TikTok, Twitter, Google Translate, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, January 18, 2023


CNN: More than half of US states have cracked down on TikTok access from government devices. “More than half of all US states have partially or fully banned TikTok from government devices, according to a CNN analysis, reflecting a wave of recent clampdowns by governors and state agencies targeting the short-form video app. The accelerating backlash by states against TikTok, which has at least 100 million users in the United States, extends to states governed by Republicans and Democrats, and spans all regions of the country.”

Financial Times: Looming Twitter interest payment leaves Elon Musk with unpalatable options. “The bill for Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is coming due, with the billionaire facing unpalatable options on the company’s enormous debt pile, ranging from bankruptcy proceedings to another costly sale of Tesla shares.”

Android Police: Google Translate gets offline translation for 33 more languages. “Google has just expanded the offline translation functionality to a whopping 33 new languages, as announced by the company in a blog post.” From Basque to Zulu, full list in the post.


Vox: Are we too worried about misinformation?. “I think what has happened is there was a massive overestimation of the capability of mis- and disinformation to change people’s minds — of its actual persuasive power. That doesn’t mean it’s not a problem, but we have to reframe how we look at it — as less of something that is done to us and more of a supply and demand problem.” This quote kind of reflexively makes me mad, but since Alex Stamos said it I feel obligated to take it seriously and think deeply about it. Darn it. Lol.

HoldTheFrontPage: Websites take a back seat as publisher changes tack at nine regional titles. “A regional publisher is making nine titles ‘newsletter-led’ enterprises that will see their websites take a back seat. Reach plc has announced the move at its digital-only ‘Live’ titles covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex and Hampshire.”

SFist: SF Police and Sheriff Unions Engaged in Bizarro Social Media Fight Over Staffing at SFO. SFO is San Francisco International Airport, I believe. “Immature posts from law enforcement unions are nothing new, but we can’t help but be amused by the new Twitter fight between SF Police Officers Association and the SF Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, who are publicly airing beef between them over who should staff SFO.”


NPR: Here’s what’s at stake in Elon Musk’s Tesla tweet trial. “In 2018, before Elon Musk was making headlines for his role in running Twitter, he was making headlines for another Twitter-related controversy: allegedly using the platform to commit fraud…. Now, a civil trial stemming from those tweets is being watched as a window into Musk’s behavior, past and present, which means the trial could produce new controversies of its own.”

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project: LockBit Gang Using Musk’s Internet Services, Laundering BitCoin in Hong Kong, China. “A security strategist who spent months undercover on the darkweb published a report on Monday that offers insight into one of the world’s most notorious ransomware groups, claiming its members are using internet services owned by billionaire Elon Musk and laundering money through Hong Kong and China.”

ERR (Estonia): Hartman submits bill to amend museums law, create new folk culture database. “Wednesday in the Riigikogu’s first reading, Minister of Culture Piret Hartman (SDE) introduced a legislation that simplifies the procedures for removal of items from museum collections, amends the conditions of museum funding, and proposes the creation of a new folk culture database.”


University of York: Study reveals online fake reviewers suffer from pangs of conscience. “The study, led by the University of York, found individuals to be quite competent in writing compelling fake reviews in unpredictable ways, but it caused a moral dilemma for some. The researchers say the findings of the study could be used by websites to put in place better systems to detect fake reviews, which could appeal to the contributor’s moral obligation to be truthful.”

Canada NewsWire: Canadian Heritage funds projects to strengthen Canadians’ resilience against harmful online disinformation (PRESS RELEASE). “The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced more than $1.2 million in funding for 16 research projects that help to counter and educate about online harms, misinformation, and disinformation. These projects were selected following an annual call for proposals that was launched in July 2022 by the Digital Citizen Contribution Program (DCCP).”


Dalhousie University: Dal researchers’ chance discovery could help extend battery life by replacing tape that causes self‑discharge. ‘”In commercial battery cells there is tape — like Scotch tape — that holds the electrodes together and there is a chemical decomposition of this tape, which creates a molecule that leads to the self-discharge,” says Michael Metzger, an assistant professor and the Herzberg-Dahn chair and in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science.’

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