YouTube Millionaires, Spotify, Facebook, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, December 22, 2019


BBC: YouTube’s top earners: Eight-year-old Ryan tops list with $26m. “An eight-year-old boy who reviews toys has been named as the highest earning YouTuber, for the second year in a row. Ryan, of Ryan’s World, earned $26m (£20m) in 2019, up from $22m in 2018, according to an annual top-10 ranking by Forbes, based on estimated earnings between June 2018 and June 2019.”

Neowin: Spotify is testing a Tastebuds feature to discover music through your friends. “Spotify often comes up with new ways to expand the social aspect of music listening, introducing new ways to share music with others, and even simultaneously control playback with friends. Now, as discovered by well-known reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong, it looks like Spotify is planning another social feature for its app.”

CNET: Facebook will stop using two-factor authentication phone numbers for friend suggestions. “Facebook will stop the practice of using phone numbers meant for two-factor authentication to suggest friends you may know. The move is part of the company’s efforts to clean up its privacy practices. Reuters reported the change on Thursday, which Facebook confirmed.”


Getty Iris: Reflections on 10 Years in Art, Archives, and Conservation. “This decade at Getty, we’ve seen new tools lead to new discoveries under the surface of a Rembrandt painting, watched as Instagram changed the museum experience, and embarked on projects that bring people together across the globe—to name just three. We asked a handful of Getty staffers from various areas of expertise to share their thoughts on what stood out for them as the key development of the past decade. Themes of collaboration, innovation, and open access quickly emerged. While this is not an exhaustive list, it’s certainly something to toast to!”

Slate: Pete Buttigieg’s Campaign Says This Wikipedia User Is Not Pete. So Who Is It?. “Pete Buttigieg, the young, telegenic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, prides himself on being the only millennial currently vying for the presidency, and his path up to this point has been a fairly deliberate one. He was even named ‘Most Likely to be U.S. President’ his senior year of high school. As any young aspiring politician knows, carefully maintaining your image online is key. And no tool in your early-career arsenal is quite as effective as Wikipedia.” I don’t really give a damn if Pete Buttigieg created a Wikipedia page for himself, but there’s some interesting detective work laid out here.

Nieman Lab: Podcasting unsilences the silent. “2020 will undoubtedly be a big podcast year for movie stars, presidential candidates, and the like. But we can’t let this commercialized, hyper-celebrity noise drown out the diverse voices, perspectives, and stories that can and should call podcasting home.”


Mashable: How a dead veteran became the face of a therapy app’s Instagram ad. “The Talkspace ad, which has since been removed, appeared to show Lindsey in conversation with a therapist. The two are depicted discussing common family struggles associated with the holidays.”

New York Times: Stamping Out Online Sex Trafficking May Have Pushed It Underground. “To combat the ills of the internet, federal lawmakers have increasingly focused on a decades-old law that shields tech companies like Facebook and YouTube from liability for content posted by their users. Last year, lawmakers approved chipping away at the law, voting overwhelmingly for the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which holds tech platforms accountable when people use their sites for sex-trafficking schemes…. But now, as the real-world effects of the sex-trafficking change take hold, some experts and politicians say the results are not all positive.”

Ars Technica: Hackers steal data for 15 million patients, then sell it back to lab that lost it. “Toronto, Ontario-based LifeLabs Notified Canadian authorities of the attack on November 1. The company said a cyberattack struck computer systems that stored data for about 15 million customers. The stolen information included names, addresses, email addresses, customer logins and passwords, health card numbers, and lab tests.”


Nieman Lab: Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists. “…there are probably few topics that have changed people’s perspective of what’s happening online so quickly and found their way into people’s lives and daily conversation than ‘fake news’ — a label that rose quickly and fell sharply after everyone seemed to agree that better terminology was needed. And now, in 2019, about 75 percent of Americans believe that at least some of the news they consume consists of disinformation — i.e., deliberately placed false information.”

Wall Street Journal: How to Police Facebook and Google Like a Public Place. “In 1928, a woman named Mary Donoghue bought a bottle of ginger beer from a cafe in Paisley, Scotland, and then fell ill after finding a dead snail inside. She sued the manufacturer and won. The ruling enshrined the concept of ‘duty of care’—a legal obligation to protect a customer, tenant or worker from harm. ‘The rule that you are to love your neighbor becomes in law “You must not injure your neighbor,”‘ proclaimed Lord Atkin of Aberdovey, who presided over the case in 1932 in Britain’s House of Lords, which reversed two lower courts to rule for Donoghue. Now, as Western regulators struggle with how to restrict the most harmful online content while at the same time protecting free speech, Britain has come to see the nearly century-old principle as a possible solution.”

Poynter: How our fact-checking predictions held up in 2019. “In October, the Duke Reporters’ Lab counted more than 200 fact-checking projects around the world. Facebook continued to grow its partnership with such organizations, hosting its first fact-checking summit at the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters. And misinformation continued to grow as a global problem. Each year, the IFCN makes a series of predictions for how fact-checking and misinformation will change. As we say goodbye to 2019, we wanted to check on how the predictions we made last year held up.” Good morning, Internet…

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