Leaked Facebook ‘ugly truth’ memo about the social network’s growth sparks controversy

A controversial Facebook memo by Vice President Andrew 'Boz' Bosworth was leaked. The note to employees talks about connecting people even when it can mean harm.

A leaked Facebook memo from an outspoken senior executive that details the risks associated with the social network’s pursuit of growth has sparked controversy.

The incendiary memo from June 18, 2016, which was written by Facebook Vice President Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, was published by BuzzFeed Thursday. Titled “The Ugly,” the note had not been previously circulated outside Silicon Valley. After the memo was made public, Bosworth quickly disavowed the provocative note, saying that it was meant to trigger discussion among Facebook employees.

With Facebook currently reeling from the scandal over Cambridge Analytica’s alleged misuse of user data, the leaked memo has thrust the social network’s strategy even further into the spotlight.

“We connect people. Period. That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified. All the questionable contact importing practices. All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work we do to bring more communication in. The work we will likely have to do in China some day. All of it,” Bosworth wrote in the memo, according to Buzzfeed.

“So we connect more people,” he wrote elsewhere in the note. “That can be bad if they make it negative. Maybe it costs someone a life by exposing someone to bullies.

“Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools,” Bosworth added. “The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that  anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good.”

Bosworth, who is currently Facebook’s vice president of virtual reality/augmented reality, was previously the social network’s vice president of ads. The executive downplayed the memo in a tweet Thursday.

“I don’t agree with the post today and I didn’t agree with it even when I wrote it,” he said, in a tweeted statement. “The purpose of this post, like many others I have written internally, was to bring to the surface issues I felt deserved more discussion with the broader company.”

Bosworth, who is regarded as one of the company’s more outspoken executives, said that the memo should not be seen as a reflection of his, or Facebook’s, beliefs.

“Having a debate around hard topics like these is a critical part of our process and to do that effectively we have to be able to consider even bad ideas, if only to eliminate them,” Bosworth added. “To see this post in isolation is rough because it makes it appear as a stance that I hold or that the company holds when neither is the case.”

In a subsequent tweet Bosworth said that the memo was one of the most unpopular things he has written internally, but added that the ensuing discussion “helped shape our tools for the better.”

The tech giant, which has over 2.1 billion monthly active users, has more than 25,000 employees around the world.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also quickly disavowed from the memo. “Boz is a talented leader who says many provocative things. This was one that most people at Facebook including myself disagreed with strongly. We’ve never believed the ends justify the means,” he said, in a statement obtained by Reuters.

The memo has emerged at a difficult time for the Facebook boss, who is wrestling with the fallout from a major data scandal.

Reports emerged earlier this month that data mining firm Cambridge Analytica improperly used information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts, prompting the social network to suspend the U.K.-based company. Cambridge Analytica, which has ties to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, denies any wrongdoing.

Zuckerberg apologized for the data scandal in a lengthy post last week and in newspaper ads last weekend. He also described the situation as “a major breach of trust” in an interview with CNN.

The scandal has already prompted a redesign of Facebook’s privacy settings.

The Facebook chief will reportedly testify in front of U.S. lawmakers with regard to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Zuckerberg, however, has so far rebuffed similar calls from lawmakers in the U.K

Cambridge Analytica has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm hired by Facebook.

Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology researcher at Cambridge University who worked with Cambridge Analytica via his company Global Science Research (GSR), is also embroiled in controversy. Last week he told the BBC that both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have tried to place the blame on him.

Inside HQ Trivia: The booming business of mobile trivia

Apps like HQ Trivia have taken Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store by storm, but what's behind the game... and where is all that money coming from? Fox News' Lauren Blanchard has the inside scoop on the mobile trivia game that has people dropping what they're doing twice a day, to win some cold hard cash.

It’s the smartphone trend that has people dropping what they’re doing in the middle of the day, all for a chance to earn some cold hard cash.

Apps like HQ Trivia have taken Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store by storm, with HQ holding the top spot for trivia games in both stores. And with good reason — HQ Trivia, which was developed by Vine creators Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, routinely gets more than 1 million players per game.

“We think that if we can get millions of people to engage for 15 minutes, 7 days a week, that’s incredibly powerful,” Yusupov said.

The app launched in August 2017, and started by handing out small prizes. Recently, the show began awarding sponsored prizes including a pair of custom Nike shoes, and $250,000.

HQ broadcasts at 9 p.m. ET every night, and at 3 p.m. ET during the week, with each game ranging between 12 and 15 questions. It’s produced out of an office in Lower Manhattan that’s no bigger than a two-bedroom apartment, housing a staff of fewer than 30 people.

“It just goes to show you don’t need a team of 1,000 people to make something that’s truly disruptive and transformative,” Yusupov said.

Part of HQ’s success can be attributed to its quick-talking host Scott Rogowsky, who has become an internet icon in his own right. His followers know him by many nicknames, including “Trap Trebek,” “Quiz Khalifa,” and “Quizzie McGuire.”

“No matter what they’re doing, people stop to play, at the school, at the office, it’s incredible.” Rogowsky said of the impact of the app on daily life. “You know, ‘Jeopardy’ has been on the air for 30 years, I don’t see why HQ can’t run for 30 years.”

But HQ Trivia has competition. Will Jamieson and his team launched The Q in late 2017, which Jamieson quickly took to India and the U.K.

Jamieson says apps like HQ Trivia and The Q are changing the landscape for advertising on smartphones.

“It’s not just trivia, right? It’s the format of how it’s consumed,” Jamieson said. “This is one of the few models where I think advertisements can make the product better instead of detracting from the core brand.”

According to Jamieson, the sky is the limit for what apps like his could offer to viewers who are willing to put their trivia skills to the test — from plane tickets, to trips around the world.

“That’s the prize you’re competing for, where the brand is getting the acknowledgment and the end user is getting something that they want,” Jamieson explained. “It’s not really an ad, it’s an experience.”

But Rogowsky says the game also is all about a much-needed break from the stresses of everyday life.

“It’s 15 minutes,” Rogowsky said. “You’re in and out, it’s a perfect break in the middle of the day or at night before you go to bed. I think people are planning their days around it now.”

Air Force pilot snaps amazing Northern Lights pictures

A U.S. Air Force pilot has captured incredible close-up pictures of the Northern Lights from the cockpit of his plane.

The New York Post reports that Ross Franquemont was 70,000 feet over Canada in his U-2 Dragon Lady when he encountered the amazing natural light show

*Mandatory Picture Credit* Extreme Ross Photography / Caters - (Pictured: Ross Franquemont flies through aurora over Canada.) - This fortunate air force pilot couldnt believe his luck, as he captured a series of stunning photographs while flying right through the NORTHERN LIGHTS. Ross Franquemonts once-in-a-lifetime shots include an amazing selfie, where the green natural light can be seen reflecting on the pilots helmet and swirling around outside the cockpit window. In others, 40-year-old Ross managed to photograph straight down the line of his U-2 Dragon Lady planes wings, the aurora dancing across the sky in the distance. What made the moment even more special for Ross was that he had never even seen the Northern Lights before. - SEE CATERS COPY

Pilot Ross Franquemont captured the images from the cockpit of his U-2 Dragon Lady.  (Extreme Ross Photography / Caters)

The Sun reports that Franquemont’s plane was traveling at around 500 mph, which made capturing the constantly-moving phenomenon difficult. Nonetheless, the pilot was able to capture a series of stunning images. His flight over Canada took place late last month, according to the Sun.

The pilot’s shots of the swirling green lights include selfies and pictures down the line of his plane’s wings.

*Mandatory Picture Credit* Extreme Ross Photography / Caters - (Pictured: Ross Franquemont flies through aurora over Canada.) - This fortunate air force pilot couldnt believe his luck, as he captured a series of stunning photographs while flying right through the NORTHERN LIGHTS. Ross Franquemonts once-in-a-lifetime shots include an amazing selfie, where the green natural light can be seen reflecting on the pilots helmet and swirling around outside the cockpit window. In others, 40-year-old Ross managed to photograph straight down the line of his U-2 Dragon Lady planes wings, the aurora dancing across the sky in the distance. What made the moment even more special for Ross was that he had never even seen the Northern Lights before. - SEE CATERS COPY

The Northern Lights occur when particles from the sun interact with Earth’s magnetic field.  (Extreme Ross Photography / Caters)

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are the result of particles from the sun interacting with Earth’s magnetic field, according to LiveScience, which notes that the phenomenon occurs in the Arctic Circle.

Last year French astronaut Thomas Pesquet captured stunning images of the Northern Lights from the International Space Station.

*Mandatory Picture Credit* Extreme Ross Photography / Caters - (Pictured: Ross Franquemont flies through aurora over Canada.) - This fortunate air force pilot couldnt believe his luck, as he captured a series of stunning photographs while flying right through the NORTHERN LIGHTS. Ross Franquemonts once-in-a-lifetime shots include an amazing selfie, where the green natural light can be seen reflecting on the pilots helmet and swirling around outside the cockpit window. In others, 40-year-old Ross managed to photograph straight down the line of his U-2 Dragon Lady planes wings, the aurora dancing across the sky in the distance. What made the moment even more special for Ross was that he had never even seen the Northern Lights before. - SEE CATERS COPY

Some of the pictures were taken down the line of the line of his plane’s wings.  (Extreme Ross Photography / Caters)

The Southern Lights, the southern hemisphere counterpart of the Northern Lights, occur mostly over Antarctica or the Southern Ocean, according to LiveScience.

Last year a remarkable time-lapse video of the Southern Lights, or Aurora Australis, was captured from the window of a plane.

*Mandatory Picture Credit* Extreme Ross Photography / Caters - (Pictured: Ross Franquemont flies through aurora over Canada.) - This fortunate air force pilot couldnt believe his luck, as he captured a series of stunning photographs while flying right through the NORTHERN LIGHTS. Ross Franquemonts once-in-a-lifetime shots include an amazing selfie, where the green natural light can be seen reflecting on the pilots helmet and swirling around outside the cockpit window. In others, 40-year-old Ross managed to photograph straight down the line of his U-2 Dragon Lady planes wings, the aurora dancing across the sky in the distance. What made the moment even more special for Ross was that he had never even seen the Northern Lights before. - SEE CATERS COPY

Franquemont looks out from the cockpit of his U-2 Dragon Lady.  (Extreme Ross Photography / Caters)

The video was taken on a flight from Dunedin in New Zealand to see the remarkable light display.

The GMC Sierra’s carbon fiber bed was built for bikers

The 2019 GMC Sierra features the world’s first carbon fiber pickup bed, but they didn’t just replace the existing steel panels with the lightweight material and call it a day.

GMC design director Helen Emsley says her team got very involved in the design of the new box floor and sides, which will be available as an option on Sierra AT4 and Denali models.

sierra

 (GMC)

Instead of a weave like many carbon fiber components, it uses one-inch threads that are molded into forms. Mark Voss, the engineering lead on the project, says this makes it affordable to produce and offers even more flexibility than metal in how it can be shaped.

An avid motorcycle rider on Emsley’s design team put this to good use, by adding a number of useful features you won’t find on the standard steel bed.

The ridges are textured like a bedliner to offer more grip for securing items, but the bottom of the grooves between them are smoother to make the whole thing easier to clean. This is handy for a lot of uses, but the next innovation is for bikers only.

2019 GMC Sierra Denali CarbonPro Bed

 (GMC)

At the top of the front bed wall there are three notches, the center one wider than the other two. They’re the perfect size for the front tires of either two dirt bikes, or one fat hog. Surely someone will think of other uses for them, but that’s what they’re inteded for.

2019 GMC Sierra Denali CarbonPro Bed materials

 (GMC)

Voss says the carbon bed is stronger and more dent and scratch resistant than the steel version, and that it can be spot-repaired if you do manage to crack it. It’s also comprised of six parts, so it can be replaced in sections if necessary and won’t be terribly expensive to fix, but pricing for it and the rest of the all-new truck won’t be announced closer to its launch this fall.

WOW Air passengers lose flight, luggage due to bug infestation

Passengers aboard an Icelandic airliner had to abandon their plane – and their belongings – because of an ant infestation, according to a report.

The WOW Air flight from Reykjavik was held in containment Monday in Montreal, Canada, after the tiny stowaways were spotted on board, according to CBC News. Marco Lavecchia was on the five-hour flight when he awoke from a nap and noticed a commotion near an overhead bin.

“There was some ants crawling around. It kind of freaked me out a little bit,” he told the Canadian news outlet. After landing, the captain announced that they’d have to stay put.

“Finally, after two hours, they let us know that, ‘OK, you have to leave all your personal items on the airplane and a bus is going to pick us up to take us to the baggage check area,’” Lavecchia said. That included all of their carry-on luggage and coats.

“After that whole process, we had to leave the airport with a T-shirt,” he said. “They gave us a blanket and a water bottle.”

Passenger Renée Levaque said she was forced to leave behind her bags and winter clothing because of the tiny stowaways.

“We were promised that our luggage would be delivered the very next day. It was poorly handled. They weren’t prepared. They absolutely weren’t prepared for that,” Levaque said Thursday.

The Quebec City resident — who stayed with her daughter in the Montreal area after the flight — said she headed back to the airport, where she paid $24 for parking, and tried to retrieve her belongings.

“The WOW representative at the airport said, ‘I have no information for you, you should ask customs.’ The man at customs said, ‘I have no information for you, you have to talk to the WOW representative,’” she said.

After getting the runaround, Levaque said she left in frustration and returned to Quebec City, where she worked the phones. She said she was asked to leave a message with her name, phone number and luggage number.

“The thing is, I have no luggage number! I had to leave my stuff on the plane! I tried calling again — to no avail, no answer back,” Levaque said.

Health officials told CBC News that they had been in touch with entomologists for help identifying the ant species. Various government agencies found that the critters posed “no significant risk to public health.”

Wow Air said the “aircraft was treated in accordance to standard procedures.”

Texas restaurant donates Friday profits to family of teen killed in hit-and-run: ‘She had a heart of gold’

A representative for Pasta Company could not be reached for comment when contacted by Fox News.

The high school junior was killed after a driver fatally struck her Tuesday outside of King High School. Garza was walking with friends to get an after-school snack when the incident occured, Kimberly Castillo Lawson, Garza’s cousin, told Fox News. Garza’s 15-year-old friend, Madi, was also struck by the driver and was transported to a local hospital in critical condition, she said.

rai ane and friend

Rai-ane Garza (right) poses with her friend Madi (left) before their school’s homecoming dance.  (Kimberly Castillo Lawson)

Lawson said she and her family are thankful for all the support they’ve received from the Corpus Christi community.

“We are really grateful to the community. We are grieving, but we are also witnessing how everyone is coming together in her name and we are just thankful for that,” she said.

Lawson, who’s also managing a fundraiser for Garza’s funeral expenses, said she could tell her younger cousin had a “heart of gold” from the moment she was born, adding that the 16-year-old was “still our baby but was becoming a leading woman” in her own right.

rai-ane

Rai-ane Garza loved to sing, her cousin said.  (Kimberly Castillo Lawson)

She particularly enjoyed singing, Lawson said, adding that Garza, who celebrated her sweet sixteen in November, was a part of her high school’s choir.

“She could sing before she could talk,” Lawson said. “She first learned to sing ‘Ready to Run’ by the Dixie Chicks.”

The alleged driver, later identified as 42-year-old Elton Wayne Holmes Jr., was arrested shortly after the incident, but was bonded out of jail Wednesday on a $100,000 bail. According to The Caller Times, Holmes was back in jail Thursday night after he allegedly violated the conditions of his release. He is now being held without bail.

“If we could change the circumstances we would rather have our baby,” Lawson said. “But we just keep saying that we’re doing all of this for her.”

Pasta Company in Corpus Christi is located at 5630 Saratoga Blvd and at 128 S. Staples St. in Carmel Village.

Groupon apologizes after facing backlash over ads with racial slur

Groupon has issued an apology after several ads with racial slurs appeared on its site, but the company is still facing a wave of backlash following the incident.

People on social media are calling for a Groupon boycott after the discount retailer ran ads from third-party sellers featuring shoes available in “N-word brown,” with the derogatory word spelled out. The listings, from sellers Kojwa and Margines, were for women’s boots, which also came in Apricot, Black and Brown colors, according to the New York Post.

tweet

People on social media expressed outrage over the ad’s use of a racial slur.  (Twitter)

The retailer immediately removed the ads, banned the sellers from the site and issued an apology. “We are appalled that this language was displayed on our site,” Groupon said in an apology per the Post.

“This product description was provided by a third-party seller via our self-service platform. Regardless, this is completely unacceptable and violates our policies — to say nothing of our values.”

Despite the company’s reaction, people on social media still expressed their outrage over the offensive language.

“I will no longer purchase anything from Groupon due to boots you advertise for sale describing the color as n—-r-brown. Poor taste and highly offensive, but I’m glad you felt comfortable selling them….now I know how you really feel. No more of my $$$,” one person wrote.

“That’s disgusting!!! BOYCOTT GROUPON!!!” another commented.

“Groupon, here is a brilliant idea in order to avert a boycott -donate to the NAACP. It has a better n-word,” someone else suggested.

Others did point out that Groupon was just a third-party seller and shouldn’t be punished because of something another company wrote on its site.

“It’s not Groupon… it’s the retailer. Margines is the problem. Groupon has nothing to do with what a retailer does… they’re just a yellow pages. Know who to boycott. Don’t ruin the economy by boycotting all willie nillie,” someone commented.

Groupon did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.

Groupon isn’t the only retailer to come under fire for racist content recently. Heineken was called out this week for its “terribly racist” commercial with the slogan “sometimes lighter is better.” The beer company removed the ad after many who took offense to it expressed their concern on Twitter.

Some visa applicants may have to fork over social media information to State Dept.

The State Department is expected to publish a set of proposals Friday that would require some tourists and immigrants to provide information on their social media accounts before visiting the U.S., The Washington Times reported.

The proposals are part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to implement “extreme vetting” on immigration, the department said.

Travelers would also be required to provide phone numbers, email addresses, international travel and immigration issues within the last five years.

Travelers would also be required to answer questions about possible family connections to terrorism.

“This upgrade to visa vetting is long-overdue, and it’s appropriate to apply it to everyone seeking entry, because terrorism is a worldwide problem. The aim is to weed out people with radical or dangerous views,” Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the paper.

According to the documents, approximately 14 million people would be affected by the new proposals and another 700,000 would be affected in the immigration system.

Don Crocetti, a former senior fraud investigator for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said an individual’s refusal to turn over their social media accounts couldn’t alone be used to deny approval.

“The use of social media is a wrench in their toolbox. It’s not that you use that same wrench for everything you do, but it’s a wrench, it’s a different-sized tool, and you have use that selectively,” he said.

After publication, the proposals will allow 60 days for public comment before the policies are finalized later this year.

Father crashes daughter’s proposal, holds up sign reading ‘Say no’

It was a moment Allison Barron and Levi Bliss would remember for the rest of their lives.

No, we’re not talking about Levi’s proposal — although that was certainly memorable, too. We’re talking about the moment Allison’s dad, who was standing off in the distance, held a sign instructing his daughter to “Say no.”

proposal allison barron storyful

Jake Barron decided to troll his daughter Allison by holding the silly sign during her boyfriend’s proposal.  (Allison Barron via Storyful)

“This is really just my dad’s personality,” Allison told Buzzfeed News, assuring the site that, yes, her father Jake was only joking. “We have a very close family and so he’s made little jokes like this before.”

Allison and Levi, of Winnemucca, Nev., had been dating for two years before he popped the question this past Saturday, but Allison claims her father always approved of Levi. In fact, according to Allison, Jake and Levi actually get along quite well, and that the two often enjoy playing tennis and riding dirt bikes together.

“We both know my dad so well, we got the joke right away and found it funny,” said Allison, who added that she was actually in tears as Levi was proposing, but broke out into laughter after seeing her father and his sign.

The Internet, too, has been having a good laugh at Jake’s sign. Allison tweeted out photos from her engagement following Levi’s proposal, and they’ve since racked up over 223,000 likes.

Oh, and for anyone wondering, Allison ‘ignored’ her father’s wishes and said yes.

‘Demonic’ fish with spikes of armor glows red in terrifying photo

The Pacific spiny lumpsucker is a funny-looking fish with a round body, bubbly eyes and a mouth agape. But under fluorescent lighting it looks terrifying — “demonic” even.

That’s the conclusion Leo Smith, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at The University of Kansas, drew as he researched different techniques to capture head-on images of the fish’s skeleton for a method paper. He plans to submit his findings to the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

“Inherently, it’s like Cartman from ‘South Park,'” Smith told Fox News, adding that it’s one of his favorite fish. “They’re really cute. They’re fun. These guys are best known for their pelvic sucking discs, so they can hold onto things like little rocks.”

He stripped the creature down to its skeleton and cartilage, dunking the fish in cow-stomach enzymes to get rid of its muscle, stained the body with colorful dye and then encased it in gelatin and glycerin — which is “relatively cheap and gooey to the touch.” This allowed him to see the blob-like fish’s coat of armor clearly.

“It got flaccid, like a character in ‘Scooby Doo.’ When you pull the skeleton out it collapses on itself,” said Smith, explaining that he had to hold the figure still in the gelatin for at least an hour until it dried.

Once the casing was ready, Smith turned on fluroescent lights and placed the ping pong ball-sized figure under a micropsope. He snapped several pictures of the spikey fish glowing in the dark with visibly empty eye sockets. The lighting, he said, really helped capture the lumpsucker’s boney spikes called “tubercles.”

“They can’t swim away from anything.They have a spiny build with spikes that are like little thumb tacks. Biting down on them would be really unpleasant,” Smith said, comparing them to porcupines.

Lumpsucker

A view of the Pacific spiny lumpsucker in white light.  (Leo Smith/The University of Kansas)

Smith said his research could help others properly position and capture head-on views of fish and reptiles. He compared the case with the gelatin to metal frames archaeologists use to display dinosaurs.

“We’ve been trying doing this for a long time,” he said. “This allows us to pose certain kinds of creatures to reenact natural positions we couldn’t do before.”

Smith has been studying marine life for more than 23 years.

lumpsucker

A look at the inside the Pacific spiny lumpfish’s mouth.  (Leo Smith/The University of Kansas)

He grew up in the mountains of New Mexico and was a star soccer player in high school. But a heart defect left him unable to continue his athletic career, so he found another hobby: fish.

His father brought home fish one day after a visit to the doctor and he was in charge of taking care of them. He eventually volunteered at a local aquariuam, where he determined he wanted to be a “fish guy.”

“It kind of snowballed,” Smith said. “By the time I graduated I had about 13 or 14 [fish] tanks.”

He then went on to study at University of California, San Diego, researching specimens that were hundreds of years old. Now he spends his time teaching and conducting research projects.

“All fish are different. There are different aspects to study,” Smith said. “I like the funny, awkward characteristics.”

They’re easier to study when they’re already dead, Smith said, pointing to his most recent project involving the lumpfish.

“When they’re dead, you can stop projects and start all over,” he added. “You don’t have to try to maintain the living.”