BBC: Russia bans smartphones for soldiers over social media fears. “Russia’s parliament has voted to ban soldiers from using smartphones while on duty, after their social media use raised issues of national security. The bill forbids military personnel from using a phone with the ability to take pictures, record videos and access the internet. Soldiers also cannot write about the military or talk to journalists.”
ABC News (Australia): Why large swathes of countries are censored on Google Maps. “From self-driving cars to smart bins, global satellite positioning (GPS) is fundamentally changing the world around us, but as more of Earth becomes accessible from our keyboards, there are a number of groups who want to swat prying eyes away.”
Ars Technica: Vox lawyers briefly censored YouTubers who mocked The Verge’s bad PC build advice. “Last week, The Verge got a reminder about the power of the Streisand effect after its lawyers issued copyright takedown requests for two YouTube videos that criticized—and heavily excerpted—a video by The Verge. Each takedown came with a copyright ‘strike.’ It was a big deal for the creators of the videos, because three ‘strikes’ in a 90-day period are enough to get a YouTuber permanently banned from the platform.” After the description I now kind of lowkey want to see the video.
The Irrawaddy: Archivist Salvages Myanmar’s Neglected Photographic History. “Austrian photographer and archivist Lukas Birk collects vintage images by local photographers and exhibits them with the aim of reinterpreting Myanmar’s history and reviving the stories told by photographers of bygone eras. His major project, the Myanmar Photo Archive, is an ongoing labor of love comprising more than 20,000 images so far. Lukas is himself a photographer but has devoted the past decade to working on historical research in various countries. He started his Myanmar project in 2015 after learning of the country’s rich photographic history.” An online archive is in the works.
The Daily Beast: Whimsical and Annoying Viral Questions Are Taking Over Twitter. “Unpopular opinion time: What trend has taken over Twitter, inspiring enthusiastic fans and even more devoted haters? For the past eight months, the answer has been tweets structured just like the question above. They’re open-ended. They’re designed to elicit quick responses. And they’re absolutely everywhere.” I think they’re cute.
New York Times: YouTube Unleashed a Conspiracy Theory Boom. Can It Be Contained?. “Last month, the YouTube star Shane Dawson uploaded his new project: a 104-minute documentary, ‘Conspiracy Theories With Shane Dawson.’ In the video, set to a spooky instrumental soundtrack, Mr. Dawson unspooled a series of far-fetched hypotheses. Among them: that iPhones secretly record their owners’ every utterance; that popular children’s TV shows contain subliminal messages urging children to commit suicide; that the recent string of deadly wildfires in California was set on purpose, either by homeowners looking to collect insurance money or by the military using a type of high-powered laser called a ‘directed energy weapon.'”
The Sociable: Social media is the new dais for Asian elections. “Asian countries, such as India, Thailand, and Indonesia are all starting an election year and are banking on social media and tech to draw in the votes. Here we take a look at the role of social media platforms in upcoming elections throughout Asia.”