The Register: Google halts paid-for Chrome extension updates amid fraud surge: Web Store in lockdown ‘due to the scale of abuse’ . “On Saturday, Google temporarily disabled the ability to publish paid Chrome apps, extensions, and themes in the Chrome Web Store due to a surge in fraud.”
CNN: Exclusive: This site pays Americans to write ‘news’ articles. Signs indicate it originates in Iran. “American Herald Tribune bills itself as a ‘genuinely independent online media outlet.’ Set up in 2015, it publishes in English and pays Americans to write articles. But multiple investigations by American tech companies, details of which have not previously been reported, point to the site originating in Iran.”
The Guardian: From vagina eggs to anti-vaxxers: is it time for an influencer detox?. “Across social media, influencers perpetuate wellness trends and dubious diets, frequently promoting completely useless or even dangerous advice. The perennial market for ‘detox’ and ‘cleanse’ diets and products is a recurrent theme. As has been written frequently here, these are completely useless from a scientific standpoint, given our liver and kidneys filter toxins quite admirably. Despite this, detox products and their offspring diets top $5bn in sales annually, driven to a large extent by celebrity and influencer endorsement.”
Computer Weekly: Sextortion campaign hits Nest home security cameras. “The campaign was uncovered by researchers at email cyber security company Mimecast, which found almost 1,700 examples sent to individuals, mostly in the US, earlier in January. Although in essence a run-of-the-mill extortion racket, it is a more unusual campaign than usual due to a rather more complex methodology that appears to obfuscate the origins of the scam emails and other details that might make it possible to identify those responsible, said Mimecast’s head of data science overwatch, Kiri Addison.”
Search Engine Land: Yelp cracks down on ‘review rings’ as Google continues to see widespread mapspam. “Yelp has almost certainly been the most aggressive of the review platforms to take action against spam and review fraud. The company has historically and controversially tried to prevent any form of review solicitation….Now the company is stepping up efforts to stop ‘review rings,’ which have become something of a cottage industry online.”
CBC: ‘Something scuzzy’: Marketplace investigation uncovers fake locksmith listings and reviews on Google. “If you’re locked out of your house with nowhere to turn, chances are you’re going to have to call a locksmith. But picking a locksmith may prove trickier than picking a lock itself, especially if your search begins online. A Marketplace investigation into the locksmith industry uncovered a sprawling network of fake locations and fake five-star reviews cluttering local Google Maps in the Greater Toronto Area.” This infuriates me because fake locksmith listings on Google are a problem that’s at least six years old. And, yet, still not fixed.