Hate Crimes, Microsoft Flow, Federal Social Media, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, January 24, 2017


ProPublica has started a new project to document hate crimes. “Documenting Hate, launched last week, is a hate and bias crime-tracking project headed up by ProPublica and supported by a coalition of news and digital media organizations, universities, and civil rights groups like Southern Poverty Law Center (which has been tracking hate groups across the country). Like Electionland, the project is seeking local partners, and will share its data with and guide local reporters interested in writing relevant stories.”


Microsoft Flow, the IFTTT foe, has gotten some updates. “Today, Microsoft announced in a blog post the release of some new features for the service, the major addition being Search by Service. According to Stephen Siciliano, Principal Group PM Manager at Microsoft Flow, the amount of available services (now 90 total) was making it difficult for users to find a specific trigger. But starting this week, users will be able to see all the triggers from a service by simply selecting that service. Also, once a trigger is selected, the same process can be done to add an action, as can be seen in the following screenshots.”

Looks like some federal social media accounts are taking a time out. Or making new guidelines, or regrouping, or something. “The Department of Transportation has become the second federal agency to tap the brakes on its social media postings since the dawn of Donald Trump’s presidency. A department source told POLITICO early Monday that employees were told not to publish news releases or engage on DOT’s social media accounts. A department spokesperson later called it a recommendation, saying a career employee had suggested to DOT’s agencies that they refrain from issuing news releases or posting to social media until more guidance comes down from the new administration.”

NYT: Yahoo Delays Its Sale to Verizon Until the Second Quarter. “Yahoo said on Monday that it now expected the sale of its core businesses to Verizon Communications to close no sooner than April, a delay from its earlier intention to conclude the deal in the first quarter.”

TechCrunch: All Chromebooks launching in 2017 will be compatible with Android apps. “All Chromebooks new in 2017 will support Android apps out of the box. An update will not be required. Owners will be able to take the Chromebook home, open it up and immediately access the Google Play Store.”


Naked Security: Israeli soldiers duped into installing malware via fake Facebook profiles. “In a recent post on their official blog, Israel Defense Force (IDF) detailed how Hamas operatives used social engineering to trick IDF soldiers into installing malicious apps on their phone that allowed for easy eavesdropping, all by using some of the oldest tricks in the book.”

Gizmodo: Some Guy Figured Out How to Delete Any Video on Facebook (But it’s been fixed so don’t go nuts.) “Security researcher Dan Melamed figured out a clever way to delete any video on Facebook earlier this year, and the social network rewarded him with $10,000 for responsibly reporting his hack.”


Forbes: Dear Scholars, Delete Your Account At Academia.Edu. “As privatized platforms like look to monetize scholarly writing even further, researchers, scientists and academics across the globe must now consider alternatives to proprietary companies that aim to profit from our writing and offer little transparency as to how our work will be used in the future. In other words: It is time to delete your account.”

University Herald: New Research Says Social Media Can Make People Narrow-minded. You don’t say. “Just like any other thing in this world, social media has a dark side. According to a recent study called ‘The spreading of misinformation online’ said that it can create polarized communities because they developed the same content consumption pattern. The study explains that social media is now awash with user-provided content, a lot of which are unverified rumors or just personal opinions not based on logic or fact. Most of these user-provided content has two distinct narratives – scientific news and conspiracy theories. It added that selective exposure to such content will create homogeneous clusters or echo chambers which diffuse the same content while ignoring the rest. Thus, even if the information is wrong, a homogeneous group will still consume and share it.”

China’s online population is now 731 million. “The number of internet users in China—already the world’s highest—reached 731 million in December, authorities said, as e-commerce drives consumer demand across the Asian giant. Total internet users rose 6.2 percent from the end of December 2015 and equals the entire population of Europe, the government-linked China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said in a statement Sunday on its website.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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