Missing Black Women, Epik Hack, Google Photos, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, September 26, 2021


New-to-me, from NPR: Tens Of Thousands Of Black Women Vanish Each Year. This Website Tells Their Stories. “Our Black Girls centers on the often-untold stories of Black girls and women who have gone missing or, in some cases, were found dead under mysterious circumstances. Launched by journalist and activist Erika Marie Rivers in 2018, the website is a one-woman show: Rivers spends her nights combing missing persons databases, archived news footage, old articles and whatever other information she can find to piece together these stories. And she does it all after her day job.”


Washington Post: Fallout begins for far-right trolls who trusted Epik to keep their identities secret. “In the real world, Joshua Alayon worked as a real estate agent in Pompano Beach, Fla., where he used the handle ‘SouthFloridasFavoriteRealtor’ to urge buyers on Facebook to move to ‘the most beautiful State.’ But online, data revealed by the massive hack of Epik, an Internet-services company popular with the far right, signaled a darker side. Alayon’s name and personal details were found on invoices suggesting he had once paid for websites with names such as,, and”

CNET: Google Photos feature that keeps private photos hidden is getting a wider rollout. “Google announced Thursday that its popular Locked Folder feature, which lets you hide sensitive pictures in a passcode- protected space on your phone, will roll out ‘soon’ to Android phones running Android 6.0 or later. The feature was introduced back in May at the company’s annual developers conference, after which it was released exclusively to Google’s own line of Pixel phones.”


Make Tech Easier: How to Search Facebook for People, Posts, Businesses, and More. “While it’s purposed to be a regular social network, Facebook is one of the go-to places to find anything. Be it a person, business, or items for sales, you can find everything on Facebook. But how do you narrow down the search results to find something quickly? Let’s examine how to use Facebook’s advanced search filters on mobile and PC.”


NCSU Technician: Parody Instagram accounts take NC State by storm. “A plethora of new Instagram accounts have popped up since the start of the semester, such as @ncsu_grubflubs. Despite having the idea as a freshman, the third-year student running the account didn’t create it until two weeks ago. @ncsu_grubflubs posts pictures of abandoned GrubHub tickets, which brings ‘lots of laughs and encourages clean up.'”

NPR: TikTokers Are Trading Stocks By Copying What Members Of Congress Do. “Young investors have a new strategy: watching financial disclosures of sitting members of Congress for stock tips. Among a certain community of individual investors on TikTok, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stock trading disclosures are a treasure trove. ‘Shouts out to Nancy Pelosi, the stock market’s biggest whale,’ said user ‘ceowatchlist.’ Another said, ‘I’ve come to the conclusion that Nancy Pelosi is a psychic,’ while adding that she is the ‘queen of investing.'”

CTPost: Barnum Museum gets $500K grant toward restoration, more than a decade after tornado forced it to close. “Restorations at the shuttered Barnum Museum are still in progress, but a federal grant to the tune of $500,000 could pick up the pace. Famed showman P.T. Barnum’s eponymous museum announced recently that it received a Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service to fix the building’s 79 unique windows.”


Gizmodo: You Told Your Apps To Stop Tracking You, but They Didn’t Listen. “The App Tracking Transparency (ATT) settings that came bundled in an iOS 14 update gave iPhone users everywhere the power to tell their favorite apps (and Facebook) to knock off the whole tracking thing. Saying no, Apple promised, would stop these apps from tracking you as you browse the web, and through other apps on your phone. Well, it turns out that wasn’t quite the case. The Washington Post was first to report on a research study that put Apple’s ATT feature to the test, and found the setting… pretty much useless.”

BBC: Spying concerns fuel the market for more secure tech. “‘People do not seem to understand that security and smartphones as one [single] concept simply do not exist,’ says Pim Donkers. Mr Donkers is a co-founder and chief executive of Switzerland’s ARMA Instruments, a technology company which produces super-secure communication devices. So, more than most, he is keen to warn people about the potential security weaknesses of their smartphones.”

Reuters: US and EU look to work more closely in regulating Big Tech at summit . “The United States and European Union plan to take a more unified approach to limit the growing market power of Big Tech companies, according to a draft memo seen by Reuters. The move will be among announcements on tech, climate, trade and supply chains likely to be made at a U.S.-EU Trade Technology Council meeting on Sept. 29 in Pittsburgh.”


NiemanLab: Googling for credible information can help correct belief in misinformation, according to a new study. “Simply conducting a Google search to verify if a given statement about ethnic minorities in Japan is true or not could help correct disinformation, a new study published Wednesday in PLoS One found. To understand some of the consequences of searching online for information, researchers at the City University of Hong Kong’s Department of Media and Communication conducted two experiments about misinformation about ethnic minorities in Japan.” Of course this presupposes that Google is supplying the correct information.

University at Buffalo: UB, partners awarded $750,000 to fight online disinformation. “The project — titled A Disinformation Range to Improve User Awareness and Resilience to Online Disinformation — centers on developing a suite of digital literacy tools, as well as advanced educational techniques, that aim to reduce the harmful effects of online disinformation. Researchers plan to have a prototype ready in June, which they will share with senior citizens and teenagers, two groups particularly susceptible to online disinformation, according to a growing body of research.” Good morning, Internet…

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