Doctored video of sinister Mark Zuckerberg puts Facebook to the test

Last month Facebook declined to remove a manipulated video of Nancy Pelosi even after it was viewed millions of times A doctored video of Mark Zuckerberg delivering a foreboding speech has been posted to Instagram, in a stunt that put Facebooks content moderation policies to the test. Videos known as deepfakes use artificial intelligence to manipulate the appearance and voices of individuals, often celebrities, into theoretically real-looking footage. They are likely to become the next wave in the battles over disinformation online. The clip, posted four days ago, casts the Facebook founder in a sinister light, boasting of his power, and is meant to appear as if it is a legitimate news program. Imagine this for a second: one man …

‘I’m riding Le Tour in my spare room’: the indoor cycling revolution

The boom in virtual riding systems like Peloton and Zwift has got people swapping the road for a room at home. Are they worth it? On a blustery Saturday morning, I am about to climb Alpe dHuez near Grenoble. I have waited years for the chance. For followers of the Tour de France, this is hallowed asphalt a mountainous ribbon of road where mortals have pedalled into legend. The race I have entered finishes at the summit. My thighs already crackle with heat when the going gets steep. After 21 hairpin bends, eight miles and a final sprint against a Dane called Arne, I cross the line in 44th place. As I slump over my handlebars, my beard dispensing sweat …

‘It’s ghost slavery’: the troubling world of pop holograms

Dead stars from Whitney Houston to Maria Callas are going on tour again. As Miley Cyrus explores the issue in a new Black Mirror, we uncover the greatest identity crisis in music today In the star-making Disney Channel switcheroo Hannah Montana,Miley Cyrus played a teenage girl who is able to metamorphose from regular eighth grader to pop icon, simply by donning a streaked blonde wig. Most of the show seems quaintly dated now, but one moment taps into a very 2019 pop anxiety. On foam-finger humper to The episodes trailer ends with Ashley Too acquiring potty-mouthed sentience, screaming for her owner to get this [USB] cable out of my ass! Holy Shit! Specifics are under wraps, but the episode seems …

What happened when I met my Islamophobic troll

The long read: In 2017, I started getting regular messages from an anonymous Twitter user telling me my religion was evil. Eventually I responded and he agreed to meet face to face In 2017, I started to receive messages from a Islamophobia and Dear Gays: The Left Betrayed You For Islam. True Brit was also a fan of the British rightwing commentator Katie Hopkins, who in 2015 likened Syrian refugees to cockroaches, and who until recently produced anti-Islam videos for Canadian far-right outlet The Rebel Media. True Brit was a very active Twitter user. They would post at least 10 times a day, often attacking members of the Labour party, in particular the shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, branding her …

Why Bella Hadid and Lil Miquelas kiss is a terrifying glimpse of the future | Arwa Mahdawi

An advert featuring the human and virtual models is late-capitalist hell, queerbait and digisexuality all at once Bella Hadid, a human supermodel, has been accused of queerbaiting after making out with Lil Miquela, a computer-generated influencer, in order to sell designer underwear. I know, I know, theres a lot going on in that sentence. Please take a deep breath: we will unpack this late-capitalist hell together. Miquela Sousa, also known as Lil Miquela, is a fictional character created by a Los Angeles startup called Brud. Miquela has 1.5m followers on Instagram, where she shares pictures of her imaginary life and proclaims her support for LGBT rights and Black Lives Matter. In the past few years, the virtual model has become …

Is an influencer promoting your business? Sign an agreement or risk getting burned | Gene Marks

Social media celebrities can help create buzz but as an Australian cafe owner learned, you may end up paying more without a written deal These days many a small business may be thinking about hiring a social media influencer to help create buzz about their business. It may be worthwhile. But for one owner of a small cafe in Melbourne, it turned into a disaster. Con Katsiogiannis, in an effort to draw a cool crowd to his business, last year hired reportedly charges anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000 an Instagram post, if you believe that) but shes no Instagram slouch either. As of this writing, she has about 128,000 followers who like to keep up on what shes doing, where …

Pay-to-hey: app lets users receive messages from celebrities for a price

Snoop Dogg, Meredith from The Office and Ken Bone can wish you a happy bamitzvah for as little as $20 with the Cameo app The Cameo app is based on a simple idea: let ordinary people pay celebrities to record personalized messages for fans upon request. Instead of tweeting incessantly at a star asking for them to shout you out, you can just pay them $50 and theyll do whatever you want. Users can scroll through the hundreds of personalities on the platform, from athletes to actors and social media influencers, to pay for a little bit of their time. Casual Friday just turned formal. Book @therealkateflannery for your promposal and, remember to dance harder than Meredith did at Jim …

US dismisses South Koreas launch of world-first 5G network as stunt

Half a dozen celebrities were the first to experience the service, carriers say 5G services at 11pm local time on Wednesday, according to media reports, but only for a handful of celebrities in what their US rival dismissed as a publicity stunt. SK Telecom [has] announced that it has activated 5G services for six celebrities representing Korea as of 11pm 3 April 2019, the countrys biggest mobile operator said in a news release on Thursday. The launch was reportedly brought forward by two days, as speculation mounted that US mobile carrier Samsung begins sales of the Galaxy S10 5G, the worlds first available smartphone with the technology built in. LG Electronics will release its 5G smartphone later this month. South …

Its genuine, you know?: why the online influencer industry is going authentic

The long read: Calamities such as Fyre Festival have tarnished the booming business of YouTube and Instagram stars. Now the industrys top tastemakers have a new plan: keeping it real In a central London hair salon last December, the fashion influencer Victoria Magrath (@inthefrow) mingled among a few of her 849,000 Instagram followers. Magrath tall, with signature silver hair was celebrating the launch of her book, The New Fashion Rules, at an event organised by her talent agency, Gleam Futures. She chatted easily, her high, delighted voice ringing out over the roar of the hairdryers and her manner so convincingly intimate that it was possible to think she knew her followers as well as they knew her. In a group …

Plagiarism, book-stuffing, clickfarms … the rotten side of self-publishing

Scams are rife, particularly when some authors can rake in thousands each month but high-profile victims of plagiarism warn day of reckoning is coming NSerruyas alleged plagiarism was first exposed by US author Courtney Milan, who found passages from her book The Duchess War in Serruyas novel Royal Love. After Milan went public and after highlighted by authors and readers Serruya pulled her books from sale, blaming the overlaps on a ghostwriter she said shed hired from freelance marketplace Fiverr. A former law professor, Milan was a dreadful choice to lift from as was Roberts, who has never been sanguine about plagiarism, taking her fellow novelist and former friend Janet Dailey to court in 1997. But Serruya is just one …

Apple event: 10 things you may have missed

Heres what Tim Cook didnt reveal, from Apple Card details to the Arcade game service Apple is throwing money at its bank Its US-only (for now?) but Apple is pushing its new credit card hard. The company is offering 2% cashback, paid daily, on any purchase made with the card using Apple Pay, and 3% on any purchase made with Apple itself, including the App Store and Apple Music. For purchases made in stores and online that dont take Apple Pay, of which there are a lot, the rate is lower, at 1%. But those figures show how much Apple is willing to pay to make its card a success. For comparison, the best cashback card in the US, reports …

‘When Im 16, my baby brother will take over’: the rise of the kidfluencer

Tekkerz kid, 10, gets stopped in the street by fans; The McClure twins, five, have 1.7 million Instagram followers. Whats life like as a tiny influencer? Ryan is seven years old and makes a reported $22m (16.8m) a year. His YouTube channel, Tiana, a bubbly 11-year-old toy reviewer from Nottingham (4.4 million subscribers) who has queues of children snaking through shopping centres for meet-and-greets during school holidays. There are hundreds getting more than 100,000 clicks a time, or with six-figure follower counts, such as Super Awesome. But every generation has that same obsessional, cult-like draw towards what is popular, just like the one that wanted to marry Backstreet Boys. Launching children on to platforms that were built for adults is …

Petition to revoke article 50 exceeds 1m signatures amid site crashes

Petition posted in February was getting 1,500 signatures a minute More than a million people have signed a plea for article 50 to be revoked. The list of names grew so rapidly on Thursday that the parliamentary petition website crashed several times. The criticised MPs for not approving her Brexit deal. When the site first crashed on Thursday the petition had received almost 600,000 signatures and was growing at a rate of 1,500 a minute. At about 9am a message appeared stating that the site was down for maintenance and asking users to please try again later. A House of Commons spokesperson told the Guardian: The petitions site is experiencing technical difficulties and we are working to get it running …

Parents: don’t panic about Momo worry about YouTube Kids instead | Keza MacDonald

One is a viral hoax. The other is rife with distressing and disturbing content, says Keza MacDonald, the Guardians video games editor I first heard about Momo in my local parents WhatsApp group. Someone had screenshotted a Facebook post about a creepy puppet that supposedly appeared in unsuspecting childrens phone messages and spliced into YouTube videos, dispensing advice on self-harm and violent acts. I reacted with suspicion: this would hardly be the first time that something on Facebook was indeed a hoax, a viral shock-story driven by a frightening image and well-intentioned worry about childrens safety online. There have been videos on YouTube Kids with suicide advice spliced into otherwise innocuous cartoons as a malicious joke they just dont involve …

Momo hoax: schools, police and media told to stop promoting viral challenge

Childrens charities say warnings about online suicide challenge have done more harm than good Britains media, schools and police forces were told on Thursday to stop promoting an online hoax about the so-called Momo challenge, amid fears that unjustified warnings about the supposed phenomenon risked doing more harm than good. The Momo challenge centres on false claims that a mysterious character is using WhatsApp messages to encourage children to kill themselves. After it moved from the fringes of the internet to the mass media, interventions from authority figures were blamed for creating a full-blown moral panic and genuine fear among children. Questions were raised in parliament on Thursday about what the government planned to do about the hoax, while hundreds …