Twitter Bots, International Business, EBSCO, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, November 2, 2017


Berkeley: Fed up, two UC Berkeley students launch tool to spot Twitter bots. “Two UC Berkeley undergraduate computer science students are doing what they say Twitter won’t: sorting out and tagging the angry propaganda bots designed to undermine, destabilize and inflame American political discourse. This week, the two 20-year-olds, Ash Bhat and Rohan Phadte, launched a Google Chrome browser extension that puts a button onto every Twitter profile and tweet. With a click on the button, users can see if the account is run by a person or automated program, based on the pair’s own machine-learning model.”

Google Blog: Taking your business global just got easier with Market Finder. “SME owners are experts when it comes to local customers, but are less knowledgeable about finding new markets and everything that entails: culture, buying trends, export legalities, and payment options for their product in other countries. This is a key problem; our 2017 consumer survey shows that UK SMEs cite international marketing and operational barriers as the biggest barriers to success abroad. Today, we’re announcing Market Finder, a new tool that helps businesses identify new customers, plan for success, and grow their export sales online. It also offers freely available guides, videos, and tips—making it as easy as possible for businesses to take the first steps into the export market.”

PRWeb: EBSCO Information Services Introduces Two New Magazine Archives: U.S. News & World Report Magazine Archive and Esquire Magazine Archive (PRESS RELEASE). “Libraries can now enhance their special collections with digital backfiles for two leading magazines, U.S News and World Report and Esquire, through EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO). The new magazine archives, U.S. News & World Report Magazine Archive and Esquire Magazine Archive include cover to cover processing, which means each issue is presented in its entirety as originally published. The two archives provide researchers with extensive coverage of 20th century topics including: business/economics, cultural studies, education, fashion/lifestyle, gender studies, history, marketing/advertising, politics, pop culture and sociology.” Not free of course.


Ubergizmo: Google’s Poly Makes It Easy To Build AR And VR Apps. “Developers who want to build augmented or virtual reality apps need 3D objects. It’s difficult for independent and small developers as creating a lot of 3D objects requires a significant amount of time and resources. So while bigger studios and app developers can do this, it becomes difficult for everyone. Google aims to rectify this problem with a new service called Poly. Google describes its Poly service as a one-stop shop for browsing, discovering, and download 3D objects that can be used in augmented and virtual reality apps.”

Bloomberg Quint: Google Shuts Off an Airline Booking Tool in Search. “Alphabet Inc.’s Google is pulling a software tool that let small companies access search information on airfares, a potential blow to online travel newcomers. Google’s tool was opened in 2011 after its $700 million acquisition of ITA Software Inc., an online airfare broker. In approving the deal, a federal judge required that Google keep an ITA flight search and pricing software, called QPX, accessible to third parties for at least five years.”


LA Times: Lawmakers slam social media giants for failing to block Russian ads and posts during 2016 campaign. “Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, which held separate hearings Wednesday, leveled blistering criticism at Facebook, Twitter and Google for failing to act aggressively to block Russian use of their social media platforms to sow division before and after last year’s presidential election. Although most of the Russian ads and posts focused on social issues, some specifically aimed to help Trump and damage his rival, Hillary Clinton. Some urged viewers to attend Trump political rallies, or falsely claimed voters could cast ballots on Twitter. Some of the phony ads received tens of thousands of clicks.”

The Next Web: No, Facebook employees aren’t reading your private Google Docs files. “Only days after company representatives had to go on the record to dispel any rumors that the social media titan has covertly taken over users’ microphones to listen in and use this data to target them with ads more efficiently, there is already a new Facebook mystery circulating the web. The latest paranoia-infused theory speculates that company employees are quietly reading through the private Google Docs files you share with friends via Messenger. But before I dig further into the matter, let me put this out there: No, Facebook reps probably aren’t checking your files – but its bots sure are.”

Times Higher Education: How the Stasi archive handles potentially incriminating information. “These are the archives of the Stasi, the German Democratic Republic’s infamous secret police, known officially as the Ministry of State Security. To put the size of this unique record of everyday collaboration and resistance in context, the entire German state since unification in 1870 has produced 300km (205 miles) of documents. The Stasi managed, over the course of just 40 years and operating in only about a third of German territory, to create at least 111km of material. ‘The Stasi were like a vacuum cleaner’, hoovering up information on every aspect of life in the GDR, says Karsten Jedlitschka, a research manager at the archives. Less well known than the archives’ vast scale is the huge ongoing operation to regulate what information is released into the public domain. Nearly 500 officials, working across 13 locations, are employed to assess requests for files. They find, read and redact documents depending on how sensitive they are.”


Lifehacker: Who Actually Owns Your Content When You Post It to the Web. “Thanks to the wonders of the web, you can get your content up and in front of an audience of millions in seconds—but that doesn’t necessarily mean you still own that photo of your dog once it is live. Signing the terms and conditions on your favorite social networks could mean signing away the rights to that video of your kid’s birthday party, or that sweet snapshot you took on vacation. So here’s what you need to know about copyright on the web, and how posting to your favorite social networks affects your ownership of what you’re posting.” I’m sure y’all know most/all of this. But this seems to me like a good article to share with folks who don’t.


Asia Media International: China’s Censorship System Leads To A New Social Media Age. “Although heavily censored, social networking sites in China continue to grow, develop, and attract hundreds of new users daily. Indeed, marketing analysts say the country is experiencing a social boom, with users drawn by innovative digital services and slick marketing efforts. According to Benjamin Duvall at Linkfluence, China is ‘recognizably the world’s biggest growth engine and source of digital innovation.’ Duvall says that by 2018 China will outspend the U.S. in digital R&D two-to-one. Developmental research is the primary phase where technology becomes profit-oriented or commercialized. In other words, Chinese social media will continue to grow and introduce more innovations at speedy rates.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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