China Toilets, Fishery Photography, Facebook, More: Thursday Buzz, November 23, 2017


Quartz: China launched a toilet-finding platform to help identify 330,000 public toilets. “To mark World Toilet Day, which this year fell on Sunday (Nov.19), China unveiled a similar platform, the ‘National Public Toilet Cloud.’ It’s from China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and is available via an app and a WeChat public account, a rough analog to a business’s Facebook page. The ministry aggregated information about nearly 330,000 national public toilets across the country, state news agency Xinhua (link in Chinese) said in a report, noting that ‘restrooms can reflect a country’s civilization level.'”

Mount Desert Islander: Museum makes historic fisheries photos accessible . “Researchers and others interested in maritime and fishing history have a powerful new tool at their disposal. The publishers of ‘National Fisherman’ magazine donated the magazine’s entire predigital photographic archive to the Penobscot Marine Museum here.”

Facebook: Continuing Transparency on Russian Activity. “A few weeks ago, we shared our plans to increase the transparency of advertising on Facebook. This is part of our ongoing effort to protect our platforms and the people who use them from bad actors who try to undermine our democracy. As part of that continuing commitment, we will soon be creating a portal to enable people on Facebook to learn which of the Internet Research Agency Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts they may have liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017. This tool will be available for use by the end of the year in the Facebook Help Center.”


BuzzFeed: YouTube Is Addressing Its Massive Child Exploitation Problem. “Across YouTube, an unsettling trend has emerged: Accounts are publishing disturbing and exploitative videos aimed at and starring children in compromising, predatory, or creepy situations — and racking up millions of views. BuzzFeed News has found a number of videos, many of which appear to originate from eastern Europe, that feature young children, often in revealing clothing, placed in vulnerable scenarios. In many instances, they’re restrained with ropes or tape and sometimes crying or in visible distress. In other videos, the children are kidnapped, or made to ‘play doctor’ with an adult. The videos frequently include gross-out themes like injections, eating feces, or needles. Many come from YouTube ‘verified’ channels and have tens of millions of views. After BuzzFeed News brought these videos to the attention of YouTube, they were removed.”

eWeek: Microsoft Bing Delivers More ‘Bird’s Eye’ Views of Points of Interests. “Microsoft has added dozens of new locations to the Bird’s Eye feature in Bing Maps. Bird’s Eye uses oblique imagery processing technology to provide detail-packed views that can help travelers navigate their surroundings by sight.”

SEO Roundtable: Google New Design & Features For Google Flight Search. “Google announced on Twitter they are previewing a new design and feature set for the Google Flights search.”


Mashable: This browser extension turns your angry Facebook emoji into real social action. “From climate change to the worsening refugee crisis to rollbacks of LGBTQ rights, you’ve probably reacted to a lot of deeply troubling news in your Facebook news feed this year. But what if you could easily take your digital anger and sadness and turn it into real-world action? A new tool called the Emoji Reaction Project helps you do just that. The clever Chrome extension transforms your negative Facebook emoji reactions into tangible ways to support good causes and fight injustice.”


Bangor Daily News: Hidden for 50 years, famed photographer’s images of rural Maine’s ‘guts’ revealed. “Kosti Ruohomaa was a photojournalist during the golden age of picture magazines in the 1940s and ’50s. Shying away from pretty postcard images, Ruohomaa documented the true face of rural Maine and showed it to the rest of the world. He worked for the famed Black Star photo agency in New York City for almost his whole career. Since his death in 1961 at the age of 47, Black Star has kept a tight grip on Ruohomaa’s entire archive of prints and negatives. Most of his work has never been published or seen by anyone outside the Black Star office. But that’s about to change. Last month, Ruohomaa’s work came home home to Maine.”

ProPublica: Facebook (Still) Letting Housing Advertisers Exclude Users by Race. “Last week, ProPublica bought dozens of rental housing ads on Facebook, but asked that they not be shown to certain categories of users, such as African Americans, mothers of high school kids, people interested in wheelchair ramps, Jews, expats from Argentina and Spanish speakers. All of these groups are protected under the federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to publish any advertisement ‘with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.’ Violators can face tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Every single ad was approved within minutes.”

Techdirt: Russia Threatens To Go To War With Google Over Stupid Comments By Eric Schmidt. “To be clear: I have no doubt that RT and Sputnik have engaged in attempts to push anti-US propaganda in the US. That seems fairly obvious at this point. My concern is twofold: first of all, saying that ‘it’s basically RT and Sputnik’ suggests Schmidt thinks that the issue is just those two sites and merely downranking them will solve problems related to propaganda. That’s both wrong and naive. Second, having the executive chair of Google’s parent company directly announce that Google is working on ways to downrank two specific sites is bad. Part of Google’s longstanding position has always been that they don’t interfere to go after specific sites, in part because that creates a massive slippery slope. Of course, Google gave up on part of that position five years ago when it caved in to Hollywood and agreed to start downranking sites based on accusations (not actual convictions) of copyright infringement.”

US News & World Report: The Social Media Answer to Stressful U.S Holiday: Friendsgiving. “Americans overwhelmed by crowded highways and the prospect of cooking a turkey and all the trimmings for the Thanksgiving holiday dinner are turning for relief to the latest social-media driven holiday – Friendsgiving.”


The Guardian: Police review 10,000 cases in forensics data ‘manipulation’ inquiry. “Ten thousand criminal cases in England and Wales are being reviewed after it emerged that data at a forensic laboratory in Manchester may have been manipulated, causing the biggest recall of samples in British criminal justice history. A minister said the alleged data manipulation was discovered in 2017 at a lab run by Randox Testing, but the Guardian can reveal that warnings about the lab run by a predecessor company date back to 2012.” Good morning, Internet…

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