9-1-1 Legislation, Robocalls, GameSnacks, More: Friday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 14, 2020


RadioResource International: Database Tracks States’ 2019 9-1-1-Related Legislation. “The National 911 Program and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) made a database that summarizes 2019 key enacted legislation available. Since 2012, the database has served as a resource for states looking to gather insight into neighboring legislative efforts or improve their emergency communications operations. The information allows states to easily compare recently enacted laws or modifications to existing laws involving 9-1-1.”


Motherboard: This App Automatically Cancels and Sues Robocallers. “DoNotPay, the family of consumer advocacy services meant to protect people from corporate exploitation, is launching a new app aimed at helping end our long national nightmare surrounding robocalls by giving you a burner credit card to get their contact details then giving you a chatbot lawyer to automatically sue them.” Oh, if they only had one that worked for land lines…

CNET: Google’s GameSnacks brings bite-size web games to slow phones. “On Thursday, Google released its new casual mobile-gaming collection. GameSnacks, from Google’s Area 120 development lab, is aiming to improve game loading for people using low-memory devices, and devices on 2G or 3G networks. GameSnacks joins the ranks of quickly loading game platforms like Facebook’s Instant Games.”

The Verge: Snapchat is testing a big new redesign. “Snap is working on two significant tests that could reshape its flagship app in a critical year. Tipsters have provided me with screenshots of two ongoing tests that have rolled out to a small percentage of Snapchat’s user base.”


Search Engine Journal: Citations & Local SEO: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide. “When set up correctly, citations can be really easy to manage and can lead to improved local rankings. However, if done incorrectly, citations can be a nightmare to clean up. In this guide, I’ll walk you through every facet of citations to help you improve your local SEO strategy.”

Medium: How to Start “Marie Kondo’ing” Your Facebook Account. “Perhaps there are some groups that only meet on Facebook that you otherwise couldn’t participate in. Or maybe you currently use it for your business which makes it hard to leave altogether. If you don’t want to delete it just yet, how about giving it a ‘Marie Kondo’ makeover instead?” I have not deleted my Facebook account yet — please note that glares of icy contempt will be donated to charity if not claimed within 24 hours — but I did remove it from my phone. An excellent decision.


Poynter: Why people still fall for fake screenshots. “What is it about fake screenshots that makes people vulnerable to thinking they’re real? For one thing, people often use real screenshots to ‘preserve’ something, like a provocative or erroneous tweet, that might be later deleted. A screenshot can be a signal that something “real” has been exposed. Hoaxers exploit that signal with a fake. And if an original can’t be found, people might just assume it was deleted.”


The Register: A dirty dozen of Bluetooth bugs threaten to reboot, freeze, or hack your trendy gizmos from close range. “The flaws, collectively dubbed SWEYNTOOTH (because every bug has to have its own name these days), allow a suitably skilled attacker to crash or deadlock BLE devices, or to bypass pairing security to gain arbitrary read and write access to device functions.”


Egyptian Streets: Why Egyptian Minister Rania Al-Mashat’s Social Media Activity Matters. “My lack of attention to the other political figures in Egypt and their work could be explained by their little to very much absent activity online. Each time I searched a name, it was mainly the ministry’s main page that would come up, or a poorly activated social media account….Yet Rania Al-Mashat’s social media activity, on the other hand, is active, managed, and distinctive from the official ministry’s account. Though I did not track her increase of followers or engagement over time, one can simply look at the comments and reactions to her posts and recognize how her social media activity is building a profile for her and her work.”

The Next Web: Reuters built a prototype for automated news videos using Deepfakes tech. “The Reuters news company and an AI startup named Synthesia today unveiled a new project they’ve partnered on that uses Deepfakes-style technology to generate automated news reports in real time.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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