Thomas Edison Recordings, Discord, Snapchat, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, March 2, 2022

I know that the RBs for the last few days have been really heavy with Ukraine/Russia news. I do believe that we are at a historical intersection of social networks, intelligence access, and military conflicts, and that it’ll be important to look back later at the technology coverage.

What did we talk about first? How quickly was propaganda/disinformation stifled (if at all)? Did any platforms fail capacity? How quickly were citizens cut from Internet access? Did supportive countries assist on an Internet culture level (memes, etc)? Is OSINT a general scrum or are there organized team efforts?

I’m thinking about these things as I decide to index articles or not. If the volume gets unbearable I’ll create yet another topic-specific newsletter. As always, thanks for reading. Much love.


Morristown Daily Record: Thousands of original Thomas Edison recordings digitized, available for free streaming. “History’s on-demand playlist has expanded significantly with the release of 2,400 Edison sound disc recordings — some recorded by the famed inventor himself — that have been digitized for free listening by the public. The collection, which has been preserved for years at Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, features many rarities, including unissued test pressings that were recorded in New York and European cities between 1910 and 1929.”


The Verge: Discord’s new policy will ban harmful medical advice, taking aim at anti-vaxx groups. “Discord is overhauling its policies and community guidelines to tackle health misinformation, off-platform behavior, and hate speech, the company announced on Friday. It’s the first big policy update for Discord in nearly two years and is designed to target groups or individuals that participate in organized violence, spread harmful anti-vaccination material, or harass other Discord users with hate speech.”

CNET: Snapchat Joins Tech Giants in Halting Ad Sales in Russia. “Snapchat has followed suit after Facebook, Twitter and YouTube began pausing ads on Friday, saying it has now stopped all advertising running in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Mashable: Reddit has quarantined r/Russia due to misinformation. “Reddit has quarantined subreddit r/Russia due to misinformation, as the internationally condemned Russian invasion of Ukraine continues into its sixth day. r/RussiaPolitics has also been quarantined, just days after it was created in order to host invasion-related discussions.”


Washington Post: How Ukrainians have used social media to humiliate the Russians and rally the world. “A flood of real-time videos across Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and Twitter has blunted Kremlin propaganda and rallied the world to Ukraine’s side as it fights to defend its democracy from a military behemoth. It has also potentially saved lives: Ukrainians have raced to disseminate defensive strategies, plot escape routes and document the brutality of a raging clash. Some expect that the phone footage recorded in recent days could play a critical role in investigating war crimes after the combat ends.”

San Francisco Chronicle: It started with a viral TikTok video of steak and mashed potatoes. Now, this Black “trailblazer” has nearly 2 million followers. “Five months ago, one of his videos might have gotten a few thousand views. Now Emmanuel [Duverneau] is one of TikTok’s Black Trailblazers, a group of ‘trendsetting’ Black creators that the app has spent February highlighting. Such is the life of a freshly minted TikTok star in the year 2022.”

Rolling Stone: China’s Propaganda Machine Gears Up for Putin — and Blames America for the Invasion. “So far, the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda has stopped short of fully supporting Russia in the bloody conflict in Ukraine, experts say. Rather, the overarching point of this campaign is to depict China as a rational, sober world power, and the United States and the West as a reckless, violent, and imperialistic forces that threaten global peace.”

Slate: How the Russian Invasion of Ukraine Is Playing Out on English, Ukrainian, and Russian Wikipedia. “With deadly explosions in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv and a developing refugee crisis, it might seem odd to cover the play-by-play of a digital encyclopedia. But internet-savvy Ukrainians, including the country’s own Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recognize that how the facts are represented on Wikipedia matters. Right now, the number of people reading about Ukraine on Wikipedia is at an unprecedented high—spiking to more than 22 million English page views in the past month versus roughly 290,000 in February 2021. Meanwhile, Russia is coupling its lethal military campaign with a Goebbels-like propaganda blitz.”


University of Alabama in Huntsville: UAH helping create AI cell phone forensics tool to help police solve mass crimes. “There can be lots of forensic evidence on many people’s cell phones when a mass incident like a shooting or bombing is happens, but winnowing out the relevant material and putting it in context can be a time-consuming and tedious affair for law enforcement. That’s why The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), Florida State University (FSU) and Purdue University have teamed to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to help law enforcement target, extract and collate cell phone evidence related to an incident.”

BuzzFeed News: How Open-Source Intelligence Is Helping Clear The Fog Of War In Ukraine. “Countering propaganda is welcome, but some OSINT analysts also wonder about the ethical implications of their work. Melissa Hanham, an OSINT specialist affiliated with the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, told BuzzFeed News that she believes that practitioners need to wrestle with some difficult questions: ‘Are OSINT analysis now actors in an active conflict? Can OSINT analysts change conflicts?'” Good afternoon, Internet…

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