South Africa Law Enforcement, YouTube Music, Facebook, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, October 24, 2021


SA People News: Massive Database of Killings by South African Police Made Public. “On average, police in South Africa kill someone every day. Viewfinder has now published the police watchdog’s database on these killings, along with other complaints of police brutality and corruption: more than 47,000 cases registered between 2012 and 2020. The Police Accountability Tracker dashboard, which houses this data, allows anyone in South Africa to home in on their police station and to gauge what contribution officers there have made to the body count and case load.”


PC Magazine: Ad-Supported YouTube Music to Drop Videos, Add Background Listening. “Google is planning to shift its free YouTube Music tier into an audio-only experience. It will allow background listening for unpaid users, but limit video playback to Premium subscribers. The change, scheduled for Nov. 3, will start in Canada, 9to5Google reports. There are no details on when or how widely Google will roll out these changes yet.”

Axios: Scoop: Facebook exec warns of “more bad headlines”. “In a post to staffers Saturday obtained by Axios, Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg warned the company that worse coverage could be on the way: ‘We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid.'”


Mashable: 4 things to know before googling health issues. “As we come up on its two-year anniversary, the pandemic could still do some good — if we take the time and energy to learn from it. To start, three medical experts share what they would advise their own patients to do while searching for health information online.”

Make Tech Easier: 17 Google Messages Tips, Tricks, and Features You Should Know. “Android Messages, also known as Google Messages, is preinstalled on the majority of Android phones. The app’s simple appearance may mislead some users. If, however, you look closely, you will notice a plethora of hidden features and settings. Let’s take a look at how to set up and use Google Messages with various tips, tricks, and features.”


Washington Post: How Facebook neglected the rest of the world, fueling hate speech and violence in India. “In February 2019, not long before India’s general election, a pair of Facebook employees set up a dummy account to better understand the experience of a new user in the company’s largest market…. At first, her feed filled with soft-core porn and other, more harmless, fare. Then violence flared in Kashmir, the site of a long-running territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, campaigning for reelection as a nationalist strongman, unleashed retaliatory airstrikes that India claimed hit a terrorist training camp. Soon, without any direction from the user, the Facebook account was flooded with pro-Modi propaganda and anti-Muslim hate speech.”

New York Times: A Eureka Moment, Recreated in Film. “The efforts by the Museum of Fine Arts to make art more accessible through technology is part of a larger trend, said Eric Longo, executive director of MCN, an association for museum professionals to share practices about emerging technologies (previously called the Museum Computer Network). ‘Most museums have increased the size of their digital teams,’ he said, and many museums now have tech labs and innovation incubators to develop and test new ideas.”

Bloomberg: Google Whistle-Blower Says Speaking Out Is Harder Than It Seems. “Facebook Inc. whistle-blower Frances Haugen has received plaudits from Congress and appeared prepared and confident in interviews and testimony. But her experience is far from typical for employees seeking to hold Big Tech accountable. Just ask Chelsey Glasson, who sued Google for discrimination.”


Reuters: US Senate panel to hold hearing on social media impact on young users. “The US Senate will hold an Oct 26 hearing with tech firms TikTok, Snap’s Snapchat and Alphabet’s YouTube about their platforms’ impact on young users, the panel said on Tuesday (Oct 19).”

San Antonio Express-News: Human smugglers using TikTok, other social media to recruit drivers for Texas runs. “Increasingly, smugglers are turning to social media to recruit drivers because of its immense reach, and their pitches have been drawing people from the interior of Texas — even from out of state — to the southern border.”

Wired UK: All the ways TikTok tracks you and how to stop it. “Like Facebook and Instagram, TikTok’s money is made through advertising, which combined with its recommendations algorithm, requires hefty data collection. So what does TikTok know about you, what tracking does it do, and how can this be stopped?”


Engadget: Here’s how to deal with those badly written equations you find online. “Spend enough time on social media and it’s likely that you’ll see what I’ve started to call a Bad Math Scam. This is where an account, looking to juice their engagement figures, posts an equation with a challenge for people to solve it. Often, it’ll say something like ‘Only ‘80s Kids Can Do This’ or ‘Brain Power Challenge: Can You Do This Without a Calculator?’. The only problem is that the equation is so ambiguously-written that you can come up with multiple answers. Good afternoon, Internet..

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