Facebook, Firefox, ICANN, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, January 9, 2020


BBC: Facebook to ban ‘deepfakes’. “Facebook said it would remove videos if it realised they had been edited in ways that weren’t obvious to an average person, or if they misled a viewer into thinking that a person in a video said words they did not actually say.” There has been a whole lot flying around about this. I suspect we’re going to hear more soon.

BetaNews: Firefox 72 improves site notifications tool, rolls out picture-in-picture video to Mac and Linux. “Mozilla has released Firefox 72.0 for desktop, along with Firefox for Android 68.4 and Firefox ESR 68.4.0. Mac and Linux users gain the picture-in-picture video feature introduced for Windows in Firefox 71. Fingerprinting scripts are now blocked as standard with this new release, while intrusive pop-up notifications from websites have been confined to the Address Bar to prevent disruption when browsing.”

The Verge: ICANN’s founding chairman joins the battle to keep .org out of private hands. “The new non-profit cooperative corporation, officially called the Cooperative Corporation of .ORG Registrants, is led by many people who currently have or have had influence over the inner workings of the Internet, including Esther Dyson, the founding chairman of ICANN (the non-profit that oversees domain names on the internet), Katherine Maher, the CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation (the parent company of Wikipedia), and William Woodcock, the executive director of Packet Clearing House (an organization that helps support internet infrastructure and the domain name system).”

TechCrunch: Twitter’s new reply blockers could let Trump hide critics. “What if politicians could only display Twitter replies from their supporters while stopping everyone else from adding their analysis to the conversation? That’s the risk of Twitter’s upcoming Conversation Participants tool it’s about to start testing that lets you choose if you want replies from everyone, only those your follow or mention or no one.” I’m not hopeful about this new policy.


National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition: National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition Announces Ten-year Strategic Plan And Receives $10m Grant. “The new plan consists of four strategic pillars focusing the organization’s work in global advocacy, healing values and practices, organizational infrastructure and education; a number of positive outcomes are expected for each. These include establishing a national truth and healing center, developing curriculum, producing a documentary series, creating a national digital archive and issuing policy statements that support the work of tribes and other agencies related to boarding schools.”

CNET: US Army says texts about draft are fake. “In the days since Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike, some people in the US received texts saying they’d been drafted into military service. The US Army says those messages are fake.”

ABC News (Australia): Fires misinformation being spread through social media. “Australia’s bushfire emergency is being exploited on social media, as misinformation is spread through cyberspace via hundreds of thousands of posts.”


Chicago Tribune: Jussie Smollett investigation: Judge orders Google to turn over a full year of the actor’s data as part of special prosecutor probe. “A Cook County judge has ordered Google to turn over Jussie Smollett’s emails, photos, location data and private messages for an entire year as part of the special prosecutor’s investigation into the purported attack on the actor.”

Ars Technica: Firefox gets patch for critical zeroday that’s being actively exploited. “Mozilla has released a new version of Firefox that fixes an actively exploited zeroday that could allow attackers to take control of users’ computers. In an advisory, Mozilla rated the vulnerability critical and said it was ‘aware of targeted attacks in the wild abusing this flaw.'”

New York Times: Sonos, Squeezed by the Tech Giants, Sues Google. “In 2013, Sonos scored a coup when Google agreed to design its music service to work easily with Sonos’s home speakers. For the project, Sonos handed over the effective blueprints to its speakers. It felt like a harmless move, Sonos executives said. Google was an internet company and didn’t make speakers. The executives now say they were naïve.”


Princeton University: No laboratory needed: The Person Project mines social science data with secure online activities . “Understanding the human psyche is complex, for ordinary people and scientists alike. Now, researchers at Princeton University have created a new tool for social scientists to study human psychology through a series of fun, thought-provoking activities. Launched this month, the Person Project website and smartphone app (available for both iPhone and Android) are designed to encrypt and store securely collected data from users who participate in these activities, providing an online platform for researchers to use in academic studies.”

Phys .org: The conservation of cultural heritage in the face of climate catastrophe. “Cultural heritage can be destroyed. It can decay. Once it is gone, it is gone forever, sadly. Writing in the International Journal of Global Warming, Portuguese researchers discuss the potential impact of climate change on cultural heritage and how we might lose artifacts as extreme weather has a worsening impact on our world.”

South China Morning Post: Internet access, social media shutdowns cost world over US$8 billion in 2019. “The total economic cost of major internet access and social media shutdowns around the world topped US$8 billion last year, according to a new report, which predicted that these disruptions would continue amid ongoing political turmoil.” Good morning, Internet…

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