African-American Artists, Facebook, Snopes, More: Wednesday Buzz, August 16, 2017


Atlanta Black Star: Facing Rapid Gentrification, D.C. Cultural Activist Fights to Preserve African-American Art, History . “With several historic D.C. neighborhoods facing fast-encroaching gentrification, longtime locals fear that the rich, Black history of the city’s Southeast region is bound to be wiped out — and soon. The rapid change has since prompted D.C. native and cultural activist Vernard Gray, 76, to launch a website called Made East River, a complete directory of people who create artistic products and offer creative services in Wards 7 and 8, according to The Washington Post.”


BetaNews: Facebook News Feed undergoes a redesign to improve readability and navigation. “Facebook is rolling out a fairly significant redesign, giving the News Feed a cleaner look, and borrowing ideas from Twitter. The social network says that the changes improve readability and navigation, and they affect various areas.” Borrowing ideas from Twitter?

Techdirt: The Snopes Fight Is Even Way More Complicated Than We Originally Explained. “If you read our post a few weeks ago about the very messy legal fight between Snopes and Proper Media, you may recall that we spent many, many words explaining how the story was way, way, way more complicated than most in the media were portraying it. And significantly more complicated than how Snopes was portraying it. And we thought we did a pretty good job explaining all of that. Indeed, one of our commenters noted: ‘Wow. This couldn’t possibly get any messier.’ He was wrong. It turns out it’s even messier. And it involves accusations of tax scams and shell companies, none of which came out in the last discussion on all of this. So, buckle in.”

CNET: Reddit, Facebook ban Nazi groups after Charlottesville attack. “Reddit and Facebook have each banned entire hate groups in the wake of the Charlottesville attack, they confirmed to CNET today. One particular subreddit, r/Physical_Removal, received particular scrutiny over the weekend. Moderators and posters were flagged for numerous inflammatory remarks that have long been characteristic of that group and other similarly-minded subreddits.”


Digital Inspiration: How to Copy a Formula Down an Entire Column in Google Sheets. “You are working inside a Google Spreadsheet where a formula needs to copied down to the last row of the sheet. There are several ways to solve this problem.” Always looking for better ways to deal with spreadsheets.


With a tip o’ the nib to John S, from Vice: I Bought a Book About the Internet From 1994 and None of the Links Worked. “The endless pace of linkrot has left books about the internet in a curious limbo—they’re dead trees about the dead-tree killer, after all. To their credit, books about the internet carry a bit of permanence about them, but they also go out of date quickly, which isn’t helpful. But for my purposes, that’s a virtue.”

Search Engine Land: Analyst: Google’s default search deal worth $3 billion to frenemy Apple. “As Apple and Google became direct competitors following the rise of Android, industry observers wondered if (and anticipated that) someday, Apple would cease to offer Google as the iPhone’s default search engine. And while Cupertino has diversified away from Google, via Spolight Search, Siri and Bing, Google is still the dominant search tool on the iPhone. Now, a Wall Street analyst, Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein, speculates that Apple may collect as much as $3 billion in ‘services’ revenue this fiscal year from Google.”

Los Angeles Times: Obama tweeted a response to the Charlottesville violence. It’s now the most ‘liked’ in Twitter history. “The former president tweeted a Nelson Mandela quote on the day of violent chaos in Charlottesville. He included a photo taken of him in 2011 on a visit to his daughter Sasha’s school in Bethesda, Md. With more than 2.8 million likes already, it’s the most ‘liked’ tweet in Twitter history.”


Times of India: Internet firms asked to erase Blue Whale links. “Concerned over children being prodded to commit suicide on the Blue Whale Challenge game, the government has directed top internet platforms – Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo – to immediately remove the links to the notorious online game.”

RESEARCH & OPINION Research finds social media disruption impacting on Islamic State propaganda. “Researchers from the VOX-Pol project at Dublin City University, together with colleagues from the University of Sussex, have found that the social media platform, Twitter is becoming less effective for the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS), due to the rapid take-down rate of pro-IS accounts from the site. It found that IS accounts faced ‘substantial and aggressive disruption’. However, the researchers warn that as the predominant focus for disruption is IS, it has enabled a wide range of other disparate violent Jihadi groups to maintain a strong social media presence.

WSLS: Virginia Tech researcher says social media contributing to rise in hate groups. “One researcher at Virginia Tech says the violence in Charlottesville this past weekend may be evidence of a growing trend. Director James Hawdon of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention says his data shows social media is facilitating the spread of extremist views, and it could lead to more violent events in the future.”

New York Times: Google Doesn’t Want What’s Best for Us. “America is slowly waking up both culturally and politically to the takeover of our economy by a few tech monopolies. We know we are being driven by men like Peter Thiel and Jeff Bezos toward a future that will be better for them. We are not sure that it will be better for us…. Somehow the citizens of the world have been left out of this discussion of our future. Because tools like Google and Facebook have become so essential and because we have almost no choice in whether to use them, we need to consider the role they play in our lives. By giving networks like Google and Facebook control of the present, we cede our freedom to choose our future.” Good morning, Internet…

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