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Tech Talk

• Howard Webb, the retired English referee who worked the 2010 World Cup and Champions League finals, will move to New York and manage Major League Soccer’s development of video technology for on-field officials.

Webb will start March 1 as manager of video assistant referee operations of the Professional Referee Organization, which supplies MLS officials. MLS, which announced the hiring Tuesday, will test video assistant referees during preseason matches and hopes to extend the test to regular-season games during the season’s second half.

• French journalists are teaming up with American internet giants Google and Facebook to fight propaganda and misinformation online, mirroring similar efforts already underway in the United States and Germany.

French daily Le Monde says it is one of eight media organisations working with social networking site Facebook to fact-check questionable content ahead of France’s upcoming presidential election. At the same time, nonprofit First Draft News said Monday it was working with Google’s News Lab is to launch CrossCheck, a verification project aimed at helping French voters “make sense of what and who to trust online.”

Google and Facebook have been under increasing scrutiny over their role in speeding the spread of hoaxes, conspiracy theories and propaganda — sometimes referred to by the catchall term “fake news.”

• A private liberal arts university in northwest Ohio is adding competitive video gaming to its athletic programmes, joining an association of about 30 other schools across the country that offer so-called eSports.

Lourdes University President Mary Ann Gawelek has been advocating for an eSports program at the Sylvania school since she assumed office last July.

“In order to participate in eSports you have to have the mental ability and critical thinking skills to do game-playing in general, you have to have developed the ability to function on a team, and you have to have a competitive nature that drives you toward success,” Gawelek said. “It links well with a liberal arts education.”

Lourdes is set to become the first member of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic conference to offer an eSports scholarship programme. It will compete against fellow schools in the National Association of Collegiate eSports, which formed just last year.

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