California Babies, Law Schools, Google Play, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 14, 2019


Chronicle of Social Change: New Data Tool Measures Health of Every Baby Born in California. “With funding from the Heising-Simons Foundation, First 5 Association of California and Children’s Data Network launched the Strong Start Index with the goal of providing policymakers and service providers with more information about the resources available to children and families in every census tract in the state. The Strong Start Index contains 12 variables that measure the conditions into which children are born, using data collected at birth. This includes indicators such as healthy birth weight, being born to parents with at least a high school diploma, and access to and receipt of timely prenatal care.”


US News & World Report: U.S. News Considers Evaluating Law School Scholarly Impact. “U.S. News & World Report is expanding its Best Law Schools data collection with the goal of creating a new ranking that would evaluate the scholarly impact of law schools across the U.S. The intent is to analyze each law school’s scholarly impact based on a number of accepted indicators that measure its faculty’s productivity and impact using citations, publications and other bibliometric measures.”

CNET: Google Play: We’ve cracked down on bad apps. “The Play Store rejected at least 55 percent more app submissions in 2018 than in 2017, according to the blog. Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for how many apps were rejected in 2018. But for reference, the company removed over 700,000 apps in 2017.”


Make Tech Easier: 4 of the Best Internet History Tracking Apps You Can Use. “Viewing Internet browsing history has many uses. You can do online research, keep track of idle surfing and prepare mental notes. While parental control solutions can achieve the same goal, the focus of this article is not surveillance. Instead, it is about gaining a bird’s eye view of the websites you surf. Here are some of the best Internet history tracking apps you can use.”


BuzzFeed News: Pro-Trump Activists Are Boosting A Twitter App Used By Banned Personalities And It Appears To Have Already Stalled. “A prominent activist with close ties to Donald Trump urged British conservatives to abandon Twitter and embrace a new social media app dominated by right-wing political views and used by several far-right figures who are banned from Twitter. Candace Owens — a rising star on the American right who attracted controversy last week because of comments about Adolf Hitler first reported by BuzzFeed News — told an audience in London that the new platform, Parler News, would be a conservatives haven away from the perceived left-wing bias of Silicon Valley and mainstream publishers such as the Guardian and New York Times.”

New York Times: When Facebook Spread Hate, One Cop Tried Something Unusual. “In most of the world, rumor-fueled meltdowns are taken as a fact of life, a product of Facebook’s propensity for stirring up people’s worst impulses. But Andreas Guske, a trim, steely-eyed police inspector in the refugee-heavy Bavarian town of Traunstein where the rumor circulated, didn’t think his community could afford complacence. Attacks on refugees were already rising. And southern Germany is a front line in Europe’s battle over identity and immigration.”

Mother Jones: 10 Years of Privacy Violations, Disinformation, and Friend Requests From Facebook. “As Facebook assumed its central role in the information landscape, the company quietly made decisions that boosted profits with little regard to the consequences for privacy, politics, and the news industry. When those controversial calls and other travails associated with abuses of the platform gradually came to light, Facebook, as early investor Roger McNamee put it early this year, often followed a PR playbook of ‘deny, delay, deflect, dissemble.’ A decadelong chronicle of lawsuits and leaks offers a window into the social-­media giant and how its leader’s ethos to “move fast and break things” strained the public’s trust.”

Economic Times: Pakistan announces ‘massive’ social media crackdown. “Pakistani authorities Wednesday vowed to carry out a ‘massive’ crackdown targeting hate speech and extremism on social media, as a minister boasted arrests have already been made.”


BetaNews: User data exposed in 500px security breach… that happened in the middle of last year. “The photo sharing site 500px has revealed details of a security breach that took place in mid-2018. The company says that its engineering team only became aware of the breach — which is thought to have taken place around July 5, 2018 — a few days ago. 500px launched an investigation in conjunction with a third party and police, and says that ‘an unauthorized party gained access to our systems and acquired partial user data’.”


Liz Fong-Jones: Google Workers Lost a Leader, But the Fight Will Continue. “I have grave concerns about how strategic decisions are made at Google today, and who is missing a seat at the bargaining table. Google bears the responsibility of being one of the most influential companies in the world, but it has misused its power to place profits above the well-being of people. Executives seem to have forgotten the ethos of the company’s earliest employees — ’don’t be evil’ — and ethical stances, such as pulling out of China over censorship concerns in 2010, have been supplanted by shadowy efforts to appease the country’s government at the expense of human rights.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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