Twitter in Turkey, Repatriated Art, Reddit, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, April 19, 2023

Explore hashtags across Mastodon, a decentralized social network. No account or registration required; just find an instance and start exploring.


Middle East Eye: Turkey elections: Thousands of Russian Twitter accounts reactivated in Turkish. “Thousands of Russian- and Hungarian-speaking Twitter accounts have been reactivated as Turkish users weeks before the 14 May elections in Turkey, raising the possibility of election interference through social media. Ahmet Turan Han, the general manager of political consultancy and research company Datailor, told Middle East Eye that his company encountered a network of Twitter users, most probably bots, that had recently changed their identity.”

KSAT: 2,000-year-old stolen artifact heading back to Germany after Texas woman bought it at Goodwill for $35. “A first-century marble bust found by a Texas woman at a Goodwill in Austin a few years ago is about to head back to Germany. The bust made headlines in May 2022 after Laura Young, an antique dealer, discovered that the bust she bought in 2018 for $34.99 was actually a 2,000-year-old, 50-pound piece of history.”

TechCrunch: Reddit will begin charging for access to its API. “Following on the heels of Twitter’s decision to restrict third-party access to its data, Reddit today announced that it’ll begin charging for use of its API. It’s not a blanket policy change. As reported by The New York Times, Reddit’s API will remain free to developers who want to build apps and bots that help people use Reddit, as well as to researchers who wish to study Reddit for strictly academic or noncommercial purposes.”


The Star (Kenya): Farmers reap big from social media. “Francis Muiruri, a 31-year-old Kenyan farmer, has found a new income stream on social media: selling information. As a digital consultant, he advises other farmers on successful service delivery on the farm…. Despite living with disability, the Thika-based, mixed-crop farmer appreciates the platform’s role in commercialising his farming business.”

Quartz: Elon Musk’s Twitter has even lost the man who popularized #hashtags. “Arguably, Chris Messina created a monster. Back in 2007, Messina, a technology developer who was one of the first 2,000 users of Twitter, suggested using the hashtag symbol to group tweets dealing with the same theme or event. This way, these tweets could be easily found by Twitter users interested in that topic. But, like other monsters, the hashtag didn’t behave exactly as Messina intended.”


The Block: Taylor Swift did her homework on FTX, dodged a bullet, says lawyer suing Tom Brady, Shaq. “Taylor Swift was one of the only celebrities who did their due diligence on crypto exchange FTX, according to the lawyer suing the now-bankrupt company’s celebrity promoters.” The only song I’ve ever heard by Ms. Swift is “Shake it Off,” but this might be enough to make me a fan.

KOLN: Nebraska lawmakers advance proposal for video archive of legislative proceedings. “Lawmakers gave first-round approval Monday to a proposal that would create a video archive of Nebraska legislative proceedings, an effort that has spanned multiple years.”

WIRED: Apple’s Macs Have Long Escaped Ransomware. That May Be Changing. “SECURITY RESEARCHERS ARE examining newly discovered Mac ransomware samples from the notorious gang LockBit, marking the first known example of a prominent ransomware group toying with macOS versions of its malware.”


The Verge: Social media is doomed to die. “Each platform began honorably, with young founders enthusiastically revealing that if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product. ‘We’re going to do things differently around here!’ they say through a grin. And then the founders discover, one by one, that there’s something not quite right about the business of social media. They made their apps free to scale their community, and then they found there was no turning back. Unfettered growth became the only way forward, no matter how unrecognizable the product had to become to get there.”

Discover: Social Media Is Not to Blame for Dwindling Face-to-Face Communication. “It’s a familiar and seemingly logical argument: Social media makes us less social. We’re hooked to our phones at the expense of going out into the real world and interacting with other people. And according to Jeffrey Hall, a professor of communication studies and director of the Relationships and Technology Lab at the University of Kansas, the concept even has a name: the social displacement hypothesis.”

PC Magazine: What’s Happening to Twitter Could Never Happen to Mastodon. “Several Twitter crises ago, my editor pitched me the idea for this story. The suggestion was to explain not just why I thought Mastodon—a decentralized social network for Twitter-style posts—was better than Twitter, but also how it could resist whatever Musk-inflicted wound was in the news at the time. I liked the idea, but I didn’t get around to writing it. A few weeks later there was another crisis at Twitter (there have been so many I honestly can’t remember which one) and this story came up again. And again. And again. And so now, I think it’s finally time to run down the list and explain why Mastodon is structurally and technically impervious to the madness that is plaguing Twitter.”


IFL Science: This Is The World’s Oldest Bar Joke, But Literally Nobody Knows Why It’s Funny. “Say, have you heard the one about the Abderite who saw a eunuch talking to a woman and asked whether she was his wife? Upon hearing that eunuchs couldn’t take wives, the Abderite replied: ‘so, is she your daughter?’ Didn’t tickle your funny bone? It probably sounded better in the original Latin – along with context clues like who, exactly, the Abderite people were and why they seem to have been the ancient Roman equivalent of the ‘dumb blonde’ archetype.” Good morning, Internet…

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