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Coronavirus Rondup: AI on YouTube, Comcast and Internet Essentials, Senators Press FCC over E-Rate Funds

David Jelke



YouTube will be relying on AI to take down content policy violations as the coronavirus spreads, according to Paresh Dave of Japan Today. Alphabet Inc’s Google, which owns YouTube and typically relies on humans to identify violating content, is now transitioning to less accurate automated tools as of Monday in an attempt to reduce the need for people to come into its offices.

Some of the content that YouTube employees remove are videos that offer pseudo-scientific and dangerous misinformation regarding the spread and treatment of coronavirus.

Twitter on Monday announced a similar policy that will use AI content moderators, but that it would not ban any users based solely on that enforcement scheme.

Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.

Comcast offers Internet Essentials during coronavirus pandemic

Comcast, one of the companies that took the Federal Communications Commission's Keep America Connected Pledge, is offering a discounted version of its Internet Essentials package that provides its customers two months of free internet, according to Jordan Hogan of Fox 13 Salt Lake City

The free internet is being offered at 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up, representing an increase in speeds of the package. This speed will the standard speed going forward for this package.

In addition, Comcast is opening it WiFi hotspots across the country to everyone for free, including non-Xfinity internet subscribers.

A map of these hotspots can be accessed at One need simply find the xfinity network name in a serviceable location and launch a browser.

Senators pressure FCC to redirect E-Rate program money to disconnected students during coronavirus

Sens. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, called on the Federal Communications Commission to temporarily allow schools to utilize E-Rate program funding to provide Wi-Fi hotspots to students who lack internet access at home, according to a press release on Monday.

This action would help ensure that all students can remotely continue their education during the current public health emergency. The coronavirus pandemic is shining a light on the so-called “homework gap” experienced by 12 million students in this country. The gap refers to those students who do not have internet access at home and are unable to complete their homework – at a time when more than 70 percent of educators assign schoolwork that requires the internet.

“The E-Rate program is, and has been for over two decades, an essential source of funding to connect the nation’s schools and libraries to the internet,” wrote the lawmakers in their letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

“We believe that the FCC can use its emergency powers to temporarily waive relevant E-rate program rules and allow its beneficiaries to utilize universal service funding to provide home wireless service to existing school devices and hotspots for students who lack internet access at home. This swift, immediate action would help ensure that all students can remotely continue their education during the current public health emergency.”


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