New Brunswick Historical Photography, Houston Tech Industry, Amazon Wildfires, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, August 20, 2020


Global News: Century-old photographs digitized by Saint John’s Loyalist House. “About 100 century-old photographs found inside Saint John’s historic Loyalist House are being digitized and shared online. After sitting in storage for a decade, a collection of dry plate negatives gives a rare glimpse at Victorian life in the city.”

Houston Chronicle: Houston Exponential launches database to pull together the city’s tech community. “Houston Exponential [last] Thursday unveiled a new database that brings together details about the city’s nascent technology ecosystem, making it easy to find out details about startups, venture funding and accelerators.”

NASA Earth Observatory: A New Tool for Tracking Amazon Fires. “NASA-funded researchers have developed new tools that will make it easier for governments and other stakeholders to understand what types of fires are burning, where they are burning, and how much risk those fires pose to the rainforest. The satellite-driven, web-based tool quickly classifies fires into one of four categories—deforestation, understory fires, small clearing and agricultural fires, and savanna/grassland fires. The tool was made available on the web on August 19, 2020.”


USA Today: Facebook adds new tool to help users find local Black-owned businesses. “Facebook is enabling users to discover Black-owned businesses through a new feature on the platform. The social networking giant is rolling out a self-designation tool for Pages that lets entrepreneurs and admins identify businesses as Black-owned. The companies will then appear under a ‘Black-Owned Businesses’ header on the website’s Nearby Businesses front.”

Neowin: Google Duo gains captions support for recorded video and voice messages. “With captions support, all recorded voice or video messages that you receive on Duo will show a caption of what’s being said at the bottom of the screen. This feature is different from Live Captions feature found on Google Pixels and other Android devices which can transcribe speech-to-text in real-time. The feature that’s being rolled out in Duo today only works with recorded messages.”

CanIndia News: Google removes thousands of apps for spreading fake poll info. “Google has removed thousands of apps for engaging in deceptive behaviour, distributing misleading information such as altering media clips or sending fake text messages in the run-up to November presidential election in the US. The company said that as mobile apps disseminate voting information and increasingly support voting activity, it is on the job to ensure safety and transparency for app users.”


CNBC: Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg says if a Trump post violates standards, ‘it comes down’. “Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday said the company is prepared to remove any posts by President Donald Trump that violate the company’s standards. ‘When the president violates our hate speech standards or gives false information about voter suppression or coronavirus, it comes down,’ Sandberg said on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

News .com .au: ’It’s time to respect us’: Google accused of bullying in new open letter about news code. “The Australian Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology has taken aim at Google today, labelling yellow warning signs on its website and its recent open letter against the plan as a form of bullying. Google has activated the alerts in response to a draft code that would require Google and Facebook to pay media companies for their journalism.”


Washington Post: Erdogan’s crackdown on social media is nearing its end game. “We have arrived at a moment of truth for Google and Twitter. They are now being forced to choose between oppressive Turkish laws and freedom of speech. If they opt for compromise, they can follow the new law by dispatching representatives to Ankara, which will give Erdogan crucial leverage over them in future disputes. If the companies decide in favor of freedom of speech, refusing to censor content at the government’s behest, the government will have the power, under the new law, to almost entirely block the Internet traffic of these platforms. In that case, we will have to find a new way out of our game of whack-a-mole.”

Fast Company: We analyzed 1.8 million images on Twitter to learn how Russian trolls operate. “Russian-sponsored Twitter trolls, who so aggressively exploited social media to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, didn’t stop when Donald Trump was elected president. Even after the election, they remained active and adapted their methods, including using images—among them, easy-to-digest meme images such as Hillary Clinton appearing to run away from police—to spread their views. As part of our study to understand how these trolls operate, we analyzed 1.8 million images posted on Twitter by 3,600 accounts identified by Twitter itself as being part of Russian government-sponsored disinformation campaigns, from before the 2016 election through 2018, when those accounts were shut down by Twitter.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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