Local

How to expand broadband access; Facebook to prioritize local news (too little too late??); and more.


  • Tech and politics: The names of campaign donors will appear on the screen during a livestream of Donald Trump’s State of the Union address this evening, John Wagner reports for The Washington Post.

  • The Boston Public Library is appealing to the crowd to help transcribe 40,000 documents pertaining to the Abolitionist Movement, including correspondence between activists, pamphlets, books, and newspapers as part of a new Zooniverse campaign.

  • From the archives: In 2016, I reported on how Zooniverse opened their platform to all, and became the go-to website for crowdsourced research.

  • Harold Feld writes that the key to expanding broadband access in rural areas is expanding broadband infrastructure—not funding carriers in the hope that they’ll do that for you.

  • State of surveillance: Zeynep Tufekci weighs in on the Strava debacle in her latest New York Times column. “Data privacy is not like a consumer good, where you click “I accept” and all is well,” she writes. “Data privacy is more like air quality or safe drinking water, a public good that cannot be effectively regulated by trusting in the wisdom of millions of individual choices. A more collective response is needed.”

  • Life in Facebookistan: From now on, the behemoth social media platform will prioritize local news in the News Feed, Alex Hardiman and Campbell Brown announce in the Facebook newsroom. No word on what will happen if your local newspaper has already gone out of business or been bought out or scaled down to a shadow of its former self because of a confluence of forces, including Facebook.

  • I saw more than one person, but most prominently Julia Carrie Wong, observe that when Zuckerberg says local news is less divisive, he sounds like he doesn’t read local news.

  • Nearly 100 health advocates have sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking that he discontinue a messenger service aimed at six- to 12-year-olds, Nitasha Tiku reports for Wired.

  • Future thinking: Ford has been awarded a patent for self-driving, self-ticketing police cars, Alexandra Ma reports for Business Insider.

  • Moment of zen: XKCD does campaign fundraising emails.