Collaborative Data Projects, Indigenous Languages, Political Ads, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, September 17, 2019


ProPublica: Making Collaborative Data Projects Easier: Our New Tool, Collaborate, Is Here. “Collaborations are a major part of ProPublica’s approach to journalism, and in the past few years we’ve run several large-scale collaborative projects, including Electionland and Documenting Hate. Along the way, we’ve created software to manage and share the large pools of data used by our hundreds of newsrooms partners. As part of a Google News Initiative grant this year, we’ve beefed up that software and made it open source so that anybody can use it.”

Phys .org: Research team developing Indigenous languages app . “… [Dr. Marguerite] Koole, an assistant professor of curriculum studies in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), is working with a team of teachers, researchers and programmers from across campus in order to launch a web-based database to help educators revive Indigenous languages. The database, named wîcêhtowin, contains information and links to websites, video/audio repositories, and apps designed to improve language knowledge.”

CNN: Snapchat launches political ads library as 2020 election ramps up . “The new library, available as a downloadable spreadsheet on Snap’s website, makes all political and issue-based ads on Snapchat publicly available — for the first time.”


TechCrunch: YouTube Music cracks down on rampant chart manipulation with new pay-for-play ban. “YouTube will no longer allow paid views and advertising to influence its YouTube Music Charts, the company announced this morning. Instead, it will calculate its rankings based only on view counts coming from organic plays. In addition, it’s changing its methodology for reporting on 24-hour record debuts to also only count views from organic sources, including direct links to the video, search results, Watch Next and Trending — but not video advertising.”

Neowin: Google will officially announce the Pixel 4 on October 15. “Just like last year, there’s not a lot that isn’t known about Google’s Pixel 4 smartphone ahead of its official announcement, but Google is having an event for it nonetheless. The company has invited members of the press to a hardware event on October 15 to ‘see a few new things Made by Google’.”


CNET: How to take screenshots with iPhone and Android phones. “Whatever the reason, here are several easy ways to capture your iPhone ($1,000 at Amazon) or Android screen. Stretch those fingers because they’re going to be a lot of buttons getting pressed (Actual buttons not figurative ones).”


Ars Technica: WSJ: Amazon changed search results to boost profits despite internal dissent. “The goal was to favor Amazon-made products as well as third-party products that rank high in ‘what the company calls “contribution profit,” considered a better measure of a product’s profitability because it factors in non-fixed expenses such as shipping and advertising, leaving the amount left over to cover Amazon’s fixed costs,’ the WSJ said.”

New Yorker: Instagram, Facebook, and the Perils of “Sharenting”. “The isolation of parenthood delivers one to strange places, especially in the early going, and you need your tribe. Sharing images or stories on social media makes the experience bearable, connecting one to a larger world at a time when the scales and contours of life feel as though they are shrinking.”

Washington Post: TikTok’s Beijing roots fuel censorship suspicion as it builds a huge U.S. audience. “A search for “#hongkong” on Twitter reveals a vast visual patchwork of the city’s unavoidable protests, including pro-China agitprop, sympathetic memes and imagery from the hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy marchers who have braved police crackdowns. But the same searches for Hong Kong on TikTok, the short-video app from a Beijing-based tech giant that has gone viral in the U.S., reveal a remarkably different — and, for the Chinese government, more politically convenient — version of reality: playful selfies, food photos and singalongs, with barely a hint of unrest in sight.”


NZCity: Sydney surgeon sues Google over negative reviews, but tech giant claims it is ‘subordinate distributor’. “A prominent Sydney plastic surgeon suing Google for defamation over business reviews invited the ‘robust public criticism’ by using ‘puffery and hyperbole’ in his own advertising, the tech giant claims.”

SC Magazine: Exposed server leaks PII on all 16.6 million Ecuador citizens. “If another leaky Elasticsearch server may seem a little anticlimactic, considering how frequently they occur, the latest find by security researchers might have more of a ‘wow’ factor since it exposed information on nearly all of Ecuador’s 16.6 million citizens, 6.7 million of them children.”

Techdirt: Content Moderation Is Impossible: Facebook Settles Legal Fight Over Famous Painting Of A Woman’s Genitals. “Just a few months ago, as part of our ongoing ‘content moderation at scale is impossible’ series, we wrote about how Facebook has spent over a decade now struggling with how to deal with naked female breasts. There are a lot more details in that post, but it initially had a ‘no nudity’ policy, but that got difficult when someone would post famous artwork or breastfeeding mothers. Facebook’s policy keeps trying to change to adapt, but no matter what it does it keeps running into more and more edge cases.” Good morning, Internet…

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