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Featured January 3, 2023

Andrew Tate Arrest: Trust Twitter and TikTok Content at Your Own Risk



Andrew Tate Arrest: Trust Twitter and TikTok Content at Your Own Risk

Days after the arrest of Andrew Tate, Twitter and TikTok began amplifying deliberate lies by fans of the popular misogynist that Tate had been released, actions that have discredited the social media platforms. The posts fooled many, but it turned out they were completely false as Tate remains held in custody in Romania.

The top Twitter post in searches for “Andrew Tate released” reshared an old video of the 36-year old’s interview with Tucker Carlson discussing his arrest in August. It was packaged as though it were new. The video garnered 2.8 million views and the post itself got 3,000 likes.

Also read: Not Everyone Loves ChatGPT: Here’s Why

“Update: Andrew Tate released without charges after swatting incident. Handled it with class and dignity,” tweeted Tate fan, @KaladinFree. “In other news, liberals and one semi-retarded tree hugger are suddenly suffering from mass depression.”

Andrew Tate arrested for rape, human-trafficking

Andrew Tate is a popular online influencer best known for his misogynistic opinions. The British-American was arrested with his brother Tristan in Romania on Dec. 29, as part of an investigation into human trafficking, rape and organized crime, the Guardian reports.

Prosecutors said in a statement last week that four individuals, including two British citizens, are believed to be members of a criminal gang that exploited women for sex after enticing them with promises of a relationship.

The women were allegedly subjected to “physical violence and mental coercion through intimidation, constant surveillance, control and invoking alleged debts.” They were forced to make pornographic videos. Prosecutors said they found six women exploited by the suspects.

Additional details of the specific allegations against Tate have not been made public. Tate and his brother will spend the next 30 days in jail after a judge denied them bail on Friday. This should give Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism time to continue its investigations.

Andrew Tate freed, claim Twitter fans

Following Tate’s arrest, thousands of his supporters have taken to social media sharing posts that the ex-Big Brother contestant had been freed from jail in Romania without providing evidence to back their claims.

On Twitter, Tate’s 4.2 million followers used hash tags such as #FreeTopG and #tateinnocent to spread theories that Tate was falsely accused and framed by state actors.

A top three post on Twitter in searches for “Andrew Tate released” simply states: “Andrew Tate released from jail.” The old video amassed more than 408,000 views and 4,000 likes within days of being posted online.

In it, the narrator speaks about Tate’s arrest and how security agents confiscated a lot of the brothers’ assets including iPads, a YouTube studio and $400,000 in cash. Andrew Tate nods in agreement while sitting casually in a chair, his head resting nonchalantly in his hand.

Another clip with 323K views purports to show “Andrew and Tristan celebrating after being released from custody.” The video shows them taking shots of whiskey and talking about sex in a room packed with scantily dressed women. Loud music is playing in the background.

Twitter is hardly the only site spreading misinformation about the alleged release of Andrew Tate. Users of other social media platforms such as TikTok have put up elaborate schemes to fool people into believing the former kickboxer had been released.

On Dec. 30, the most-liked new video about Tate involved one that “appeared at first to be a factual report,” the Guardian reports. But it ended by asking users: “What do you guys think is the real reason Tate was arrested? Was it the Matrix, or did Tate actually commit a serious crime?”

The Guardian reports an investigation by the Observer in August into Tate “revealed that TikTok was aggressively promoting his content to users including boys and young men.” Members of Tate’s online academy “had been instructed to post deliberately controversial clips in an effort to boost engagement and manipulate the algorithm,” it added.

‘The Matrix got me’

Andrew Tate may have carefully shaped opinions regarding in his arrest. On Friday, a day after his arrest, he or someone logging into his account tweeted that “The Matrix sent their agents.” He was referring to the 1999 eponymous sci-fi movie in which people lived in a simulation.

In this context, “The Matrix” is supposed to represent Big Brother, state agents who police free speech and punish thought crime. Many of Tate’s followers have rehashed his views, blaming “The Matrix” for setting the man up.

On Jan. 1, Tate doubled down on his claims. “My unmatched perspicacity coupled with sheer indefatigability makes me a feared opponent in any realm of human endeavor,” he wrote on Twitter. “For every domain the Matrix shuts down, we have dozens ready to replace it.”

Social media networks have struggled to contain content that spreads falsehoods, hate speech or fan violence. However, the likes of Facebook and YouTube have responded with more aggressive moderation policies and practices. Andrew Tate was banned from Twitter in 2017 for similar offenses but was reinstated recently after the Elon Musk takeover.

It is incredible the platform has allowed fans of Tate to spread misinformation unchecked, even when it had been reported the former kickboxer remained in detention.

At this scale, users can trust Twitter and other social media networks’ content at their own risk. Most people already don’t trust social media. Only 24% believe social media does a good job separating fact from fiction, according to a Reuters Institute survey.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney.


China Catches Up On Quantum Computers, Makes 1st Delivery



China Catches Up On Quantum Computers, Makes 1st Delivery

China has officially caught up with Canada and USA in the race to deliver a complete quantum computer system to a customer according to a state media report.

Chinese quantum computing company, Origin Quantum Computing Technology developed a 24-qubit Wuyuan system before delivery to an unknown user more than a year ago, the science ministry’s Science and Technology Daily reported.

Also read: How AI Can Accelerate Metaverse Development

According to Origin Quantum, they are the only Chinese company in the quantum computing industry that can deliver real quantum computers as well as full-stack development and follow up services.

According to a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday by East China’s Anhui Province based Quantum Computing Research Centre, the group developed the computer and successfully delivered it to a user.

“More than 100 quantum computing companies in the world have put enormous investment into quantum research and development. Canada’s quantum computing company sold its first quantum computer in 2011, followed by IBM of the US in 2019.

“Chinese Origin Quantum delivered a quantum computer in 2021,” Zhang Hui, director of the Anhui Quantum Computing Engineering Research Center was quoted as saying.

Eyebrow raising announcement

The announcement by Chinese state media has raised eyebrows among skeptics questioning its timing.

Weifeng Zhong, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va told TechNewsWorld that this could be a gimmick to just show China as a tech giant with a transparent administration.

“Quantum technology has a high priority for national security in China. If this were something very important, I doubt it would be disclosed like this in a transparent way by Chinese authorities,” explained Zhong.

“The fact that it was delayed for a year suggests that they realize now that it’s not important to national security, so they’re trying to use it to build China’s image as a technology leader at a time when they’re trying to open up their economy to the rest of the world,” added Zhong.

But what is quantum computing?

A quantum computer is a type of computer that uses quantum mechanics to store and process data, as opposed to classical computers that use classical mechanics. Quantum computers use quantum bits (qubits), which can exist in multiple states at once, to perform computations that are not possible on classical computers, making them particularly well-suited for certain types of complex calculations.

The  24-qubit Wuyuan quantum computer based on superconducting technology developed by the same company  becomes the third to be delivered to customers after Canada in 2011 and USA’s IBM in 2019.

Superconducting technology is currently one of the most mature and well-developed implementations of quantum computing, and many companies and research organizations are working to develop and commercialize superconducting quantum computers. Superconducting technology is one of the main implementations of quantum computing.

In superconducting quantum computers, quantum bits (qubits) are made from tiny electrical circuits that are cooled to very low temperatures, close to absolute zero, in order to minimize the amount of thermal energy and increase their coherence time, which is the time during which a qubit can maintain its quantum state.

What does China offer in its quantum computers

Speed: Quantum computers can perform certain operations much faster than classical computers, which can greatly speed up complex computations.

Parallel processing: Quantum computers can perform multiple calculations simultaneously, which allows for more efficient processing of large amounts of data.

Simulating complex systems: Quantum computers can be used to simulate complex systems, such as molecules and materials, which can lead to new discoveries in fields such as chemistry and materials science.

Cryptography: Quantum computers can be used to break certain encryption algorithms, which makes them useful for developing new, more secure encryption methods.

Optimization problems: Quantum computers can be used to solve complex optimization problems, such as logistics and scheduling problems, which have many potential real-world applications.

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OpenAI Develops Tool to Spot AI-Written Texts



OpenAI Develops Tool to Spot AI-Written Texts

OpenAI, the startup behind ChatGPT, has released a free web-based plagiarism checker to determine whether machines or humans wrote a text.

According to OpenAI, the web-based tool is not entirely accurate. Its performance will depend on the similarity between the analyzed text and the writing that OpenAI tools are trained to write.

Speaking about the tool, OpenAI’s CTO Mira Murati said the new tool is “not perfect, but it’s a step forward in distinguishing between AI and human-written text.” She added that the company was looking forward to reviews from its users.

ChatGPT’s soaring start

Since OpenAI launched ChaGPT last year, the ability of the AI tool to create spontaneous texts that look very similar to what a human would write has garnered it much acclaim. But not all of the attention has been positive.

Several stakeholders have expressed concerns about increased AI-generated misinformation. Educators are also concerned that students might start relying on AI tools and submitting plagiarized works. This has led some school districts to ban ChatGPT on their networks.

But these bans don’t have much effect on preventing the usage of ChatGPT for academic plagiarism. With the new tool from OpenAI, educators might finally have the necessary detection equipment.

How OpenAI’s tool will work

According to the company, the new tool works best on text samples in English and above 1,000 characters. It has a five-point system to measure an AI system’s likelihood of texts being generated. Apart from OpenAI, several other individuals and organizations are also working on similar tools.

Concerns about AI texts rise

Meanwhile, concerns about AI writing tools are not limited to educators. There are also concerns in some circles that the rapid development of AI writing tools might soon deprive writers of jobs as companies will opt for cheaper automation options.

A Fortune article from December 2022 predicted that ChatGPT and AI tools might take not only the jobs of writers but also has the potential to replace programmers. ChatGPT can convert human prompts into codes in several programming languages.

Will AI make writers jobless?

Expert writers believe that AI writing tools can create coherent texts based on a set of rules. It will forever remain inferior to humans when it comes to creativity.

The songwriter Nick Cave shares this view. In response to a fan who sent him a song written by ChatGPT in the style of Nick Cave, he noted that he was not enthusiastic about the new technology. He said that songs arise from a “complex, internal human struggle of creation,” which algorithms can’t feel.

He added:

“I understand that ChatGPT is in its infancy, but perhaps that is the emerging horror of AI – that it will forever be in its infancy, as it will always have further to go.”

However, some writers are more welcoming and believe that AI technologies can serve as collaborative tools for writers and help them produce something new and exciting.

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Twitter-Like Privacy App Damus Banned in China 48hrs After Apple App Store Approval



Twitter-Like Privacy App Damus Banned in China 48hrs After Apple App Store Approval

Damus, a Twitter-like client app built to be compliant with the decentralized protocol Nostr, was banned in China for publishing “illegal content” just 48 hours after it became available for download on the Apple App Store.

Damus announced the App Store approval on Twitter on Jan. 31. The app has created a lot of excitement among crypto and privacy die-hards on social media, thanks to its promises of privacy, decentralization, and censorship resistance.

Also read: Social Networks Truth Social and Parler See Big Jump in Web Traffic

Jack Dorsey, the Twitter cofounder who backed Nostr with a donation of $240, 000 in Bitcoin, described the launch of the application as “a milestone for open protocols.” Nostr is already available for android devices on the Google Play Store, via the Amethyst app.

The latest approval means that Damus, which quickly rose to number 10 on the list of most downloaded apps on the Apple App Store, is now available as an app to users of iOS devices such as iPhone and Mac computers.

Banning Damus

However, authorities in China are not impressed. They banned the application hardly 48 hours after it went live on the App Store. Damus triggered huge interest among users in China, where the government maintains a chokehold on the flow of information.

As of writing, it had reached a total of nealy 8,000 downloads in mainland China, second only to the U.S. at 23,700. In Hong Kong, downloads hit 4,200, more than double those of the UK and Canada. Altogether, downloads of the app totaled 56,000 worldwide.

“We are writing to notify you that your application per demand from the CAC (Cyberspace Administration of China), will be removed from the China App Store because it includes content that is illegal in China,” Apple wrote to Damus, which shared the response on Twitter.

Apple said “apps that solicit, promote, or encourage criminal or clearly reckless behavior will be rejected.” According to the CAC, Damus violates provisions of a security law on Internet-based information “with attribute of public opinions or capable of social mobilization.”

Damus will still be available in regions outside of China. Earlier on Feb. 2, Bitcoiner and Jan3 CEO Samson Mow predicted that, “Damus [is] going to be removed from iOS App Store in China soon.”

What is Nostr?

To understand Damus, it is important to first have an idea of the protocol that supports the app. As MetaNews previously reported, Nostr is an open protocol that its developers say is able to “create a censorship-resistant global ‘social’ network once and for all.”

The protocol allows users to create posts (as they would tweets), “like posts, follow someone or unfollow them, retweet/repost,” according to a post on Github. Normally the term ‘post’ or ‘note’ is used to refer to creating a post on Nostr.

Fiatjaf, the creator of Nostr, says the protocol excels at ‘broadcasting’ stuff. Besides social networking, the developer said things like forums, Reddit-like apps, prediction markets, marketplaces of physical and digital goods, and others fall into the “broadcasting” category.

Nostr has been used to build a variety of applications, including a chess engine called Chesstr and a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. Chesstr is a new virtual chessboard that allows users “to play chess with a friend anywhere in the world.”

Users of the Nostr protocol are all identified by a public key (a long list of random letters and numbers). Such as the one Jack Dorsey displays on his public profile on Twitter. Every post is signed and clients, or user-facing apps, validate the signatures. One such client is Damus.

Damus ‘your very own Twitter’, says developer

Created by Bitcoin Lightning developer William Casarin, Damus is an app for iPhone, iPad, and MacOS that implements the Nostr decentralized protocol. The app allows users to post notes, tag other users, and engage with notes by reposting, liking, or replying to them.

Damus claims to support Twitter-like social networking, as well as show messages from channels. To create an account, users do not need a phone number, email or name, it says. Messages are encrypted end-to-end and you can tip your friend’s posts with Bitcoin.

“Built on open internet protocols, there is no platform that can ban or censor you. You are in control of your data and speech,” Damus says on its website. “Messages are distributed via decentralized relays. No need to run any infrastructure and no single point of

The developer says the app is “your very own Twitter for your friends or business.” At the time of writing, however, the Web version of Damus was down “because there is someone trying to exploit browser loopholes to steal private keys.”

“I would not recommend using a web client at this time. Damus iOS is not affected,” Casarin said on the site.

Whereas big tech has been criticized for violating user privacy through use of cookies to compile data for sale to advertisers, Damus writes on the App Store:

“Data Not Collected. The developer does not collect any data from this app. Damus doesn’t store any information about you other than the posts which you make, which are published to the damus relay as well other relays if configured.

In contrast, the official Twitter app disclosure says the network collects data that includes things such as purchases, contact Information, browsing history, usage data, location, user content, identifiers, search history, diagnostics and other data.

Risks of decentralization

Damus’ launch on the AppStore has not been without its fair share of problems. In some geographic locations, users complained the application was not working at all.

Decentralization tends to generate incredible fear, the creation of a world without authority where bad actors can carry out their nefarious activities. One Twitter user asked: How does it [Nostr] shut down accounts posting things like child porn if everyone can do what they want?

In responses, Nostr pseudonymous creator Fiatjaf, said: “There are no such thing as accounts, only keys and events. Events are published to relays. Each relay decides who and what can publish to them.”

“Relays are free to censor child porn or anything else they want. Users can choose from where to read and can easily exclude bad relays,” he added.

Nostr is one among a number of emerging decentralized social networks intent on giving users both the personal and financial freedom to act according to their conscience rather than under political instruction.

Over the years, key figures in Bitcoin and web3, entities predominantly on the receiving end of U.S. government intrusion, have either disapprovingly reassessed the monopoly of dominant social networks or started to delink their relationships.

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