The clocks have gone back and November is here, bringing with it frosty weather and very early Christmas adverts. Thankfully, this week’s roundup is a Christmas-free read! Let’s see what has featured in I.T. and technology news.
Facebook removes accounts linked with spreading disinformation throughout the UK and US
Facebook has removed dozens of accounts which have been linked back to Iran, for the spreading disinformation to over a million followers in the UK and the US.
Around 82 pages, including groups and accounts were deleted after posting about topics such as race relations and immigration in a pattern of “coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” Facebook said.
Some of the posts were targeted towards Theresa May, others towards Jeremy Corbyn, and some took aim at Donald Trump.
Facebook detected the suspicious activity from the groups over a week ago, and with the US midterm elections approaching, the social media giant was keen to provide the US and UK government officials with information regarding the initial investigation as soon as possible.
This news comes after it was revealed last week that Facebook was fined £500,000, the maximum amount possible regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where tens of millions of users’ private data was stolen.
Read more via Sky News.
Philip Hammond’s 2018 Budget providing £1.6bn for ‘advanced’ tech and innovation
The 2018 Budget, which was announced on Monday this week, gained attention from the technology sector.
Mr. Hammond promised this week £1.6bn to fund “advanced technologies”, such as artificial intelligence and sectors within quantum computing; £200m for rural broadband and £150m for tech fellowships - along with plans to introduce a digital services tax for web giants.
The Budget Red Book said that £235m would be invested to support the “development and commercialisation of quantum technologies”, including £70m from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and £35m to create a national quantum computing centre.
“These technologies will transform capabilities in computing, sensing and communications, bringing promising new approaches to solving global problems such as disease and climate change,” it said.
Not only is there support for emerging technology in these forms, there is also a 2% digital services tax on internet giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google to ensure they make a fair contribution to funding public services. The tax will only affect those companies with a global revenue of more than £500m a year, and the proposal should contribute £400m to the UK economy annually by 2022-23.
Bitcoin could theoretically put Paris climate goals out of reach
This week the consequences of Bitcoin mining have been brought into question as planet earth gets closer to the 2°C rise or ‘no turning back’ point of climate change.
Reports have explained that if Bitcoin were to become a true, global transactional currency, the electricity needed to mine it alone would generate enough carbon dioxide to put the planet over the threshold of warming within 25 years.
Camilo Mora, associate professor at the University of Hawaii and lead author of the analysis, discussed this week how the creation of new Bitcoin requires immense computational effort. This effort subsequently means enormous amounts of energy, meaning that if Bitcoin were to take off on a more consumer based, popular level, it is not a movement people would be able to control.
Cryptocurrency is currently nowhere near the level of mainstream usage Mora is speaking about, only claiming 0.033% of all 314 billion cashless transactions globally in 2017. However, with 30 million current Bitcoin wallet users, that’s an huge 10 million more than last December.
Could we be mentioning Bitcoin and climate change in the same sentence more often in the coming years?
Those were some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels.