Facebook continues with the arbitrary content blocking. “A journalist was temporarily banned from Facebook after a post in which he called Trump supporters ‘a nasty fascistic lot’, in the latest example of the social media platform’s censorship of journalists. Facebook ‘reviewed and restored’ the post by Kevin Sessums after being contacted by the Guardian and dropped the posting ban.” Facebook arbitrarily blocks content which is restored only when it’s called out by a major media outlet. And yet it’s completely helpless to block fake news! Uh-huh.
TorrentFreak: Google Removed Over 900 Million ‘Pirate’ Links in 2016. “Google removed over 900 million pirate site URLs from its search results in 2016. The staggering number is an increase of nearly 100% compared to the year before. While Google has taken some steps to make pirate sites less visible, it continues to disagree with rightsholders on how to move forward.”
The head of Twitter in China has resigned. “While Twitter has been blocked in mainland China since 2009, the troubled social network is still active in the country in pursuit of Chinese companies who want to advertise globally on Twitter. Major clients include Huawei and state news agency Xinhua.”
Search Engine Journal: Top 16 Websites for Finding Perfect GIFs and Memes . Heh: “Before you proceed, I must warn you. Reading this post may result in loss of productivity and wasted time. On the other hand, it may also make you a better online conversationalist and drastically improve your sense of humor. Reader discretion is advised.”
Scientific American: How a Machine Learns Prejudice. “If artificial intelligence takes over our lives, it probably won’t involve humans battling an army of robots that relentlessly apply Spock-like logic as they physically enslave us. Instead, the machine-learning algorithms that already let AI programs recommend a movie you’d like or recognize your friend’s face in a photo will likely be the same ones that one day deny you a loan, lead the police to your neighborhood or tell your doctor you need to go on a diet. And since humans create these algorithms, they’re just as prone to biases that could lead to bad decisions—and worse outcomes.”
Hey! KrebsonSecurity – my favorite blog for security news and thoughts – is seven years old! “Hard to believe it’s time to celebrate another go ’round the Sun for KrebsOnSecurity! Today marks exactly seven years since I left The Washington Post and started this here solo thing. And what a remarkable year 2016 has been!”
From OMG! Ubuntu! – The 6 Linux Distros We’re Most Excited For in 2017. “Over the past few weeks we’ve been asking you to tell us which Linux distributions you are excited by, and the ones you think/hope will do well in 2017. Now it’s our turn. Naturally, compiling a list like this is very hard, especially when we have little more than hunches, hopes and hints of what to expect to base it all on. But we’ve done it anyway. Here 6 Linux distributions we’re excited to see go further in 2017.” I’m looking forward to Ubuntu Budgie.
Topps – yes, the trading card company – has been hacked. “The maker of iconic collectable trading cards has said hackers could have stolen customers’ credit and debit card numbers along with their associated security codes in a recent breach. Topps’ products include Star Wars, Disney’s Frozen, Top Gear and the UEFA champion league.”
Lake Superior State University has created its annual list of words to be banished. I’m all in favor of banishing listicles.
For those of you still using Evernote, a goodie from MakeUseOf: 7 Clever Evernote Features to Streamline Your Workflow. “You probably use Trello for task management, Slack for communication, PowerPoint for presentations, and Google Drive for writing and collaboration. But you can actually do much of that successfully in one place using Evernote.”
ThreatPost: PHPMailer Bug Leaves Millions of Websites Open to Attack. “The vulnerability (CVE-2016-10033) is related to the way websites handle web-based email submission forms using the PHPMailer component. PHP is an (Hypertext Preprocessor) open-source scripting language embedded into website HTML. PHPMailer is a popular component used by an estimated 9 million sites for handing tasks such as email submission and registration forms. According to Golunski all version of PHPMailer released before version 5.2.18 are affected.”
In development: a database of megalithic burials. “The study linking archeology, biology and history would lead to building a database to provide information on disease process, and, more importantly, to indicate conditions that could have led to the development, maintenance and the changing manifestations of disease through time.” It’s not clear in the article if this is just for India or not.
The Verge: Twitter’s New Year’s resolutions will be hard to keep. “Yesterday, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey launched an interesting experiment, asking his nearly four million followers to send him what they want to see the company improve or create. The replies ranged from basic design gripes to extinguishing national socialism, but today Dorsey boiled the responses down to four basic themes. The result is a kind of New Year’s resolution list for a company that’s coming off a very rough year. It’s not everything that came up, but it’s clearly the four areas Dorsey finds most compelling.”
If you can’t watch that Facebook will let you shoot off some much more modest fireworks. “This December 31st and January 1st, you can set off animated fireworks on your Facebook News Feed to welcome 2017.”
WIRED: The 21 Best New Words of 2016. “Now that 2016 is almost over, we’ve pulled together Keats’ best finds—the 21 most weird and wired words of the year. Well, make it 20 and a half; sadly, lemmium was officially quashed in November.” These are much more science and tech than culture.