Kansas Government, Facebook News Feed, DuckDuckGo, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, April 23, 2018


KFDI: State launches webpage to increase transparency . “The Kansas government launched a new website that aims to add a new layer of transparency to the state government. Governor Jeff Colyer announced the launch of the Kansas Public Square, the state’s new website for posting meetings and minutes.”


Nieman Lab: Facebook’s News Feed changes appear to be hurting — not helping — local news. “More meaningful interactions! More love for local news! These were supposed to be some of the positive changes associated with the algorithm change Facebook announced early this year. But so far the local news love is lacking: Pete Brown, senior research fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, crunched the numbers and found that ’11 out of 13 regional metros averaged fewer interactions per post in the nine weeks following the pro-local algorithm change than in the two years before.’ And the 13 regional metros that Brown looked at? They’re the papers that are participating in Facebook’s Local News Subscription Accelerator.”


MakeUseOf: DuckDuckGo vs. Google: The Best Search Engine for You . “Over the years, Google has left its humble origins behind to become one of the largest companies in the world, offering a wide range of devices and services. To keep those services free, Google records data about you and uses it to display targeted advertising—their main source of revenue. As the debate around online privacy ramps up, many people are looking for an alternative. Fortunately, DuckDuckGo might be the privacy-focused search engine you’ve been looking for.”

Poynter: 16 ways to debunk hoaxes on WhatsApp. “Facebook gets a lot of attention for its fake news problem, but WhatsApp is no stranger to far-reaching viral hoaxes. The private messaging platform, which hit 1 billion daily users last summer, has become a source of misinformation about everything from unions to storms. Since the platform is encrypted and groups are limited to 256 people, no one really knows when or where content goes viral — not even WhatsApp itself. That has made it exceedingly difficult for fact-checkers to uncover and debunk WhatsApp hoaxes, developing innovative workarounds in order to at least partially address fakery on the platform.”

Kottke: Your personality, according to IBM Watson. “Watson is IBM’s AI platform. This afternoon I tried out IBM Watson’s Personality Insights Demo. The service ‘derives insights about personality characteristics from social media, enterprise data, or other digital communications’. Watson looked at my Twitter account and painted a personality portrait of me…” I tried this twice. The first time Watson said I was less likely to like hip-hop (I do) and the second time it said I was less likely to like country music (I do.) A little afraid to see which music I’m less likely to like the third time…


TechCrunch: YouTube ads for hundreds of brands still running on extremist and white nationalist channels. “It’s been more than a year since YouTube promised to improve controls over what content advertisers would find their ads in front of; eight months since it promised to demonetize ‘hateful’ videos; two months since it said it would downgrade offensive channels; and yet CNN reports that ads from hundreds of major brands are still appearing as pre-rolls for actual Nazis. The ongoing failure to police billions of hours of content isn’t exactly baffling — this is a difficult problem to solve — but it is disappointing that YouTube seems to have repeatedly erred on the side of monetization.”

Bangkok Post: Surge in anonymous Asia Twitter accounts sparks bot fears. “It has been being jokingly referred to as ‘Botmageddon’. But a surge in new, anonymous Twitter accounts across swathes of Southeast and East Asia has deepened fears the region is in the throes of US-style mass social media manipulation.”

CBC: CBC urged to preserve master recordings of radio and TV programming after making digital copies. “The Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation (CBMF) is urging CBC to stop destroying original radio and television programming after making digital copies, arguing these master recordings are irreplaceable. The Toronto charitable foundation said in a release Wednesday that CBC’s English Services began destroying original radio and TV programming at the beginning of April. The foundation said this flies in the face of internationally accepted standards and best practices of audiovisual preservation due to the unknown characteristics of digitization, such as long-term stability and vulnerability to electromagnetic interference.”


The Register: Oh, baby! Newborn-care website leaves database of medics wide open. “A US healthcare company seemingly exposed on the public internet contact information for roughly 10,000 medical professionals. IT pro Brian Wethern said he warned Health Stream nine days ago that one of its now-removed websites had left a database of users out in the open, allowing anyone to slurp the first and last names of medics, and their email addresses and ID numbers. These professionals appear to be connected to Health Stream’s Neonatal Resuscitation Program.”

ECNS: China launches database for stolen foreign antiques. “The State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) on Friday launched a database for stolen foreign antiques to prevent such antiques from entering and circulating in China. The administration will go on to ask entry-exit examination offices to intensify the supervision over the entry and exit of stolen foreign antiques.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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