WP Data Dashboard, Mastodon, Twitter, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, November 2, 2023


WP Tavern: WP Data Dashboard Tracks Themes Ecosystem. “Munich-based digital agency owner Hendrik Luehrsen has been tracking the usage of themes with the FSE tag (block themes) using a spreadsheet that pulls in data from the API. Wrangling the data in a spreadsheet became too cumbersome, so Luehrsen launched WP Data Dashboard over the weekend as a ‘centralized hub for exploring, analyzing, and visualizing data across the WordPress landscape.'”


TechCrunch: Mastodon takes on Twitter/X by bringing ‘lists’ to mobile. “Mastodon, the open source, decentralized alternative to Twitter/X, is adding a feature to its app that will help make the transition smoother for newcomers: Lists. The company today announced the Mastodon app for Android is adding the much-in-demand feature, which allows users to create custom lists around specific topics or interests. An update for iOS is expected to follow, though the company did not commit to a time frame.”

Rolling Stone: Elon Musk, Who Bought Twitter for $44 Billion, Now Values It at $19 Billion. “On Monday, Oct. 30, as Fortune reports, Musk awarded all the X employees he didn’t fire equity in the company, saying it was valued at $19 billion, or $45 a share. That’s a 55 percent drop in value from when Musk bought Twitter last year — and it might be an overly sunny assessment. The mutual fund company Fidelity — which contributed over $300 million to Musk’s Twitter takeover — just revealed it thinks the company is worth 65 percent less than it was last year.”


Bellingcat: Separating Fact from Fiction on Social Media in Times of Conflict. “At Bellingcat, we pride ourselves on providing tools and resources for our audience to think critically about sources they find online. In this short guide, we give a few tips on what to consider when confronted with an abundance of footage and claims. Here’s how to separate fact from fiction with real, recent examples of misinformation.”


Artnet: ‘We Cannot Fight A.I.’: How Art Schools Are Navigating the Challenge of Artificial Intelligence. “While the rapid rise of A.I. creates as many possibilities as harms in the art world, it introduces its own set of concerns for schools of art and design. Will admissions officers know whether the artworks in an applicant’s portfolio were created with a few keystrokes, for instance? How should professors appraise works created entirely with A.I.? Will a degree lose value to prospective employers as A.I. becomes more powerful?”

New York Times: As Users Abandon X, Sports Twitter Endures. “Since Elon Musk bought Twitter last year, many users have abandoned the platform, spurred by a number of unpopular changes. Others have pronounced it dead. But in the same way that many households stuck with cable for game broadcasts, sports fans and sports reporters still find X indispensable because, they say, it remains the go-to place for live updates and hot takes about coaching decisions and umpire calls.”

The Verge: This app is making podcasts more TikTokable. “Detail, a podcast recording and editing app, is catering to the growing demand for video podcasts with a new multicam recording feature. Users can record simultaneously from two iPhones to produce a vertical video of two shots stacked on top of each other. It is a format that is optimized for TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, which are becoming increasingly important in the podcast space.”


Canadian Press: Google CEO defends paying Apple and others to make Google the default search engine on devices. “Testifying in the biggest U.S. antitrust case in a quarter century, Google CEO Sundar Pichai defended his company’s practice of paying Apple and other tech companies to make Google the default search engine on their devices, saying the intent was to make the user experience ‘seamless and easy.'”

Reuters: Canada Bans Chinese App WeChat, Russia’s Kaspersky On Government Phones. “Canada on Monday banned popular Chinese messaging app WeChat and Russian platform Kaspersky from government smartphones and other mobile devices, citing privacy and security risks. The suite of applications would be immediately removed from government-issued devices and users will be blocked from downloading them in the future, said a statement.”


University of Washington: A Google Slides extension can make presentation software more accessible for blind users. “A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has created A11yBoard for Google Slides, a browser extension and phone app that allows blind users to navigate through complex slide layouts and text. Combining a desktop computer with a mobile device, A11yBoard lets users work with audio, touch, gesture, speech recognition and search to understand where different objects are located on a slide and move these objects around to create rich layouts.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison: From ********* to EZacces$! Your browser extension could grab your password and sensitive info . “When you type a password or credit card number into a website, you expect that your sensitive data will be protected by a system designed to keep it secure. That’s not always the case, according to a group of digital security researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. They found that some popular websites are vulnerable to browser extensions that can extract user data like passwords, credit card information and social security numbers from HTML code. A preprint of their work has already created a buzz in tech circles.”

The Conversation: How to redesign social media algorithms to bridge divides. “Current engagement-based algorithms make predictions about which posts are most likely to generate clicks, likes, shares or views – and use these predictions to rank the most engaging content at the top of your feed. This tends to amplify the most polarising voices, because divisive perspectives are very engaging. Bridging-based ranking uses a different set of signals to determine which content gets ranked highly. One approach is to increase the rank of content that receives positive feedback from people who normally disagree.” Good morning, Internet…

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