Twizoo, Elections, Wikimedia, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, March 1, 2016


The BBC has a writeup about a Yelp alternative that gets its ratings from scraping Twitter. “The developers of a new mobile app from the UK, called Twizoo, say they have found a way of weeding out fake, paid-for and out-of-date reviews. The start-up, which is concentrating on restaurants initially, scrapes comments from Twitter, then collects and analyses them to provide what it claims is a more reliable stream of review data….Twizoo gives users a ‘Twitter credibility score’ that has to be earned over time. Tweets that come from a brand new Twitter account are automatically discarded and several tweets coming in at the same time about one particular restaurant are also considered suspicious.”

Twitter, Google, and the AP are teaming up to launch a tool to monitor election buzz. I will not make political comments. I will not make political comments. I will not make political comments… “You can drill down to view the past 24 hours, the past week, the past month, or everything since August 1, 2015, to see how major events like debates, caucuses, and endorsements have changed public interest in the election. Meanwhile, the tool shows the top election issues being searched on Google and discussed on Twitter over the past 24 hours.”


Wikimedia has released a new transparency report. “Every year, the Wikimedia Foundation receives hundreds of emails and phone calls requesting changes to Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and the other Wikimedia projects. A politician may want a friendlier article, for instance, or an entertainer may want a more flattering one. Perhaps a business wants to control what is written about its product. In the last six months, the foundation received 220 such requests—and we didn’t grant a single one, because we believe that our user community should determine the content of the projects.”


Michael Best, he of the CIA-document-printing Kickstarter, has created a script to automate FOIA requests. “One of the best times to file a Freedom of Information request with the FBI is when someone dies; after that, any files that the agency holds on them can be requested. Asking for FBI files on the deceased is therefore pretty popular, with documents released on Steve Jobs, Malcolm X and even the Insane Clown Posse. One activist is turning this back onto the FBI itself, by requesting files on nearly 7,000 dead FBI employees en masse, and releasing a script that allows anyone else to do the same.”


Have you been seeing a privacy and security alert on your Google account? You’re not alone. “Some Google users, including myself, are seeing a new popup at the top right of when you are logged into Google. The pop up reads, ‘Control your privacy and security. Click your profile icon to access your Google account.'” Barry’s not a big fan of this and neither am I; it makes me think something’s wrong with my account.


Malware attacks are getting harder and harder to detect. “It is not unusual for cyberattackers to do some quick reconnaissance on potential victims. But [Jerome] Segura said this time around, the attackers are also taking other steps that make it very difficult for ad networks and security researchers to detect bad behavior. The malicious ad, including the one-by-one pixel, was also delivered over SSL/TLS, which makes it harder to detect potentially malicious behavior, Segura said.”


The EU is not in complete agreement about open-access journals. “Only five EU countries want to abandon the traditional journal subscription model and move to open access publication of the results of publically-funded research, according to a new study. Alongside the Dutch government, which is using its presidency of the EU to push the case for open access, only Hungary, Romania, Sweden and the UK, share the view that academic publishers should stop charging readers a subscription and instead charge authors for publishing their papers.” To be fair, this is a controversy between “gold standard” and “green standard” access; there’s a lot of support for open access in general. Good afternoon, Internet…

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