Participatory Democracy, This X Does Not Exist, Twitter, More: Sunday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, December 12, 2021


Council of Europe: Welcome to the new website dedicated to promoting participatory democracy!. “On this newly re-launched website you can find the latest news on Council of Europe activities in the field of participatory democracy, such as Academies on Civil Participation or Trainings for civil society actors and public authorities on innovative participatory tools, key documents on Council for Europe standards, and guidelines and or innovative practical tools for practitioners.”

Found at Boing Boing: This X Does Not Exist. From the front page: “Using generative adversarial networks (GAN), we can learn how to create realistic-looking fake versions of almost anything, as shown by this collection of sites that have sprung up in the past month.” There are 36 sites here, from ones you’ve probably heard of (This Person Does Not Exist) to ones that might have escaped your attention (This Beach Does Not Exist, This Horse Does Not Exist).


Ubergizmo: Twitter Testing Allowing Users To Add Warning Labels To Their Own Tweets. “Twitter has filters and systems in place that can detect when tweets and media uploaded to its platform might not necessarily be appropriate for the public to see. They then put warning labels on these tweets so users roughly know what they might be able to expect should they choose to actually view the tweet. However, the company has since announced that they will be testing out a new system that will give users more control over these warning labels, where they’ll be able to place warning labels on their own tweets and media uploads.”

Ars Technica: Vivaldi 5.0 makes web browsing on Android tablets fun again. “Vivaldi is one of our favorite web browsers, and the company (of the same name) behind it recently announced another major release. Vivaldi 5.0 is now available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and, perhaps most notably given the changes in this release, Android.”


MakeUseOf: 5 Free Online Music Makers That Let You Make Music Without Software . “If you’re the type of person that listens to music all the time, then it’s quite likely that you’ve thought about making it, too. But finding the right software to try and create can be difficult, not to mention confusing. Luckily, there’s a wide range of different options available online with a wide range of differing complexities. All you have to do is open them up in your browser, and you’ll be good to go. Here are five of the best free online music makers that you can find online.”


CNBC: Google execs tell employees they won’t raise pay companywide to match inflation. “Google executives are acknowledging employee concerns about rising inflation, but say they have no plans to respond with a companywide pay increase. The topic of workforce pay was addressed at a special meeting on Tuesday that was intended to focus on Google’s 2022 strategy.”

Washington Post: Racists and Taliban supporters have flocked to Twitter’s new audio service after executives ignored warnings. “Earlier this year, as Twitter raced to roll out Spaces, its new live audio chat feature, some employees asked how the company planned to make sure the service didn’t become a platform for hate speech, bullying and calls to violence. In fact, there was no plan. In a presentation to colleagues shortly before its public launch in May, a top Twitter executive, Kayvon Beykpour, acknowledged that people were likely to break Twitter’s rules in the audio chats, according to an attendee who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal matters. But he and other Twitter executives — convinced that Spaces would help revive the sluggish company — refused to slow down.”


The Hill: Senators unveil bipartisan bill requiring social media giants to open data to researchers. “Meta and other social media companies would be required to share their data with outside researchers under a new bill announced by a bipartisan group of senators on Thursday. Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) underscored the need for their bill based on information leaked about Meta’s platforms in the so-called Facebook Papers, though the proposal would also apply to other social media companies.”

The National: Canada considers media regulations on Facebook and Google. “Canada’s media industry could be in line for a big and desperately needed payday as the government considers legislation that will force Facebook and Google to pay media companies for the use of their content. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to introduce the legislation within the first 100 days of his new mandate, which would be the beginning of February 2022.”


My Modern Met: 151,000 Artworks Are Stored in World’s First Publicly Accessible Museum Art ‘Depot’. “The Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam is a highly anticipated project by Netherlands-based architecture firm MVRDV. Branded as the world’s first publicly accessible art depot, the structure will store 151,000 pieces from the nearby Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The new station means that, unlike most museums where a large portion of the collection remains in storage, the entire body of artwork can be enjoyed by the public.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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