Gun Violence, Sri Lanka PEPs, Detecting Twitter Bots, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, November 29, 2019


The Guardian: A gun is fired on US school grounds twice a week, database reveals. “A gun is fired on a school campus in America nearly twice a week. Suicide, homicides, a police shooting, attacks on students by other students: more than once a month this past year, gunfire on American school and university campuses has turned deadly, according to a database of school gunfire incidents compiled by advocates.”

Colombo Gazette: Online database on politically exposed persons launched. This is for Sri Lanka. “A politically exposed person (PEP) is defined by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as an individual who is or has been entrusted with a prominent public function. Due to their position and influence, it is recognised that many PEPs are in positions that potentially can be abused for the purpose of committing corruption and money laundering offences.” There are currently over 2300 people in the database..

The Conversation: You can join the effort to expose Twitter bots. “In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections, more than 10,000 automated Twitter accounts got caught conducting a coordinated campaign of tweets to discourage people from voting. These automated accounts may seem authentic to some, but a tool called Botometer was able to identify them while they pretentiously argued and agreed, for example, that ‘democratic men who vote drown out the voice of women.’ We are part of the team that developed this tool that detects the bot accounts on social media. Our next effort, called BotSlayer, is aimed at helping journalists and the general public spot these automated social media campaigns while they are happening.”


The Verge: Twitter will remove inactive accounts and free up usernames in December . “Twitter is sending out emails to owners of inactive accounts with a warning: sign in by December 11th, or your account will be history and its username will be up for grabs again. Any account that hasn’t signed in for more than six months will receive the email alert. [Update: Twitter has announced it’s delaying this process until it can implement a way to memorialize the accounts of people who’ve died.]”

Books+Publishing: NZ Review of Books Pukapuka Aotearoa to close. “The quarterly publication was launched in 1991 and is the country’s only periodical dedicated to reviewing New Zealand books. On a fundraising page, publisher Peppercorn Press and the New Zealand Review of Books editors said the summer issue will be their last, and that they are seeking a new home for its online archive and teen review site, Hooked on NZ Books.”


Lifehacker: How to Preserve the Tweets of Someone Who Has Died Before Twitter Purges Them. “Twitter just announced that it is planning to free up usernames for inactive accounts. While that means that the coveted Twitter handle you’ve been eyeing might finally be yours, if you happen to grab it before anyone else, Twitter’s move comes with an unfortunate side effect: If someone you love is no longer around to use the service, their accounts might disappear, too.”


ProPublica: The $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information. “The Trump administration redesigned the online Medicare Cost Finder for seniors to compare complex health insurance options. But consumer advocates have identified instances when the tool has malfunctioned and given inaccurate plan and price data.”

The Cut: In the 2010s, Instagram Became the World’s Filter . “This is a man who co-founded a company at 26 that made him a billionaire by the time he was 32 (today he’s 35). Even after a decade that has left many people confused by the role of social media in our lives, Kevin Systrom holds fast to the original premises of Silicon Valley: Technology can improve our lives, connecting people helps humanity, and tech guys aren’t just in it for the money.”

CNET: Google says it fired four employees for breaking data security rules. “Google has fired four employees for breaking rules related to data security, according to a staff memo Bloomberg published in a report Monday. The terminations come days after approximately 200 Google workers and other supporters held a rally outside one of Google’s San Francisco offices. The activists at the rally Friday alleged that Google management is retaliating against employees for speaking out against the search giant.”


Deutsche Welle: Germany’s top court upholds murderer’s right to be forgotten. “Germany’s Constitutional Court has upheld the right of a man convicted of murder in 1982 to have his name removed from the internet. The man’s full name appeared in the online archive of a major news magazine.”


University of Arkansas: Wastewater Toolbox Launched to Help Textile Industry Improve Wastewater Footprint. “The Sustainability Consortium, founded by the University of Arkansas and the University of Arizona in 2012, has launched a Wastewater 101 Toolbox to help the textile industry learn about the causes, impact and treatment of wastewater. This free online resource will help manufacturers, retailers and brands improve their wastewater footprint and help the producers of clothing and textiles have a lesser effect on people and the planet’s resources.”

NiemanLab: Political hashtags like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter make some people doubt the stories they’re attached to. “People who identified as politically moderate perceived news posts to be significantly more partisan when the posts included hashtags. In fact, in their comments, politically moderate respondents who saw news posts with hashtags were more suspicious of the story’s credibility and focused more on the politics of the hashtag.” Good morning, Internet…

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