Yahoo Mail, Authenticated Reality, Valentine’s Day, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, February 14, 2017


Are you still using Yahoo Mail? A couple new features have been added. “Get excited! Two unique features are coming to Yahoo Mail: Caller ID and photo upload. We’ve all been there – letting a call from an unknown number go to voicemail, only to realize it was the person you were just emailing. Or sitting down at your laptop to send photos to friends and remembering they’re stuck on your phone. Now, thanks to the Yahoo Mail app, you’ll never have to guess who’s calling or email yourself a photo again.”

BetaNews: New authentication platform seeks to tackle fake news and profiles . “Released in beta today, Authenticated Reality uses real-time authentication of a user’s driving license along with verification of email, social media accounts, Apple in-app purchases, and biometric elements including facial recognition. This ensures each member of the community is genuine and eliminates fake profiles.”


It’s Valentine’s Day. If you use Snapchat you might want to take advantage of Snapchat’s romantic geofilters. “Nothing says romance like the word ‘geofilter’ or at least that is what the fine people at Snapchat believe. They’re offering users the chance to create their own custom designed filters to surprise their valentines. This isn’t a completely new idea — you’ve long been able to add them to weddings, parties and other special events.” Based on this article I think you’re going to have to shell out a minimum of $5 for the grand gesture; still, it’s cheaper than roses.


And from our “do what now?” department, this bit from Bloomberg: One Reason Staffers Quit Google’s Car Project? The Company Paid Them So Much. “For the past year, Google’s car project has been a talent sieve, thanks to leadership changes, strategy doubts, new startup dreams and rivals luring self-driving technology experts. Another force pushing people out? Money. A lot of it. ”

Poynter: Facebook is beginning to reach out to local newsrooms. “Last week, Facebook visited journalists in Atlanta and Dallas in what looks like the start of a more reciprocal relationship between the social media giant and local newsrooms. Journalists rely on Facebook to help them reach their audiences, but, until now, Facebook’s attention has largely been on national news organizations. The visits are part of the Facebook Journalism Project, which Poynter is part of.”


From Ars Technica: Republican senators concerned about Yahoo’s “candor” concerning data breaches. “Two senators have given Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer until February 23 to answer lingering questions regarding the two massive data breaches the company sustained in 2013 and 2014.” Good luck with that.

The Economist: Internet firms’ legal immunity is under threat. “GOOGLE, Facebook and other online giants like to see their rapid rise as the product of their founders’ brilliance. Others argue that their success is more a result of lucky timing and network effects—the economic forces that tend to make bigger firms even bigger. Often forgotten is a third reason for their triumph: in America and, to some extent, in Europe, online platforms have been inhabiting a parallel legal universe. Broadly speaking, they are not legally responsible, either for what their users do or for the harm that their services can cause in the real world.”

Medium: Facebook forced to disclose more information about its ad targeting. “Facebook now tells each of its users which advertisers are tracking them individually through so-called Custom Audiences. This change was most likely brought by my legal actions against Facebook, conducted through PersonalData.IO. This change opens up exciting new possibilities for investigative journalism and the #MyData movement, explained below.”


Techdirt: With So Much Public Interest In Our Judicial System, It’s Time To Free Up Access To Court Documents . “Like hundreds of thousands of Americans, I am closely following the “airport cases” around the country. In order to keep abreast of the latest developments in one of the fastest-moving cases, Washington v. Trump, I built a Twitter bot that scrapes the public docket mirror hosted by the Ninth Circuit and tweets about new documents and links as soon as they’re added. This case leads a legal push that has attracted incredible amounts of public attention.”


Backchannel: First They Got Sick, Then They Moved Into a Virtual Utopia. “Today, Second Life is mostly forgotten by the broader public. An estimated 800,000 users are active on a monthly basis, according to Second Life parent company Linden Lab. That’s tiny compared to the 1.86 billion users who are active on Facebook each month. Yet some communities have quietly continued to thrive in the virtual world. One of these is the disability community, a sundry group whose members include people who are blind or deaf, people with emotional handicaps such as autism and PTSD, and people with conditions that limit their mobility, such as Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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