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News in brief: Google ‘plans native adblocker’; Facebook seeks fake news lead; near miss for Earth

Your daily round-up of some of the other stories in the news

Your daily round-up of some of the other stories in the news

Google plans native adblocker in Chrome

Google is reportedly planning to build a native adblocker into the desktop and mobile versions of its browser Chrome, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This seems ridiculously counter-intuitive: Google makes pretty much all of its money from advertising, but there is method in this apparent madness, it seems. By taking much more direct control over the kind of ads that are blocked and the ones that are whitelisted, Google will in theory have much greater control over ads Chrome users do or don’t see, especially if those users don’t then go and install a third-party adblocker.

The Journal reports that it’s likely to block by default the more obnoxious adverts such as autoplaying videos, interstitials and pop-ups as defined by the Coalition for Better Ads, of which Google is a member.

It’s not a done deal, and there are issues to be ironed out around which ads precisely would get whitelisted, but it’s an interesting move and one to watch.

Facebook seeks expert to tackle fake news

With the upcoming British general election in June joining the French and German polls, concern continues to mount about the way fake news spreads and potentially influences voting. Facebook, a big focus of that concern, has stepped up its efforts by announcing it’s looking to hire someone to lead on tackling fake news.

Recode reported on Thursday that Facebook is looking for someone who combines both the news and technology credentials to fill the post, which it says will report to Fidji Simo, the company’s vice-president in charge of news and video.

The aim is to lead development of Facebook’s news products – like the now largely defunct Instant Articles product – and finding ways to combat the spread of fake news on the platform.

Asteroid squeaks by Earth

Earth didn’t get hit by what NASA described as a “relatively large” asteroid on Wednesday – but it was a near miss, apparently. Well, a near miss in cosmic terms, that is: the asteroid, known as JO25, missed us by just 1.1m miles, “a very close approach for an asteroid of this size,” said NASA.

The asteroid, which was first spotted in 2014 by astronomers in Arizona, came at us from the direction of the sun, and will be visible to telescopes from the Earth for a few days.

JO25 is about 650 metres in size, said NASA, and was spotted by the space agency’s programme to monitor near-earth objects. The good news is that it won’t get this close to us again for another 500 years.

Catch up with all of today’s stories on Naked Security


Thoughts on googly’s add blocker – will it only/mostly block adds from competing advertisers? and if we configure it to filter google adds, will it stop chrome from working?


End users will be happy or will not care at all. Just don’t create obnoxious ads to promote your product, it is time to learn from the mistakes.


Just to be clear on the ‘near miss’ the asteroid distance at 1.1million is OVER THREE TIMES the distance to the moon, so not even journalistically ‘near’ really : )))))


Close in astronomical terms, as NASA said. Which is who I was citing; it’s not my opinion.


FYI: me thinks maybe is a problem with the page, with the URL showing below some post hxxps:// (virustotal says safe).


Hmmm. Not sure what happened there – I have edited the links out by hand and will ask our web development folks (I nearly wrote “peops” but caught myself just in time :-) if they can figure it out.

Thanks for pointing it out…


It is indeed more than 3x the distance to the moon (which is, of course, not constant anyway) – 4.6x, according to NASA.

But I’d say it’s near enough, journalistically or not.

(I bet that if a 250kg lump of frozen aeroplane toilet waste – is that a thing, or is it an urban myth? – plopped odorously but otherwise harmlessly into the back garden of the house three doors down from yours, you’d refer to it as a “near miss” when you dined out on the story, journalistically or not :-)


1.1M miles is not much when compared to the orbit of the asteroid – a small percentage difference (in terms of the orbit) swallows 1.1M miles


The problem with fake news is that there is inherent bias in all people. Hiring one person to oversee things will decidedly NOT help. Just look at the garbage that passed for “news” on the two ends of the political spectrum in the US’ last election. There are very high-level players on both ends of the spectrum that simply accept everything they see that agrees with their liberal/conservative views. Even the major news networks and sources have huge biases in one direction or the other.
The counter-argument will be predictable: we’re only FACT-checking. But, that’s the job of the media, and they fail miserably at it.
Having one person in charge merely means that the other end of the spectrum from that person’s views will be underrepresented.


“Facebook [is] looking to hire someone to lead on tackling fake news.”

How about Barbara and David Mikkelson?


I understand that Facebook already work with Snopes (the fact checking website founded by Barbara and David Mikkelson for anyone wondering who Laurence is talking about).


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