Wayback Machine, Facebook, Twitter, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, October 22, 2019


Internet Archive: The Wayback Machine: Fighting Digital Extinction in New Ways. “The average web page might last three months before it’s altered or deleted forever. You never know when access to the information on these web pages is going to be needed. It might be three months from now; it might be three decades. That’s how the Wayback Machine serves—making history by saving history. Now, the Wayback Machine is fighting digital extinction in brand new ways.”

Ars Technica: Facebook promises to beef up “election integrity” efforts heading into 2020. “With 379 long, long days to go until the 2020 US presidential election, Facebook is promising to do a better job than it did in 2016 of preventing bad actors, both foreign and domestic, from abusing its platform to potentially affect the outcome. The company unveiled a slew of ‘election integrity efforts’ today, saying the measures will ‘help protect the democratic process’ by identifying threats, closing vulnerabilities, and reducing ‘the spread of viral misinformation and fake accounts.'”

Mashable: Facebook will ban ads that discourage people from voting. “Voter suppression is a term that describes efforts to prevent people from voting by spreading anti-voting sentiment, sharing incorrect information about how to vote, and even undermining get out the vote efforts and voting infrastructure. Now, Facebook will outright prohibit ads that discourage people from voting. For example, Facebook wouldn’t allow someone to publish an ad that suggests that voting is pointless.” Because pointing out that the platform from which 43% of American citizens get their news is totally okay with running lies as political ads is not a cogent argument that voting is useless. Or is it?


Lifehacker: How to Create a Lurker Twitter Account Like Mitt Romney’s. “If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably heard about Senator Mitt Romney’s secret Twitter account, in which he called himself ‘Pierre Delecto’ and kept track of his kids as well as journalists, political associates, and a handful of celebrities. If your response to Romney’s fifteen extra minutes of fame was “Huh, I could use an account like that,” here’s how you set it up.”


Wired: How Meme Culture Changed the PSAT. “Thank you for coming and welcome to the College Board’s Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, the internet age edition. You must bring two No. 2 pencils, a photo ID, and an approved calculator. You must not smuggle in a protractor, or scarf down a sandwich, or post memes on Twitter that reveal test content. No, really: The penalty for such illicit memes could be the cancellation of your test score.”

New York Times: When the Student Newspaper Is the Only Daily Paper in Town. “As more than 2,000 newspapers across the country have closed or merged, student journalists from Michigan to Arizona have stepped in to fill the void.”


Digital Trends: Google VP says guests should be informed if you have smart devices in the home. “Consumer privacy is a tightrope act that no company has quite managed to nail down and that some seem to have given up on. In a recent interview with the BBC that followed Google’s event in New York, Rick Osterloh, the senior vice president of devices and services, said that homeowners might want to consider disclosing the presence of smart devices before they invite guests into their home.”

CNET: Georgia’s Supreme Court issues a landmark decision on vehicle data privacy. “Back in 2014, a man named Victor Mobley was driving his 2014 Dodge Charger along a tree-lined road in Henry County, Georgia. Two people in a 1999 Chevrolet Corvette pulled out from a driveway and were hit by Mobley. They died, and Mobley survived.”


Mississippi State University: New Publication Considers the Intersection of Google Searches and Crime Prevention. “How many times a day do you turn to Google for a question? With 98% of American adults using the Internet daily, Google has also become a common part of our searches for information. So, how does this turn to Google affect our lives and communities? SSRC scientists with the Innovative Data laboratory are asking this same question concerning searches about crime in the recent paper ‘Searching for Safety: Crime Prevention in the Era of Google.'”

EurekAlert: Data mining applied to scholarly publications to finally reveal Earth’s biodiversity. “The Biodiversity Literature Repository (BLR), a joint project of Plazi, Pensoft and Zenodo at CERN, takes on the challenge to open up the access to the data trapped in scientific publications, and find out how many species we know so far, what are their most important characteristics (also referred to as descriptions or taxonomic treatments), and how they look on various images. To do so, BLR uses highly standardised formats and terminology, typical for scientific publications, to discover and extract data from text written primarily for human consumption.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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