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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Firefox maker Mozilla and a group of advocacy organizations are highlighting ways Big Tech platforms' use of machine learning allows misinformation to flourish, in a memo Tuesday.

Why it matters: Big Tech companies rely on AI and machine learning to decide which content to promote and to flag problematic posts.

The systems operate with little transparency or accountability, according to the memo, written by New America's Open Technology Institute, the Anti-Defamation League, Avaaz, Decode Democracy and Mozilla.

While automated systems can increase efficiency and help limit human moderators' exposure to harmful content, they open the door to other problems.

  • "Decreased human oversight increases the risk of errors from automated systems, which can result in the amplification of hate, extremism, systemic biases, discrimination, and misleading information," the groups wrote.

The big picture: While focused on misinformation, the memo highlights a range of other issues caused by over-reliance on machine learning, including content policies that allow politicians to lie as well as advertising algorithms that help select viewers in way that can lead to discrimination in housing and employment.

Go deeper

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over Biden deportations

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.

First-time homebuyers shrink as prices spike

Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home sales cooled as prices continued to heat up in August.

Driving the news: The share of first-time existing homebuyers (29%) last month was the smallest in two years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - World

Airbnb co-founders double Afghan refugee program to 40,000

Afghan refugees arriving at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in August 2021. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and co-founder Joe Gebbia said during a visit to Washington on Wednesday that they're offering temporary housing to 40,000 Afghan refugees worldwide, doubling a previous commitment.

The big picture: The housing typically lasts several weeks, and Airbnb and Airbnb.org provide subsidies to hosts. Hosts and donors also help pay.