Microsoft, Grants, Facebook, More: Friday Evening Buzz, March 25, 2016


Microsoft has apologized for its bonkers Twitter AI. “The logical place for us to engage with a massive group of users was Twitter. Unfortunately, in the first 24 hours of coming online, a coordinated attack by a subset of people exploited a vulnerability in Tay. Although we had prepared for many types of abuses of the system, we had made a critical oversight for this specific attack. As a result, Tay tweeted wildly inappropriate and reprehensible words and images. We take full responsibility for not seeing this possibility ahead of time. We will take this lesson forward as well as those from our experiences in China, Japan and the U.S. Right now, we are hard at work addressing the specific vulnerability that was exposed by the attack on Tay.”


The New Jersey State Library has started a new grants for libraries blog.

MakeUseOf has a roundup of useful extensions for Facebook. Social Fixer looks a lot different from the last time I tried it…


Wellcome Trust is laying down the law for big academic publishers. “The Wellcome Trust has warned big publishers than unless they improve their service and lower their costs it could refuse to provide researchers with funds to publish in certain types of their journals. Elsevier and Wiley have been singled out as regularly failing to put papers in the right open access repository and properly attribute them with a creative commons licence.”

How did I miss this Boston Globe article on transcribing handwritten deeds into type? “Manually transcribed into computer text documents by a team of about 20 Xerox workers, the papers chronicle more than a century of land transactions starting with a 1793 deed in which three men agree to a division of land in Foxborough. A number of deeds involve historical figures.”

From QZ: The only way Facebook enters China is as a tool of the government. “Mark Zuckerbeg’s charm offensive in China won’t let up. Over the past few days the Facebook founder and CEO published a controversial photo of himself jogging in smoggy Beijing, and met in person with China’s Minister of Propaganda—an unprecedented move for a foreign business owner. This follows his twenty-minute speech in Mandarin and meetings with Xi Jinping and China’s internet czar last year.”

Is Google building a competitor to the Amazon Echo? Would certainly explain the release of the Speech Recognition API. “With Google’s powerful search engine, it could build a much stronger competitor to Alexa in terms of its ability to actually answer questions or calculate driving times between locations. Echo is currently only able to estimate commute time between two locations, such as your home and work addresses. It can, however, help you call an Uber.”

Yahoo is expected to lose more ad share to Facebook and Google. Yahoo has ad share? “Research firm eMarketer estimates that Yahoo’s global net digital ad revenues will fall nearly 14% in 2016 to $2.83 billion, down from $3.28 billion last year. Such a decline would drop Yahoo’s share of the overall digital ad market to 1.5%, down from 2.1% in 2015.”


Okay, it’s official: there are no safe sites on the Internet. “For the past four days, including during the hour that this post was being prepared on Thursday morning, a major security certification organization has been spreading TeslaCrypt malware—despite repeated warnings from outside researchers.”

France has fined Google over “Right to Be Forgotten”. “The French data protection authority said it has fined Google (GOOGL.O) 100,000 euros ($111,720) for not scrubbing web search results widely enough in response to a European privacy ruling.” Good evening, Internet…

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