Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto VI gameplay leaked online – Arab News

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LONDON: A hacker released gameplay from Take-Two Interactive Software Inc’s Grand Theft Auto VI in one of the biggest leaks in gaming history, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday.
Dozens of authentic, pre-release videos from GTA VI — of robberies, gunplay and open-world driving — were posted on an online message board over the weekend, media reports said.
The hacker also posted a message seeking to “negotiate a deal” and asked Rockstar Games or parent company Take-Two to contact them, according to the Bloomberg report.
Rockstar Games, a video game studio owned by Take-Two, is the developer of Grand Theft Auto, one of the best-selling videogame franchises of all time.
Take-Two Interactive did not respond to a Reuters request for comment outside regular business hours.
The hotly anticipated GTA VI is estimated to generate $3.5 billion of bookings at launch and an average of $2 billion annually thereafter, according to Bank of America.
The release could offer a much-needed boost to the US gaming company, which forecast weak annual sales in August in a sign that a thin slate of major releases and easing COVID-19 curbs have reined in the industry’s pandemic-era boom.
The gaming industry, considered by some analysts as “recession proof,” has started to see some weakness as inflation-hit consumers rein in spending on entertainment.
BALTIMORE: A Baltimore judge on Monday ordered the release of Adnan Syed after overturning Syed’s conviction for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee — a case that was chronicled in the hit podcast “Serial.”
Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn ordered that Syed’s conviction be vacated and approved the release of the now-41-year-old who has spent more than two decades behind bars.
Syed, who has always maintained his innocence, received widespread attention in 2014 when the debut season of “Serial” focused on Lee’s killing and raised doubts about some of the evidence prosecutors had used, inspiring countless dinner table debates about Syed’s innocence or guilt.
Last week, prosecutors filed a motion saying that a lengthy investigation conducted with the defense had uncovered new evidence that could undermine the 2000 conviction of Syed, Lee’s ex-boyfriend.
RIYADH: MBC Group inaugurated its new headquarters in Riyadh with a large turnout of actors, journalists, and the region’s most prominent media figures on Sunday evening.
The new headquarters mark the group’s move from the UAE to its “homeland” Saudi Arabia — a long-awaited dream of Waleed bin Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim, chairman of the board.
“We have carried this dream with us since the first launch in 1991, even though we thought it was a dream far away from coming true,” Al-Ibrahim said.
The initiatives of the Kingdom, “the wise leadership and support of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” and the support and investment in culture, innovation, media and entertainment are what have ultimately helped turn this dream into reality, he added.
Al-Ibrahim began the ceremony with a speech that highlighted the achievements of the group and the leadership that contributed to its growth.
“We are working with all determination to make MBC Group one of the most prominent international media organizations in the world,” he said.
MBC Group has had a longstanding commitment to local programing. With the headquarters being moved to the Kingdom, the company now aims to further expand its projects and productions.
He explained: “With the strategic partners we have made to achieve this goal, in the coming years we will witness global projects that tell the stories of the history and culture of the Arab world, inspired by the slogan of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: ‘An ambition as high as the sky’.”
During the ceremony, the group highlighted some of its productions filmed in the Kingdom, including “The Office”, “The Rise of the Witches” and “Dessert Warrior.”
The group also underlined some of its newest projects that are launching in the Kingdom, including “Saudi Idol” and the radio channel Loud FM, which will feature international music.
Al-Ibrahim thanked the UAE government and its people for their support during the group’s time in Dubai. He said the shifting of the headquarters is “moving from one home to another.”
Many prominent personalities attended the event, including Ibrahim Al-Hajjaj, a Saudi actor and comedian who starred in MBC’s “Rashash” and “Minho Waladna.”
Al-Hajjaj told Arab News: “It means the world to have MBC in Riyadh. I’m thrilled, and I hope that this will generate more talent and more people will come here.”
MBC Group initially launched MBC 1 in London in 1991. In 2002, it moved its headquarters to Dubai Media City in the UAE.
The group currently has over 17 TV channels, including MBC 1, MBC 2 and MBC MAX, along with two FM radio stations.
It aims to expand production in the future, with over 80 new titles scheduled to be produced in Saudi Arabia.
 
LONDON: Anti-vaxxer groups are using carrot emojis to evade automated moderation tools used by social media networks to detect news that does not comply with the platform policies, the BBC reported on Friday.
An investigation revealed multiple Facebook groups in which the carrot emoji was substituted for the word “vaccine.” Because Facebook’s algorithm normally concentrates on words rather than emojis, members were able to sidestep the platform’s automatic content moderation mechanisms.
According to the report, one Facebook group using this tactic had over 250,000 members.
The groups, which could only be joined on invitation, had clear guidelines and urged members to “use code words for everything” and “Do not use the c word, v word or b word ever,” referring to “COVID,” “vaccine” and “booster.”
The investigation also said that groups using the carrot emoji were promoting unverified claims that people are being hurt or killed by vaccines.
Marc Owen Jones, a disinformation researcher at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar, noticed the trend after he was invited to join one of the groups and took to Twitter to share his findings.
“It was people giving accounts of relatives who had died shortly after having the COVID-19 vaccine”, he said. “But instead of using the words ‘COVID-19’ or ‘vaccine,’ they were using emojis of carrots.
“Initially I was a little confused. And then it clicked — that it was being used as a way of evading, or apparently evading, Facebook’s fake news detection algorithms.”
After the BBC reported the findings to Meta, the groups were taken down, though some reappeared shortly afterwards.
“We have removed this group for violating our harmful misinformation policies and will review any other similar content in line with this policy. We continue to work closely with public health experts and the UK government to further tackle COVID vaccine misinformation,” Meta said in a statement.
Meta, along with other social media platforms, has been under intense scrutiny in the past two years for failing to remove fake news about COVID-19 and vaccines.
Facebook said last year that it had removed more than 20 million pieces of content containing misinformation about COVID-19 or vaccines since the start of the pandemic.
Emojis are more difficult for algorithms to detect since the AI is trained on text and words, which may explain how these groups managed to go unnoticed for so long.
With emoji-based hate posing a growing challenge for automated detection, a team of researchers at Seattle University created a tool called HatemojiCheck, a test suite that exposes weaknesses in existing hate detection models and identifies hateful language expressed via emojis.
LONDON: YouTube is expected to introduce new ways for creators to monetize their content on the platform, an audio leaked from a staff meeting reveals.
The news is likely to be made public at a company event on Tuesday. According to the leaked audio, YouTube will also introduce ads to Shorts, a short-form video sharing platform similar to TikTok.
The platform seeks to make it easier for content creators to enter its partner program.
This plan will allow a broader pool of creators the opportunity to earn money from the platform.
According to what was announced in the meeting by Amjad Hanif, vice president of product management and creator products, “it is the largest expansion we (YouTube) have done in several years creating new ways for creators to join the program.”
Under the current rules, the platform’s creators could only earn money if their videos were watched for at least 4,000 hours and they had at least 1,000 subscribers.
Alphabet, which owns Youtube and Google, has recently faced intense scrutiny from regulators and government bodies over its market dominance and earlier this week lost an appeal against an EU antitrust regulator for using its Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals.
Experts warn that the $4.13 billion fine will offer a precedent for other regulators to ratchet up the pressure.
To defend its position, YouTube issued a report in conjunction with Oxford Economics that highlighted the economic, societal and cultural benefits of the platform.
YouTube said it had contributed $25 billion to the US economy in 2021, created the equivalent of 425,000 full-time jobs and helped 85 percent of YouTube creators with small businesses expand their companies.
Although YouTube has been the web’s most popular platform for watching videos for the last 15 years, in recent months it has suffered the rise in popularity of the short video app TikTok, which prompted the US giant to relax its rules around content creation and monetization.
With the introduction of Shorts, YouTube decided to engage in direct competition with TikTok for a slice of the market, and the review of its guidelines to enter its partner program is a way to attract more talents and content creators to its platforms.
The change of policies will “really help creators understand why YouTube is the place to start their Shorts career,” Hanif said in the meeting audio.
LONDON: Major tech companies on Thursday committed to taking fresh steps to combat online extremism by removing more violent content and promoting media literacy with young users, as part of a White House summit on fighting hate-fueled violence.
Platforms like Alphabet’s YouTube and Meta Platforms’ Facebook have come under fire for years from critics who say the companies have allowed hate speech, lies and violent rhetoric to flourish on their services.
US President Joe Biden earlier on Thursday called on Americans to combat racism and extremism during a summit at the White House that gathered experts and survivors and included bipartisan local leaders.
YouTube said it will expand its policies on violent extremism to remove content that glorifies violent acts, even if the creators of the videos are not related to a terrorist organization.
The video streaming site already prohibits violent incitement, but in at least some cases has not applied existing policies to videos promoting militia groups involved with the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol.
A report by the Tech Transparency Project in May found 435 pro-militia videos on YouTube, including 85 posted since the Jan. 6 attack. Some of the videos gave training advice, like how to carry out guerilla-style ambushes.
YouTube spokesman Jack Malon declined to say whether the service would change its approach to that content under the new policy, but said the update enables it to go further with enforcement than it had previously.
YouTube also said it will launch a media literacy campaign to teach younger users how to spot the manipulation tactics that are used to spread misinformation.
Microsoft said it will make a basic and more affordable version of its artificial intelligence and machine learning tools available to schools and smaller organizations in order to help them detect and prevent violence.
Facebook owner Meta announced it will partner with researchers from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies’ Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism.
Last year, lawmakers grilled the chief executives of Alphabet and Facebook, as well as Twitter Inc, on whether their companies bore some responsibility for the Jan. 6 attack.

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