WordPress, SnapChat, Facebook, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, November 25, 2018


WordPress 5.0 Release Candidate 1 is now available. “This is an important milestone, as we near the release of WordPress 5.0. The WordPress 5.0 release date has shifted from the 27th to give more time for the RC to be fully tested. A final release date will be announced soon, based on feedback on the RC. This is a big release and needs your help—if you haven’t tried 5.0 yet, now is the time!”

Mashable: The midterms had record voter turnout. Should Snapchat get credit?. “On Tuesday, Snapchat shared that 1.4 million users visited their Get to the Polls platform, a voting information portal powered by the tech-focused nonprofit organization Democracy Works. Snapchat also registered over 400,000 new voters in the weeks leading up to the election — and over half of those voters were aged 18-24, also known as the coveted but fickle youth vote. Twitter, Instagram, and Facbook ran similar initiatives, though they have yet to release participation numbers.”

Washington Post: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rejects request to testify in front of seven countries’ lawmakers — but a lower-level official will appear. “Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has declined to testify at a rare joint hearing with lawmakers from seven countries, representing more than 368 million people, according to a letter which was sent by the company to those officials and was obtained by The Washington Post.”


MakeUseOf: How to Clean and Declutter Your Trello Boards: 5 Simple Tips. “If you use Trello a lot and often, your Trello boards are probably quite cluttered. It’s a good idea to declutter them once in a while to ensure that important items don’t slip off your radar. A spot of cleaning will also make Trello easier to navigate and the right data easier to find. Not sure where to begin? Start with these simple activities and make the relevant ones a part of your regular Trello cleaning routine.”

Make Tech Easier: What Does an Algorithm Look Like?. “We know that Facebook, Google, and Amazon have algorithms that give us updates, search results, and product recommendations, but what does that actually mean? What qualifies as an algorithm? Can you write one down? What would it look like if you did? Since they run so many parts of our daily lives, it’s important to have a basic sense of what exactly is going on under the hood – and it’s really not as intimidating as it often seems.”


BuzzFeed News: Instagram Influencers Are Using The California Wildfires To Sell Products And Post Nudes. “[Jeremy] Kost, an artist who posts drag and nude photos, is one of many Instagram influencers and businesses who’ve been sharing Instagram posts using the location, hashtag, or keywords associated with the fires for personal or promotional content. The result is that anyone searching for hashtags related to the fires will encounter meditation shots, sales pitches, nudes, and a bevy of attractive photos of influencers alongside posts showing the depth of the devastation.”

NARA: Efforts Begin to Digitize 377 Native Treaties. “The National Archives and Records Administration has begun an effort to conserve and digitize 377 native treaties for inclusion in the agency’s online catalog. The project will add the treaties and supplemental records to the digital catalog, providing worldwide public access to them for the first time. It is made possible thanks to funding from an anonymous donor and support from the National Archives Foundation.”

New York Times: How Facebook’s P.R. Firm Brought Political Trickery to Tech. “When Tim Miller, a longtime Republican political operative, moved to the Bay Area last year to set up a public relations shop, he brought with him tradecraft more typical of Washington than Silicon Valley. He was well versed in opposition research — the pursuit of damaging intelligence about a political enemy. He had ties to online media provocateurs. And, above all, he understood the value of secrecy.”

Techdirt: FCC Accused Of Burying Data Highlighting Sorry State Of US Broadband. “Back in 2011 the FCC launched something called the Measuring American Broadband program. It was revolutionary in the fact that for the first time, the FCC refused to simply take ISPs at their word in terms of the speed and connection quality of their broadband offerings. Instead, the FCC hired UK firm Samknows to embed custom-firmware modified routers in the homes of thousands of real world broadband volunteers, providing insight into the real state of US broadband network performance, not the rosy picture of US broadband telecom industry lobbyists like to paint. Not surprisingly, actually using real world data to inform policy paid dividends.”


The Hindu: A new bank scam using Google Maps loophole. “Scamsters seem to have stumbled upon a gold mine in the form of a loophole in the Google Maps interface. Taking advantage of the fact that on Google Maps, an establishment’s contact details can be edited by anyone, a group of Thane-based con artists have been putting up their own contact numbers and getting customers who call them into revealing sensitive account details.”


Phys. org: Canadians’ and Americans’ Twitter language mirrors national stereotypes, researchers find. “A new study examining differences in the language used in nearly 40-million tweets suggests national stereotypes—Canadians tend to be polite and nice while Americans are negative and assertive—are reflected on Twitter, even if those stereotypes aren’t necessarily accurate.”

TechXplore: Who let the trolls out? Researchers investigate state-sponsored trolls . “Over the past few years, journalists and politicians have often highlighted the presence of state-sponsored online trolls with the mission of swaying public opinion on particular issues. Researchers at Cyprus University of Technology, UCL, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Boston University have taken a closer look at this phenomenon, hoping to achieve a better understanding of how these actors operate.”


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