WordPress, Google, Villanova University, More: Saturday Buzz, August 18, 2018

Apologies for the late. I’ve been a bit under the weather the last few days and have not been keeping up.


TechCrunch: New WordPress policy allows it to shut down blogs of Sandy Hook deniers. “WordPress has taken down a handful alt-right blogs, according to several complaints from affected blog owners and readers who claim the sites were removed from, despite not being in violation of the company’s Terms of Service. Some site owners also said they were not notified of the shutdown in advance and have lost their work. The removals, we’ve learned, are in part due to a new policy WordPress has rolled out that now prohibits blogs from the ‘malicious publication of unauthorized, identifying images of minors.'”

Ars Technica: After employee revolt, Google says it is “not close” to launching search in China. “Google’s employees and Google’s management are clashing over ethical issues again. Just two months after Google’s ‘Project Maven’ military drone project was seemingly resolved, Google’s employees are now up in arms over company plans to create censored products for China. The internal protests resulted in the issue being addressed at an all-hands meeting, and we got to learn a bit more about Google’s China plans.”

Villanova University: Content Roundup – Third Week – August 2018. “Newly digitized this week are more issues from one hundred years ago (1918) from Leslie’s illustrated weekly newspaper covering the US war effort. The front covers of all periodicals was closely controlled and laden with propaganda as can be seen on the above ‘Hearts of the World’ illustration from the June 15 issue with the heart of Germany is pejoratively depicted. Other items this week include several story paper issues and the first digitized issue of the young adult ‘Lone Scout: a real Boys’ magazine’ – the house periodical of the Lone Scout movement – which later merges into the Boy Scouts; this issue – from January 1918 – depicts an adolescent boy knitting to support the war effort.”


FamilySearch: FamilySearch’s Strategy to Help Preserve the World’s Archives. “David Ouimette manages the Global Content Strategy team at, the world’s largest genealogical organization and a premier records preservation company. Ouimette’s team is saving memories around the globe—historical documents that may be the only remaining witness to the existence of the individuals cloaked in their pages. It’s an ominous thought that untold numbers of records—and the stories they tell—are lost yearly. The FamilySearch Global Content Strategy team creates its record strategy by prioritizing locations and identifying the record collections with the greatest genealogical value. Determining which record collections should be preserved first—based on how long the records will be available—is vitally important.”

New York Times: ‘Weaponized Ad Technology’: Facebook’s Moneymaker Gets a Critical Eye. “Brands love it. So do political campaigns, like those for President Trump and former President Barack Obama, which tailored their messages to narrow subsets of voters. But microtargeting, as the technique is called, is coming under increased scrutiny in the United States and Europe. Some government officials, researchers and advertising executives warn that it can be exploited to polarize and manipulate voters. And they are calling for restrictions on its use in politics, even after Facebook, in response to criticism, recently limited some of the targeting categories available to advertisers.”

CBC: Server crash takes out rich digital archive at Memorial University. “As the start of the school year looms, Memorial University is trying to fix a server crash that made much of the Queen Elizabeth II library’s data inaccessible. The crash happened last month, during routine maintenance inside the library. So far, about half the data has been restored, said David Sorensen, MUN’s communications manager.”

Tubefilter: Twitch Is Approaching Top YouTube Stars With Exclusive Livestreaming Deals Potentially Worth Millions (Report). “Amazon has begun to aggressively pursue YouTube stars and popular media companies for exclusive livestreaming deals that are reportedly valued at as much as several million dollars per year. Bloomberg reports that Twitch — which currently garners 15 million daily viewers — is seeking to add new talent in order to broaden the site’s horizons beyond its core gaming contingency.”


CNET: Facebook takes heat from HUD over allegedly discriminatory housing ads. “Facebook is getting in trouble again for housing ads that a US agency says are discriminatory. The Department of Housing and Urban Development said Friday that it’s filed a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act because the social network lets landlords and home sellers engage in housing discrimination.”


The Verge: Twitter’s fear of making hard decisions is killing it. “It’s true that Twitter has fewer employees, and less money, than its rivals at Facebook. And even its recent glacial pace of development is arguably faster than it was under previous CEO Dick Costolo. But time and again, Twitter’s move-slow-and-apologize ethos gets it into trouble. Today’s action against third-party apps illustrates the problem.”

Julia Reda: Out-of-control censorship machines removed my article warning of out-of-control censorship machines . “A few days ago, about a dozen articles and campaign sites criticising EU plans for copyright censorship machines silently vanished from the world’s most popular search engine. Proving their point in the most blatant possible way, the sites were removed by exactly what they were warning of: Copyright censorship machines. Among the websites that were made impossible to find: A blog post of mine in which I inform Europeans about where their governments stand on online censorship in the name of copyright and a campaign site warning of copyright law that favors corporations over free speech.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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