afternoonbuzz

Corporate Political Donations, Ireland Hotels, Arab Researchers, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, May 9, 2018

NEW RESOURCES

Santa Monica Daily Press: New site aims to help voters follow the money. “A new website from a former middle school geography teacher aims to help consumers navigate the political implications of their spending habits by tracking major campaign donations by corporations. The beta version of the website Ethiq launched Monday. ‘In essence, it’s a dating app but instead of matching you with men and women, it matches you with businesses that match your values,’ said Darren Bates, the website’s founder and a 15-year Santa Monica resident.”

Lonely Planet: Bored with chains? There’s a new website for independent hotels in Ireland. “If you’re heading to Ireland and are looking for accommodation inspiration beyond the usual worldwide chains, a new website has launched that represents 60 independent hotels around the country. Original Irish Hotels is a new tourism and hospitality brand representing owner-run hotels in the north and south, and it is designed to embody the spirit and characteristics of indigenous Irish hotels.”

Al-Fanar Media: Portal Gives Researchers More Public Exposure. “Arab researchers have long complained about the lack of public interest in and support for their research, which leaves their work forgotten in the filing cabinets of academic institutions and research centers. But a new project based in the Lebanese capital seeks to change that. The online tool, known as the Portal for Social Impact of Scientific Research Targeting Research in/on the Arab World, or PSISR, was launched last month by the American University of Beirut’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Neowin: Firefox 60 rolling out imminently, brings sponsored stories and more. “Today is update day for Mozilla Firefox users, as the organization is bringing version 60 of its browser to the general public, and it adds some useful features and some questionable ones. We reported earlier that sponsored content would be making its way to the next version of Firefox, and this is now coming to fruition. The team promises that the feature does not look into users’ data and that it is privacy-conscious. If that still doesn’t sound good, the sponsored content can be disabled through the New Tab settings. The feature comes with a small issue though, as sponsored content might still show up the next time a new tab is opened after it’s been disabled.”

USEFUL STUFF

Make Tech Easier: How to Easily Color Code Gmail for Clear Visual Organization. “Are you an email hoarder? Do you keep almost all your emails in case you need them? It can be overwhelming without a visual reminder. Gmail has a way to add colored tags to your incoming email, so you know right away what needs to happen with those messages. When you color code Gmail, the color draws your eyes and helps you quickly identify items by their category. The colors give you cues and prompt you to stay on top of things. Let’s take a look at how you can color code Gmail.”

MakeUseOf: 10 Essential Vivaldi Browser Tips & Tricks for Speed and Productivity. “Chrome is designed for the everyman, Firefox is for the security and privacy conscious, and Safari is only available to use on Apple platforms. They’re all relatively simple, and while you can add more functionality using extensions, too many extensions can make things bloated and slow down performance. On the other hand, Vivaldi comes with advanced built-in features that are constantly updated and optimized. Some of its best features aren’t even available as extensions in other browsers! Here’s why Vivaldi is a dream for power users.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

TechCrunch: Snapchat hosts first Creators Summit after years of neglect . “Social media stars have always been treated like nobodies instead of VIPs on Snapchat. Despite pioneering the Stories and creative tools they love, the lack of support saw many drift to YouTube’s ad dollars and Instagram’s bigger audience. Now Snap CEO Evan Spiegel is finally stepping up to win back their favor and their content.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Boston Globe: Yes, those robocalls you’re ignoring are increasing. “It’s not just you. Those pesky robocalls — at best annoying disturbances and at worst costly financial scams — are getting worse….Though automated calls have long plagued consumers, the volume has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching an estimated 3.4 billion in April, according to YouMail, which collects and analyzes calls through its robocall blocking service. That’s an increase of almost 900 million a month compared with a year ago.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

World Wide Web Foundation: How Facebook manages your information diet: Argentina case study. “As more people get online, we are seeing the construction and consolidation of the digital public square. Increasingly, as people spend more time online, this digital public square is becoming where people define and redefine their identities, civic discussions take place, and political organisation leads to tangible shifts in power. As with physical public squares, the architecture and rules that govern the space will determine the power dynamics that will shape our society. With the power to decide what we see and what we don’t, private companies and their algorithms have a tremendous influence over public discourse and the shape of the digital public square. Focusing on Facebook, our new research seeks to better understand the algorithms that manage our daily news diets and what we can do to make sure they work in our best interests.”

Snopes: Report: Millions of Tweets Spread Anti-Semitic Messages. “Millions of anti-Semitic messages on Twitter have spread negative stereotypes and conspiracy theories about Jews across the social media platform, according to a report Monday by the Anti-Defamation League…. In the new report, the group estimated that about 3 million Twitter users posted or re-posted at least 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets in English over a 12-month period ending Jan. 28. The finding is based on a reviewed sample of 55,000 tweets and had a 3 percent margin of error, the report said.” This is an Associated Press story published on Snopes, not something Snopes is debunking. Good afternoon, Internet…

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