Bing, Facebook, Chrome, More: Wednesday Buzz, September 19, 2018


Bing Blogs: Anonymous URL Submission Tool Being Retired. “Saying Goodbye is never easy, but the time has come to announce the withdrawal of anonymous non-signed in support Bing’s URL submission tool. Webmaster will still be able to log in and access Submit URL tool in Bing Webmaster Tools, and this is easier than ever as the tool now supports Google and Facebook authentication in addition to existing Microsoft accounts.” Seeing how spam-ridden the Internet has gotten, this isn’t surprising.

TechCrunch: Facebook expands bug bounty program to include third-party apps and websites. “Facebook announced this morning it’s expanding its bug bounty program – which pays researchers who find security vulnerabilities within its platform – to now include issues found in third-party apps and websites. Specifically, Facebook says it will reward valid reports of vulnerabilities that relate to the improper exposure of Facebook user access tokens.”

CNET: Google brings ‘www’ back to Chrome, but not for long. “In the latest version of Google’s Chrome browser, released earlier this month, Google hid the HTTP or HTTPS prefix and stripped out website domain qualifiers like the initial ‘www’ or ‘m,’ which indicates a website geared for mobile devices. But Google now says it’s rolling back some of those changes after receiving community feedback.”

Channel NewsAsia: Russian ‘Facebook’ bans Myanmar army chief, hardline monk. “Russian social media site VKontakte (VK) has followed Facebook by banning Myanmar’s army chief and a nationalist monk known for stirring up Islamophobia in a country condemned globally for the treatment of its Rohingya Muslims.”


Social Media Examiner: How to Add a Facebook Virtual Event to Your Launch Strategy. “Do you host online events, webinars, or product launches? Wondering how to incorporate Facebook events into your marketing strategy? In this article, you’ll discover how to create and host a virtual Facebook event.”

Mac Observer: How to Fix Twitter by Muting Specific Text Strings . “There’s a popular tweet that I stumbled upon this morning. Twitter user Emma found that by muting specific text strings she could fix Twitter and block suggested features.” Simple but looks SUPER useful.


CBC: Ottawa’s corporate registry rife with faulty information. “A public registry of federal corporations is riddled with thousands of errors and omissions because too many business owners are failing to keep the federal government in the loop about basic corporate information, says an audit by Corporations Canada. And when the federal agency confronted the delinquent corporations with those problems, fewer than half fixed them.”


The Verge: Google remotely changed the settings on a bunch of phones running Android 9 Pie. “Yesterday a mix of people who own Google Pixel phones and other devices running Android 9 Pie noticed that the software’s Battery Saver feature had been switched on — seemingly all by itself. And oddly, this was happening when the phones were near a full charge, not when the battery was low. As reported by Android Police, initially it was assumed that this was some kind of minor bug in the latest version of Android, which was only released a few weeks ago. Some users thought they might’ve just enabled Battery Saver without realizing. But it was actually Google at fault.”

BetaNews: CCleaner updating itself against users’ wishes. “It’s fair to say CCleaner has lost a lot of fans since Avast took over Piriform last year. We’ve seen problems with malware, bundled software, and pop-up ads, and then most recently Avast made a number of unwelcome privacy changes to the popular system cleaner, and removed the ability to quit the software. It eventually pulled the most recent problematic update, and released a replacement, CCleaner 5.46, without the privacy issues, but it turns out that this release has problems of its own.”

The Stranger: Facebook Continues to Defy Washington State Law on Political Ad Disclosure. “More than three months ago, The Stranger asked Facebook for all the information it’s legally required to disclose about political ads that were purchased to influence this spring’s raging fight over the Seattle ‘Amazon Tax.’ Since then, election officials in Seattle and Olympia have made clear to Facebook that it needs to turn over the data. But despite these demands, the company still hasn’t sent The Stranger anything—even though recent communications between Facebook and the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission make clear the company is able to provide the data in question.”

Politico: State Department email breach exposed employees’ personal information. “The State Department recently suffered a breach of its unclassified email system, and the compromise exposed the personal information of a small number of employees, according to a notice sent to the agency’s workforce.” The State Department says that less than 1% of the employees were impacted, but as I recall it’s rare that the first estimate of exposure is the the same as the final estimate.


Quartz: India’s favourite pastime? Bollywood music on YouTube. “Indians are listening to a lot of music on the move. And this happens primarily through video-streaming apps, YouTube being the most popular, reflecting growing internet penetration and smartphone usage in the country. In short, music is India’s favourite pastime, outdoing sports and cooking, according to the findings of research firm Nielsen’s Music 360 India survey released on Sept. 12. ”

VoxEU: The effect of machine translation on international trade: Evidence from a large digital platform. “Recent years have seen dramatic progress in the predictive power of artificial intelligence in many areas, including speech recognition, but empirical evidence documenting its concrete economic effects is largely lacking. This column analyses the effect of the introduction of eBay Machine Translation on eBay’s international trade. The results show that it increased US exports on eBay to Spanish-speaking Latin American countries by 17.5%. By overriding trade-hindering language barriers, AI is already affecting productivity and trade and has significant potential to increase them further.”

Small Pond Science: Updating pedagogy for the mobile phone era. “When I last taught this lab, shortly after the start of the Obama administration, it wasn’t entirely routine for students to whip out their phones to look up information. I designed the lab for students to consult materials, with some self-directed inquiry, to be able to answer the questions. The lab provided context, of course, but I wanted them to use textbooks and other available reference material, to piece things together. I thought it worked rather well. Students were compelled to think critically about some concepts and had to seek out new information to answer the question being posed. That’s good, right?” Big thanks to Jonathan B. for sending me this link. Good morning, Internet…

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