Ireland Employment, Facebook, WeChat, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, December 5, 2016


Ireland has launched a new employment site for young people. “Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has launched the ‘Compass’ search tool. … It says Compass will serve as a “one-stop-shop for young people” seeking information about education and employment – including current opportunities, how to apply for social welfare supports, applying for jobs, available training and education schemes, workplace rights and new business grants for young entrepreneurs.”


Facebook apparently really loves Snapchat. “Facebook is working on a new feature that will showcase lists of curated content from publishers directly in the News Feed, according to two people familiar with the project and internal documentation seen by Business Insider. The feature is called Collections and functions similarly to Snapchat’s Discover section, which showcases news stories, listicles, videos, and other content submitted by handpicked media partners.”

Ugh. From TechCrunch: WeChat, China’s top messaging app, no longer tells users when it censors their messages. “Tencent, the $232 billion dollar giant that operates WeChat, has always practiced forms of censorship on its users — that’s an inevitable part of running a popular online service in China — but at some point in recent years it ceased informing users when their messages were blocked. In the past, the app would notify users when a message they intended to send wasn’t delivered because it was controversial, such as references to free speech groups or the Tiananmen Square massacre. Now, however, censored messages are simply not delivered with no notification for either sender or recipient.”


The New York Times: Harvesting Government History, One Web Page at a Time. “With the arrival of any new president, vast troves of information on government websites are at risk of vanishing within days. The fragility of digital federal records, reports and research is astounding…. Enter the End of Term Presidential Harvest 2016 — a volunteer, collaborative effort by a small group of university, government and nonprofit libraries to find and save valuable pages now on federal websites. The project began before the 2008 elections, when George W. Bush was serving his second term, and returned in 2012.”

Kickstarter Corner: a proposed database of interlinear Greek words is trying to raise a modest $500. “I have been interested in making an app that makes use of the New Testament Greek parsing data in database format … but have been unable to find an open-source database containing the translations. To be clear – there are two ways of translating – to produce verse-level translations, and to produce word-level translations. The latter is different from dictionary, since one word could have multiple meanings, but the best meaning is chosen for the word in its context.” He intends to use Upwork so I have concerns about what he ends up with, but if he even gets a rough translation done and then open-sources it, other people could work on/add to it.

Facebook is giving money to support affordable housing in Silicon Valley. “Facebook has agreed to invest $20m in affordable housing initiatives after facing intense criticism for failing to help low-income residents in Silicon Valley where the technology boom has exacerbated displacement and gentrification.”


Motherboard: Authorities Just Shut Down One of the World’s Largest Malware Networks. “One of the largest botnet infrastructures in the world was finally annihilated in a joint effort by law-enforcement authorities and cybersecurity researchers in 30 countries. Over 800,000 domains have been seized, sinkholed or blocked, in ‘Operation Avalanche,’ as the law-enforcement sting was known. A total of 39 servers have been seized, eight of them located in Romania. Another 221 have been put offline.”

From Zee News (India): Supreme Court issues notice to Google India, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook on rising cybercrimes. “The Supreme Court of India, on Monday, issued notice to tech giants Google India, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook on their role in curbing rising cybercrimes in India. The top court, in November, had sought response from the Centre on what actions it had taken in probing cybercrimes and in curbing offensive content before it turn viral.”


Zenith Media: Social media ads to hit US$50bn in 2019, catching up with newspapers. “Global advertising expenditure in social media will grow 72% between 2016 and 2019, rising from US$29bn to US$50bn, according to Zenith’s new Advertising Expenditure Forecasts, published today. Social media advertising will account for 20% of all internet advertising in 2019, up from 16% in 2016. Social media advertising is growing at 20% a year and by 2019 will be just 1% smaller than newspaper advertising (US$50.2bn for social media compared to US$50.7bn for newspapers). By 2020 social media will be comfortably ahead.”

MIT Technology Review: New Tool Lets AI Learn to Do Almost Anything on a Computer. “Open AI, a nonprofit dedicated to pursuing big advances in AI and making that progress freely available to anyone, has released Universe, a platform that will let AI programs learn, through experimentation and positive reward, how to do all sorts of things on a computer.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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