afternoonbuzz

Tumblr, Facebook, Verizon Media Group, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, December 19, 2018

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

CNET: Tumblr porn ban goes into effect, puppy photos caught in sweep. “Tumblr’s ban on adult content went into effect Monday, and it didn’t take long for users to bare their naked thoughts on the move. The blogging platform announced the change Dec. 3 in a post titled ‘A better, more positive Tumblr.’ On Monday, a new post apologized for what the site admitted has ‘not been an easy transition.’ Flagged content will be hidden, not deleted, the site reported.” The examples in the article would be hysterical if they weren’t enraging.

Engadget: Facebook’s ‘Clear History’ tool won’t arrive until spring 2019. “When Facebook introduced its Clear History feature in May, it expected to offer the privacy-oriented controls in the space of a few months. Well… it’s going to take decidedly longer than that. The company’s David Baser told Recode in an interview that Clear History will be available for testing ‘by spring of 2019.’ It’s ‘taking longer’ to implement the de-identification technology than Facebook first thought, Baser said. He pinned it on major technical hurdles that cropped up in development.”

Verizon: Introducing Verizon Media Group . “I’m excited today to share that beginning January 8, 2019, Verizon Media Group will replace the Oath brand, representing our strong alignment as a core pillar of Verizon’s business.” If I had to take a $4.6 billion markdown on my Yahoo-AOL properties, I’d probably change the name too.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Neowin: Former Edge intern says Google sabotaged Microsoft’s browser. “Almost two weeks ago, Microsoft announced that it will be rebuilding its in-house Edge browser from Chromium, all but ditching its EdgeHTML rendering engine. There are many reasons for the change, and the speculation goes even beyond that. Microsoft said that it will do a better job of standardizing the web; using the same open-source browser as Google’s Chrome makes things easier on developers. Former software engineering intern on the Edge team at Microsoft Joshua Bakita says otherwise though.” This is one person saying this as far as I can tell, and I haven’t seen stories anywhere else. If I hear more, I’ll post more.

Techdirt: NY Times Columnist Nick Kristof Led The Charge To Get Facebook To Censor Content, Now Whining That Facebook Censors His Content. “last week, Kristof weighed in on US policy in Yemen. The core of his argument was to discuss the horrific situation of Abrar Ibrahim, a 12-year-old girl who is starving in Yemen, and weighs just 28 pounds. There’s a giant photo of the emaciated Ibrahim atop the article, wearing just a diaper. It packs an emotional punch, just as intended. But, it turns out that Facebook is blocking that photo of Ibrahim, claiming it is ‘nudity and sexual content.’ And, boy, is Kristof mad about it:”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Reuters: Twitter tumbles on concerns about hacking activity. “Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) shares fell almost 7 percent on Monday after the company said it was investigating unusual traffic that might be from state-sponsored hackers and, in what appeared to be an unrelated issue, a security firm said hackers used the platform to try to steal user data.”

The Hindu: Google Maps loophole: 60-yr-old loses ₹97,000. “A senior citizen lost ₹97,000 from his pension account last month after scamsters put up their own contact number in place of the contact details of the Bank of India’s Vikhroli branch on Google Maps. The Powai police have filed an FIR and launched a probe. The Hindu had reported in November how scamsters had taken advantage of a loophole on Google Maps, where an establishment’s contact details can be edited by anyone and customers calling the number are convinced to reveal sensitive bank details.” ₹97,000 is a little over $1350 USD. Also in yesterday’s India media, the case of a lady who lost Rs 1 Lakh — just over $1400 USD — due to a similar Google Maps scam.

RESEARCH & OPINION

New York Times: Social Media’s Forever War. “One takeaway from these reports might be that the Russian influence campaign of 2016 was a freak occurrence enabled by a perfect storm of vulnerabilities: growth-obsessed social media companies, unsuspecting intelligence agencies and an election featuring two hyper-polarizing candidates, one of which had a Russian blind spot and an army of supporters willing to believe convenient lies and half-truths. The other way to look at these reports, and probably a more accurate one, is that the 2016 election was the Pearl Harbor of the social media age: a singular act of aggression that ushered in an era of extended conflict.”

Quartz: Indian data scientists prefer learning from YouTube over IIT’s online courses. “YouTube isn’t all about entertainment. It’s also a learning tool for techies. Most data scientists in India—76% of them—turn to YouTube to keep themselves updated with new skills, according to a recent study by Analytics India Magazine (AIM) and ed-tech firm Great Learning.”

The Next Web: All I want for Christmas: Folders for Google Docs. “This is perhaps the saddest article I’ve written: I’m opening myself up to endless ridicule by admitting how deeply I care about something so incredibly mundane and objectively boring. But I don’t care. I’m a champion of the people, and I’m prepared to sacrifice myself for the greater good. Google, all I want for Christmas are folders for Google Docs.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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