Mozilla News Beat, January 22, 2021
Welcome to the Mozilla News Beat, a glance at the internet news of the week in order of best-to-worst. Enjoy!
Out of the way humans, out of the way! This tiny dog is on a mission, folks. Watch as this pupper zooms by, carrying a stick three times its size. Between the determined trot and his assortment of tiny dog vests, this canine gives new meaning, in every way, to the term “dashing.”
Misinfo (Somewhat) Managed
According to research group Zignal Labs, misinformation surrounding election fraud has dropped by 73% since Donald Trump and his allies were banned from platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Zignal noted mentions of election fraud went from 2.5 million to under 700,000 in just weeks.
The U.S. has a new president and Amazon is chiming in early, offering to help combat COVID. In a letter from the company’s operations leader, Amazon congratulated President Biden and Vice President Harris on their win and offered its expertise in distribution logistics to help deliver vaccines across the country.
Worth 1,000 Words
When rioters forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, many took selfies and video to brag about the feat, even uploading it to social media. So far, 98 rioters have been arrested by the FBI thanks to the footage. Technology experts like Joan Donovan offer caution, saying just because tech is being used in ways you like in one case doesn’t make it good.
Last week’s News Byte focused on the de-platforming of the social network Parler. After Parler was banned from Apple and Google’s app stores and even from Amazon’s web servers, the service is back. Parler is now available via an IP address owned by DDos-Guard, a Russian company with other clients like Russia’s ministry of defense, media organizations in Moscow and 8kun, the site formerly known as 8chan.
Banned in Turkey
Turkey will throttle Twitter, starting in May. The company failed to comply with Turkey’s law requiring that social media companies appoint a legal representative in the country. A failure to comply means potential advertising bans, reducing bandwidth and issuing fines.
Google made headlines last month when it ousted famed AI ethicist Dr. Timnit Gebru. According to Axios, the company is now investigating another top AI researcher — ethical AI co-lead Margaret Mitchell — for using automated scripts to find discriminatory language in the treatment of Dr. Gebru. What Mitchell’s saying: the researcher publicly critiqued Google for alienating Black women. What Google’s saying: in a statement to Axios, Google said it locked Mitchell out of her email because she downloaded a large batch of files and shared them with multiple external sources.
U.S. voters are living in two different realities and The Markup is attempting to quantify it. The publication examined how coverage of the U.S. Capitol riots appeared in Facebook users’ news feeds. According to the site, President Biden-voting Facebook users saw news from non-partisan publications like The New York Times and Washington Post, while Donald Trump-voting users saw news stories from conservative outlets like Daily Wire and Breitbart. “The two groups were exposed to barely any of the same news stories,” says The Markup.
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