innermost thoughts,” she says. Meanwhile, she uses Instagram to post “photos of things, travel and the occasional selfie”. TikTok is for more niche interests, where she posts “drone footage or animal footage”. Twitter is a point of conflict, where she feels more filtered.

“I feel like each social media platform is a different part of me,” she says.

At their core, these apps are intending for users to be on display, in whatever curated form they desire. Apps like BeReal have attempted to offer a different side to social media, with the premise that users can be their most authentic selves. Yet, it’s another platform that is, in reality, asking something of the user: who are you in this moment? What do you and to show?


“When you look at our behaviour on social media as a whole, our personality on a platform depends on how we perceive its usage.”

– Ria Chopra

Ria Chopra(Opens in a new window), a writer and journalist, says that she is guarded about her personal life and selective when it comes to posting across all platforms.

“The sides of my personality I choose to show differ from platform to platform,” she says. “When you look at our behaviour on social media as a whole, our personality on a platform depends on how we perceive its usage. LinkedIn is perceived by me to be a professional space, so I’m professional there. Instagram is for personal connections, so I’m more likely to put up birthday posts there, while Twitter is more stream-of-consciousness, simply because of that’s the kind of stuff I see there and believe it’s for.”

Being human means having to change, situationally and socially, on the daily. This isn’t news to any adult. Who you are at work may be a far cry from who you are at home. What you show to your closest friends can be deviation from who are you with your siblings. For Black people and people of color, code switching is even more habitual(Opens in a new window), particularly in the workplace where bias based on factors like speech(Opens in a new window) has long had a negative impact. These ever-so-subtle shifts that take place are near instinctive for most. But when this applies to the internet, too, identity can be in constant flux.

For many users, this is a natural aspect to having more than one social media account. It’s almost a given: an exercise in construction and curation(Opens in a new window), for numerous reasons.

Being a woman or a marginalized person on social media comes with its own set of complications, for instance. These are ones that can largely hinder what a person chooses to share and speak about on public platforms. Seyi Akiwowo(Opens in a new window), author of How to Stay Safe Online(Opens in a new window), addressed this extensively in her guidebook to the internet. “The idea that online platforms are neutral is a fairy tale. It’s not a few bad apples ruining the experience for the rest of us. The very DNA of these platforms is in conflict with the best interests of a large number of their users,” Akiwowo writes. “Women and girls across the globe are walking on eggshells because of the fear of online abuse.”

Research by Plan International in 2017(Opens in a new window), which Akiwowo cites, found that 43 percent of girls aged 11 to 18 admitted to holding back their opinions on social media for fear of being criticized. Self-censorship, while admittedly an issue for all on social apps, is heightened when it comes to young girls who are doing so for their own safety online.

“Women can post on almost any topic — animal rights, climate change, healthcare — and abuse usually follows,” writes Akiwowo.

Then there are the lesser but significant factors everyone faces – like who your followers are and whether your account is private. These will also play a natural role in choosing how to behave on a certain platform. This is perhaps what led to the surge of “finstas” — which now seem near extinct — a few years ago. These “fake” Instagram accounts allowed for privacy and exclusivity, but are now a dated concept, shadowed by integrated features like Instagram’s Close Friends and Twitter Circle. The demand for these also alludes to the greater desire to post and interact in different ways, even in the space of a singular app.

Madhvani believes that total, complete authenticity is a far reach on any platform. “Even a comment or a like on someone else’s content will leave a digital footprint,” she says. “Today, everything that people post is somewhat curated. At the end of the day, you’re posting and sharing for a purpose whether it’s to look a certain way or to get more followers or even sell a product.”

Alex Quicho, head of futures at trends agency Canvas8(Opens in a new window), suggests there is a positive side to the transformations we undergo on apps, saying that social media can play a role in “trying out different facets of one’s persona”.

“Today’s crop of users are less concerned about projecting a stable image or personal brand,” says Quicho. “We’re seeing many Gen Zers adopt an exploratory attitude to how they appear on social platforms: seeing these false personas as creative and constructive.”

In this vein, having different sorts of social media can provide paths to traverse identity and to explore different interests. The possible trouble is not in utilizing these purpose-driven platforms. Instead, there is potential for burnout in these spaces(Opens in a new window), which is already a dangling possibility(Opens in a new window) for anyone who uses social media.

Chopra says that she is increasingly “cross-posting” across platforms, in an endeavor to integrate content and show her comprehensive self.

“It’s unconscious, but maybe that’s my bid to be more ‘me’ everywhere. So I’ve posted my tweets on LinkedIn, my Instagram posts on Twitter, if I want to. And it’s paying off — I feel more authentic knowing that I’m reflecting a more holistic sense of my personality everywhere,” she explains.

Let’s face it: authenticity and social media are hardly interconnected. Some social media users are increasingly pursuing this concept, seeking to be themselves on platforms designed to allow the opposite. But living in the digital age — with an influx of apps at our disposal — means having to have more than one public face: a near constant metamorphosis.



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This Facebook Page Shares 116 Memes That Might Teach You Something (New Pics)

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This Facebook Page Shares 116 Memes That Might Teach You Something (New Pics)

What was your experience like in school? Were you straight-A student, or were you more focused on upholding your reputation as class clown than finishing your homework on time? Regardless of how much you remember from the good (or bad) old days in the classroom, it’s likely that there weren’t many memes involved in the curriculum. If there were, I’m jealous! And if there weren’t, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with your daily dose of educational memes down below!

We’ve gathered some of the best posts from Educational Memes on Instagram to remind you all that learning and laughing don’t have to be mutually exclusive. So, pandas, enjoy these pics that might take you back to the days of packed lunches, recess and raising your hand when you had a question, and   be sure to upvote the ones that make you feel particularly intelligent.

Keep reading to also find a conversation with the creator of this hilarious account, Yashdeep Kanhai, and then if you’re interested in finding even more memes dedicated to living, laughing and learning, you can find Bored Panda’s previous article featuring Educational Memes right here!

More info: Instagram | Facebook


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Soros-Funded Fake News Operation Pushes Facebook to Reinstate Trump Ban

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Soros-Funded Fake News Operation Pushes Facebook to Reinstate Trump Ban

Courier Newsroom also has ties to progressive megadonor Laurene Powell Jobs

George Soros / Getty Images

A progressive billionaire-funded network of Democratic propaganda sites masquerading as legitimate news websites is leading the push to keep former president Donald Trump off Facebook and Twitter.

Courier Newsroom, which bills itself as the “largest left-leaning news network in the country,” organized a petition this week to pressure Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Elon Musk to keep Trump off their platforms. Facebook said Thursday it would reinstate Trump “in the coming weeks.” Twitter reinstated Trump in November, but the former president has not posted on the site. Both sites banned him in January 2021, under pressure from Democratic lawmakers and liberal advocacy groups.

“We cannot allow him to rejoin these platforms and spread more hateful, inaccurate information. Sign the petition now to keep Trump off of Facebook and Twitter,” Courier’s petition says. Blue Amp Action, a Democratic consulting firm, circulated the petition in an email to Courier supporters. The consulting firm has worked for a number of Democratic campaigns. President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign paid Blue Amp Action around $230,000 for media production services in 2020.

Maintaining a ban on Trump could help Democrats in 2024 by depriving the early GOP favorite of access to two of the country’s biggest media platforms. And that aligns with the political goals of Courier Newsroom’s biggest backers.

Laurene Powell Jobs, who inherited $20 billion from her late husband, Apple founder Steve Jobs, was a major funder of ACRONYM, the digital media company behind Courier Newsroom, the Washington Free Beacon reported. While the exact nature of Powell Jobs’s ties to ACRONYM and Courier Newsroom are unclear, she is not the only progressive megadonor propping up the group.

In October 2021, the progressive billionaire George Soros and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman formed an organization called Good Information, Inc. The group acquired Courier Newsroom, which operates websites designed to look like legitimate local news publications. Soros, the Democratic party’s biggest donor, gave $1.2 million to Courier Newsroom through his Open Society Foundations in 2021 to support the group’s “non-partisan journalism.”

While Courier Newsroom aims to root out political disinformation online, Hoffman has funded multiple projects that used disinformation to help elect Democrats. In 2017, he funded a project in which tech firms created fake social media personas in order to suppress Republican voter turnout in Alabama’s 2017 special Senate election.

Other Soros-funded advocacy groups have pressured Facebook to maintain its ban on Trump.

Media Matters for America, which received $500,000 in Soros cash in 2021, partnered with Accountable Tech to form the “Keep Trump Off Facebook” campaign. MoveOn.org, one of the largest progressive groups in the country, has purchased ads on Facebook to circulate a petition to keep Trump off the platform. Soros donated $450,000 to MoveOn in 2021.

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