Facebook, Mozilla, Local Photography, More: Monday Evening ResearchBuzz, June 10, 2019


Ars Technica: Facebook bans health and conspiracy site Natural News. “Facebook on Sunday removed the prominent health and conspiracy site Natural News from its platform and banned its incendiary founder from posting content. Though Facebook did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment on the suspension, Facebook’s move comes just a day after The Daily Beast published a report into the wild, far-right conspiracy theories that have become staples on Natural News.”

CNET: Mozilla may start offering premium services this fall. “Chris Beard, CEO of Firefox browser maker Mozilla, reportedly wants to offer premium services and subscriptions as part of a new income plan. In an interview with German magazine t3n published Friday, Beard suggested this might include a secure storage solution or a VPN service.”


Lifehacker: Find Local Hotspots With These Photography Maps. “Data artist Eric Fischer built a map of the world, populated with data from geotagged Twitter photos. A blue dot means a local took a photo in that spot; a red dot means a tourist took a photo. (Fischer identified locals as anyone who took photos in one city for over a month, and tourists as anyone taking photos outside their usual city.) The maps show that tourists concentrate in certain areas, usually dense city centers, while locals spread out everywhere.”

The Next Web: Here’s how to find ethical alternatives to big tech products and services. “It’s not like any of us went to a store for unethical people and told the clerk to load us up with dozens of products and services developed by companies that have no regard for personal privacy, human rights, or the future of our planet. But here we sit.”

Social Media Examiner: How to Build a Google Data Studio Dashboard. “When you’re a small business with a limited marketing budget, it can be difficult to identify which social media marketing efforts are working the best. Sifting through spreadsheets and Google Analytics reports can be daunting—not to mention time-intensive—if you’re not super comfortable with data and math. This is why setting up a dashboard can be a good solution. It can help you quickly find answers to pertinent questions and make more informed decisions without spending hours crunching numbers in Excel.”


Engadget: Russia to start blocking major VPNs after censorship refusal. “Russia’s hatred for censorship-dodging VPNs is well-known, and it’s now prepared to follow through on its warnings. Telecoms oversight chief Alexander Zharov told Interfax that he expected to block nine major VPNs, including ExpressVPN and NordVPN, for refusing to connect to a national blacklist that would prevent people from accessing sites through their tunneling services. He expected that the crackdown could take place within a month.”

BBC: ‘#IAmHere’: The people trying to make Facebook a nicer place. “It’s 7:30 in Berlin, and Nina’s alarm clock is going off. Before getting up and making breakfast for her 13-month-old daughter, who is sleeping in the next room, she reaches for her phone. Unlike many of us, Nina’s not checking her emails, the news, or looking at gossip sites or posting photos. Instead, every day Nina opens up Facebook and heads straight to the closed group #IchBinHier (‘#IAmHere’).”


Quartz: The world’s biggest economies are moving closer to a global tax for big tech. “The world’s largest economies took a step toward effectively taxing tech giants like Facebook and Google, by compiling rules that would close loopholes used to avoid corporate taxes. Such a crackdown could make it harder for multinational tech firms to reduce their tax burden by booking profits in countries that have low tax rates, according to Reuters, citing a draft communique by G20 finance ministers, who are meeting in Japan.”

ThreatPost: VLC Player Gets Patched for Two High-Severity Bugs. “Maintainers of the popular open-source VLC media player patched two high-severity bugs Friday. The flaws were an out-of-bound write vulnerability and a stack-buffer-overflow bug. Developers behind the software, VideoLAN, said the patches were two of 33 fixes being pushed out to the media player and part of a new bug bounty program funded by European Commission.”


Wolfram Blog: Automated Authorship Verification: Did We Really Write Those Blogs We Said We Wrote?. “Several Months Ago… I wrote a blog post about the disputed Federalist Papers. These were the 12 essays (out of a total of 85) with authorship claimed by both Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. … The field of work that gave rise to the methods used often goes by the name of ‘stylometry,’ and it lies behind most methods for determining authorship from text alone (that is to say, in the absence of other information such as a physical typewritten or handwritten note). In the case of the disputed essays, the pool size, at just two, is as small as can be. Even so, these essays have been regarded as difficult for authorship attribution due to many statistical similarities in style shared by Hamilton and Madison.” Good evening, Internet…

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