afternoonbuzz

Native American Voters, Quibi, Facebook, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, September 22, 2020

NEW RESOURCES

The Hill / Changing America: Native American communities make a final push to get out the vote this November. “Many Native American households lack access to the internet, where the census count is taking place for the first time ever, and in-person efforts were postponed due to COVID-19. Now, members of the community are concerned that they will be disenfranchised yet again at the ballot box. The nonprofit is hosting two virtual town halls on Facebook about the importance of voting and representation on Sept. 22, National Voter Registration Day, and Oct. 14. A new website includes resources for Native American people to check their voter registration and make a plan to vote safely.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Vox: After 6 months and $1.8 billion, Quibi wants a new owner. That will be a hard sell.. “Quibi was supposed to be revolutionary: A video service that was supposed to fill the gap between YouTube and HBO by bringing short, ‘premium’ clips starring celebrities like Liam Hemsworth and Chrissy Teigen to your phone, for a price. But that was in the spring. Now, Quibi might be headed to a fire sale: Just six months after launching — and after raising $1.8 billion — Quibi has started looking for a buyer. It’s a stunning admission that the high-profile service hasn’t found enough traction to continue on its own.”

USA Today: Facebook election turnout: Company says it has already registered 2.5 million Americans to vote. “Facebook, which pledged to register 4 million voters ahead of the November election, says it’s more than halfway to its goal, logging 2.5 million registrations from Facebook, Instagram and Messenger users. The ballot-box push has already surpassed the 2 million new registrations Facebook estimates it racked up in the 2016 and 2018 elections, the company said. The figure is derived from conversion rates Facebook calculated from a few states it partnered with.”

NiemanLab: The New York Times will flag viral misinformation with a new Daily Distortions feature. “Daily Distortions will appear as a swipeable feature for mobile apps focused on one subject per day and a running blog with a wider selection of the misinformation being tracked by Times journalists. The information will be presented in a ‘compelling, predictable way’ and each edition is designed to be shareable. (A print version of the feature is in the works, too.)”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

New York Times: ‘There’s No There There’: What the TikTok Deal Achieved. “The saga of TikTok had everything: Ominous threats of surveillance. A forced fire sale. Threats of retaliation. Head-spinning deal terms that morphed by the hour. Dark horse bidders and a looming deadline. Now, as the dust settles on the weeks of drama over the social media app, investors and others are asking what it was all for.”

Wired: Why Teens Are Falling for TikTok Conspiracy Theories. “On the surface, it makes sense that young people would latch on to conspiracy theories on TikTok. The platform skews young—reportedly one-third of its daily users in the US are 14 or younger—and celebrity gossip has long been the lingua franca of social media for people of all ages. Right-wing conspiracy groups like QAnon have been spreading made up stories about those in power on networks like Facebook for years. Now those ideas have jumped to TikTok where they’re being metabolized by much younger consumers. Those things all scan. What doesn’t, however, is why teens believe them.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Los Angeles Times: Despite past denials, LAPD has used facial recognition software 30,000 times in last decade, records show. “The Los Angeles Police Department has used facial recognition software nearly 30,000 times since 2009, with hundreds of officers running images of suspects from surveillance cameras and other sources against a massive database of mug shots taken by law enforcement. The new figures, released to The Times, reveal for the first time how commonly facial recognition is used in the department, which for years has provided vague and contradictory information about how and whether it uses the technology.”

CNN: 5 Chinese nationals among those charged with cyberhacking that victimized over 100 people and companies worldwide. “Five Chinese and two Malaysian international cyberhackers were indicted in federal court on Wednesday for allegedly intruding on over 100 companies and people in the US and abroad through online games to launder ‘millions of dollars,’ the Justice Department announced Wednesday.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

MIT Technology Review: Why kids need special protection from AI’s influence. “Algorithms are also increasingly used to determine what their education is like, whether they’ll receive health care, and even whether their parents are deemed fit to care for them. Sometimes this can have devastating effects: this past summer, for example, thousands of students lost their university admissions after algorithms—used in lieu of pandemic-canceled standardized tests—inaccurately predicted their academic performance. Children, in other words, are often at the forefront when it comes to using and being used by AI, and that can leave them in a position to get hurt.”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

Dedicated to all you cool cats and kittens who have ever had to do really weird tech troubleshooting, from the BBC: Internet: Old TV caused village broadband outages for 18 months. “The mystery of why an entire village lost its broadband every morning at 7am was solved when engineers discovered an old television was to blame. An unnamed householder in Aberhosan, Powys, was unaware the old set would emit a signal which would interfere with the entire village’s broadband. After 18 months engineers began an investigation after a cable replacement programme failed to fix the issue.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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