Morning Toolbox – October 4, 2012 – One Billion Facebookers

Morning Toolbox is a daily digest of interesting tools and techniques that skeptics can use online.

Facebook said on the Today Show this morning that it now has 1 Billion users. That means negative Web of Trust ratings could potentially affect 1 Billion people now. Those clicks count.

Facebook also just announced a new option where regular users can pay a small fee to promote a post to the top of your friends feeds. Most are reporting the fee as $7, but some say Facebook is still testing out different prices. Would you pay $7 to promote a warning about a dangerous cancer quack?

Related to warning people with Web of Trust, it appears Google wants your opinion of sites too.  They’ve got a new Chrome browser plug-in called Feedback Loop. The description says, “This feedback will be used in experiments to improve Google’s ability to differentiate between high-quality web destinations and those that may pose risks to users, as part of ongoing efforts to improve user safety and the quality of our ads.”  Hmmm, do you think if enough skeptics down-rated pseudoscience sites, Google’s algorithms would start to “learn” they are bad?  (h/t Charlie Ross)

It’s not just blog posts that can draw lawsuits, Simon Singh found out this week. He’s been threatened with libel action over a Tweet. Be careful out there.

But libel is not the only way skeptics get attacked, sometimes attempts are made to smear our reputations online. There are a number of companies that sell services to clean up this type of thing, but ReadWriteWeb recommends the do-it-yourself approach.

If you ever use music or clips in your YouTube posts, you may have run afoul of their automated copyright robot called ContentID.  They’ve added a new appeal process this week that might make the mistakes it makes (which are legendary) easier to deal with.

Not all disputes involve paperwork or courts. The confusion between skepticblog.org and skepticblogs.com has been amicably resolved.  The newer site has renamed itself Skeptic Ink Network. Well done, all.

A few weeks back on Virtual Skeptics, I demonstrated two smartphone apps to investigate political ads. As we get closer to the election, they should come in handy. Super PAC App is iOS only but AdHawk is available in both iOS and Android versions. Both can identify the ad by listening to the soundtrack. They can tell you who paid for it, how much money they have and so on. But I like the Super PAC App because it can also link you to debunks and fact checks of the ad online.

Speaking of apps, here’s a cool iPad app that graphically displays the links between Wikipedia articles.

Follow me on Twitter at @krelnik.  You can submit stories there or via submit at whatstheharm.net.

One thought on “Morning Toolbox – October 4, 2012 – One Billion Facebookers

  1. Pingback: Why Google’s Chrome is currently the skeptic browser of choice | Skeptical Software Tools

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