F acebook Scandals, AIs Can Write and Link Equity

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Nick Cotton Sep 24, 2021

Why These Facebook Research Scandals Are Different

By  Casey Newton from The Verge
  • “For a lot of reasons, we would all stand to benefit if we could better isolate the effect of Facebook — or YouTube, or TikTok, or Twitter — on the larger world. But because they keep their data private, for reasons both good and bad, we spend a lot of time arguing about subjects for which we often have little grounding in empiricism.”
  • “But still that question nags: what is this social network doing to us? It now seems apparent that no one at the company, or in the world at large, has really gotten their arms around it. And so the company’s reputation is once again in free fall.”
  • “The company can’t rebuild trust with the larger world through blog posts and tweet storms. But it could start by helping us understand its effects on human behavior, politics, and society.”

AI Can Write Code Like Humans—Bugs and All

By Will Knight from Wired
  • “Last June, GitHub, a subsidiary of Microsoft that provides tools for hosting and collaborating on code, released a beta version of a program that uses AI to assist programmers. Start typing a command, a database query, or a request to an API, and the program, called Copilot, will guess your intent and write the rest.”
  • “The risks of AI generating faulty code may be surprisingly high. Researchers at NYU recently analyzed code generated by Copilot and found that, for certain tasks where security is crucial, the code contains security flaws around 40 percent of the time.”
  • “Despite such flaws, Copilot and similar AI-powered tools may herald a sea change in the way software developers write code. There’s growing interest in using AI to help automate more mundane work. But Copilot also highlights some of the pitfalls of today’s AI techniques.”

Google: Referral Traffic Doesn’t Increase Link Equity

By Matt Southern from Search Engine Journal
  • “When Google evaluates how much weight to assign to backlinks it doesn’t consider factors such as referral traffic or whether the link gets clicked on.”
  • “…referral traffic and click-through rate do not increase link equity. In short — a backlink is just a reference.”
  • “Google’s algorithm has evolved since the days of PageRank, but the weight of a link is still determined by the equity passed from one URL to another. It’s not determined by clicks, bounce rate, or any other type of user interaction metric.”

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