Facebook, Elementary OS, Designing Libraries 2018, More: Saturday Buzz, September 22, 2018


Motherboard: Facebook Is Reviewing its Policy on White Nationalism After Motherboard Investigation, Civil Rights Backlash. “Facebook told Motherboard it’s currently reviewing its policies on white supremacy, white nationalism, and white separatism after a series of meetings with civil rights leaders, reporting by Motherboard on these policies, and a forceful letter from a civil rights group formed under the direction of President John F. Kennedy.”

BetaNews: Ubuntu-based elementary OS 5.0 ‘Juno’ Beta 2 Linux distro now available. “For beginners, once installed, their chosen Linux distro should be easy to use with an intuitive desktop environment. I’m a big fan of GNOME, but understandably, not all folks like it — especially Linux novices. One particular Linux-based desktop operating system has been focusing on accessibility to all — elementary OS. This distro is polished and aims to be easy to use for both experts and beginners alike. Today, version 5.0 of the OS — called ‘Juno’ — reaches Beta 2. Impressively, there have been over 200 fixes implemented since Beta 1.”


Nice roundup from Paul Pival: Tweet Archive from Designing Libraries 2018. “The 7th edition of the Designing Libraries conference just wrapped up here at the U of Calgary, and I thought it’d be fun to capture the tweets using the hashtag #designinglibraries, so here you go.” It’s a Google Sheet.


Muckrock is asking for crowdsourcing help exploring Ronald Reagan’s FBI file. “Ronald Reagan’s decades-long association with the Federal Bureau of Investigation – from his early days as an anti-Communist informant in Hollywood to the law and order governor of California to President of the United States during Iran-Contra – is attested to in his 30,000-page file, recently released to Emma Best. Due to the size and scope of the historical material contained in these pages, we’re using our new Assignments tool to start a crowdsourced project to hone in on the most interesting finds buried in the Bureau’s margins.”

The Intercept: Google Suppresses Memo Revealing Plans To Closely Track Search Users In China. “ON AUGUST 16, two weeks after The Intercept revealed the Dragonfly plan, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the company’s employees that the China plan was in its ‘early stages’ and ‘exploratory.’ However, employees working on the censored search engine were instructed in late July, days before the project was publicly exposed, that they should prepare to get it into a ‘launch-ready state’ to roll out within weeks, pending approval from officials in Beijing.”

Business Insider: Instagram’s new TV service recommended videos of potential child abuse. “Instagram’s new TV service recommended a crop of graphic and disturbing videos, including what appeared to be child exploitation and genital mutilation. That’s the finding of a Business Insider investigation into IGTV, which launched in June as Instagram attempts to muscle in on rivals like YouTube and Snapchat.”

Techdirt: Tanzania Plans To Outlaw Fact-Checking Of Government Statistics. “Back in April, Techdirt wrote about a set of regulations brought in by the Tanzanian government that required people there to pay around $900 per year for a license to blog. Despite the very high costs it imposes on people — Tanzania’s GDP per capita was under $900 in 2016 — it seems the authorities are serious about enforcing the law.”


Ars Technica: NYT sues FCC, says it hid evidence of Russia meddling in net neutrality repeal. “The New York Times has sued the Federal Communications Commission over the agency’s refusal to release records that the Times believes might shed light on Russian interference in the net neutrality repeal proceeding.”

TechCrunch: Twitter bug exposed direct messages to third-party developers. “Twitter said that a ‘bug’ sent user’s private direct messages to third-party developers “who were not authorized to receive them.” The social media giant began warning users Friday of the exposure with a message in the app.” Apparently this had been going on since May 2017? Yikes.


Brookings Institute: Regulating free speech on social media is dangerous and futile. “The calls for regulating social media and technology companies are politically motivated. Conservatives who support these policies argue that their freedom of speech is being undermined by social media companies who censor their voice. Conservatives who celebrate constitutional originalism should remember that the First Amendment protects against censorship by government. Social media companies are all private businesses with discretion over the content they wish to promote, and any effort by government to influence what social media platforms promote risks violating the First Amendment.”

Universidad de Antioquia: Using Google’s Custom Search Engine Product to Discover Scholarly Open Access and Cost-Free eBooks from Latin America*. “Many Latin American scholarly monographs are available for free to read and download in a scattered fashion across the web, hosted on educational, institutional and government websites as well as commercial websites and publishing platforms. There is as of yet no single way to identify all of this content at once, but web-based discovery leveraging existing search engine indexing would seem to be a likely option. This case study suggests and evaluates one such method for discovery of open access and other cost-free scholarly monographs produced in Latin America. One possible configuration of Google’s Custom Search Engine product is proposed and evaluated, and findings suggest its usefulness for a variety of applications, including for collection development, the preparation of thematic research guides with open content, and the enrichment of existing lists of open access eBook sources from Latin America.” This is an embedded, downloadable PDF. Good morning, Internet…

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