EU Elections, Baidu, Fake News, More: Friday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 17, 2019

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European Interest: Votul Meu: A new tool lunched in Romania. “The Center for the Study of Democracy in Romania has launched the independent vote matching tool, Votul Meu, ahead of the European elections. The interactive tool aims to match political preferences between parties and potential voters for the European elections, based on political parties’ campaign messages.”


Washington Post: White House declines to back Christchurch call to stamp out online extremism amid free speech concerns. “The United States broke with 18 governments and five top American tech firms Wednesday by declining to endorse a New Zealand-led effort to curb extremism online, a response to the live-streamed shootings at two Christchurch mosques that killed 51. White House officials said free-speech concerns prevented them from formally signing onto the largest campaign to date targeting extremism online. But it was another example of the United States standing at odds to some its closest allies.”

Reuters: Baidu swings to net loss for first time since listing, shares fall. “Chinese search engine operator Baidu Inc booked its first quarterly loss since at listing in 2005 and forecast quarterly revenue below market estimates, saying a ‘challenging marketing environment’ is sapping income from advertisers.”

The Moscow Times: Russia to Set Up ‘Fake News Database’. “Alexander Zharov’s regulatory agency, known by the acronym Roskomnadzor, has successfully blocked LinkedIn in Russia and is currently engaged in a yearlong battle to ban access to the popular Telegram messaging app. Roskomnadzor has also ordered news websites to delete content under a Russian law that bans ‘blatant disrespect’ toward the authorities.”


Make Tech Easier: How to Create a Useful Daily Digest List with Google Assistant. “On its own, Google Assistant has an incredible amount of features that make your life more functional, but when you pair it with other programs, you increase its value exponentially. And that’s what we’re going to do here, provide those who are just a bit scattered with an even better way to make sure we accomplish those tasks.”


Stuff NZ: Online advertising: NZ Government spends millions with Facebook, Google and other social media platforms. “Government departments have invested hundreds of millions in advertising on social media platforms in the past five years in order to reach the precise and captive audiences offered only in those online spaces. However, the ethics of public bodies capitalising on the algorithmic models offered by the likes of Facebook and Google is being called into question in a post-Christchurch terror attack world.”

Huffington Post: Bureau Of Land Management Scrubs Stewardship Language From News Releases . “The Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency that oversees more than 245 million acres of public land, has stripped its conservation-focused mission statement from agency news releases.”

The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy: “So You Want to Build a Digital Archive?” A Dialogue on Critical Digital Humanities Graduate Pedagogy. “This article presents conversations between an Assistant Professor and graduate student as they negotiate various methods and approaches to designing a digital archive. The authors describe their processes for deciding to develop a digital archive of street art in Kathmandu, Nepal through an anticolonial, feminist perspective that highlights community knowledge-making practices while also leveraging the affordances of digital representation. Written in the style of a dialogue, this article illustrates the various tensions and negotiations that interdisciplinary student-instructor teams may encounter when deciding how to design a digital archive through critical frameworks.”


The Verge: AI translation boosted eBay sales more than 10 percent. “We often hear that artificial intelligence is important for economic growth, and while that claim makes intuitive sense, there isn’t a lot of hard data to back it up. A recent study from economists at MIT and Washington University in St. Louis offers some proof, though, showing how AI tools boost trade by allowing sellers to cross the language barrier.”

Ars Technica: No, someone hasn’t cracked the code of the mysterious Voynich manuscript. “There are so many competing theories about what the Voynich manuscript is—most likely a compendium of herbal remedies and astrological readings, based on the bits reliably decoded thus far—and so many claims to have deciphered the text, that it’s practically its own subfield of medieval studies. Both professional and amateur cryptographers (including codebreakers in both World Wars) have pored over the text, hoping to crack the puzzle.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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