Business Insider – Now it has a secret tool to let you delete it. “Facebook’s parent firm Meta has quietly rolled out a new service that lets people check whether the firm holds their contact information, such as their phone number or email address, and delete and block it.
The tool has been available since May 2022, Insider understands, although Meta does not seem to have said anything publicly about it. A tipster pointed us to the tool, which is well-hidden and apparently only available via a link that is embedded 780 words into a fairly obscure page in Facebook’s help section for non-users. The linked text gives no indication that it’s sending you to a privacy tool, and simply reads: “Click here if you have a question about the rights you may have.”…
First-of-its-kind database tracks threats against public officials Princeton Univeristy: “Threats to and harassment of local officials present a significant challenge to American democracy by discouraging civic engagement, undermining the work of public servants, and creating unprecedented stress on the cornerstones of democratic society including elections, education, and public safety processes. A heightened environment of fear among local officials seems ubiquitous, but the data behind the phenomenon is opaque. This project is the to systematically evaluate events of threats and harassment across the United States using public event-based data.”
Consumers Feel Worse Now Than They Did During Covid Lockdowns
WSJ [paywall]: Sentiment has fallen to levels typically associated with worse financial and economic conditions than today’s: “The University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment measures how U.S. consumers feel about their personal finances, business conditions and buying conditions. Recent surveys have shown that consumers have rarely felt more downbeat about all of these measures. In the past, when consumer sentiment was as depressed as it is today, stocks were in a bear market, unemployment was higher than average or prices were rising faster than usual.This year, inflation has been near four-decade highs and a main driver of consumer pessimism. The S&P 500 is in a bear market, but up 7% from its 2022 low. Uncharacteristically of periods with low sentiment, unemployment is historically low…A souring mood for consumers is a concerning sign because household spending accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic output…”
MIT Technology Review – Digitization can help stem the tide of entropy, but it won’t stop it. ” Everything dies: people, machines, civilizations. Perhaps we can find some solace in knowing that all the meaningful things we’ve learned along the way will survive. But even knowledge has a life span. Documents fade.
Art goes missing. Entire libraries and collections can face quick and unexpected destruction. Surely, we’re at a stage technologically where we might devise ways to make knowledge available and accessible forever. After all, the density of data storage is already incomprehensibly high. In the ever-growing museum of the internet, one can move smoothly from images from the James Webb Space Telescope through diagrams explaining Pythagoras’s philosophy on the music of the spheres to a YouTube tutorial on blues guitar soloing. What more could you want?
Quite a bit, according to the experts. For one thing, what we think is permanent isn’t. Digital storage systems can become unreadable in as little as three to five years. Librarians and archivists race to copy things over to newer formats. But entropy is always there, waiting in the wings. “Our professions and our people often try to extend the normal life span as far as possible through a variety of techniques, but it’s still holding back the tide,” says Joseph Janes, an associate professor at the University of Washington Information School.
To complicate matters, archivists are now grappling with an unprecedented deluge of information. In the past, materials were scarce and storage space limited. “Now we have the opposite problem,” Janes says. “Everything is being recorded all the time.” In principle, that could right a historic wrong. For centuries, countless people didn’t have the right culture, gender, or socioeconomic class for their knowledge or work to be discovered, valued, or preserved. But the massive scale of the digital world now presents a unique challenge.
According to an estimate last year from the market research firm IDC, the amount of data that companies, governments, and individuals create in the next few years will be twice the total of all the digital data generated previously since the start of the computing age.
Entire schools within some universities are laboring to find better approaches to saving the data under their umbrella. The Data and Service Center for Humanities at the University of Basel, for example, has been developing a software platform called Knora to not just archive the many types of data from humanities work but ensure that people in the future can read and use them. And yet the process is fraught…”