Facebook, Adobe, Privacy, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, August 2, 2020


CNN: Facebook stock jumps 7% as pandemic helps make its audience even bigger. “Facebook (FB) said Thursday that it had 2.7 billion monthly active users at the end of the June quarter, a 12% increase from the prior year. When factoring in all of Facebook’s various apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, the company topped 3 billion users for the first time. With more eyeballs, Facebook also saw revenue grow 11% to nearly $18.7 billion for the second quarter, even as the broader economy contracted.”

CNET: Adobe online PDF tools tap into Google’s .new internet addresses. “Since 2018, Google has let you type, and into your browser address bar to fire up a blank document for G Suite’s Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Sheets. Now there’s a new option using the same approach from Adobe:”


Wired: How to stop Facebook from tracking everything you do (sort of). “The most complete understanding of what Facebook can and can’t do with your data comes from the company’s privacy policy. However, including all subheadings, caveats and links, that’s 4,500 words long and probably not light reading for everyone. So instead, here’s our take on the most important parts of Facebook’s tracking operation, why it collects this data and what you can do about it.”

MakeUseOf: How to Start Streaming on Twitch Using Streamlabs. “If you watch streamers on Twitch and would like to try it for yourself, you might be wondering where to start. And while there’s a lot that goes into streaming, almost anyone can get started with the basics. In this article, we show you how to start streaming using Streamlabs. We’ll also explain some of the considerations you’ll need to keep in mind.”


New York Times: Fighting False News in Ukraine, Facebook Fact Checkers Tread a Blurry Line. “StopFake, like all of Facebook’s outside fact checkers, signed a pledge to be nonpartisan and not to focus its checks ‘on any one side.’ But in recent weeks, StopFake has been battling accusations of ties to the Ukrainian far right and of bias in its fact-checking. The episode has raised thorny questions for Facebook over whom it allows to separate truth from lies — and who is considered a neutral fact checker in a country at war.”

Slate: Confederate Groups Are Thriving on Facebook. What Does That Mean for the Platform?. “In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, demands for Facebook to address hate speech have escalated, coinciding with a nationwide movement to remove Confederate statues and flags from cities, states, and institutions long imbued with Confederate symbolism…. These movements, intertwined and mutually reinforcing, pose a particular threat to those who consider themselves present-day Confederates. From their perspective, Facebook has become more essential than ever to amplifying their message at a critical moment in history—just as Facebook has shown a new willingness to police their speech.”


BetaNews: Huge BootHole flaw in GRUB2 bootloader leaves millions of Windows and Linux systems at risk from hackers. “A serious vulnerability dubbed BootHole has been discovered in the GRUB2 bootloader. Millions of systems run the risk of being exposed to hackers — primarily those running Linux, but Windows is also affected.”

Mashable: Facebook sued by news media outlet over ‘Russia state-controlled’ label. “Maffick LLC has filed a lawsuit against Facebook over the foreign-controlled label that the social media giant puts on all of its pages and posts. Maffick runs popular Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts for online news media outlets such as In the NOW, Waste-Ed, and Soapbox. You’ve probably come across Maffick’s Facebook page for ‘In the NOW.’ With nearly 5 million followers on the social media platform, In the NOW’s video content is regularly shared on Facebook.”

The Verge: US files expanded charges against former Twitter employees accused of espionage. This is NOT the recent big hack; it’s from before. “The US has filed new and expanded charges against two former Twitter employees and a third individual for allegedly spying on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia. The three men have now been charged with acting as agents of a foreign government, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud. One individual, former Twitter employee Ahmad Abouammo, was also charged with three counts of money laundering and falsification of records to obstruct the investigation.”


InformationWeek: Why Data Science Isn’t an Exact Science. “‘When we’re doing data science effectively, we’re using statistics to model the real world, and it’s not clear that the statistical models we develop accurately describe what’s going on in the real world,’ said Ben Moseley, associate professor of operations research at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. ‘We might define some probability distribution, but it isn’t even clear the world acts according to some probability distribution.'”

EurekAlert: New smartphone game lets you solve real-world ecological puzzles. “EcoBuilder lets players build their own ecosystem of plants and animals. They throw together a bunch of species of different shapes and sizes, decide who eats who within the confines of the game, and depending on their decisions species will either survive or go extinct. The in-game processes that decide extinction and survival are modelled using the same equations used by scientists to study real world ecosystems. This means that natural phenomena can be reproduced inside the game, creating ecosystems that behave in realistic ways to provide real-world answers.”

Purdue University: Augmented reality tool shown to help surgeons remotely guide first responders in battlefield-like scenarios. “A Purdue University-led study is the first to show medics successfully performing surgery in life-like simulations of these war zones by receiving guidance from surgeons through an augmented reality headset. The work is joint with Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering and the Department of Computer Science.” Good morning, Internet…

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