New York Times: News Site to Investigate Big Tech, Helped by Craigslist Founder. “The Markup, dedicated to investigating technology and its effect on society, will be led by two former ProPublica journalists. Craig Newmark gave $20 million to help fund the operation.” I am not a big fan of Craig Newmark, but I think this is a worthy project.
ProPublica: Get an Inside Look at the Department of Defense’s Struggle to Fix Pollution at More Than 39,000 Sites. “For nearly 45 years, the Pentagon kept its program — the Defense Environmental Restoration Program — out of the spotlight, and most of these sites have never been scrutinized by the public. However, the agency has meticulously tracked its own efforts, recording them in a detailed internal database. We were the first to see it, ever. Now we’re sharing it with you.”
ProPublica: How You Can Keep Track of the Money Political Committees Spend at Trump Properties. “In our FEC Itemizer database, we’ve started tracking details on which committees spend money at Trump-owned properties and how much they spend. The data comes from expenditure reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission by the committees. The data will be updated monthly, and more often when, closer to the election, multiple filing days occur in a month.”
ProPublica: New in Nonprofit Explorer: People Search. “Today we’re launching a new feature in our Nonprofit Explorer database. You can now search for board members and key employees who work at nonprofit organizations by name. The database includes everyone listed on nonprofit tax returns filed electronically between 2014 and 2017. The data includes each person’s reported title and base compensation.”
ProPublica: Governors and Federal Agencies Are Blocking Nearly 1,300 Accounts on Facebook and Twitter. “Amanda Farber still doesn’t know why Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan blocked her from his Facebook group. A resident of Bethesda and full-time parent and volunteer, Farber identifies as a Democrat but voted for the Republican Hogan in 2014. Farber says she doesn’t post on her representatives’ pages often. But earlier this year, she said she wrote on the governor’s Facebook page, asking him to oppose the Trump administration’s travel ban and health care proposal. She never received a response. When she later returned to the page, she noticed her comment had been deleted. She also noticed she had been blocked from commenting. (She is still allowed to share the governor’s posts and messages.)”
TechCrunch: Facebook will temporarily disable a tool that lets advertisers exclude people of color. “Facebook has been under fire for its practices and policies that enable advertisers to exclude ‘multicultural affinity’ groups from the audiences they reach via the social network. Now, in light of a ProPublica investigation and pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus, Facebook says it’s committed to taking a closer look at its advertising policies, its COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a letter to CBC Chairperson Cedric Richmond.”
ProPublica: More Machine Learning About Congress’ Priorities. “Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is a tax wonk ― and most observers of Congress know that. But knowing what interests the other 434 members of Congress is harder. To make it easier to know what issues each lawmaker really focuses on, we’re launching a new feature in our Represent database called Policy Priorities. We had two goals in creating it: To help researchers and journalists understand what drives particular members of Congress and to enable regular citizens to compare their representatives’ priorities to their own and their communities.”