afternoonbuzz

American History, Congressional Hearings, TikTok, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, July 26, 2020

NEW RESOURCES

New York Jewish Week: Digital Archive Takes Talmudic Approach to America’s Founding Texts. “Could democracy take a page from the Talmud? The creators of Sefaria think so. Since 2012 the website has offered free access to classic Jewish texts and linked commentary, establishing itself as an invaluable resource for millions of teachers, students and scholars. Now it’s applying the same approach to foundational texts of American democracy.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The Verge: Antitrust hearing with CEOs of Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple rescheduled to Wednesday. “A congressional hearing with the chief executives of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple has been rescheduled for noon Eastern time on Wednesday. Originally scheduled for Monday, the hearing was bumped back a few days to allow members of Congress to pay respects to the late Rep. John Lewis, who died July 17th. Lewis will lie in state at the US Capitol next week.”

CNET: TikTok launches $200 million Creator Fund to pay people to post. “If your dream job is to crank out TikTok clips for a living, then you might be in luck. On Thursday, the popular and controversial app announced the TikTok Creator Fund, a pool of $200 million for users in the US ‘to help support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.'”

Search Engine Journal: Google’s John Mueller Discusses Recent Changes to Search. “In a Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked whether there has been an update happening recently. Mueller took the time to explain what it means to discuss changes in search and the best reaction to them are.”

Neowin: Facebook enables live streaming from Messenger Rooms. “Earlier this year, Facebook introduced Messenger Rooms, a feature that allows up to 50 people to meet up online in a video conference. The tool is meant as a rival for platforms like Zoom, which saw a significant boom in popularity due to the global pandemic this year. The feature has been brought into Facebook’s multiple products, including Facebook proper, Messenger, and WhatsApp, but today, the company is adding Facebook Live integration as well.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

TNW: Google ad portal equated ‘Black girls’ with porn. “Google’s Keywords Planner, which helps advertisers choose which search terms to associate with their ads, offered hundreds of keyword suggestions related to ‘Black girls,’ ‘Latina girls,’ and ‘Asian Girls’ — the majority of them pornographic, The Markup found in its research. Searches in the keyword planner for ‘boys’ of those same ethnicities also primarily returned suggestions related to pornography.”

New York Times: Oh, So We’re Doing Random Video Chat Again?. “Omegle, a website that pairs random visitors through video and text chat, has spiked in popularity over the last four months. (‘did i miss something why is everyone on omegle?’ one person recently tweeted.) The site is similar to the once wildly popular Chatroulette, which is also experiencing a renaissance of sorts, in that it is free, requires no registration and promises a surprising social experience.” As one who remembers Chatroulette, I think “surprising” is certainly one way to put it.

SECURITY & LEGAL

Sydney Morning Herald: Google, Facebook seek publisher deals ahead of ACCC ruling. “Google and Facebook are pushing ahead with plans to strike licensing deals with local publishers as Australia’s competition regulator prepares to unveil a compulsory code that will force the tech giants to pay for use of news content.”

CNN: Slack files antitrust complaint against Microsoft in Europe. “Slack is ratcheting up its battle with Microsoft, filing an antitrust complaint in the European Union against its rival. The company claims Microsoft (MSFT) is engaging in ‘illegal and anti-competitive practice of abusing its market dominance to extinguish competition’ by tying in its own communications platform, called Teams, to its popular Microsoft Office suite. Slack (WORK) says in its complaint Microsoft force-installs Teams for millions of people and blocks its removal.”

EurekAlert: No honor among cyber thieves. “A backstabbing crime boss and thousands of people looking for free tutorials on hacking and identity theft were two of the more interesting findings of a study examining user activity on two online ‘carding forums,’ illegal sites that specialize in stolen credit card information.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

HempGrower: Universities Partner to Create a Midwestern Hemp Database, Ask for Grower Participation. “The university extensions of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Purdue (Indiana) are searching for hemp farmers in their respective states who are willing to provide them with precisely taken crop samples and growing data in exchange for discounted cannabinoid testing. The universities will publish the wealth of data they receive from farmers on the Midwestern Hemp Database, an online tool already brimming with data from the project’s nearly 200 different varieties grown by about 70 registered participants so far.”

TechCrunch: Data from Dutch public broadcaster shows the value of ditching creepy ads. “The data shows the NPO grew ad revenue after ditching trackers to target ads in the first half of this year — and did so despite the coronavirus pandemic landing in March and dealing a heavy blow to digital advertising globally (contributing, for example, to Twitter reporting Q2 ad revenues down nearly a quarter). The context here is that in January the broadcaster switched to serving contextual ads across its various websites, where it has an online video audience of 7.1 million per month, and display reach of 5.8 million per month.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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