reading • President Trump wants social media to catch shooters before they strike. It’s going to be hard Aug 6 • Trump says he’s watching Google ‘very closely,’ slams CEO Sundar Pichai President Donald Trump delivered remarks on the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio Monday. Getty Images Some of the most horrific mass shootings have followed a chillingly similar script: Angry white men, driven to extremism in online forums like 8chan and Gab, post manifestos railing against minorities. When they begin to shoot, members of the message boards post responses that encourage them to kill more.President Donald Trump says it needs to stop.In a speech after two shootings left at least 31 people dead, Trump called on social media companies to identify mass shooters before they open fire.”I am directing the Department of Justice to work in partnership with local state and federal agencies, as well as social media companies, to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike,” he said.In theory, predictive policing online should be possible. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have increasingly harnessed artificial intelligence and other technology to identify and act on bad behavior as they sift through billions of posts. They’ve been able to pull down terrorist propaganda from ISIS, for example, and they have programs that can often identify child pornorgraphy automatically.People gather near white handmade crosses memorializing the victims of a mass shooting which left at least 22 people dead in El Paso, Texas. Getty Images The challenge, experts say, is that correctly identifying these lone wolves is tougher than finding overt terrorist propaganda. One reason, for example, is it’s hard to determine when a post may be preparation for a terrorist act, or merely someone spouting off.Another problem is that message boards have changed the way extremists recruit to their causes. Many of these attackers know each other only online. Some may not interact directly.”In the past, there would be a more terrestrial component to how hate groups would organize and recruit,” said Brian Levin, who runs the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. That means they’d meet somewhere in the real world to chat or exchange propaganda.Manifestos online have taken the place of those real world connections. Manifestos reference other manifestos, effectively writing a new chapter in an expanding meta-book of hate. The writers almost always post anonymously. They rarely post overt threats because those would break the rules of most social media sites, which could get them kicked off and deprive them of a platform.”The issue is can we get to these folks who while stealth, are delivering clues, oftentimes the last of which is right before their attack,” Levin added.Not always rightOf course, Facebook and Twitter have taken action, primarily against propaganda supporting ISIS and Al-Qaeda. The social media companies have occasionally identified takedowns of white supremacist material, but haven’t provided macro data on the topic.Twitter says it suspended 166,513 unique accounts for promoting terrorism during the second half of 2018. The company credited its internal tools for flagging 91% of the accounts.”In the majority of cases, we take action at the account setup stage — before the account even Tweets,” Twitter said earlier this year.Meanwhile, Facebook said it found more than 99% of ISIS and Al-Qaeda content before it was reported by the community in the six months between April and September 2018.But experts say propaganda that lionizes terrorists is easier to identify as dangerous than an angry person spouting off about politics. And reading motive into hyperbolic tweets raises knotty questions about free speech. We can’t get to actual solutions if we keep blaming the virtual world. Brittan Heller, a fellow at Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Politics Tech Industry Digital Media 33 Share your voice Tags Aug 7 • Trump’s emissions and fuel economy rollbacks will cost Americans money, study says US Tech Policy See All • Comments Jul 28 • Apple’s Q3 earnings are all about the iPhone 11 hints “When we look at what predictive policing looks like, it always results in over-policing, arrests and prosecution of communities of color,” said Brittan Heller, a fellow at Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights, who previously worked for the Anti-Defamation League, the US Department of Justice, and International Criminal Court. “Whenever I hear people trying to predict criminality, as a former prosecutor, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up,” she said.Aside from the potentially thorny civil rights issues, the technology at Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is far from perfect. Their automated computer programs have screwed up plenty of times.When Facebook put a computer in charge of selecting trending topics, it began sharing hoaxes and conspiracy theories instead of actual news stories. After a shooter killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the top trending video on YouTube accused David Hogg, a survivor, of being a “crisis actor.”AI may eventually get better at understanding hate-riddled posts. But Heller says Trump and other politicians need to look beyond technology for an answer to this growing domestic threat.”It’s less a question about the internet, and it’s more a question about gun-based violence,” Heller said. “We can’t get to actual solutions if we keep blaming the virtual world.”CNET’s Queenie Wong contributed to this report. US Tech Policy
HSBC has cut the outlook for Indian stocks to ‘underweight’ from overweight earlier, saying that the market is likely to more downside due to poor corporate earnings, limited scope for rate cuts and significant negative impact from El Nino conditions.The bank sees huge scope for capital outflows from the country, as foreign investors buying of domestic equities looks stretched.”India remains one of the most over-owned markets in Asia, but earnings growth is slowing and there is little room for further rate cuts,” HSBC said on Wednesday in a note to Reuters.The investment bank chooses to stay away from the markets at current levels and looks to re-enter the markets if they decline by another 10 percent.The Indian stock markets have been trading highly volatile for the past few sessions on controversy over the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on overseas investors. The government has asked them to pay MAT on long-term capital gains from equities earned previously.The bank sees no sign of rebound in India’s capex cycle and says the country has recorded the highest number of earnings downgrades in the region.”For earnings expectations to recover on a sustainable basis, they would need to see a recovery in the capex cycle and credit growth, but that is not visible yet. While reforms have been put in place, it might take some time before they impact corporate earnings,” HSBC told The Economic Times.Easing inflation and subdued growth may offer little scope for rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its next review meeting in June, but the bank sees little room for rate cuts from next year.”Rate cuts beyond 2015 and in the run up to RBI’s inflation target of 4% in early 2018 will depend on the government’s structural reforms. If they are coming, there could be further space to cut. But if not, the RBI may just have to sit tight,” said Devendra Joshi and Herald van der Linde, analysts at HSBC.Absence of rate cuts will provide little liquidity to the corporates weighing on the economic growth in the country.Lack of investments has led to companies reporting lacklustre earnings in the last fiscal year, with 396 companies showing a fall in revenue by 7 percent and profit by 6 percent on yearly basis, Firstpost reported citing a research note by SBI.Besides, the bank is concerned about the adverse impact of El Nino phenomenon on monsoon rainfall. El Nino may lead to poor monsoon rainfall during June-September, resulting in causing more damage to the agriculture sector, which is already hit by unseasonal rains.A second consecutive year of deficient monsoon rainfall would deepen the rural distress, in turn reducing the rural demand.