Environmental Resilience Institute, Google Search Central, Election Misinformation, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, November 12, 2020


Indiana University: ERI launches platform to boost accessibility of environmental change data. “This fall, Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI), part of IU’s Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative, launched the ERI Data Platform, an open-data tool that allows users to explore environmental change data in new ways. The platform gives users the ability to overlay national, global, and Indiana-specific datasets, add new data, and navigate to geographic areas of interest.”


9to5 Google: New ‘Google Search Central’ site consolidates SEO resources, replaces ‘Google Webmasters’. “Google is modernizing and revamping its resources for Search Engine Optimizers, web developers, and site owners. ‘Google Search Central’ is replacing ‘Webmasters Central,’ while there’s a new website and blog. According to the company, the term ‘webmaster’ has become ‘archaic, and according to the data found in books, its use is in sharp decline.'” Good; I always disliked that term. I tried to use Web wrangler.


CNET: Misinformation about election fraud has flooded the internet. Here’s how to spot false reports. “You can’t stop your Uncle Mike from posting misleading memes, but you can keep yourself informed. That way you’ll be well positioned to avoid spreading misinformation yourself. Media literacy experts suggest several techniques for vetting information you find online.”

9to5 Google: How to export your pictures and videos from Google Photos. “Starting in June of next year, every new photo or video you back up to Google Photos will start counting towards a storage cap. That won’t apply to any of the ‘High Quality’ photos you’ve backed up over the past five years, but it means that, eventually, you’ll need to pay for storage. Google has affordable plans for that, but for some people, charging any price is enough to start searching for alternatives. Admittedly, there are some decent options out there, too!”

Parentology: How To Turn Off Autoplay Across All Your Devices. “Nobody likes opening up a browser tab on their computer or phone, only to be immediately bombarded by some video they never even clicked on. It’s called autoplay, and internet users have been unjustly startled by it for too long. While there’s no easy way too turn off autoplay on all devices at once, here’s a step-by-step guide to losing the annoying feature wherever you browse.”


The Auburn Plainsman: Some students retreat from social media. “On social media platforms across the board, likes, shares and comments make people feel happy. Some believe the danger comes when one gets hooked to the hit of neurotransmitters. Suddenly, no like, comment or share can satisfy the craving. In the end, people can find themselves coming back, even if they no longer particularly enjoy it.”


The Guardian: Indian move to regulate digital media raises censorship fears. “India’s government has ordered that all online news, social media and video streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are to be subject to state regulation, raising fears of increased censorship of digital media.”

JD Supra: Bot or Not? Authenticating Social Media Evidence at Trial in the Age of Internet Fakery. “Given social media’s pervasiveness in our culture, and the frequency with which people use it compared to other forms of communication, social media evidence is a broader and deeper trove of courtroom evidence than has ever been available before. At the same time, however, social media evidence is uniquely vulnerable to alteration or forgery, particularly as advances in technology allow so-called ‘bot’ accounts to create social media content autonomously.”

ZDNet: Facebook link preview feature used as a proxy in website-scraping scheme. “The technique consisted of using Facebook developer accounts to place calls to Facebook or Facebook Messenger API servers, requesting a link preview for pages a group wanted to scrape. Facebook would fetch the data, assemble it in a link preview, and return it to the data scrappers as an API response, ready to be ingested into the scrapper’s database.” Pretty sure they mean scrapers, but I’m not going to argue with ZDNet.


Al Jazeera: How social media regulations are silencing dissent in Africa. “Through social media platforms, the #EndSARS activists not only managed to call thousands of Nigerians to action and hold Nigerian authorities to account, but also garnered unprecedented international attention and support for their cause. The fact that a burgeoning human rights movement has been contemplated, created and sustained online did not go unnoticed in the overwhelmingly conservative halls of power in Nigeria. Shaken to the core by this new media phenomenon and its astounding proclivity to galvanise a traditionally silenced and disregarded youthful majority, some Nigerian state governors and public officials started to demand that social media be regulated.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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