Facebook Advertising, Google, Tech Training, More: Friday Evening ResearchBuzz, October 4, 2019


GlobeNewswire: NYU Tandon data scientists launch tool to analyze Facebook political advertising in Canada (PRESS RELEASE). “Computer scientists at New York University Tandon School of Engineering today launched a new website that analyzes all Canadian Facebook political advertising in the leadup to the October 21 elections. The interactive, user-friendly website lets users easily explore the data and break down the advertising spend based on party, target demographic, region, and other factors.”


TechCrunch: Google announces Action Blocks, a new accessibility tool for creating mobile shortcuts. “Google today announced Action Blocks, a new accessibility tool that allows you to create shortcuts for common multi-step tasks with the help of the Google Assistant. In that respect, Action Blocks isn’t all that different from Shortcuts on iOS, for example, but Google is specifically looking at this as an accessibility feature for people with cognitive disabilities.”

CNET: Google CEO and Ivanka Trump announce plan to teach workers tech skills. “Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday unveiled an initiative to provide 250,000 training opportunities over the next five years for Americans to learn technology skills. Pichai made the announcement with Ivanka Trump at a round table event in Dallas.”


BuzzFeed News: Political Operatives Are Faking Voter Outrage With Millions Of Made-Up Comments To Benefit The Rich And Powerful. “A BuzzFeed News investigation — based on an analysis of millions of comments, along with court records, business filings, and interviews with dozens of people — offers a window into how a crucial democratic process was skewed by one of the most prolific uses of political impersonation in US history. In a key part of the puzzle, two little-known firms, Media Bridge and LCX Digital, working on behalf of industry group Broadband for America, misappropriated names and personal information as part of a bid to submit more than 1.5 million statements favorable to their cause.”

BBC: Vienna selfie museum aims to make art more enticing. “An Instagram-friendly museum is opening in Vienna, with interactive spaces for young people to create their own art. Filled with brightly-coloured walls and giant objects, it has everything needed for the perfect selfie.”


Reuters: London court allows mass claim against Google over iPhone data. “London’s Court of Appeal gave the go-ahead for action against Google over claims it collected data from more than 4 million iPhone users, overturning a ruling in 2018 that in effect blocked any route to legal redress.”

New York Times: Egypt Is Using Apps to Track and Target Its Citizens, Report Says. “A series of sophisticated cyberattacks targeting Egyptian journalists, academics, lawyers, opposition politicians and human rights activists has been traced to Egyptian government offices, a cybersecurity firm has found.”


Hollywood Reporter: Geena Davis Unveils Partnership With Disney to “Spellcheck” Scripts for Gender Bias. “Named ‘GD-IQ: Spellcheck for Bias,’ the new tool leverages patented machine learning technology developed at the University of Southern California to rapidly analyze the text of a script to determine its number of male and female characters and whether they are representative of the real population at large. The technology also can discern the numbers of characters who are people of color, LGBTQI, possess disabilities or belong to other groups typically underrepresented and failed by Hollywood storytelling.”

Phys .org: US government research in ‘crisis,’ warns think tank. “Interference in government research by US President Donald Trump’s administration has reached a ‘crisis point’ with almost weekly violations of previously respected safeguards, a report by a think tank said Thursday, warning that ignoring science has led to ineffective and costly policy.”


NASA: NASA’s InSight ‘Hears’ Peculiar Sounds on Mars. “Put an ear to the ground on Mars and you’ll be rewarded with a symphony of sounds. Granted, you’ll need superhuman hearing, but NASA’s InSight lander comes equipped with a very special ‘ear.'” Good evening, Internet…

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