Portugese Farming, Political Advertising, Google Autocomplete, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, September 11, 2020


New-to-me, from Culinary Backstreets: Projecto Matéria: Putting Portugal’s “Tomato Whisperer” On the Map. “[Hortelão do Oeste] is by no means a secret – it supplies tomatoes and peppers to some of the best restaurants in Lisbon. The brothers’ produce is so good that it has earned them a place in João Rodrigues’ Projecto Matéria, an online database that promotes Portuguese farmers and celebrates them as fundamental elements of Portuguese culture.” The site is in Portuguese, but translates without issue. The writeups I looked at were extensive and y’all, the photography.

Open Secrets: OpenSecrets unveils new online ads database. “With the digital-dominated 2020 election shifting into high gear, OpenSecrets is releasing a new searchable, sortable online ads database that provides comprehensive details about political ad spending on Google and Facebook. OpenSecrets is tracking over 80,000 online political advertisers, more than four times the number of committees registered with the Federal Election Commission.”


TechCrunch: Google says it’s eliminating Autocomplete suggestions that target candidates or voting. “Ahead of the U.S. presidential election, Google says it has taken a number of steps to improve the quality of information that it highlights across its various search and news products. Google executives outlined these changes at an online press event today, as well as in a blog post. The biggest change seems to be in its policies around Autocomplete, the feature where Google suggests a search based on what you’ve typed so far.”

Bloomberg Quint: Trump’s TikTok Ban Leaves Apple, Google Stuck in the Middle. “It’s looking increasingly likely that TikTok won’t be able to sell its U.S. operations by the mid-September deadline imposed in an executive order issued by President Donald Trump last month. That doesn’t mean the video app beloved by tens of millions of teens will go dark overnight.”

Search Engine Journal: New Bing URL Inspection Tool. “Bing’s new tool provides direct answers and data that not only helps diagnose indexing problems but provides data for solving the issues as well. What’s notable about the tool is that it’s designed to solve SEO related issues. Similar to the indexing solutions, Bing will also give suggestions on how to improve SEO related issues.”


Daily Beast: She Was Tricked by Russian Trolls—and It Derailed Her Life . “For a time, it seemed like a great gig. Jacinda Chan’s job working for the website Peace Data was everything she’d been looking for. It was paid work writing about her favorite subject—human rights and Latin America—and her editors paid on time. Chan, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy and is a quadriplegic, hadn’t been able to get many good jobs in journalism…. But this week it all came crashing down when Facebook revealed that Peace Data was fake.”

The New Arab: Habibi Collective: Collating films made by Arab women. “…with Arab film continuing to be male-dominated from producers to leads, the prominence of female filmmakers from the past or present of the Arab world remains subdued. Irish-Iraqi curator Roisin Tapponi seeks to change that. Over years spent searching for and cataloguing films made by Arab women, Roisin set up the Habibi Collective – a digital archive and curatorial platform dedicated to promoting female filmmaking in the Middle East.”


CNET: How your personal data is exploited to win elections and influence policy. “Politicians are exploiting intimate details about your life to win elections and influence policy. Your voter history and party registration are public records that are easy to access. Your phone number, home address, salary and debt history, and how you feel about controversial issues like gun control, can be purchased cheaply. Everything you post on social media is easy to scrape and collect. And mobile apps built by the Trump and Biden presidential campaigns give them unprecedented access to your device’s location history, and a whole lot more.”

Better Business Bureau: BBB Scam Alert: Photo sharing message phishes for your Google password. “Don’t let your curiosity get the better of you. A new scam appears to be an email from Google, informing you that someone has shared a photo album with you. But it’s really a phishing scheme that’s after your password.”

InfoSecurity: Webmaster Portal Leaks 63 Million Records. “Back in July, researchers at WebsitePlanet teamed up with Jeremiah Fowler to discover an Elasticsearch database belonging to Digital Planet that was left online without password protection, exposing nearly 63 million records. These included emails, names, internal user ID numbers, internal records and user posts related to 863,412 users of the site.”


ABC News: What do Google searches tell us about our mental health?. “More and more, online searches are becoming a primary resource for those seeking health-related information. This is especially true when it comes to stigmatized topics such as mental health, and new research suggests this digital data could prove to be an important tool for monitoring mental health monitoring.”


CNN: This map lets you see where your hometown was on the Earth millions of years ago. “A California paleontologist has created an interactive map that allows people to see how far their hometowns have moved over 750 million years of continental drift. The online map, designed by Ian Webster, features a range of tools that also make it easy to discover more about the Earth, such as where the first reptiles lived or when the first flower bloomed.” Good morning, Internet…

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