Domain Names, Google Easter Eggs, Twitter, More: Sunday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 28, 2019


The Register: Internet industry freaks out over proposed unlimited price hikes on .org domain names. “The organization that oversees the domain name system, ICANN, has proposed an end to price caps on one of the internet’s most popular extensions – .org – and many in the internet industry are unhappy about it.”

Search Engine Journal: Google Thanos Easter Egg Wipes Out Half of All Search Engine Results . “Worried about seeing ‘Avengers: Endgame’ spoilers on Google? You could always wipe out half of the search results. A new (and awesome) Google easter egg is turning the search results to dust.”

TechCrunch: Twitter makes ‘likes’ easier to use in its twttr prototype app. (Nobody tell Jack.). “On the one hand, you’ve got Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey lamenting the ‘like’ button’s existence, and threatening to just kill the thing off entirely for incentivizing the wrong kind of behavior. On the other hand, you have twttr — Twitter’s prototype app where the company is testing new concepts including, most recently, a way to make liking tweets even easier than before.”


Ubergizmo: How To Watermark Your Photos (For Free). “It has become increasingly common to find images that have been ‘stolen’ and reposted online without either paying for the licensing rights or attributing its creator. It seems highly unlikely that this is a problem that could ever truly go away. However, watermarking your images is one of the ways that you can actually use to combat the problem, and here’s how you can go about doing that.”


Hmm Daily: Why Did a YouTube Bot Make an Unwatched Video of Our Blog Post? “Last night, I tried to use Google to pull up a recent post I’d written for Hmm Daily, the one about the terrible letter Jon Robin Baitz wrote to explain how screenwriting had made him personally too rich and successful to support the screenwriters’ union in their current conflict with the Hollywood agencies. I typed in the headline—the scab has a script—and the very first result was my own piece, which was what I was looking for. But right there with it was another result: a video, also called ‘The Scab Has a Script,’ with a thumbnail featuring the same inflatable-rat-at-a-typewriter image that had been on the post.”

Business Insider: The new $100 million podcast startup Luminary has been getting blasted by top podcasters — here’s what’s going on. I didn’t know anything about this controversy until it exploded all over my RSS feeds. If you’ve been wondering, too, this is a good overview. “With $100 million in startup capital and an ambitious plan to become the Netflix of podcasts, Luminary was off to a strong start…. But in the last week, amid an increasingly loud outcry from major podcast producers, Luminary has gone from a potentially huge new player in podcasting to a pariah. Here’s what’s going on.”

BBC: ‘Extremist’ Google algorithms concern ex-police chief. “A former police chief has called on Google to amend its technology to help stop the spread of terrorist material. Ex-Met Police assistant commissioner Sir Mark Rowley says it is a disgrace a jailed radical preacher ranks top for search term ‘British Muslim spokesman’.”


Wired: The Rise and Fall of Facebook’s Memory Economy . “Facebook’s Memories feature—where it shows you pictures and posts from a day in the recent or far-gone past—used to be my favorite thing about the platform. I mean, I have posted some hilarious things that my son said when he was little, and that time I went on a reporting trip to Area 51 was seriously cool. Heck, I’ve reposted it three years in a row. Now, though, I think Memories is the platform’s most cynical element. It’s a cheap ploy to keep us creating new posts, keep us interested, at a time when our interest is starting to drift away.”

New York Times: The Devastating Consequences of Being Poor in the Digital Age. “I led Pew Research Center’s research on understanding how Americans’ attitudes toward privacy were affected by Edward Snowden’s leak of documents about widespread government surveillance by the National Security Agency. Through surveys and focus group interviews, I started to see that part of the untold story in the research and policy community was the way in which low-income communities experience privacy-related harms differently.”

The Ohio State University: Tech fixes can’t protect us from disinformation campaigns. “More than technological fixes are needed to stop countries from spreading disinformation on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, according to two experts. Policymakers and diplomats need to focus more on the psychology behind why citizens are so vulnerable to disinformation campaigns, said Erik Nisbet and Olga Kamenchuk of The Ohio State University.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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