Facebook,, FOIA Requests, More: Monday Buzz, June 12, 2017


The Next Web: New Facebook tools allow politicians to keep better tabs on constituents. “Facebook is rolling out a new tool for politicians to feel more connected with those they were elected to represent. In the coming weeks, the company will start sharing article data based on what an elected official’s constituents are reading and sharing. Facebook believes this could lead to politicians who better understand the people they’re elected to represent.” I’m kind of appalled. Facebook has a lot to fix before they start rolling out stuff like this.

ZDNet: Microsoft to shut down its file-sharing site December 15. “Officials posted a notice of the planned end of service on June 9 on its site. In that note, Microsoft attributed overlap between SlideShare, which is part of LinkedIn, and OneDrive with as the reasons for the December 2017 closing. Microsoft bought LinkedIn last year.”

AdWeek: Facebook Messenger Users Have Sent More Than 2 Billion Reactions. “Facebook introduced Reactions for Messenger March 23, and the social network announced Wednesday that more than 2 billion have been sent.”


Poynter: Will your FOIA request succeed? This new machine will tell you. “Many journalists know the feeling: There could be a cache of documents that might confirm an important story. Your big scoop hinges on one question: Will the government official responsible for the records respond to your FOIA request? Now, thanks to a new project from a data storage and analysis company, some of the guesswork has been taken out of that question.”

MakeUseOf: 4 Google Scripts That Make Google Sheets Much More Powerful . “In this article I’m going to show you four fairly simple scripts that will let you customize your own functions (like a temperature conversion), auto-generate charts based on any data, customize your own menu inside of Google Sheets, and even automate the sending of monthly emails. All that in a single article? You bet!”

Hongkiat: Free Open Source Reddit User Analysing Tool. “With Reddit User Analyser, you can search any username and get instant results on their comment patterns, their top subreddits, their most commonly used words, and so much more. Initially, you may think this app serves little purpose. But, it’s an excellent resource for studying who’s posting content and which subreddits they do best using.” (At this writing, the link in the article is wrong. I corrected it in a comment left on the article. It might be fixed by the time you read this.)

CNET: Shoot Like a Pro With the iPhone. “If you’re serious about your phone photography, there’s more to using the iPhone’s camera than just pointing it at your subject and pressing a button. I’m a professional photographer and I’m regularly blown away by the shots I can get from my phone. Along the way, I’ve gathered some tricks that anyone can use.”


Tablet Magazine: Signs of the Times: Rabbi Michael Strassfeld is spending his retirement collecting signs from shuttered shuls.. “Strassfeld is a retired New York City rabbi and the author of several books on Jewish life, practice, and spirituality, including The Jewish Catalog series, which he co-edited. But these days, racing against time, Strassfeld is on a mission to preserve signs from American synagogues that are closing, renovating, or simply cleaning up. ‘These signs are unique, one or two of a kind,’ explained Strassfeld, who has salvaged more than 300 signs from about 50 synagogues in the Northeast. ‘Once they are lost, they are really lost.'”

I usually don’t report on announcements from several months ago (in this case January) but this is so unusual I feel compelled. Thanks to Cyndi for the heads-up. From Illinois State University: Milner receives $268,000 grant to save circus history. “Milner Library’s Special Collections and its partners will receive $268,000 from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to digitize more than 300 circus route books, dating from 1842-1969. Only 400 circus route books are known to exist. Similar to yearbooks, route books contain information about people, positions, events, and the show’s season. ”


Inverse: The “Removal of Net Neutrality Simulator” Shows a Crap Internet. “The ‘Removal of Net Neutrality Simulator’ is a Google Chrome plugin designed to simulate the amount of control an internet service provider would have over your browsing if the government removes Title II regulations. The latest version came out on Tuesday, and honestly, you should not install it, because it makes performing even simple tasks like checking your email an annoying, slow, tedious mess. ”

TechCrunch: Thailand jails man for 35 years for Facebook posts that insulted its royal family. “A man in Thailand has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after he was found guilty of insulting the country’s royal family on Facebook. Identified only as Wichai, he is alleged to have published 10 photos, videos and comments on the social network that violate Thailand’s strict lèse majesté regulations that outlaw criticism of the royal family, according to free speech group iLaw.”

The Verge: A new kind of Twitter hack is spreading fake news in Venezuela. “Activists from Venezuela to Bahrain are falling victim to a devious new account hack, according to a report from the digital rights group Access Now. Called a ‘DoubleSwitch’ attack, the hack begins with a simple account takeover, but is followed by a number of name changes designed to cover the attacker’s tracks and bewilder followers.” Good morning, Internet…

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