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Students found a fix for fake news on Facebook

Following criticism of fake news and misinformation circulating on Facebook, some students have a fix for the social-media site.

The Washington Post reported that Nabanita De, an international second-year master's student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has contributed to a solution.

>> Read more trending stories

De participated in a hackathon at Princeton University and when tasked with creating a technology project in 36 hours, she pitched an algorithm to determine real from fake articles on Facebook.

Purdue University freshman Anant Goel and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sophomores Mark Craft and Qinglin Chen made FiB, a Google Chrome internet browser extension.

Related: Fake Facebook news writer: Trump won 'because of me'

The Post reported that the extension tags Facebook posts "verified" or "not verified" The distinction is made by an algorithm that analyzes the content of the story with other similar stories and the credibility of the website reporting the story.

Related: Facebook curators suppressed conservative news, former staff members say

Goel told the post that if Facebook used FiB, it would be a third-party relationship so that outside developers can verify the data determined by the algorithm.

That approach is an attempt to avoid previous accusations Facebook faced that it was biased against conservative websites.

The extension is open source, which means other, more experienced developers can contribute to the tool.

Such a simple solution can be helpful, but for now, it's up to the user to implement a verification tool such as FiB.

Mark Zuckerberg loses $3 billion in one day as Facebook stock stumbles

In a single day, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost more than $3 billion as the company's stock slumped, marking what might be the largest single-day loss ever seen by an investor, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending stories

Zuckerberg lost $3.7 billion last week when the company's stock price fell about 6 percent, Forbes reported. The fall came one day after Facebook CFO David Wehner warned investors that the company expects a slow-down in ad revenue growth in the coming year, despite the company's report of $7 billion in quarterly revenues -- up 56 percent from revenues at the same time last year.

>> Related: How Mark Zuckerberg made $6 billion in one day

The company has consistently beat revenue and earnings expectations. However, Wehner warned during an earnings call Wednesday that Facebook's expenses will increase next year as users share more videos, driving up network costs, according to Forbes.

Zuckerberg owns 418 million shares of Facebook stock, according to CNN Money, worth about $50.2 billion. Despite last week's loss, Zuckerberg is still listed as the fifth richest person in the world behind Warren Buffett, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, with a net worth of $52.2 billion.

New app allows you to hear baby's heartbeat

A new app and device promises to let you hear your developing baby's heartbeat without the use of a doctor's ultrasound device.

It's called Shell, and it was developed by Bellabeat.

The free app, available now on Apple's App store, uses the microphone on your cellphone to listen to the baby's heart. 

>> Read more trending stories  

It allows parents to listen to the baby's heart, record it and share on social media or email.

There's an add-on device that snaps onto the phone to help amplify the sound. 

The device has sold out, according to the Bellabeat website, but the company says the app works without it.

The website Digital Trends says the Shell add-on will be available on the Bellabeat website in mid-December and retails for $70.

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Coming soon to iOS: Facepalm, shrugs and more

Are you frustrated by the upcoming presidential election? Did the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians make a bone-headed move during the World Series? Did your kid back his junker car out of the garage and into your brand-new SUV?

>> Read more trending stories

Daily events beg for instant, accurate emotions, and Apple is providing new emojis that cover a wide range of them — a shrug, crossed fingers, and the facepalm. 

On Tuesday, Apple released its first beta version of its iOS 10.2 software update for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch products. The developer preview will include 72 new emojis. Other additions include job descriptions like teacher, astronaut, scientist, firefighter and pilot. 

Apple has not announced an official release date for the iOS 10.2 software, but the new symbols, approved as part of Unicode 9.0 in June, are expected to be available later this month. 

So when you hear something ridiculous that makes you want to roll on the floor laughing, well, Apple will have the emoji available for you to express your feelings.

Buzzfeed compiled a complete list of the new emoji, covering the bases from clown faces to avocados.

Why are Facebook users checking in to Standing Rock Indian Reservation?

If you've been on Facebook Monday, you might have noticed an influx of friends who are suddenly checking in to North Dakota's Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Hundreds of people took to the social media site to stand in digital solidarity with demonstrators protesting the construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline in Morton County, North Dakota.  Authorities dressed in riot gear last week arrested more than 140 protesters, NPR reported.

>> Read more trending stories

The check-ins appear to stem from rumors that the Morton County Sheriff's Department has been using Facebook's check-in feature to identify the protesters in an attempt to disrupt their demonstrations. It's unclear whether deputies are using social media to identify people, although the tactic is not unheard of in law enforcement.

A viral plea posted on Facebook asked users to help stymie police efforts with a simple check-in:

"The Morton County Sheriff's Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Standing Rock in order to target them in attempts to disrupt the prayer camps. SO Water Protectors are calling on EVERYONE to check in at Standing Rock, ND, to overwhelm and confuse them. This is concrete action that can protect people putting their bodies and well-beings on the line that we can do without leaving our homes. Will you join me in Standing Rock? "If you're sharing your location at Standing Stock: 1) Make it public. 2) Make the clarification post SEPARATE, and limit post visibility to your friends only. 3) Don't clarify on your check-in post; privately message friends who say "Stay safe!" to let them know what's up. 4) Copy/paste to share clarification messages (like this one) because making it public blows our cover. 5) Use an alternate name in clarification posts so that when they filter out/search those terms, your post is visible to the right people."

Whether the post will have any effect on the protests remains to be seen.

Sheriff's deputies said in a Facebook post Monday that they do not follow Facebook check-ins as part of their duties.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); = id;  js.src = "//;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> In response to the latest rumor / false claim circulating on social media we have the following response: The Morton...Posted by Morton County Sheriff's Department on Monday, October 31, 2016

 Authorities told Snopes the posts contribute nothing to investigations.

"Check-ins were voluntary, and there was no reason to believe folks would continue to check in if it presented that risk," according to Snopes.

The myth-busting site also contacted Sacred Stone Camp, a large camp housing protesters, to determine whether organizers from the campsite were responsible for the viral post.

 "There is no solid line between 'organizers' and 'others' -- this is a movement, not an organization," a representative told Snopes. "There are many camps and points of contact. We can only verify that it did not originate from the Sacred Stone Camp FB page. We support the tactic, and think it is a great way to express solidarity."

The Facebook check-in can show solidarity, but it's unlikely to have any effect on protests on the ground.

Ghosts invade Magic Cat Academy in Halloween Google Doodle game

Google is celebrating Halloween with an interactive game about a spell-casting cat who uses her powers to defeat ghosts after they invade the Magic Cat Academy.

>> Read more trending stories

The Google Doodle follows Momo the cat as she casts spells to defeat the school's attackers and recover a master spell book over the course of five levels. Players vanquish ghosts by drawing symbols that appear over the phantoms' heads.

"Doodling for a whole Doodle game was very exciting for us," the team behind the Halloween Doodle wrote in a blog post. "We had so many ideas for elaborate symbols to draw, like a witch's hat that would appear on the character's head after it was drawn! In the end we decided that for a short game against the clock, simple was better."

The feline protagonist was inspired by Momo, a real-life black cat owned by one of Google's Doodlers. Originally, developers envisioned having a magic cat make a soup so good it raised the dead, but they opted instead for a cat at a magic school.

"Connecting soup to Halloween proved too abstract, so the team shifted to the idea of a wizard school," the team said. "This opened the door to a more robust world filled with interesting characters and paw-some themes."

Magic Cat Academy can be played on Google.

Facebook under fire for reportedly letting advertisers exclude users by 'ethnic affinity'

Facebook is under fire after a new report claimed that the social networking site lets advertisers exclude people with certain "ethnic affinities" from receiving their ads.

ProPublica reported Friday that it was able to buy a housing-related ad on Facebook that "excluded anyone with an 'affinity' for African-American, Asian-American or Hispanic people." 

>> Airbnb requires hosts to agree to new nondiscrimination policy

John Relman, a civil rights lawyer, called the practice "horrifying."

"This is massively illegal," Relman told ProPublica. "This is about as blatant a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act as one can find.”

Under the Fair Housing Act, ads for housing or employment cannot discriminate "based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin."

According to BuzzFeed, a representative for Facebook said ProPublica's ad wasn't for housing but for a housing-related event.

>> Read more trending stories

"All major brands have strategies to speak to different audiences with culturally relevant creative," the spokesman told BuzzFeed.

Steve Satterfield, Facebook's privacy and public policy manager, said company "policies prohibit using our target options to discriminate, and they require compliance with the law." He also told ProPublica that "ethnic affinity" is not race.

Read more here.

Facebook launches Halloween-themed reactions, filters

Nine months since Facebook launched its reactions feature, it's getting into the Halloween spirit.

The original Facebook reactions have undergone creepy makeovers.

>> Read more trending stories

The social media site announced the reactions Thursday along with a mask feature in Facebook live.

"We’re launching a set of limited-edition Halloween reactions that turn the Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry reactions into Halloween-themed symbols that come to life when you tap on them," a blog post from Facebook said.

Related: Facebook reactions are here: What you need to know

The like and love reactions remain the same, but the haha reaction becomes a cackling witch, the wow reaction becomes a ghost, the sad reaction becomes Frankenstein's monster, and the angry reaction becomes a sinister-looking pumpkin.

Masks on Facebook live are similar to Snapchat filters. Users broadcasting a live Facebook video can tap a magic wand icon and select a mask to digitally cover their face.

The masks are a new feature for Facebook Live, but Halloween-themed ones -- a pumpkin and a witch -- will only be available for the holiday.

Watch a video of the features in action below:

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