Twitter, Instagram, Higher Education, More: Friday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, August 16, 2019


TechCrunch: Twitter tests ways for users to follow and snooze specific topics. “You may soon be able to organize Twitter’s web of hashtags and handles in a smarter way — that is, if the company can pull off its ambitious new rethinking of the app’s timelines.”

NiemanLab: Finally, Instagram is getting fact-checked (in a limited way and just in the U.S., for now). “Facebook is expanding the third-party fact-checking program that it launched on its own platform in 2016 to Instagram — something that many who watch the space have advocated for awhile. Facebook has owned Instagram for seven years; this is an expansion of a trial that began in May.”

Google Blog: Explore college opportunities with new Search features. “The college search feature we launched last year helps students get quick access to information about four-year U.S. universities, including acceptance rates, costs and student outcomes like graduation rates. As this year’s college search season kicks off, we’re expanding our college search features to include two-year colleges and popular certificate and associate programs available at four-year institutions.”


PopSugar: This Instagram Tool Tells You How Many Followers Are Fake — Including on Celebrity Accounts. “Have you ever wondered how many of your Instagram followers are fake? Or been curious about just how many real people actually follow your favorite celebrities? Instagram definitely has a fake account problem, with a whole army of bots, blank accounts, and sockpuppet accounts that are used to inflate accounts’ followings, often for a fee. But if you’ve ever wanted to cut through the noise and find out how many followers on any public account are real and how many are fake, this IG Audit tool is the answer!”


New York Times: India Shut Down Kashmir’s Internet Access. Now, ‘We Cannot Do Anything.’. “As the Indian government’s shutdown of internet and phone service in the contested region enters its 11th day, Kashmir has become paralyzed. Shopkeepers said that vital supplies like insulin and baby food, which they typically ordered online, were running out. Cash was scarce, as metal shutters covered the doors and windows of banks and A.T.M.s, which relied on the internet for every transaction. Doctors said they could not communicate with their patients.”

Motherboard: Google Employee Writes Memo About ‘The Burden of Being Black at Google’. “The memo, obtained by Motherboard, is titled ‘The Weight of Silence,’ and argues that Google is lacking in diversity, and that some of its employees make racist or at least insensitive comments about minorities.”


Lifehacker: Change These Facebook Settings to Make Your Audio Recordings More Private. “As always, the best way to deal with these kinds of things is to not wait for the company to fix one of its programs, but ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep your data—and your voice—under your control.”

Tubefilter: YouTube Mom Indicted On 30 Counts Of Child Abuse Declared Incompetent To Stand Trial. “Machelle Hobson, the former proprietor of a popular YouTube children’s channel who was indicted on 30 counts of child molestation, child abuse, unlawful imprisonment, and child neglect in March, has been declared incompetent to stand trial by doctors on behalf of both the state and defense.” I’m not interested in noting legal troubles for any and all YouTube users, but because of the popularity of content featuring children on YouTube, this seemed worth paying attention to.


Search Engine Land: Now, more than 50% of Google searches end without a click to other content, study finds. “‘Zero-click searches …. have been on a steady rise for years, and I don’t expect that to reverse or plateau anytime soon,’ Rand Fishkin, founder of SparkToro, commented on the updated findings of his Google clickstream data study, released Tuesday. The updated data provided by Jumpshot found that in June, for the first time, the majority of Google searches (50.33%) ended without a click on an organic or paid search result.” WOW.

The Harvard Gazette: A red oak live tweets climate change. “Would it plead for rain in a drought? Fawn over a neighbor’s foliage? Crack jokes about how fast another tree loses its leaves in fall? It seems unlikely anyone will ever come across a loquacious linden. But for the arbor-curious, a red oak at the Harvard Forest in Petersham has been tweeting as @awitnesstree since July 17. Outfitted with sensors and cameras, and programmed with code that allows it to string together posts with prewritten bits of text, the Harvard Forest Witness Tree has been sharing on-the-ground insights into its own environmental life and that of its forest.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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