afternoonbuzz

Chrome, Google Duo, European Elections, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 28, 2019

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Ars Technica: Google turbo-charging the back button with Chrome’s new “back/forward cache”. “Google is developing a new cache for Chrome (via CNET) that should make some page loads extremely fast. The only catch? They’ll have to be pages you’ve already seen and are revisiting after hitting the browser’s back button.”

Gizbot: Google Duo video chat app is available on the web. “Recently, Google has been working towards expanding the support of Duo, its video calling app. Earlier this year, there were rumors and speculations that the service will get a web version. Now, the rumors have come to reality as the video chat service has been rolled out to the web users as well.”

Reuters: Google, Facebook, Twitter fail to live up to fake news pledge. “Google, Facebook and Twitter have fallen short of their pledges to combat fake news, three months before key European elections, the European Commission said on Thursday.

USEFUL STUFF

StateScoop: Browser extension’s creators say it’ll boost civic engagement via social media. “The tool, called ePluribus, allows users to turn their comments on Facebook, Twitter or news websites into messages that can be sent to their elected representatives and easily shared online. Developed by brothers Aidan and Liam McCarty, the tool is billed as a means to ‘fight bots and political meddling’ and ‘give Americans their voices back.'”

Make Tech Easier: The Ultimate Superuser’s Guide to uBlock Origin. “uBlock Origin is the most powerful and versatile ad blocker available. Unfortunately, the design is also a little obscure. This guide will explain the ins and outs of uBlock Origin’s advanced features, including adding custom lists, creating custom user filters, setting up dynamic blocking rules, and adjusting rules for uBlock Origin on specific domains with the advanced user interface.” CRAZY deep dive.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Reuters: Social media fake news fans tension between India and Pakistan. “With India and Pakistan standing on the brink of war this week, several false videos, pictures and messages circulated widely on social media, sparking anger and heightening tension in both countries.”

Vanity Fair: “Men Are Scum”: Inside Facebook’s War On Hate Speech. “It’s nine A.M. on an autumn Tuesday, and I’m sitting in on a meeting about ‘men are scum’ at Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, California. The trouble started a year ago, in the fall of 2017. The #MeToo movement had recently begun. Nicole Silverberg, currently a writer on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, had shared on her Facebook page a trove of bilious comments directed at her after she’d written a list of ways men ‘need to do better.’ In the comments section beneath her post, another comic, Marcia Belsky, wrote, ‘Men are scum.’ Facebook kicked Belsky off the platform for 30 days.”

Forbes Africa: Navigating Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP: How Google Is Quietly Making Blockchains Searchable. “It’s a balmy 80 degrees on a mid-December day in Singapore, and something is puzzling Allen Day, a 41-year-old data scientist. Using the tools he has developed at Google, he can see a mysterious concerted usage of artificial intelligence on the blockchain for Ethereum. Ether is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency (after bitcoin and XRP), and it still sports a market cap of some $11 billion despite losing 83% of its value in 2018. Peering into its blockchain—the distributed database of transactions underpinning the cryptocurrency—Day detects a ‘whole bunch’ of ‘autonomous agents’ moving funds around ‘in an automated fashion.'”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Softpedia: Google Chrome Zero-Day Lets Hackers Harvest User Data. “A zero-day vulnerability in Google Chrome allows hackers to harvest personal data using nothing else than malicious PDF documents loaded in the browser.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

CNET: YouTube recommendations for ‘alt-right’ videos have dropped dramatically, study shows. “Google has made ‘major changes’ to its recommendations system on YouTube that have reduced the amount of ‘alt-right’ videos recommended to users, according to a study led by Nicolas Suzor, an associate professor at Queensland University of Technology. During the first two weeks of February, alt-right videos appeared in YouTube’s ‘Up Next’ recommendations sidebar 7.8 percent of the time (roughly one in 13). From Feb. 15 onward, that number dropped to 0.4 percent (roughly one in 250).” Good afternoon, Internet…

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