This Week in Web #35

Facebook fires human editors, algorithm immediately posts fake news

Annalee Newitz, ArsTechnica

Facebook took heed of the critics who said that their human editors brought bias to the trending newsfeed. Last week they replaced all of their human editors with an algorithm that sorts based on the most discussed stories on the platform.

Big surprise, a lot of the stories posted are not real stories. It seems that people are more apt to share outrageous headlines that aren’t based in reality. That’ll show us to let computers take our jobs!

Here’s What You Need to Know About the #YouTubeIsOverParty Uproar

Mathew Ingram, Fortune

YouTube was under fire yesterday for the notifications sent out to many highly subscribed channels that their videos would be de-monetized. The videos in question apparently violate the “advertiser friendly” terms, though not all of them are very obvious.

The official Youtube team Twitter account responded that no change of rules around content has changed, there’s just a notification system process now to send those messages to users. That hasn’t sat very well with many famous Youtubers that are loudly wondering how many of their videos in the past have been de-monetized without them knowing it.

Open Internet Advocates Claim Victory in Europe Net Neutrality Fight

Sam Gustin, Motherboard

In a victory that at this point I’d not have guessed at all, the European Union has followed suit with the US and upheld net neutrality. A new ruling upholds that internet users “have the right to access and distribute information and content, use and provide applications and services, and use terminal equipment of their choice, irrespective of the end-userโ€™s or providerโ€™s location or the location, origin or destination of the information, content, application or service, via their internet access service.” A PDF of the full BEREC guidelines can be found here.

The Dropbox hack is real

Troy Hunt

Troy Hunt followed up on a Motherboard story confirming a rumor that Dropbox had been hacked back in 2012 and the service has now discovered this and has forced password resets for affected users. He does more than the standard shock news story however and did some analysis on how he determined that the dump was real, as well as some instructions on how to verify for yourself.

If you’re worried about any accounts of yours, check Have I Been Pwned? to see if your email address is associated with any known leaks over the past few years.

Facebook Just Proved It Isnโ€™t Hooli From Silicon Valley

Cade Metz, Wired

Google has Brotli (which I covered in one of the first newsletters), and now Facebook has ZStandard. The major players in compression know that the only way for them to find new revolutions in compression (and AI, and hardware design, and even the foundation of their site’s software) is to make it open to third party innovation.

Who Killed YTMND?

Bryan Menegus, Gizmodo

We know who killed Gizmodo parent, Gawker, but Gizmodo wants to know who killed YTMND. The answer to that question appears to be the site itself. You’re The Man Now Dog was a staple of internet culture in the early 2000’s, but the site was never made for such a wide user base. Advertisers were hard to come by with the kind of content posted to the site, and the social connections made it easier for abuse to pile on. An interview with the creator of the site described how hard it was to run a community of over 300,000 users with only one employee, as well as his reluctance to expand the site in the first place.

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