Branch Rickey, London Uber, Tor Messenger, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, April 4, 2018


Library of Congress: New Online: Branch Rickey Scouting Reports. “Opening day for Major League Baseball took place last week, on March 29—the earliest opening date in MLB history, excepting for special international events. This year’s opening day also marked the first time in 50 years that a full slate of games was scheduled for the first day. The Library of Congress is marking the beginning of the 2018 season by posting a series of scouting reports compiled by Branch Rickey (1881–1965), a former player, manager and baseball executive, best known as the man responsible for bringing Jackie Robinson into Major League Baseball in 1947, thereby breaking baseball’s long-established color barrier.”

Local Transport Today: Uber launches London journey time database. “Uber has launched a free to access web-based database of road journey time data for London based on aggregated Uber journeys. Uber Movement for London does not provide information about Ubers’ movements around London. Rather it is a database of aggregate journey time data, which does not reveal how many trips have been aggregated in order to answer your query.”


Tor Blog: Sunsetting Tor Messenger. “In 2015, we introduced Tor Messenger, a cross-platform chat program that aimed to be secure by default by sending all of its traffic over Tor and enforcing encrypted one-to-one conversations by bundling and using OTR (Off-the-Record) messaging. The aim was to provide a chat client that supported a wide variety of transport networks like Jabber (XMPP), IRC, Google Talk, Facebook, Twitter; had an easy-to-use graphical interface; and configured most of the security and privacy settings automatically with minimal user intervention. When we released the first version, we tried to clearly identify the limitations of such a product: Tor Messenger was meant for communicating over existing social networks.”

TechCrunch: Instagram suddenly chokes off developers as Facebook chases privacy Twitter syndrome! “Without warning, Instagram has broken many of the unofficial apps built on its platform. This weekend it surprised developers with a massive reduction in how much data they can pull from the Instagram API, shrinking the API limit from 5,000 to 200 calls per user per hour. Apps that help people figure out if their followers follow them back or interact with them, analyze their audiences or find relevant hashtags are now quickly running into their API limits, leading to broken functionality and pissed off users.”

Digital Trends: Hang out via video chat, then tag friends in Stories with Snapchat’s new tools. “Snapchat is pushing to become the most popular virtual hangout destination. On Tuesday, April 3, Snapchat announced new group video chats. The tool allows up to 16 friends to join in and chat via video. The announcement comes alongside a wider rollout of the previously tested mention that allow users to tag another Snapchatter.”


Mashable: This tool shows you how many apps you’re logged into with Facebook (and trust us, you don’t want to know). “Facebook has a new tool for people worried about apps accessing their data. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company has quietly rolled out a tool that allows you log out, in bulk, of apps you’ve to which you’ve granted access to your Facebook account, as spotted by Twitter user Matt Navarra.”


Fast Company: How Facebook Blew It. “In early 2014, a couple years before a bizarre election season marred by waves of false stories and cyberattacks and foreign disinformation campaigns, thousands of Americans were asked to take a quiz. On Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, where people are paid to perform microtasks, users would be paid $1 or $2 apiece to answer some questions about their personality and turn over their Facebook data and that of all of their friends. A similar request was also distributed on Qualtrics, a survey website. Soon, some people noticed that the task violated Amazon’s own rules.”

CNET: Facebook axes Russia-linked pages to stop election interference. “Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday Facebook will take down ‘more than 270 pages and accounts operated by a Russian organization called the Internet Research Agency (IRA).’ In a post Facebook’s CEO said, ‘Most of our actions against the IRA to date have been to prevent them from interfering in foreign elections. This update is about taking down their pages targeting people living in Russia. This Russian agency has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the US, Europe, and Russia — and we don’t want them on Facebook anywhere in the world.'”


BetaNews: Grindr was sharing users’ location and HIV status with third parties. “Last week there was an outcry after it was revealed that it was relatively simple to determine the location of Grindr users because of a security flaw. The company has now also admitted that it shared information from users’ profiles with third parties — specifically the analytics companies Apptimize and Localytics — including their HIV status.”


WRAL Tech Wire: Amid social media criticism, Facebook should consider a ‘Why me?’ button. “…the solution Facebook offered last week — putting all of your privacy settings on one screen and blocking some third parties from access to data — is just a Band-Aid. It’s a start, but it doesn’t provide a road map for how your information is being used. That’s where the ‘Why me?’ button could help. This button would sit next to every advertisement and piece of content that appears before you on all of Facebook’s properties, including Instagram and WhatsApp. If you saw an ad or an article pop up on your screen, you could click the ‘Why me?’ button. Then you would see a full explanation of why that item was pushed to you.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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