Human Trafficking, Google Shopping, Windows 10, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, September 19, 2020


Loop Jamaica: More pressure on human traffickers as online library is launched. “The Jamaica Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons (ONRTIP) launched its online resource library that seeks to provide anti-trafficking stakeholders with relevant and practical knowledge about human trafficking, as well as provide access to relevant research and data derived from local and international sources.”


Retail Dive: Google’s new search features let shoppers see curbside, in-store pickup offerings. “Google’s decision to modify its shopping tools stems in part from search patterns the platform witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tech giant saw Google searches for terms like ‘curbside pickup’ and ‘safe shopping’ spike ‘tenfold’ over the past few months, Swati Trehan, product manager of Google Shopping, wrote in a blog post.”

BetaNews: Microsoft preparing the Windows 10 October 2020 Update for release — with at least one known issue. “It won’t come as any surprise to most of you to hear that the next big feature update for Windows 10 is very nearly ready for release. Microsoft believes that Build 19042.508 (KB4571756) is the final release for Windows 10 20H2 (October 2020 Update as it’s also known) and is going to begin rolling it out to those users on the Release Preview Channel from today.”


Wired: How to Break Out of Your Social Media Echo Chamber. “It’s a tale of two feeds, because thanks to confirmation bias and powerful proprietary algorithms, social media platforms ensure we only get a single side of every story. Even though most Americans continue to describe themselves as holding balanced views, we still naturally gravitate toward certain content online. Over time, algorithms turn slight preferences into a polarized environment in which only the loudest voices and most extreme opinions on either side can break through the noise.”

CNET: How to use TikTok: It’s not too late to try the app for the first time. “Starting Sunday, the wildly popular social video app TikTok won’t be allowed in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, as part of new measures against China by the Trump administration. Tencent’s WeChat apps also fell under the ban. It’s not too late, however, for you to have some fun on the quirky video app.”


CNBC: Former DNI Dan Coats recommends social media execs help oversee election legitimacy. “Social media executives should play a key role in ensuring the legitimacy of the 2020 election, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats suggested in a New York Times op-ed Thursday. In the article, Coats, a former Trump administration official, recommended the U.S. create a new nonpartisan commission that would help reassure the American public that their votes would be counted and would aim to monitor forces attempting to undermine the election.”

BBC: ‘Racial abuse on social media takes a toll on my mental health’. “Many have built careers off the back of social media, whether it be through Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or TikTok. But with some social media stars gaining thousands or even millions of followers, there are drawbacks to being constantly online and so accessible to people you don’t know. Earlier this year, Ofcom announced they’re being given new powers to force social media firms to act over cyber-bullying. And social media platforms, including Twitter and TikTok, have had issues stamping out racist abuse against users.”


Jurist: Analysing the Effects of Turkey’s Social Media Regulation Bill. “On July 29th, 2020, the Parliament of Turkey passed a controversial bill to regulate content posted on social media platforms, which will come into effect on October 1st, 2020. The bill is expected to have a chilling effect on the freedom of speech and expression within the country. Several human rights groups are viewing it as a political tactic to curb criticism against government functionaries within the country, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The passing of the bill is a concerning development, especially amidst the pandemic when social media platforms exist as one of the few alternatives through which people can assess and denounce wrongful government actions.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Why you shouldn’t post a picture of a boarding pass on social media. “Security experts are repeating warnings to keep pictures of documents with personal information and barcodes — such as boarding passes and tickets — off social media, after the latest instance of such information being misused. Earlier this week, self-described ‘hacker’ Alex Hope detailed in a long blog post how he used an Instagram post from former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, showing a boarding pass, to discern his passport number and other personal details.”

Reuters: Fed Circuit declines to save Google from East Texas patent lawsuits. “A federal appeals court on Friday denied a bid by Alphabet Inc’s Google to avoid facing patent infringement claims in the Eastern District of Texas, a forum favored by patent owners.”


Fast Company: Why do people share political memes? It’s not always about changing anyone’s point of view . “Regardless of which side of the political divide (chasm?) you currently sit—or which gender you identify with—a new Harris Poll conducted exclusively for Fast Company reveals that 55% of Americans have shared a political meme in the past three months. Broken down by platform, 90% say they’ve shared a political meme on Facebook at some point (the top spot to post among respondents), and 59% posted one on Twitter. Fifty-four percent are sharing more this year than they did last. And over a third share them daily.”

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Google It: Quantum Chemistry Problem Solved. “We are a bit closer to an era where quantum computers will provide answers to questions too difficult for conventional computers, according to new research featured on the cover of the journal Science. A large research team that included Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) quantum computing pioneer Nathan Wiebe and colleagues at Google AI Quantum published the proof-of-concept for quantum computing of tough chemistry problems.”


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