Experimental Coronavirus Drugs, Facebook, Firefox, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, March 12, 2020

Good afternoon friends. I’ve been having a hard time with anxiety for a while, but COVID-19 has really turned it up to 11. I don’t worry about what happens if I get it myself, but I care for my grandmother 3 days a week. She’s 96 and lives on her own. The idea of being the cause of her suffering or worse invokes in me a terror I cannot manage.

But I have to, because she still needs my care. So I’m washing my hands into little nubs and staying at home as much as I can and trying to remember to breathe. I’m also trying to do something useful so I don’t sit here stewing in my neurotical juices. If there’s any way I can use RB to serve you — aggregating useful Twitter lists, or setting up a spreadsheet of COVID-19 related news items, finding resources to support your remote work — please let me know. You will be doing me a favor. In the meantime I will keep going.

I know I end the newsletter like this every time and you probably think it’s pure cheese, but I love you. I like to think that maybe ResearchBuzz helps people just a tiny bit. If it does, it’s meaningful. So by reading this, you make my life meaningful. How could I not love you? Please be well.


University of Liverpool: New traffic light system to help prescribers navigate coronavirus response. “The University of Liverpool launched a new website featuring a traffic light system to aid the safe prescribing of experimental drugs being trialled against coronavirus (COVID-19). The site, created by the University’s Liverpool Drug Interactions Group, provides vital information on whether or not combinations of an experimental drug and co-medications are safe to prescribe.”


Neowin: Facebook is testing the ability to cross-post Stories to Instagram. “Back in 2017, Instagram Stories introduced the capability to cross-post to Facebook Stories, although it was not possible to do the opposite at that time. That might change in the future as Facebook is said to have started experimenting with cross-posting Stories to Instagram Stories (via TechCrunch).”

BetaNews: Firefox 74 tightens add-on security, simplifies importing data from Microsoft Edge. “Firefox 74.0 ships with several new features, none of which are jaw-dropping, but all of which serve to further improve the browser’s privacy, security and usability. In addition, the Facebook Container add-on now gives users control over which sites are blocked from reporting back to Facebook.”

CNET: TikTok to open ‘transparency center’ to counter privacy concerns. “Popular social video app TikTok on Wednesday said it plans to open a transparency center at its office in Los Angeles as part of its effort to ‘deepen our engagement with, and earn the trust of, our community as well as policymakers and the broader public.'”


Web Strategist: 2020: Digital, Online, and Virtual Events for the Tech and Business Industry. “For the business person who’s now working at home, or is travel-restricted, it’s more important than ever to stay connected to the industry. Many physical-world conferences are shifting to digital, virtual, or blended experiences. This list will help you stay organized on which event to attend, and when. Event organizers and marketers: use this to coordinate market timing.”


USA Today: Churches are closing doors, live streaming services for congregants avoiding coronavirus. “With the number of coronavirus cases on the rise, Aaron Trank and his wife, Rachelle, held church at home on Sunday. Trank called on the family’s Amazon Echo to stream worship songs for their kids. The family also sang along to music on YouTube before praying together. Next week, they’ll stream sermons online.”

NiemanLab: Newsrooms increasingly lack the legal resources to fight the “culture of secrecy” in local governments. “The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press released a report today that summarized the biggest legal challenges that newsrooms face and how additional legal support would help them pursue more investigative journalism. The report found that journalists are being stymied by ‘a culture of secrecy that is pervasive in local and state governments’ while reporting on a wide range of topics.”


Engadget: Whisper left users’ details exposed in an open database for years. “The once-popular app Whisper promises a place where you can share secrets anonymously. According to a Washington Post report, however, it left sensitive information that can be tied to users’ confessions exposed to the public for years. Apparently, Whisper kept a non-password-protected database that allowed anyone to freely browse its records.”

Music Ally: BPI has now asked Google to remove more than 500m search links. “British music industry body the BPI has set a new milestone, but it’s announcing it in frustration rather than celebration. The body says it has just submitted its 500 millionth URL to Google, asking for it to be delisted from the company’s search engine on the grounds of copyright infringement. The BPI also says it has sent 398m removal notices to Microsoft for the Bing and Yahoo search engines, meaning it’s on course to reach 1bn total link submissions across those search engines this year.” BPI stands for British Phonographic Industry.

European Data Protection Board: The Swedish Data Protection Authority imposes administrative fine on Google. “The Swedish Data Protection Authority imposes a fine of 75 million Swedish kronor (approximately 7 million euro) on Google for failure to comply with the GDPR. Google as a search engine operator has not fulfilled its obligations in respect of the right to request delisting.” 7 million euro is roughly $7.8 million USD.


Phys .org: Online shoppers swayed by customer reviews of physical products—not experiences. “We live in a world of online reviews. Before spending on everything from restaurant meals to a new pair of jeans or even a European vacation, many of us often check Amazon, Yelp or TripAdvisor first. But not all customer reviews are created equal. In fact, we put more trust in reviews about material items than we do about experiences.”

WIS News 10: UofSC Social Media Insights team examines COVID-19 online commentary. “As the new strain of the coronavirus continues to spread, many of you are taking to social media with your own questions and concerns. Specialists at the University of South Carolina’s College of Information and Communications are looking into what folks are saying. Experts in the social media insights lab have been tracking the online conversations surrounding COVID-19 in our state.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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Categories: afternoonbuzz

1 reply »

  1. Thank you for your tremendous work. Your research and insights are making a difference today even more than they have for years. The G alerts and any spreadsheets of reputable sources of information is greatly appreciated.

    Your words have literally calmed the nerves of some people over here who are also having difficulty dealing right now and we thank you deeply in our hearts.

    We are praying and sending our love to you and your grandma. This too shall pass.

    If you need anything, even just to bounce a thought or idea or need a joke to distract from this hairy state of affairs, I am here.

    Thank you from Harbor City, California, Lawrence

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