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Inside Google Alphabet

Twitter, Amazon Alexa, GameBender, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 30, 2019

Hey y’all! The latest Inside Google & Alphabet newsletter is available at https://inside.com/campaigns/inside-google-alphabet-2019-05-30-14665 . Today’s topics include YouTube’s trending videos, Google Play, and a Throwback Thursday to Google Wave! Remember, the newsletter comes out every weekday excepting holidays and it’s free. Sign up here: https://inside.com/google

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The Verge: Twitter is looking to hire a ‘master in the art of Twitter’ to become its Tweeter in Chief. “In the age of brands engaging in disturbing levels of personified intimacy with users on social media to package and sell mental illness or fashion consumption as a radical act of self-expression, Twitter itself is realizing that it needs some of the same marketing magic its platform has gifted fast food brands. streaming services, and cookie companies. That or Twitter wants its own Wendy’s chicken nugget or Instagram record-breaking egg moment.” When a pulled quote just makes you go uuuuugh.

CNET: Amazon’s new Alexa features puts added emphasis on privacy. “Privacy has become a much bigger concern for consumers and Amazon appears to be paying attention. The tech giant on Wednesday said it made it easier for users to delete their Alexa voice recordings.”

Santa Cruz Sentinel: GameBender teaches children how to code while gaming. “Instead of watching a TV show passively on the couch, children can now make changes as they watch and learn how to code, thanks to GameBender. The education startup, created by the makers of Makey Makey, will release its first gaming system Wednesday. Headquartered in Cocoa Beach, Florida, GameBender gives children the ability to make edits to characters and their actions on video games, science apps and DIY TV shows from the visual programming language nonprofit Scratch.”

USEFUL STUFF

KnowTechie: 7 of the smartest AI-apps I’ve used so far. Apparently a guest post, but a fun guest post. “Nowadays, there are plenty of apps that you can download at home onto your smartphone to see just how far AI has come. Not sure where to look? Here are 7 of the smartest AI-apps I’ve used so far.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Slate: Donald Trump’s Wikipedia Entry Is a War Zone. “On July 16, 2018, Democrats, Republicans, and the media were reeling from the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki. President Donald Trump had announced before the entire world that he didn’t ‘see any reason why’ Russia would have interfered in the 2016 election, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary gathered by the intelligence community…. Wikipedia editors, meanwhile, were split over whether the summit was momentous enough to include on Donald Trump’s page, one of the site’s most contentious areas.” The headline might have given you the idea that this is one of those incendiary articles. It’s not. It’s a deep dive with an interesting look at Wikipedia’s editing mechanisms and culture.

WRAL: Many items in Rhode Island’s archives are at risk of damage. “Many items in the Rhode Island archives, including the state’s copy of the Bill of Rights, are at risk of damage because they’re kept in a building that’s not meant for preserving rare, historic documents, according to an assessment released Tuesday.”

NBC News: Did the Iranians create fake U.S. social media accounts and pose as GOP politicians?. “Starting in April 2018, a group of anonymous people created fake American social media accounts to pose as journalists, plant letters to newspapers and impersonate Republican candidates for Congress — all in an apparent effort to promote Iranian interests. Was this the work of an Iranian intelligence service? A third country? A band of pranksters?”

SECURITY & LEGAL

United States Army: CID warns Army community about social media impersonation of Soldier accounts. “U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Computer Crime Investigative Unit (CCIU) is once again warning Soldiers and the Army community to be on the lookout for ‘social media scams’ where cybercriminals impersonate service members by using actual and fictitious information, not just for ‘trust-based relationship scams,’ also known as romance scams, but for other impersonation crimes such as sales schemes and advance fee schemes.”

India Times: Andhra Pradesh agriculture ministry site exposed Aadhaar data of farmers. “Aadhaar numbers of thousands of farmers in Andhra Pradesh have been leaked, with the state’s agriculture ministry exposing the details through an open database on its website. A French security researcher who goes by the Twitter name Elliot Alderson and @fs0c131y Twitter handle, first discovered the data breach on Tuesday.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Wired: To Fight Deepfakes, Researchers Built a Smarter Camera. “One of the most difficult things about detecting manipulated photos, or ‘deepfakes,’ is that digital photo files aren’t coded to be tamper-evident. But researchers from New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering are starting to develop strategies that make it easier to tell if a photo has been altered, opening up a potential new front in the war on fakery.”

SecurityWeek: Research Shows Twitter Manipulation in Weeks Before EU Elections. “This is an age of large scale political social engineering through social media, both by advertising and the presentation of misleading data. International social engineering became frontpage news with the 2016 US presidential elections, but has not abated since. Researchers with the Sherpa project analyzed the use of social media as a recommendation system — specifically Twitter — ahead of the European elections in May 2019.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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EU Elections, Baidu, Fake News, More: Friday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 17, 2019

Hey y’all! The latest Inside Google & Alphabet newsletter is available at https://inside.com/campaigns/inside-google-alphabet-2019-05-17-14327 . Remember, the newsletter comes out every weekday excepting holidays and it’s free! Sign up here: https://inside.com/google

NEW RESOURCES

European Interest: Votul Meu: A new tool lunched in Romania. “The Center for the Study of Democracy in Romania has launched the independent vote matching tool, Votul Meu, ahead of the European elections. The interactive tool aims to match political preferences between parties and potential voters for the European elections, based on political parties’ campaign messages.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Washington Post: White House declines to back Christchurch call to stamp out online extremism amid free speech concerns. “The United States broke with 18 governments and five top American tech firms Wednesday by declining to endorse a New Zealand-led effort to curb extremism online, a response to the live-streamed shootings at two Christchurch mosques that killed 51. White House officials said free-speech concerns prevented them from formally signing onto the largest campaign to date targeting extremism online. But it was another example of the United States standing at odds to some its closest allies.”

Reuters: Baidu swings to net loss for first time since listing, shares fall. “Chinese search engine operator Baidu Inc booked its first quarterly loss since at listing in 2005 and forecast quarterly revenue below market estimates, saying a ‘challenging marketing environment’ is sapping income from advertisers.”

The Moscow Times: Russia to Set Up ‘Fake News Database’. “Alexander Zharov’s regulatory agency, known by the acronym Roskomnadzor, has successfully blocked LinkedIn in Russia and is currently engaged in a yearlong battle to ban access to the popular Telegram messaging app. Roskomnadzor has also ordered news websites to delete content under a Russian law that bans ‘blatant disrespect’ toward the authorities.”

USEFUL STUFF

Make Tech Easier: How to Create a Useful Daily Digest List with Google Assistant. “On its own, Google Assistant has an incredible amount of features that make your life more functional, but when you pair it with other programs, you increase its value exponentially. And that’s what we’re going to do here, provide those who are just a bit scattered with an even better way to make sure we accomplish those tasks.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Stuff NZ: Online advertising: NZ Government spends millions with Facebook, Google and other social media platforms. “Government departments have invested hundreds of millions in advertising on social media platforms in the past five years in order to reach the precise and captive audiences offered only in those online spaces. However, the ethics of public bodies capitalising on the algorithmic models offered by the likes of Facebook and Google is being called into question in a post-Christchurch terror attack world.”

Huffington Post: Bureau Of Land Management Scrubs Stewardship Language From News Releases . “The Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency that oversees more than 245 million acres of public land, has stripped its conservation-focused mission statement from agency news releases.”

The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy: “So You Want to Build a Digital Archive?” A Dialogue on Critical Digital Humanities Graduate Pedagogy. “This article presents conversations between an Assistant Professor and graduate student as they negotiate various methods and approaches to designing a digital archive. The authors describe their processes for deciding to develop a digital archive of street art in Kathmandu, Nepal through an anticolonial, feminist perspective that highlights community knowledge-making practices while also leveraging the affordances of digital representation. Written in the style of a dialogue, this article illustrates the various tensions and negotiations that interdisciplinary student-instructor teams may encounter when deciding how to design a digital archive through critical frameworks.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

The Verge: AI translation boosted eBay sales more than 10 percent. “We often hear that artificial intelligence is important for economic growth, and while that claim makes intuitive sense, there isn’t a lot of hard data to back it up. A recent study from economists at MIT and Washington University in St. Louis offers some proof, though, showing how AI tools boost trade by allowing sellers to cross the language barrier.”

Ars Technica: No, someone hasn’t cracked the code of the mysterious Voynich manuscript. “There are so many competing theories about what the Voynich manuscript is—most likely a compendium of herbal remedies and astrological readings, based on the bits reliably decoded thus far—and so many claims to have deciphered the text, that it’s practically its own subfield of medieval studies. Both professional and amateur cryptographers (including codebreakers in both World Wars) have pored over the text, hoping to crack the puzzle.” Good afternoon, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!