Instagram, TikTok, PledgeMusic, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, August 1, 2019


Search Engine Journal: Instagram Purges Meme Accounts, Shutting Down Pages With Millions of Followers. “Dozens of accounts with over 30 million followers combined were deleted without warning. The removal is permanent, meaning there’s no hope for the users to get their accounts restored.”

CNET: TikTok now lets you add GIFs to posts. “Users of social video app TikTok can now add GIFs to their posts, the company said Thursday. The update, part of a partnership with GIPHY, also makes TikTok memes available as GIPHY stickers.”

The Verge: Music crowdfunding website PledgeMusic goes offline amidst bankruptcy proceedings. “PledgeMusic, a crowdfunding site designed to allow fans to back projects from artists, has gone offline, according to Variety. The company closed down its operations earlier this year as it went into bankruptcy proceedings, and the site’s closure means that artists won’t be able to retrieve information on their profiles and fans.”


Poynter: The scary trend of internet shutdowns. “Around the world, governments have been turning to network shutdowns with increasing frequency to quell unrest and suppress the spread of rumors and fake news. But there is no empirical evidence that proves this tactic is effective, and activists and journalists alike have raised concerns over the catastrophic side effects these shutdowns often have on communities.”

KrASIA: China’s ByteDance to build a brand-new search engine to challenge Baidu. “The world’s most valuable startup ByteDance has started to recruit talent to build from scratch a general search engine for all internet users, the company announced via WeChat on Wednesday.” If you’re thinking to yourself, “What the heck is ByteDance?” — It’s the parent company of TikTok.


Brian Krebs: The Unsexy Threat to Election Security. “Much has been written about the need to further secure our elections, from ensuring the integrity of voting machines to combating fake news. But according to a report quietly issued by a California grand jury this week, more attention needs to be paid to securing social media and email accounts used by election officials at the state and local level.”

BBC: AI system ‘should be recognised as inventor’. “An artificial intelligence system should be recognised as the inventor of two ideas in patents filed on its behalf, a team of UK academics says. The AI has designed interlocking food containers that are easy for robots to grasp and a warning light that flashes in a rhythm that is hard to ignore.”

Washington Post: Capital One says data breach affected 100 million credit card applications. “Capital One, the Virginia-based bank with a popular credit card business, announced Monday that a hacker had accessed about 100 million credit card applications, and investigators say thousands of Social Security and bank account numbers were also taken.”


The Brookings Institution: How should governments respond to Facebook’s Libra initiative?. “How governments should respond to Libra depends on how the company integrates the cryptocurrency into their larger business. We envision Libra being integrated into the company’s broader business model as a basis for offering financial services, or possibly an even broader set of services. Given the increasing social and economic power of large tech firms, governments should proactively start thinking of how to respond to these firms’ entrance into new industries.”

The Conversation: Pseudoscience is taking over social media – and putting us all at risk. “Search for ‘climate change’ on YouTube and before long you’ll likely find a video that denies it exists. In fact, when it comes to shaping the online conversation around climate change, a new study suggests that deniers and conspiracy theorists might hold an edge over those believing in science. Researchers found evidence that most YouTube videos relating to climate change oppose the scientific consensus that it’s primarily caused by human activities. The study highlights the key role of social media use in the spread of scientific misinformation.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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