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Eastern European Banks Were Attacked Via Backdoors Directly Connected To Local Networks, Report Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 02:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's easy-as-1-2-3 department:
An anonymous reader writes: Karspesky security researcher Sergey Golovanov writes about recent cybertheft incidents involving hardware backdoors planted by criminals. Each attack had a common springboard: an unknown device directly connected to the company's local network. In some cases, it was the central office, in others a regional office, sometimes located in another country. At least eight banks in Eastern Europe were the targets of the attacks, which caused damage estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. Hardware backdoors are cheap and immune to antivirus. A firmware modified OpenWrt based router can provide covert remote access, painless packet captures, and secure VPN connections with the flip of a switch. Will a flashlight and a ladder be common tools of computer security someday? After the cybercriminals entered a organization's building, connected a device to the local network and scanned the local network seeking to gain access to the resources, they proceeded to stage three. "Here they logged into the target system and used remote access software to retain access," writes Golovanov. "Next, malicious services created using msfvenom were started on the compromised computer. Because the hackers used fileless attacks (PDF) and PowerShell, they were able to avoid whitelisting technologies and domain policies. If they encountered a whitelisting that could not be bypassed, or PowerShell was blocked on the target computer, the cybercriminals used impacket, and winexesvc.exe or psexec.exe to run executable files remotely."

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China Calls For Release of Arrested Huawei CFO Detained In Canada
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 02:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's family-feud department:
China is demanding the release of a senior executive at Huawei after she was detained in Canada on extradition charges to the U.S. Wanzhou Meng, who is also the deputy chair of Huawei's board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, is suspected of violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. NBC News reports: The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and daughter of the company's founder Ren Zhengfei, spooked investors with U.S. stocks tumbling on fears of a flare-up in Chinese-U.S. tensions. She was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Dec. 1. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said officials have been contacted both in the U.S. and Canada to demand Meng's release. Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the ministry, said her detention needed to be explained, and both countries had to "effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of the person concerned." A spokesperson for Huawei said in a statement that it "complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations."

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Snapdragon 8cx Gives Windows Its Most Extreme Arm Chip Yet
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 01:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's pushing-the-limits department:
Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform, a new flagship "Extreme" chipset for Windows on Arm notebooks, tablets, and 2-in-1s that promises more connectivity, more power, and battery life in excess of 25 hours. From a report: The new platform also debuts Qualcomm's new nomenclature for that ecosystem of devices, borrowing technologies from Snapdragon for smartphones but shaping them for ultraportable computing. It comes twelve months after Qualcomm announced its first Windows on Arm products. At last year's Snapdragon Summit, partners ASUS and HP revealed a Windows 10 notebook and 2-in-1, respectively, each running Microsoft's software on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835.

The Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform won't replace the 850 -- or, indeed, be called the Snapdragon 1000 or Snapdragon 8180 as the rumors suggested -- but instead sit above it in the Windows on Arm ecosystem. Described as "a new tier of premium computing" by Qualcomm's Miguel Nunes, senior director of product management, ahead of the Snapdragon Summit 2018 at which SlashGear is Qualcomm's guest, it was also developed from the ground up with computing in mind. Its predecessors were, of course, mobile chipsets coopted into laptop use.

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Intel Optimistic About Its Next-Gen 7nm Process Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 01:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
From a report: Originally planned to enter mass production in the second half of 2016, Intel's 10 nm process technology is still barely used by the company today. Currently the process is used to produce just a handful of CPUs, ahead of an expected ramp to high-volume manufacturing (HVM) only later in 2019. Without a doubt, Intel suffered delays on its 10 nm process by several years, significantly impacting the company's product lineup and its business. Now, as it turns out, Intel's 10 nm may be a short-living node as the company's 7 nm tech is on-track for introduction in accordance with its original schedule.

For a number of times Intel said that it set too aggressive scaling/transistor density targets for its 10 nm fabrication process, which is why its development ran into problems. Intel's 10 nm manufacturing tech relies exclusively on deep ultraviolet lithography (DUVL) with lasers operating on a 193 nm wavelength. To enable the fine feature sizes that Intel set out to achieve on 10 nm, the process had to make heavy usage of mutli-patterning. According to Intel, a problem of the process was precisely its heavy usage of multipatterning (quad-patterning to be more exact).

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Facebook Will Bring Political Ad Transparency Tools To India Ahead of 2019 Elections
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 12:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
As India inches closer to its general elections, Facebook announced today that it is bringing transparency to political ads on its platform in the country early next year. From a report: This would make India the fourth market -- after the U.S., Brazil, and the U.K. -- where Facebook offers users a disclaimer on political ads. Facebook began offering users in the U.S. information about the buyer of a political ad as part of a series of changes last year to fight misinformation and foreign meddling in elections. [...]

Facebook said Thursday that it will also maintain an online searchable Ad Library, as it has in other markets, which will document all the ads related to politics from a particular advertiser alongside other information such as range of impressions, demographics that saw the ad, and the budget that went behind an individual ad. India, which is Facebook's largest market, could be the biggest test yet for whether the company has learned from its recent mistakes.

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Microsoft Is Embracing Chromium, Bringing Edge To Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 10:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft today embraced Google's Chromium open source project for Edge development on the desktop. The company also announced Edge is coming to all supported versions of Windows and to macOS. Microsoft wants to make some big changes, which it says will happen "over the next year or so." The first preview builds of the Chromium-powered Edge will arrive in early 2019, according to Microsoft. And yes, this means Chrome extension support.

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Motion Impossible: Tom Cruise Declares War on TV Frame Interpolation
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 10:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's public-appeal department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: At 9:46 last night, Tom tweeted an 87-second video in which he and his go-to director Christopher McQuarrie explained the concept of video interpolation and why it is the death of all good things. Video interpolation, they explained, is a digital video effect used to improve the quality of high-definition sport. "The unfortunate effect is that it makes most movies look like they were shot on high-speed video rather than film," said Cruise. "This is sometimes referred to as the 'soap-opera effect'." They explained that most HD televisions come with video interpolation switched on by default, they explained how to switch it off, and then they both nodded with total sincerity.

Now, it's worth noting that Tom Cruise is by no means the first film-maker to rail against motion smoothing. Back when he was still the Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn tweeted that he, Edgar Wright, Rian Johnson and Matt Reeves were also peeved about the default nature of video interpolation, to which Reed Morano replied that she started a petition to fix the issue a number of years ago, to little avail.

Why did it fail? Possibly because none of these people are Tom Cruise. Because Tom Cruise has made a career of total commitment. Take him to a premiere and he'll spend hours on the red carpet, shaking every single hand until everyone's happy. Put him in a movie with helicopters in it and he'll teach himself to fly a helicopter to the level of a veteran stunt coordinator. Break his ankle on the side of a building, and he'll stagger out of frame on his ruined legs rather than blow a shot.

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Microsoft's Designers Are Now Working Together on the Future of Windows, Office and Surface
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 09:32 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Microsoft has changed the way it approaches design. The new Office icons unveiled this week are the first glimpse at a far bigger design overhaul that's going on inside the company. Windows is also getting its own icon changes, but the bigger change is a collaborative effort going on between the Windows, Office, and Surface teams. From a report: "This is definitely a cross company effort," explains Jon Friedman, Microsoft's head of Office design, in an interview with The Verge. The company's design leaders -- Friedman with Office, Albert Shum on the Windows side, and Ralf Groene for Surface -- all work together now. "We operate like an internal open source team," Friedman says.

"So we're all openly sharing our design work, critiquing the work, working on it together. What we've found is that the best way to develop our Fluent Design system is to truly open source it internally. What's happened is that we're getting the best of everyone's work that way."

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Opinion: 5G Has an Exciting Future When It Comes To Dedicated Mobile Apps But Will Do Little To Improve Our General Browsing Experiences.
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 09:32 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's between-the-lines department:
Charlie Osborne, writing for ZDNet: However, there is a problem that no-one is talking about: the conflict between the rapid acceleration of wireless technologies and politics which is, unwittingly, going to render some of these improvements potentially pointless.

In the UK and across Europe, there are two laws of particular interest: the EU's 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the so-called Cookie Law, passed in 2012. Ever heard someone expel a breath and a long list of expletives while they are attempting to look something up, book a service, or fact-check through the Internet on their smartphone? The likelihood is, they've come across both regulations in full force, stirring up annoyance and a rapid, frustrated smashing of fingers to screen as pop-ups scream for consent, T&Cs demand acceptance, and visitors must go through tick-lists of what data they are happy to be collected and in what manner.

The EU's GDPR, which enforced data reform, protection, and collection changes across Europe, has resulted in a plethora of pop-ups which delight in lecturing visitors on data collection practices. Combine these two well-meaning regulations and you have a melting pot of sheer frustration when it comes to mobile browsing. When you are forced to stop and be lectured by pop-ups at every turn which must be manually shut down, one by one, it really doesn't matter how quickly you were brought to the page in the first place.

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Facebook Employees Are So Paranoid They're Using Burner Phones To Talk To Each Other
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 08:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's perks-of-working-at-Facebook department:
Facebook's reputation has only continued to get more sullied in recent weeks, and it's taking a toll on employees. According to a new report, things over at the old FB are, well, kind of grim. From the report: "People now have burner phones to talk shit about the company -- not even to reporters, just to other employees," one former employee said. Another described the current scene as a "bunker mentality," meaning that after nearly two years of continuous bad press some people are, to borrow a phrase, leaning in as hard as they can to cope. "It's otherwise rational, sane people who're in Mark's orbit spouting full-blown anti-media rhetoric, saying that the press is ganging up on Facebook," said the former employee. Further reading: Facebook Employees Are Calling Former Colleagues To Look For Jobs Outside the Company and Asking About the Best Way To Leave.

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Hackers Behind Breach at Hotel Group Marriott Left Clues Suggesting They Were Working For Chinese Government Intelligence Gathering Operation, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 08:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Marriott said last week that a hack that began four years ago had exposed the records of up to 500 million customers in its Starwood hotels reservation system. Private investigators looking into the breach have found hacking tools, techniques and procedures previously used in attacks attributed to Chinese hackers, Reuters reported, citing three sources who were not authorized to discuss the company's private probe into the attack. From the report: That suggests that Chinese hackers may have been behind a campaign designed to collect information for use in Beijing's espionage efforts and not for financial gain, two of the sources said. While China has emerged as the lead suspect in the case, the sources cautioned it was possible somebody else was behind the hack because other parties had access to the same hacking tools, some of which have previously been posted online.

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Microsoft's New Study Finds 162.8 Million People in the US Do Not Use the Internet at Broadband Speeds, Up From FCC's 24.7 Million Estimate
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 06:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: A new study by Microsoft researchers casts a light on the actual use of high-speed internet across the country, and the picture it presents is very different from the F.C.C. numbers. Their analysis, presented at a Microsoft event on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., suggests that the speedy access is much more limited than the F.C.C. data shows.

Over all, Microsoft concluded that 162.8 million people do not use the internet at broadband speeds, while the F.C.C. says broadband is not available to 24.7 million Americans. The discrepancy is particularly stark in rural areas. In Ferry County, for example, Microsoft estimates that only 2 percent of people use broadband service, versus the 100 percent the federal government says have access to the service.

[...] Accurate measurements on the reach of broadband matter because the government's statistics are used to guide policy and channel federal funding for underserved areas. "It's a huge problem," said Phillip Berenbroick, a telecommunications expert at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit technology policy group. "The result is that we're not getting broadband coverage and funding to areas that really need it."

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Cuba Offers 3G Mobile Internet Access To Citizens
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 06:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's late-start department:
Cuba's population is to be offered internet access via a 3G mobile network from later this week. From a report: Telecom provider Etecsa said citizens would be able to start subscribing to the service from Thursday. Until now, locals have mostly relied on wi-fi hotspots and internet cafes and the 3G service has been restricted to state-employed journalists and foreign businesses among others. This will change -- but many will still be unable to afford the new contracts. Etecsa's packages range from a month's use of 600MB of data for 7CUC ($7) to 4GB for 30CUC. Users get a bonus 300MB use of local .cu domain websites. But the average state wage for the island's 11.2 million residents is the equivalent of about $30 per month.

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Sea Levels May Rise More Rapidly Due To Greenland Ice Melt
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 05:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Rising sea levels could become overwhelming sooner than previously believed, according to the authors of the most comprehensive study yet of the accelerating ice melt in Greenland. Run-off from this vast northern ice sheet -- currently the biggest single source of meltwater adding to the volume of the world's oceans -- is 50% higher than pre-industrial levels and increasing exponentially as a result of manmade global warming, says the paper, published in Nature on Wednesday. Almost all of the increase has occurred in the past two decades -- a jolt upwards after several centuries of relative stability. This suggests the ice sheet becomes more sensitive as temperatures go up.

The researchers used ice core data from three locations to build the first multi-century record of temperature, surface melt and run-off in Greenland. Going back 339 years, they found the first sign of meltwater increase began along with the industrial revolution in the mid-1800s. The trend remained within the natural variation until the 1990s, since when it has spiked far outside of the usual nine- to 13-year cycles.

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24 Amazon Workers Sent To Hospital After Robot Accidentally Unleashes Bear Spray
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 02:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rise-of-the-machines department:
Joe_Dragon shares a report from ABC News: Twenty-four Amazon workers in New Jersey have been hospitalized after a robot accidentally tore a can of bear repellent spray in a warehouse, officials said. The two dozen workers were treated at five local hospitals, Robbinsville Township communications and public information officer John Nalbone told ABC News. One remains in critical condition and 30 additional workers were treated at the scene. The official investigation revealed "an automated machine accidentally punctured a 9-ounce bear repellent can, releasing concentrated Capsaican," Nalbone said. Capsaican is the major ingredient in pepper spray. The fulfillment center was given the all clear by Wednesday evening. "All of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from hospital within the next 24 hours. The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway. We'd like to thank all of the first responders who helped with today's incident," Amazon said in a statement Wednesday night.

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Australia Passes Anti-Encryption Laws [Update]
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 01:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's history-in-the-making department:
Earlier today, Australia's House of Representatives passed the Assistance and Access Bill. The Anti-Encryption Bill, as it is known as, would allow the nation's police and anti-corruption forces to ask, before forcing, internet companies, telcos, messaging providers, or anyone deemed necessary, to break into whatever content agencies they want access to. "While the Bill can still be blocked by the Senate -- Australian Twitter has been quite vocal over today's proceedings, especially in regards to the [Australian Labor Party's] involvement," reports Gizmodo. ZDNet highlights the key findings from a report from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS): The threshold for industry assistance is recommended to be lifted to offenses with maximum penalties in excess of three years; Technical Assistance Notices (TANs) and Technical Capability Notices (TCNs) will be subjected to statutory time limits, as well as any extension, renewal, or variation to the notices; the systemic weakness clause to apply to all listing acts and things; and the double-lock mechanism of approval from Attorney-General and Minister of Communications will be needed, with the report saying the Communications Minister will provide "a direct avenue for the concerns of the relevant industry to be considered as part of the approval process."

The report's recommendations also call for a review after 18 months of the Bill coming into effect by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor; TANs issued by state and territory police forces to be approved by the Australian Federal Police commissioner; companies issued with notices are able to appeal to the Attorney-General to disclose publicly the fact they are issued a TCN; and the committee will review the passed legislation in the new year and report by April 3, 2019, right around when the next election is expected to be called.

< article continued at Slashdot's history-in-the-making department >

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Australia's Anti-Encryption Bill Passes House of Representatives
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '18 at 12:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's history-in-the-making department:
Earlier today, Australia's House of Representatives passed the Assistance and Access Bill. The Anti-Encryption Bill, as it is known as, would allow the nation's police and anti-corruption forces to ask, before forcing, internet companies, telcos, messaging providers, or anyone deemed necessary, to break into whatever content agencies they want access to. "While the Bill can still be blocked by the Senate -- Australian Twitter has been quite vocal over today's proceedings, especially in regards to the [Australian Labor Party's] involvement," reports Gizmodo. ZDNet highlights the key findings from a report from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS): The threshold for industry assistance is recommended to be lifted to offenses with maximum penalties in excess of three years; Technical Assistance Notices (TANs) and Technical Capability Notices (TCNs) will be subjected to statutory time limits, as well as any extension, renewal, or variation to the notices; the systemic weakness clause to apply to all listing acts and things; and the double-lock mechanism of approval from Attorney-General and Minister of Communications will be needed, with the report saying the Communications Minister will provide "a direct avenue for the concerns of the relevant industry to be considered as part of the approval process."

The report's recommendations also call for a review after 18 months of the Bill coming into effect by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor; TANs issued by state and territory police forces to be approved by the Australian Federal Police commissioner; companies issued with notices are able to appeal to the Attorney-General to disclose publicly the fact they are issued a TCN; and the committee will review the passed legislation in the new year and report by April 3, 2019, right around when the next election is expected to be called.

< article continued at Slashdot's history-in-the-making department >

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Quantum Computers Pose a Security Threat That We're Still Totally Unprepared For
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '18 at 08:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's depressing-but-probably-accurate department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: The world relies on encryption to protect everything from credit card transactions to databases holding health records and other sensitive information. A new report from the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says we need to speed up preparations for the time when super-powerful quantum computers can crack conventional cryptographic defenses. The experts who produced the report, which was released today, say widespread adoption of quantum-resistant cryptography "will be a long and difficult process" that "probably cannot be completed in less than 20 years." It's possible that highly capable quantum machines will appear before then, and if hackers get their hands on them, the result could be a security and privacy nightmare.

Today's cyberdefenses rely heavily on the fact that it would take even the most powerful classical supercomputers almost unimaginable amounts of time to unravel the cryptographic algorithms that protect our data, computer networks, and other digital systems. But computers that harness quantum bits, or qubits, promise to deliver exponential leaps in processing power that could break today's best encryption. The report cites an example of encryption that protects the process of swapping identical digital keys between two parties, who use them to decrypt secure messages sent to one another. A powerful quantum computer could crack RSA-1024, a popular algorithmic defense for this process, in less than a day. The U.S., Israel and others are working to develop standards for quantum-proof cryptographic algorithms, but they may not be ready or widely adopted by the time quantum computers arrive. "[I]t will take at least a couple of decades to get quantum-safe cryptography broadly in place," the report says in closing. "If that holds, we're going have to hope it somehow takes even longer before a powerful quantum computer ends up in a malicious hacker's hands."

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FCC Chairman Admits Russia Meddled In Net Neutrality Debate
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '18 at 06:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ties-overseas department:
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has admitted that around 500,000 comments submitted during the net neutrality public comment period were linked to Russia email addresses. "Pai noted in a court filing that most of the comments were in favor of net neutrality, which the FCC repealed last December," reports Engadget. From the report:
The New York Times and BuzzFeed News have filed freedom of information requests in the hopes of uncovering the extent of fraudulent comments and Russian influence in the net neutrality process. Pai's filing was part of an FCC memorandum that addressed the requests, and the agency has argued that releasing the data could expose the U.S. to cyberattacks.

Pai's concession underscores how Russia's influence on U.S. democracy extends beyond headline-grabbing election interference and fake news peddling, and it also reflects the litany of issues the FCC faced during the net neutrality comment period. Over half of the almost 22 million comments came from phony, temporary or duplicate email addresses, according to a study, and reportedly only 17.4 percent of the comments were unique.

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A Quarter of Tumblr's Users Are There To Consume Porn, Data Scientists Estimate
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '18 at 06:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's porn-crackdown department:
On Monday, Tumblr announced that it will permanently ban adult content from its platform on December 17th, alienating a large portion of the site's users who enjoy sharing and consuming NSFW content. Motherboard has surfaced a study conducted in 2017 by two Italian universities and Bell Labs, which found that roughly a quarter of Tumblr users were on the platform largely to consume pornography. From the report: This study was based on the behavior of 130 million users, about half of Tumblr's entire user base. Of that number, "adult content consumers are 22 percent of our sample," the study said. "At the time of the study, roughly 30 million active accounts were consuming adult content, either re-sharing it or following the accounts of those producers," Luca Aiello, one of the study's authors and now a senior research scientist at Nokia Bell Labs told Motherboard in an email. "I expect this audience to experience a noticeable drop in engagement: some of them will just churn out, many of them will likely reduce considerably the time spent on the platform."

< article continued at Slashdot's porn-crackdown department >

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