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Twitter users will soon be able to crop their own image previews and have greater control over how photos appear in the main feed.
This change comes amid criticism that Twitter’s image cropping algorithm is biased in regard to what it does and does not crop out of photos.
Currently, users have no control over how an uploaded photo is previewed in-stream.
Twitter says it’s working on ways to give users more visibility and control over what images will look like when a tweet is published.
How an image is previewed in the tweet composer is not how it will show up in users’ feeds.
Twitter intends to correct that:
“We are prioritizing work to decrease our reliance on ML-based image cropping by giving people more visibility and control over what their images will look like in a Tweet.
Going forward, we are committed to following the “what you see is what you get” principles of design, meaning quite simply: the photo you see in the Tweet composer is what it will look like in the Tweet.”
Why did this suddenly become a priority for Twitter?
Here’s some background on the criticism that lead to this change.Twitter Image Cropping Controversy
Right now, when an image is uploaded to a tweet and published, it gets cropped to 600 pixels by 335 pixels.
This is standard practice regardless of the image’s original dimensions. What’s not standard is which section of an image gets cropped.
Cropping is done algorithmically, so that means Twitter may decide to crop near the top, bottom, or middle of an image.
Depending on the image’s original size, a considerable amount of detail could be cropped out. This is especially true for images that are taller than they are wide.
As it happens, a series of repeatable tests appear to demonstrate an alleged bias in what Twitter prefers to show in an image preview.
To put it simply, Twitter’s image preview algorithm seems to focus on white faces more than black faces.
A number of tweets demonstrating the apparent bias went viral last month.
There were examples with people in stock photos:
— Jef Caine (@JefCaine) September 19, 2023
There were examples with fictional characters:
I wonder if Twitter does this to fictional characters too.
— Jordan Simonovski (@_jsimonovski) September 20, 2023
And there were even examples with dogs:
— – M A R K – (@MarkEMarkAU) September 20, 2023Twitter’s Response
Twitter admits it could have done better when designing its image preview algorithm:
“While our analyses to date haven’t shown racial or gender bias, we recognize that the way we automatically crop photos means there is a potential for harm. We should’ve done a better job of anticipating this possibility when we were first designing and building this product.”
Twitter intends on implementing changes to reduce the apparent bias shown in the above examples:
“We’re aware of our responsibility, and want to work towards making it easier for everyone to understand how our systems work. While no system can be completely free of bias, we’ll continue to minimize bias through deliberate and thorough analysis, and share updates as we progress in this space.”
The exact changes Twitter will roll out, and when they’ll be rolled out, are not known at this time.
The company is currently in the process of developing a solution. “There’s lots of work to do,” Twitter says.
That’s likely a better approach than rushing out an update and potentially making the situation worse.
Twitter says it will share additional updates as they become available.
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You’ll need an organism—preferably one with hard bones or a shell. Add fine-grained sediment and rapid burial and in 10,000 years or so, you’ll be well on your way to a deliciously durable fossil.
It’s a cooking project that can only take place in Earth’s test kitchen, and the baking time is admittedly long. But what if there were a quicker way—think microwave instead of slow cooker? A group of paleontologists think they’ve discovered a way that upends tradition and could give others in the field new insights into the way things fossilize. They published a paper on their method today in the journal Paleontology.
Taphonomy, or the study of the fossilization process, has been part of paleontology since the 1950s, when the term was coined by Ivan Yefremov, a Soviet scientist who won the Stalin prize—the USSR’s answer to the Nobel—for his work.
“Basically it’s about the process of death and disintegration,” explains Ronald Martin, a paleontologist at the University of Delaware who literally wrote the book on taphonomy.
A lizard foot covered in scales, artificially fossilized Evan Sattia, Field Museum/University of Bristol and Tom Kaye, Foundation for Scientific Advancement
Paleontologists aren’t the only ones who care about the discipline—it’s used by archaeologists, forensics experts and others to help understand how organisms die and are preserved. They use those insights to do things like figure out what kinds of animals or habitats are overrepresented in the fossil record as well as to understand time scales, climate change, and other nuances that wouldn’t be clear without an idea of how something got from living creature to fossil in the first place.
Typically, paleontologists use nature itself to figure out how fossils are made. “Some of it is pretty ingenious,” says Martin. In 1993, for example, a nationwide group of paleontologists banded together to create the Shelf and Slope Experimental Taphonomy Initiative. The long-term project involves burying a variety of marine species beneath the Gulf of Mexico and the waters of the Bahamas, then periodically visiting and studying them to observe how they’ve decayed over the years.
Another group created an atlas of invertebrate decay, sticking a variety of dead animals in water for up to a year and logging the changes that befell each creature. Others head to the lab to try to speed up the process. At the Laboratory of Experimental Taphonomy at Madrid’s National Museum of Natural Sciences, for instance, paleontologists can simulate the effects of everything from rain to pollution and climatic cycles.
These experiments yield important insights into how fossilization works, but they have their limits. Many happen within closed containers that make it hard to figure out what’s going on inside; most take place without the existence of, say, predators or earthquakes or any of the myriad things that can change fossilization. Researchers have to decide whether they care more about the early stages of fossilization or “maturation,” during which rock changes from sediment to sedimentary rock with the help of temperature, pressure, and other factors.
A bit of feather used to see how more delicate body parts get preserved. Evan Sattia, Field Museum/University of Bristol and Tom Kaye, Foundation for Scientific Advancement
And then there’s the issue of time; Though some experimental methods can nudge the process ahead, there’s nothing like ten or more millennia to make a fossil.
For the less patient, there’s a new option: “bake” fossils by packing the work of tens of thousands of years into a 24-hour period.
Field Museum researcher Evan Saitta and his colleagues call their method “sediment-encased maturation,” and it involves pressing samples into clay tablets which are then baked in an oven at 3500 psi—about the pressure of a professional-grade power washer, and roughly equivalent to the pressure of rock in the shallow parts of Earth’s crust, where fossils are found. The result looks and acts like a real-life fossil. They tested the method on feathers, lizards, and leaves.
The researchers think they can use their method to compare what kinds of materials can survive fossilization, identify structures found in actual fossils, and better understand how soft tissues like skin respond to fossilization. By testing different variables using the process, paleontologists could possibly learn to identify what temperature or gases contributed to a real-life fossil’s formation.
“Our experimental method is like a cheat sheet,” says Saitta, who is the study’s lead author, in a release. “If we use this to find out what kinds of biomolecules can withstand the pressure and heat of fossilization, then we know what to look for in real fossils.”
Fake fossils may make it speedier to figure out how things fossilize, but they won’t take the guesswork out of paleontology—or replace the frisson of finding the real deal out in the wild. Still, it’s another tool to help reconstruct what really happened in the wild pressure cooker that is Earth…one faux fossil at a time.
KB4489890, KB4489888 and KB4489889 bring many issues of their own
Microsoft rolled out a new series of cumulative updates for three Windows 10 versions: v1709, v1703 and v1607.
The updates don’t come with any security fixes this time. Instead, they fix some major bugs that have been affecting the functionality of the OS.
Apart from the bug fixes, the cumulative updates come with a long list of known issues.KB4489890, KB4489888 and KB4489889 known issues 1. Stop error prompts
Those users who have installed kb4489890 can come across a stop error while stating the Secure Shell (SSH) client program from Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).
Microsoft suggests the users have to disable forwarding of the authentication agent connection. It can either be done with the help of a configuration setting or a command line switch (ssh –a).2. IE
11 authentication issues
The installation of the KB4489889 update might trigger authentication issues for IE 11. The issue arises if the same account is being used by two or more users on a Windows Server system.
Some of the issues that you might face after the installation are:
Keyboard shortcuts fail to work
Zero or empty location and cache size
File download issues
Credential prompts bugs
Webpage loading issues
Microsoft stated that if you are using a Windows Server machine, the problem can be resolved by creating a unique user account. Furthermore, you also need to disable multiple RDP sessions for an account.
This is a temporary workaround, and Microsoft has promised to release a bug fix with the next Windows Update.
3. Cluster service fails to start
The cluster service does not start following the installation of KB4489889. If the users configured the Minimum Password Length of the group policy with more than 14 characters, you might encounter the error “2245 (NERR_PasswordTooShort)”.
Microsoft said that a temporary solution to fix the problem is to set a value of less than or equal to 14 characters as the minimum password length.4. Applications not responding
Microsoft acknowledges the fact that the installation of the KB4489888, KB4489889, and KB4489890 update triggers a bug in MSXML6. This bug further forces different applications to stop responding and throw an exception error. When a user attempts to edit a Group Policy Object (GPO), the Group Policy editor may stop responding.
Microsoft is currently working to resolve the bug and promises to release a fix in the next release.
Maybe the following troubleshooting guides could help you fix the problem:5. Device start-up issue
The kb4489889update brings another bug for the users when a Windows Deployment Services (WDS) server’s device that uses Variable Window Extension is started with the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE).
As a result when the user attempts to download an image the WDS server connection might terminate prematurely. However, those devices or clients that are not using Variable Window Extension does not have to tackle the bug.
The tech giant is currently working on the bug and for the time being, it can be resolved by following one of these solutions:
Open an Administrator Command prompt and type the following:
Wdsutil /Set-TransportServer /EnableTftpVariableWindowExtension:No
Use the Windows Deployment Services UI.
Open Windows Deployment Services from Windows Administrative Tools.
Open its properties and clear the Enable Variable Window Extension box on the TFTP tab.
Set the following registry value to 0:
Keep in mind that the WDSServer service needs to be restarted following the Variable Window Extension is disabled.6. Blue screen bug
Microsoft warns the users that they will have to face a system failure and a startup blue screen bug if they enable per font end-user-defined characters (EUDC).
The particular setting needs to be avoided by those users who are currently residing in the non-Asian regions and have installed the latest updates.
The company suggests the users refrain from enabling per font EUDC till a bug fix has been released.
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A panel of U.K. lawmakers has described as “alarming” that social networking companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube have teams of only a few hundred employees to monitor billions of accounts for extremist content.
If these companies do not tackle the issue and allow their services to become the ‘Wild West’ of the internet, their reputation as responsible operators will be eroded, it added.
The report, which said the use of the internet to promote radicalization and terror was one of the biggest threats faced by countries including the U.K., singled out Twitter for mention for not proactively reporting extremist content to law enforcement agencies.
The committee described as a “drop in the ocean” the suspension by Twitter of 125,000 accounts worldwide linked to terrorists between mid-2024 and February 2024, and Google’s removal in 2014 of over 14 million videos worldwide that related to all kinds of abuse.
In evidence to the panel, the companies said that they had staff who manually search for potentially extremist content online and decide on whether to take the content down and suspend accounts. Twitter said it had “more than a hundred” staff working on this job, while Facebook and Google did not provide a number.
The report reflects growing concern about the use of social networks by terror groups like the Islamic State group, also referred to as ISIS, for propaganda, communications and recruitment. “We are engaged in a war for hearts and minds in the fight against terrorism. The modern front line is the internet,” said Keith Vaz, member of Parliament and chairman of the committee in a statement. “Its forums, message boards and social media platforms are the lifeblood of Daesh and other terrorist groups for their recruitment and financing and the spread of ideology.”
“The UK Government should now enforce its own measures to ensure that the large technology companies operating in this country are required to cooperate with CTIRU promptly and fully, by investigating sites and accounts propagating hate speech, and then either shutting them down immediately, or providing an explanation to CTIRU of why this has not been done,” according to the report.
“As I made clear in my evidence session, terrorists and the support of terrorist activity are not allowed on Facebook and we deal swiftly and robustly with reports of terrorism-related content,” said Simon Milner, director of policy at Facebook UK, in an emailed statement. “In the rare instances that we identify accounts or material as terrorist, we’ll also look for and remove relevant associated accounts and content.”
A Twitter spokesman referred to a company blog post this month that said it had suspended 360,000 accounts for violating its policies related to promotion of terrorism since the middle of 2024. The company said in February that as other companies and experts have also noted, there isn’t a “magic algorithm” for identifying terrorist content on the Internet.
Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter agreed in May to a process for receiving and reviewing notifications about online hate speech from European Union users on their platforms, which could see most “valid notifications” reviewed within 24 hours, and the content even brought down or access to it disabled.
Social networking companies are also facing lawsuits in the U.S for the terrorist content found on their sites. One such lawsuit filed in a federal court in California by the father of a victim of the Paris terror attack in November charges that Twitter, Facebook and Google knowingly permitted ISIS to use their social networks “as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits.”
Recent signs indicate that Apple may be looking to design computer chips for its own devices as early as next year. With its own chips, the company could potentially create Apple-only features, but — perhaps more importantly — it could also keep Apple’s product plans secret from its competitors, according to The Wall Street Journal.
There’s also the concern that technology developed for Apple by a third-party could be sold to Apple’s competitors. That’s not an uncommon event, and already happened with the Merom chip Intel developed for the MacBook Air. Intel also introduced another reduced-size processor shortly after the MacBook Air debuted in 2008. Apple may also be concerned that any customizing it does on existing chip designs from third-party suppliers could be shared with other companies, according to the Journal.
We’ve heard rumblings for some time that Apple could be going after its own chip designs. Last April, Apple bought P.A. Semi a chip designer that makes “energy-efficient processors based on the Power architecture that Apple used in its Macintosh computers for many years before adopting Intel’s x86 chips.” When Apple acquired P.A. Semi, many analysts discounted the notion that Apple would design its own chips. The analysts pointed to Apple’s relationship with Intel — the current supplier of Mac processors — as being very strong and that Apple was merely buying talent to customize chip design for future Apple products and not to design its own chips.
Since then there have been other signs of Apple’s interest in computer chips: in December 2008 the company picked up a 3.6 percent stake in Imagination Technologies, a graphics chip maker; and Apple recently hired Bob Drebin as a Senior Director. Drebin has a long history in the computer chip industry, serving as Engineering Director for the graphics card maker ATI Technologies until that company was bought out by Advanced Micro Devices, when he became the chief technology officer of AMD’s Graphics Products Group. The Journal says Apple also recently hired Raja Koduri, another former technology officer at AMD.
Apple is also currently on a hiring spree for top chip-making talent. The company has listed several job openings on its Web site that have to do with chip design, including a posting for an SOC SW Test Development Engineer, which lists the engineer’s main responsibility as “verifying the functional correctness and optimizing the coverage of Apple developed silicon.” The Journal reports that Apple has also listed several jobs on the professional social network LinkedIn, and Apple representatives recently took part in a job fair for engineers whose jobs will soon disappear at Spansion Inc. Spansion, a flash memory chip maker, in February announced plans to lay off more than 3000 employees and then in March Spansion filed for bankruptcy.
While Apple is looking to pull in chip-making talent, the company isn’t immune to the current recession. In March, a rumor came out that layoffs at Cupertino were imminent, then earlier this week it was discovered that Apple had reduced its retail staff by more than ten percent.
Do you need insight into your Twitter engagement?
Twitter Analytics allows you to dive into the data behind your top Tweets, audience growth, and conversations.
Continue reading to find out how to access Twitter Analytics and what insights you can use to improve your Twitter marketing.How To Access Twitter Analytics
This will take you to your Twitter Analytics Home Screen or ask you to sign in to your Twitter account.
Alternatively, if you use Twitter Ads, you will find a menu option to access Twitter Analytics from the top navigation menu in Twitter Ads Manager.
Note that Twitter Analytics only begins collecting data when you first sign in, hence the sooner you sign in, the more historical data will be available to you.How To Use Twitter Analytics
There are three main sections of your Twitter Analytics data – the Account Home, Tweet Activity, and Videos.Review Your 28-Day Summary & Monthly Highlights In Account Home
In the Account Home, Twitter provides a summary of your Twitter account activity.
Starting at the top of your Account Home, you will see a summary of the following metrics for the past 28 days.
Tweet Impressions – The number of times your Tweets have been seen on Twitter. This includes when Tweets are seen in your followers’ timeline, in Twitter search results, or on your Twitter profile.
Profile Visits – The number of times your Twitter profile has been visited by other Twitter users on the Twitter website or Twitter app.
Mentions – The number of times your @username has been included in Tweets by other users.
New Followers – The number of Twitter users who have followed your account for the first time.
Note that Tweet impressions will not include the number of times a Tweet has been seen when embedded on an external website or the number of times a tweet has been seen in a third-party app.
Only impressions on the Twitter website or Twitter app are counted.
Following the summary of your Twitter activity over the past 28 days is a section of monthly highlights.
For each month, you will see your Top Tweet, Top Mention, and Top Follower.
Your Top Tweet is chosen based on the number of impressions it has received.
Your Top Mention is chosen based on the number of engagements it has received.
Your Top Follower is the newest addition to your Twitter followers with the highest number of followers.
In addition, you will see a summary of your Tweet Impressions, Mentions, Profile Visits, and New Followers for each month.Get Engagement Data For Posts In The Tweet Activity Dashboard
The Tweet Activity dashboard allows you to view metrics for individual Tweets.
Start by selecting the time period you want to review with the dropdown at the top right of this section.
You can choose the past 7 days, 28 days, or a specific month.
Next, you will see a bar graph depicting the number of impressions your Tweets have received over the time period selected.
Following the graph is a list of your Tweets for the selected time period.
You can choose to filter your view by Tweets, Top Tweets, Tweets & Replies, or Promoted Tweets.
Impressions – The number of times the Tweet was seen on the Twitter website or Twitter app.
Engagement Rate – The rate is calculated by taking the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions a Tweet has received.
Detailed Tweet Activity
When you select a specific Tweet, you will be able to see additional engagement metrics about it, including the following.
Detail Expands – The number of times someone expanded a Tweet to view more details about it.
Retweets – The number of times a Tweet has been Retweeted by other users.
EngagementsSee How Well Videos Perform In The Video Activity Dashboard
The Video Activity dashboard allows you to view metrics for individual videos shared in your Tweets.
Start by selecting the time period you want to review with the dropdown at the top right of this section. You can choose the past 7 days, 28 days, or a specific month.
Next, you will see a bar graph depicting the number of views your videos have received over the time period selected.
Following the graph is a list of your videos for the selected time period.
You can choose to filter your view to show all videos or only promoted videos.
Video Views – The number of times your video was viewed on the Twitter website or Twitter app.
Completion Rate – The percentage of users who watched the entire video.
Detailed Video Analytics
When you select a specific video, you will be able to see the audience retention for the entire length of the video and additional engagement metrics including the number of views and the following.
Minutes Viewed – The total number of minutes users spent viewing a video.
To the right of your Video Activity is a summary for the time period selected of the Total Minutes Viewed and Minutes Per Day.Detailed Tweet Activity Via The Twitter App
Detailed Tweet Activity can also be viewed from the Twitter app.
To access Tweet Activity, visit your Twitter profile in the Twitter app and tap on the analytics icon beneath the Tweet you want to analyze.
You can also tap on the Tweet itself and then tap on View Tweet Activity.
You will also get the number of New Followers and Profile Visits that you received resulting from this Tweet.
If your Tweet contains a video, you will also see the total number of Unique Views, overall Views, and the audience retention graph for the entire length of the video.View Engagement Metrics For Any Tweet
Twitter offers a few insights into the engagement of every Tweet on Twitter.
Retweets – The number of total retweets.
Likes – The number of times users liked this Tweet.Conclusion
As you can see, Twitter Analytics offers valuable insights into the performance of your Tweets and the growth of your audience.
Use this data to refine your Twitter marketing strategy to focus on the types of Tweets that drive engagement and help grow your Twitter audience.
Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock
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