Surveillance, News, Twitter, More: Sunday Afternoon Buzz, January 17, 2015


A new online archive details the police surveillance of activists in the UK. “The police’s own records of these surveillance operations can be read on the website, the Special Branch Files Project, which went live on Wednesday. The records – released under the freedom of information act – have been collected together in the online archive.”


German publication Bild is testing news delivery via Facebook Messenger. “German tabloid Bild is experimenting with delivering news to its readers via Facebook Messenger. The first experiment is limited to ‘news, background information, and rumors regarding the transfer window of the German soccer league.’ (Soccer teams are only allowed to add players twice a year; January is one of those transfer periods.)” Considering all the wrangling German publishers have done with Google News, it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that they are out front with trying alternate delivery methods.

More journalism and experimenting: the AP is experimenting with livestreams. “The amount of live video output produced by The Associated Press (AP) increased by 25 per cent last year, to 2,073 live stories and events covered between October and December, compared to 1,605 during the same period in 2014.”

Looks like the Google Cache is going HTTPS. “It seems like Google has begun to switch their cache results pages over to HTTPS. It seems to be coming on and off for me, but if you search and you see a site that is HTTPS, the Google Cache link may run over HTTPS as well.”


Excellent article: How to find local Twitter reaction to a national event.


Interesting from Vice: the history of Twitter’s rules. “The gradual changes in the Twitter Rules reflect a story about Twitter, and shine light on the story that Twitter has tried to tell about itself. The latest changes in the Rules represent a significant rewriting of both the Rules and of the mythology that Twitter projects about itself.”

The state of Arizona is using social media to shame “deadbeat” parents. The headline is “deadbeat dads” but women, albeit fewer, are on the list too. “Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey this week launched a campaign to crack down on ‘the worst of the worst’ parents who are ignoring child support payments, posting their names and photos to Twitter and Facebook. The hope is that the public shaming will make some of them pay up and give other dads (and moms) second thoughts about evading child support.”

Whoops! Google-owned Nest had a software bug. “Cold and angry customers took to social media to complain about the problem in the early hours of Friday morning, some saying that the thermostat was offline and wouldn’t connect even after several resets.”


A West Virginia University researcher has created a Twitter bot platform for activists. “Saiph Savage, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering, has created Botivist – a platform that uses Twitter bots, a program used to produce automated posts to the site, to help activists find potential volunteers and request contributions.”

From CBR: is Google banking on financial services? “The rise of fintech startups, including a variety of digital challenger banks, has certainly shown that the financial industry is ripe for disruption by technology, and Google, with all its infrastructure and data processing power, appears to be one of the firms that would be perfectly positioned to do it.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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