Hashtag Trending Jun.22- Reddit removes moderators from popular forums; Developers increasing use of AI despite misgivings; FTC sues Amazon over recurring subscriptions

Reddit goes nuclear and removes moderators of popular forums, Developers are increasing their use of AI despite some significant misgivings and the Federal Trade Commission is suing Amazon regarding recurring subscriptions.

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These and more top tech news stories from Hashtag Trending and Tech News Day. I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada, and Tech News Day in the US. 

In a recent Stack Overflow survey, it was revealed that more developers are incorporating AI tools into their workflow than you might expect. The 2023 Developer Survey, which gathered responses from over 90,000 developers, found that 70 per cent of respondents are already using AI tools in their development process or plan to do so this year. Only 29.4 per cent said they don’t use AI tools and have no plans to start.

Interestingly, developers learning to code are more likely to use AI tools than professional developers, with 82 per cent compared to 70 per cent. This suggests that while AI tools like ChatGPT are valuable for learning to code, their use extends beyond just this area, as evidenced by their adoption by professional developers.

The survey also revealed that 77 per cent of respondents have a favorable or very favorable view of using AI tools in their development workflow. The top use cases for these tools include writing code (83 per cent), debugging and getting help (49 per cent), documenting code (35 per cent), learning about a codebase (30 per cent), and testing code (24 per cent).

However, despite the positive sentiments and widespread use, there’s some hesitancy regarding the accuracy of these AI tools. Only 42 per cent of respondents trust the accuracy of the output, with 31 per cent on the fence and 27 per cent expressing some level of distrust. 

This skepticism is likely due to the occasional inaccuracies or “hallucinations” that AI models can produce and articles that have criticized the quality and even the security of AI generated code. Despite the skeptics, with the continuing shortage of developers at least assisted code generation appears to be an unstoppable force.

Sources include: ZDNet

Reddit has removed entire moderator teams from several popular subreddits in response to ongoing protests against the platform’s controversial API change. The subreddits had begun allowing not safe for work (NSFW) content, including porn, as a form of protest, aiming to undermine Reddit’s advertising revenue since ads are prohibited in forums that allow NSFW posts.

Subreddits such as r/interestingasfuck, r/pokemongo, r/Formula1, and r/videos had opened the floodgates to NSFW content. In response, Reddit removed the entire volunteer moderator teams for subreddits including r/interestingasfuck, r/self, r/TIHI (Thanks, I hate it), r/shittylifeprotips, and r/garmin.

Reddit justified the action, stating that the affected subreddits had violated rules. A Reddit spokesperson said, “Moderators incorrectly marking a community as NSFW is a violation of both our Content Policy and Moderator Code of Conduct.”

Despite the drastic action, protests continue in different forms, with some subreddits remaining private and others enacting unusual rules. Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman has shown no signs of backing down, although there were reports in arsTechnica that a few moderators were reinstated after first being terminated.

But the moderators remain defiant. As one moderator, quoted in arsTechnica stated, We put up with a lot as Reddit mods—death threats, doxing, sorting through lewd and even illegal material (that Reddit continually ignores)—and deserve to be treated with basic respect,” 

He has started erasing their account and has resigned as a moderator.“I have no desire to be associated with a company that conducts itself in such a manner,” he said.

Sources include: PCMag and arsTechnica 

Cybersecurity firm FortiGuard Labs has discovered a new botnet-for-hire named Condi, which is spreading via insecure TP-Link Archer AX21 (AX1800) routers. This Linux-based device was recently found to be vulnerable to a high-severity flaw, CVE-2023-1389, which allows remote execution of malicious code through the router’s web-based interface.

Condi is not just another botnet. Its creators are attempting to turn this malware into a real, albeit illegal, business. The botnet can be hired to launch DDoS attacks against internet servers and websites. Moreover, the source code of the Condi botnet can be purchased in both standard and “private” versions, a monetization strategy that could lead to a proliferation of custom Condi versions in the future.

The standard edition of Condi scans the internet for vulnerable TP-Link routers, then sends a hard-coded exploitation code that downloads and executes a remote shell script to infect the device. Like the Mirai botnet, Condi lacks persistence mechanisms to stay “alive” between reboots, so it tries to prevent restarts or shutdowns by erasing Linux files used in reboot operations.

TP-Link fixed the CVE-2023-1389 vulnerability in March, and updated firmware versions can be downloaded from TP-Link’s own download center.

Sources include: TechSpot

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing Amazon, accusing the company of enrolling customers in its Prime program without their consent and making it difficult for them to cancel their subscriptions. The FTC alleges that Amazon used “dark patterns” to deceive millions of customers into subscribing to Amazon Prime during the checkout process, making it challenging to locate the option to simply finish a purchase.  

The FTC also claims that Amazon required customers to go through multiple unnecessary steps before successfully unsubscribing from the program. FTC Chair Lina Khan stated, “Amazon tricked and trapped people into recurring subscriptions without their consent, not only frustrating users but also costing them significant money.”

In response, Amazon spokesperson Heather Layman said, “The FTC’s claims are false on the facts and the law. The truth is that customers love Prime, and by design we make it clear and simple for customers to both sign up for or cancel their Prime membership.”

The FTC has increased its scrutiny over what President Biden has called “junk fees,” forcing companies to be more direct and transparent about the extra fees they charge. It now seems like renewals could also be a targeted area.

Sources include: The Verge

And that’s the top tech news stories for today. 

Links to all of the stories can be found in the text version of this podcast at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com/
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

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