afternoonbuzz, Monticello, Facebook Feed, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, December 28, 2017


eWeek: Moves From Drupal to WordPress in CMS Shift. “Eight years ago, the Obama administration chose an open-source content management system to power the website. In 2017, the Trump administration also chose an open-source CMS, albeit a different one from what has been in use since 2009.”

NBC 29: Monticello Archaeologists Awarded $325,000 Grant to Expand Digital Archive. “Archaeologists at Monticello have been awarded a grant that will help them as they continue to dig and learn about the history of Thomas Jefferson and his estate. The grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities is called ‘expanding the digital archaeological archive of comparative slavery research consortium.’ It sounds like a lot but what that means is the grant is going towards Monticello’s massive digital archive. The $325,000 grant will help grow the amount of researchers that are internationally working with Monticello.”


Lifehacker: It’s Time to Eliminate Your Facebook News Feed. “Ah 2017, the year fake news took over our timelines, and the attendant hand-wringing took over our lives. It’s not as if we needed more things to disturb us on Facebook—we’ve been FOMO-gnashing our teeth to dust for a decade, after all. As this year comes to a close, I encourage you to gird yourself for the certain onslaught to come. Take two seconds and install News Feed Eradicator for Facebook, a Chrome extension that does exactly what it says, and in so doing, will preserve the teensy shred of sanity you have left.” This is a neat idea because it nukes your feed, but leaves your messages, groups, etc.


New York Times: Confessions of a Digital Nazi Hunter. “Like many Jewish journalists who reported on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, I spent the 2016 election being harassed by a motley crew of internet racists who coalesced around the future president. They sent me threats, photoshopped me into gas chambers and hurled an uncreative array of anti-Semitic slurs my way. A study by the Anti-Defamation League found that I’d received the second-most abuse of any Jewish journalist on Twitter during the campaign cycle. My parents didn’t raise me to be No. 2; fortunately, there’s always 2020. As a result, I’ve become something of an unintentional expert on alt-right trolls and their tactics…. And so last November, in the wake Trump’s victory, I decided to turn the tables on them. My target? Impersonator trolls.”

TechCrunch: Thousands of major sites are taking silent anti-ad-blocking measures. “It’s no secret that ad blockers are putting a dent in advertising-based business models on the web. This has produced a range of reactions, from relatively polite whitelisting asks (TechCrunch does this) to dynamic redeployment of ads to avoid blocking. A new study finds that nearly a third of the top 10,000 sites on the web are taking ad blocking countermeasures, many silent and highly sophisticated.”

BuzzFeed: These Publishers Bought Millions Of Website Visits They Later Found Out Were Fraudulent. “This summer,, a news site that’s raised more than $35 million in funding from high-profile investors, published a group of articles in an ongoing series about how companies and entrepreneurs are trying to be a positive force in their communities. The content was created as part of a partnership with JPMorgan Chase, whose logo appears on each article. The stories appeared to be a big hit: Between May and October, the sponsored content ranked among Ozy’s most-viewed articles, according to traffic data from analytics service SimilarWeb. It’s the kind of success a publisher and brand would celebrate — except that the vast majority of traffic to the articles was in fact fraudulent, according to ad industry standards.”

Business Insider: Britain is having trouble recruiting new spies because Facebook and Google pay ‘five times more’. “The UK’s surveillance agency, GCHQ, is having trouble recruiting new spies because current and potential spooks want to take better-paid jobs at big tech firms such as Apple, Google, and Facebook.”


The Verge: Apple faces multiple lawsuits after admitting to slowing down iPhones as their batteries age. “iPhone owners aren’t happy with Apple, and they’re letting the company know with lawsuits. Five iPhone users filed a lawsuit in New York yesterday and are seeking class-action status over Apple intentionally slowing down their phones as the devices’ batteries aged. USA Today first reported the lawsuit, which follows others filed over the past week.”

Slashgear: This creepy connected speaker hack is the latest IoT security risk. “An odd Sonos and Bose glitch could allow hackers to remotely play audio through their speakers, or even trigger smart home commands. The security loophole – a fairly unusual combination of network settings and connected speaker architecture intended to make configuration easier – is the latest illustration of how fairly innocuous decisions around the Internet of Things can have unforeseen consequences.”


Mashable: Stop reading what Facebook tells you to read. “Remember the 2008 financial crash? The (dumb, wildly over-simplified) reason it happened was thanks in large part to giant investment banks like Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan. These enormous institutions figured out a way to make money off of home loans people didn’t have the means to pay back. As a result, a bunch of people who should’ve never been given home loans were, of course, given home loans. And of course, they couldn’t pay the loans back. The entire thing kept going and going until the financial system fell in on itself. The big parallel: Those investment banks incentivized the creation of a shitty product. Which is exactly what Facebook did. Yep. Hi. We’re there. ” This is really good. Good afternoon, Internet…

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