Washington DC History, Instagram, WhatsApp, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, November 11, 2019


Washington Post: D.C.’s Black Broadway is gone. A Georgetown professor wants to remind U Street newcomers of its history.. “[Professor Ananya] Chakravarti convened a team of students, community members and experts to assemble a digital collection of U Street history that, she hopes, will make the area’s rich past easier to access and understand. She calls it ‘community-based historical preservation.'”


Wired: Instagram Will Test Hiding ‘Likes’ in the US Starting Next Week. “Months after the company tested hiding “like” counts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy, and Brazil, CEO Adam Mosseri announced today at WIRED25 that some US Instagram users can expect their like counts to vanish from public view. The company will begin testing next week, at first rolling out the change to a limited number of accounts.” That’s this week, as this story was released on November 8.

Neowin: WhatsApp Business app gains catalog feature to help small firms. “In order to make small firms sell goods more easily, WhatsApp has added a new feature to its WhatsApp Business app called catalogs. Catalogs are accessible via a business’s profile page and users can scroll through the different products to see a description and price. This will cut out the need for back and forward messaging between customers and businesses.”


MakeUseOf: 5 Apps and Sites to Find Reddit’s Best Posts and Favorite Recommendations. “Reddit has so many people talking about so many things across so many subreddits. How can you get the best recommendations easily? Well, there are a few sites and apps that collect the best of Reddit.”


BuzzFeed News: These Hugely Popular Local News Sites In The US And Canada Are Fake. “Since 2004, more than 2,000 newspapers have closed in the United States, and many local news outlets are struggling to build a digital business. But one remarkable success story is the Albany Daily News, a website that clocked nearly 10 million pageviews in August, roughly five times that of the 160-year-old Albany Times Union newspaper, according to analytics service SimilarWeb. The most popular news site in Albany has a simple secret to success: Fake just about everything and rake in the advertising dollars.”

The Week: Google Maps leads a car into a river in Kerala. “Travelling with Google Maps as a guide at night led a family in Kerala into a river, Manoramaonline reported. The family of Karikkal Sebastian was on their way from Palakkad to Thrissur in a car when they took to Google Maps to find a different route with less traffic. Since it was dark, they did not realise there was a water body in front of them, the publication reported. No casualties were reported. A similar incident was reported in September at Kasargod, when a car narrowly escaped falling into a pond.”


Krebs on Security: Study: Ransomware, Data Breaches at Hospitals tied to Uptick in Fatal Heart Attacks. “Hospitals that have been hit by a data breach or ransomware attack can expect to see an increase in the death rate among heart patients in the following months or years because of cybersecurity remediation efforts, a new study posits. Health industry experts say the findings should prompt a larger review of how security — or the lack thereof — may be impacting patient outcomes.”

New York Times: Building a World Where Data Privacy Exists Online. “Dawn Song, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the world’s foremost experts in computer security and trustworthy artificial intelligence, envisions a new paradigm in which people control their data and are compensated for its use by corporations. While there have been many proposals for such a system, Professor Song is one actually building the platform to make it a reality.”


Los Angeles Times: Opinion: The more outrageous the lie, the better it is for Facebook’s bottom line. “Digital platforms try to engage users with their services for as long and as intensively as possible. This lets them sell ads and gather personal data, which then generate more value. It turns out that lies generate outrage and fear and these emotions generate engagement. So as long as a platform’s financial returns align with outrage, it is optimized for information rubbish. It’s difficult to stop the dissemination of bad information, consistent with free speech values. But what we can do is check the dominance of platforms that profit from misinformation and empower users to defend against it.”

BetaNews: Consumers shun social media and apps in favor of emails and texts. “In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of different channels that businesses use to keep in touch with their customers. But a new study from cloud communications platform Twilio reveals that the newer channels aren’t especially popular, with 83 percent of global consumers saying they prefer email when receiving communications from businesses.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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