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Technology

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Updated October 5, 2021 at 12:09 PM ET

A former Facebook product manager told Congress on Tuesday that the company's products harm children and stoke division, while Facebook executives hide research about the social network's risks to keep its business humming.

Frances Haugen, speaking to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, said Facebook needs to be subject to the same kind of government regulation that covers Big Tobacco, automobiles and opioids as public safety concerns.

Young people in the U.S. made history in the 2020 elections, voting at a record high rate. And now the technology company behind a popular social media app is hoping to help some of those young voters become political candidates in their own right.

Snap, the company behind the Snapchat app, is launching an initiative intended to help connect users with information, tools and connections if they want to launch their own campaigns.

The meme response was swift and brutal.

The question — "Will you commit to ending finsta?" — asked in earnest by 75-year-old Sen. Richard Blumenthal, was meant to press Facebook about what it could do to better address child exploitation and mental health on its platforms.

The problem, however, as Antigone Davis, the social media behemoth's global head of safety, gingerly replied, is that Facebook does not "do" finsta at all.

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Updated October 4, 2021 at 8:47 PM ET

Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp platforms are back online after a massive global outage plunged the services and the businesses and people who rely on them into chaos for hours.

Facebook said late Monday that "the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change" and that there is "no evidence that user data was compromised as a result" of the outage.

Facebook is again asking a federal court to throw out the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust lawsuit accusing the company of crushing its rivals, in the latest chapter of the company's showdown with Washington critics.

A data scientist named Frances Haugen has revealed herself to be the whistleblower behind a massive exposure of the inner workings at Facebook.

Prior to appearing on 60 Minutes on Sunday, Haugen, a former employee at the social media giant, kept her identity a secret after sharing thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents to the media and federal law enforcement.

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NEW YORK (AP) — A data scientist who was revealed Sunday as the Facebook whistleblower says that whenever there was a conflict between the public good and what benefited the company, the social media giant would choose its own interests.

Frances Haugen was identified in a 60 Minutes interview Sunday as the woman who anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement that the company's own research shows how it magnifies hate and misinformation.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally, today, Ludwig van Beethoven.

(SOUNDBITE OF LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN'S "ODE TO JOY")

MARTIN: There is no overstating the German composer's influence on Western music, with enduring classics ranging from his epic "Ode To Joy"...

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Updated October 1, 2021 at 12:45 PM ET

A Facebook whistleblower who provided tens of thousands of internal documents to federal regulators that reportedly show that the company lied about its ability to combat hate, violence and misinformation on its platform is set to reveal her identity in a nationally broadcast interview Sunday on CBS.

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If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (en español: 888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

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A lot rests on the shoulders of Congress today. Keeping the government from shutting down at midnight is just one item on the big to-do list.

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By 2028, Bradley Tusk wants every American to be able to vote on their phones.

It's a lofty goal, and one that most cybersecurity experts scoff at. But it's a quest that the venture capitalist and former political insider continues to chip away at.

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Facebook faces a Senate committee today as it pauses plans to build a version of Instagram aimed at kids 10 to 12 years old. It's the latest in a long list of public crises for the company, which, we should note, is a financial supporter of NPR.

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

YouTube is cracking down on the spread of misinformation by banning misleading and inaccurate content about vaccines.

The platform announced the change in a blog post Wednesday, explaining that its current community guidelines, which already prohibit the sharing of medical misinformation, have been extended to cover "currently administered" vaccines that have been proven safe by the World Health Organization and other health officials.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame has been around for nearly five decades but hasn't included any Black women in its ranks — until now.

Engineer Marian Croak and the late ophthalmologist Patricia Bath will make history as part of the next cohort of inductees, the nonprofit announced this past week. They are the first Black female inventors to receive this honor, which has been bestowed on some 600 other innovators both living and dead.

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What if we told you there was a hamster who has been trading cryptocurrencies since June — and recently was doing better than Warren Buffett and the S&P 500?

Meet Mr. Goxx, a hamster who works out of what is possibly the most high-tech hamster cage in existence.

Selling an idea in Silicon Valley takes not only a grand vision but also swagger and bluster, says Margaret O'Mara, a historian of the tech industry.

"Being able to tell a good story is part of being a successful founder, being able to persuade investors to put money into your company," she said.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In December, NASA will launch the most powerful telescope ever put into space. The James Webb Space Telescope will be able to study planets outside our solar system with unparalleled detail — including checking to see if their atmospheres give any indication that a planet is home to life as we know it.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It's neither a bird nor a plane, but a winged microchip as small as a grain of sand that can be carried by the wind as it monitors such things as pollution levels or the spread of airborne diseases.

If you live in the European Union, your days of futzing around with a handful of chargers to find one that fits your latest gadget may be numbered.

Under a proposal released Thursday by the E.U., there would be one universal charger for all cell phones and other handheld electronic devices — no matter whether you had an iPhone or Kindle or anything else.

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