Facebook Ads, Twitter, Programming Skills, More: Monday Buzz, April 9, 2018


Facebook: Making Ads and Pages More Transparent. “We believe that when you visit a Page or see an ad on Facebook it should be clear who it’s coming from. We also think it’s important for people to be able to see the other ads a Page is running, even if they’re not directed at you. That’s why today we’re announcing important changes to the way we manage ads and Pages on Facebook as well as Instagram. These are designed to increase transparency and accountability, as well as prevent election interference.”

Engadget: Twitter changes may bring major issues for third-party apps (updated). “If you use a third-party Twitter app like Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Talon or Tweetings, you might lose a couple of key features when Twitter replaces developer access to User and Site streams with a new Account Activity API this coming June. The folks who created the apps mentioned above have created a new website to explain that, as a result, push notifications will no longer work and timelines won’t refresh automatically.”


MakeUseOf: The 10 Best Programming Games to Test and Build Your Coding Skills. “Programming is fun once you’re confident and know what you’re doing, but getting to that point can be a grueling experience. Which is why, in between classes and lectures and tutorials, you should set aside time to play these programming games and challenges. Not only do they serve as fun breaks, but you’ll learn faster and retain more info thanks to the hands-on practice and experience.”


America Magazine: Can the Catholic Church help young people figure out how to use social media?. “Rebecca Bratten Weiss knows the power of social media. It has allowed the writer and independent scholar to reach beyond her rural Ohio community and connect with other Catholic thinkers who help her develop ideas and form new relationships. She even has a new chapbook on poetry coming out, co-authored with another writer she met online. But she has fallen victim to the darker sides of digital culture as well.”

Nieman Lab: Tweetstorms are better with friends: How three papers are tweeting together over 4-plus days. “Tweetstorms are usually the work of one person, but what if you could bring other voices in too? That’s what The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and Chicago Tribune did this week: They worked together to tweet about the riots that followed Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968.”

Techdirt: Indian Government Enacts, Abandons ‘Fake News’ Law In Less Than 24 Hours. “Governments around the world think legislation is the answer to the ‘fake news’ problem. So far, the only thing that seems certain is these laws will be used to control the press and stifle criticism. The limited rollouts we’ve seen of laws governing poorly-defined speech have been uniformly disastrous. The government of India was the latest to roll out ‘fake news’ legislation. There wasn’t much debate over the law, as it was unilaterally put in place by the Indian government. The motivating factor appeared to be an attempt to quell criticism of the Indian Prime Minister ahead of next year’s election. The only good thing about the decree was its extremely short shelf life.”


Federal Trade Commission: FTC asking for access to your computer? It’s a scam.. “Scammers pretending to be with the FTC or with FTC refund administrators are calling, asking for remote access to your computer. It’s been reported that the scammers are calling specifically about the FTC’s Advanced Tech Support refund program. Their goal is to make you think you are moments away from getting money that’s owed to you – and, to get the money, all you need to do is allow them to connect to your computer. It’s a scam.”

CBC: Think twice before consulting Dr. Google, researchers say. “Eye twitching? Weird stomach pain? Leg cramp? Is it a symptom of a serious disease? Beware the temptation to ask Dr. Google. A recent study suggests internet health searching could make you feel worse. It could leave you even less informed. And you’re also potentially revealing private health information. It’s part of a growing body of research into the potential side-effects of consulting the internet about health issues — something that creates a risk of ‘cyberchondria.'”

Search Engine Journal: Google Settles Lawsuit Alleging it Unfairly Kept AdSense Earnings. “Google has settled a lawsuit alleging it unfairly kept AdSense earnings belonging to publishers whose accounts were closed due to suspicious activities. The case, at the time of settlement, focused on Google’s practice of withholding 100% of a banned publisher’s unpaid earnings, including earnings that were not a result of suspicious activities. Google denies wrongdoing.”


Times Higher Education: The Facebook scandal won’t end the infuriating allure of academic social media. “Those people predicting a mass flight from Facebook as a result of the recent revelations over the misuse of their data for political purposes are probably underestimating the addictive power of social media. One person who will definitely have to pursue other interests, though, is Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge academic who harvested the data and who has now had his Facebook account closed down. But if he is like most academics, he will probably just spend more time on higher education’s very own social media instead.”

WUOM: Anonymity drives ‘dark patterns’ of social media behavior. “A new study by a Michigan State University researcher probes the mechanisms behind the spread of mass online harassment and fake news by looking at the ‘dark patterns’ underlying the technology platforms. In the science of user experience, dark patterns are psychological tricks incorporated into technology interfaces that are designed to get a user to do something they normally wouldn’t do, like buying a product or signing up for a newsletter.”

Wall Street Journal: Facial Recognition Could Move Beyond Mug Shots. “When police found a senior citizen apparently suffering from Alzheimer’s missing from her family on Staten Island in 2014, officials took to technology. They sent a photograph of the woman to an NYPD unit. A detective ran the image against a database of ‘several million’ mug shots and was surprised to find the woman among the hundreds the software returned as possible matches.” This article was not paywalled when I looked at it. Good morning, Internet…

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