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Facebook Signs Lease for Office Space in Hudson Yards

Facebook Inc signed a lease for over 1.5 million square feet of office space across 30 floors and three buildings in New York City’s Hudson Yards, according to a statement by the luxury and commercial real estate development on Thursday.Hudson Yards is a $25 billion complex of commercial and residential skyscrapers built on Manhattan’s far west side above the rail yards.The deal includes about 1.2 million square feet in 50 Hudson Yards, about 265,000 square feet in 30 Hudson Yards and about 57,000 square feet in 55 Hudson Yards, the statement added.”We’re excited to expand our offices there starting in 2020″, said John Tenanes, vice president of Facebook’s global facilities and real estate.Facebook did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. 

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China Tests Mars Lander in Push for International Cooperation

China invited observers to a successful test Thursday of its Mars lander as the country pushes for inclusion in more global space projects.The demonstration of hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities was conducted at a site outside Beijing simulating conditions on the Red Planet, where the pull of gravity is about one-third that of Earth.China plans to launch a lander and rover to Mars next year to explore parts of the planet in detail.A lander is lifted during a test of hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities at a facility in Huailai in China’s Hebei province, Nov. 14, 2019.Growing space programChina’s burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone earlier this year by landing a probe on the mysterious far side of the moon.It has developed rapidly, especially since it conducted its first crewed mission in 2003 and has sought cooperation with space agencies from Europe and elsewhere.The U.S., however, has banned most space cooperation with China out of national security concerns, keeping China from participating in the International Space Station.Despite that, China’s ambitions continue to grow as it seeks to rival the U.S., Russia and Europe in space and cement its position as a regional and global power. It is gradually constructing its own larger, more permanent space station in which it has invited foreign participation.The lander on Thursday successfully avoided ground obstacles during a simulated low-gravity descent, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the Chinese space program’s main contractor.The refrigerator-sized craft was lowered gently on 36 cables through the air for about a minute and used onboard jets spraying rust-colored fumes to alter its downward course.“After the probe is launched, it will take about seven months to reach Mars, and the final procedure of landing will only last about seven minutes, which is the most difficult and the most risky part of the whole mission,” said the Mars mission’s chief designer, Zhang Rongqiao, standing before the 140-meter-(460-foot-) tall testing facility.Recent rover crashes on the moon by Israel and India highlight the difficulties of safe landings from space.The remote Comprehensive Testing Ground for Landing on Extraterrestrial Bodies run by CASC lies an hour north of the Great Wall from Beijing.Guests at Thursday’s event came from 19 countries and included the ambassadors of Brazil, France and Italy.“This event is the first public appearance of China’s Mars exploration mission, also an important measure for China to pragmatically carry out space international exchanges and cooperation,” the China National Space Administration said in a news release.

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Making the Digital More Tangible: Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 Brings Holograms to Work

Microsoft is bringing holograms to the office. The company recently started shipping its 2nd version of HoloLens, a headset that allows users to touch and interact with 3D holograms in everyday settings. Various industries have begun experimenting with the new computing device and VOA’s Tina Trinh had a chance to check it out.

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Facebook Removes Millions of Posts and Billions of Fake Accounts

Facebook released its Community Standards Enforcement Report on Wednesday, detailing its work in regulating its main app and Instagram from terrorist groups to child porn.The company said it removed more than 3.2 billion fake accounts between April and September, compared with more than 1.5 billion during the same period last year. The company also said it removed 11.4 million pieces of hate speech, compared to 5.4 million in the same six-month period in 2018.InstagramFor the first time, Facebook included Instagram in the report. The company said it made progress in detecting child nudity and sexual exploitation, removing more than 1.2 million pieces of content between April and September.Instagram spokesperson Stephanie Otway told VOA that Instagram previously had different ways of measuring enforcement on their community standards policies.”We brought our methodology in line with Facebook and that alignment meant we were able to share metrics for the first time today,” Otway said.Facebook said it had proactively deleted up to 98% of posts that it recognized as terrorist propaganda in the past two quarters. This included major organizations like Islamic State and al-Qaida and smaller, regional terrorist groups.Messaging servicesLaw enforcement officials are concerned that Facebook’s plans to provide greater privacy to users by encrypting the company’s messaging services (including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp) will obstruct efforts to fight child abuse.Last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the changes would turn the platforms into a “dream come true for predators and child pornographers.”Facebook said its official policy on child pornography is to remove the content “regardless of the context or the person’s motivation for sharing it.”Posts that violated Facebook’s policies were deleted before many people were able to view them. Facebook estimated that for every 10,000 views on Facebook and Instagram, only four views contained content that violated their policy.Proactive detection of violating content was lower across all categories on Instagram than on Facebook’s main app.Facebook’s apps have a combined total of billions of users across the world that use the apps at least once a day.  

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Privacy, Consumer Groups Seek to Block Google-Fitbit Deal

Nine privacy, social justice and consumer groups are calling for the U.S. government to block Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness-gadget maker Fitbit, citing antitrust and privacy concerns.They say in a Wednesday letter to the Federal Trade Commission that the deal would consolidate Google’s dominance over internet services like search, advertising and smartphone operating systems.They also worry it’ll add to Google’s store of consumer data. Health information is of particular concern. Google has hired health care executives, hinting at a health-data business to come.Politicians and regulators have been scrutinizing Google and other Silicon Valley companies for how they use customer data and leverage their size to thwart competitors.Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
 

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How Los Angeles is Taking On Cybercriminals

As the world becomes more connected people are vulnerable of being victims of cybercriminals. Police departments, hospitals, universities and businesses everywhere are also at risk. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee shows how the city of Los Angeles is fighting this problem, by sharing and pooling critical information about cyberattacks.

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Los Angeles Takes On Cybercriminals

As the world becomes more connected people are vulnerable of being victims of cybercriminals. Police departments, hospitals, universities and businesses everywhere are also at risk. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee shows how the city of Los Angeles is fighting this problem, by sharing and pooling critical information about cyberattacks.