Weekly Roundup 11.20.2020

Posted in Newsletters

Happy Friday! We’ve got a little bit of Thanksgiving content for you all in anticipation of next week. Other highlights include misinformation, government data-sharing practices, and of course, Gen Z: 


Conspiracy theories, explained: So, what exactly is QAnon? Take a look at this comprehensive breakdown of what conspiracies like QAnon are, where they originated, and how they’re affecting us today. 

Tech firms fall short on misinformation targeting Latino voters, advocates say: Social media policies to combat misinformation have fallen short with spanish-language content. “They certainly need teams of people who are native speakers, who understand dialects, idioms, understand casual speech in all the major languages that are spoken and used on Facebook,” stated Jessica González, co-CEO of Free Press. 

Government + Tech

Los Angeles police ban use of third-party facial recognition software: The LAPD will no longer be using third-party facial recognition software, after Buzzfeed News reported that officers were using Clearview AI, a company that uses images from social media and websites to build out its database. 

How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps: When it comes to apps sharing too much of our personal data, the focus as of late has, of course, been TikTok. But in an arguably far more nefarious and problematic approach, the US Government said “Hold my beer” and has begun purchasing data from apps many Muslims use around the world for calls to prayer or online dating. One such app, Muslim Pro, is now changing their data-sharing policies. 

Social Media

Gen Z Is Making “Ratatouille” Into A Full-Blown Musical On TikTok, And It’s *Chef’s Kiss*: When the pandemic first started, a lot of posts on social media highlighted how famous artists and authors had created masterpieces in pandemics past. The defining piece of art from our 2020 pandemic? Tik Tok’s collective Ratatouille: The Musical. (Yes, it’s real.) 

Silicon Valley

Don’t Fear the Robots, and Other Lessons From a Study of the Digital Economy:  The New York Times unpacks a new M.I.T. report that aims to understand how new technologies have changed and will continue to change the workforce, and what policies will help Americans in a new, digital economy. Key takeaways include a current analysis of the state of American workers, the role of AI and robots on the workforce, worker training, and potential policy changes. 

Amazon starts selling prescription drugs, with two-day delivery for Prime members: Prime members get two-day delivery of prescription drugs, and can also save big when paying for drugs out of pocket. I guess Amazon really is trying to sell everything. 

The Hot New Covid Tech Is Wearable and Constantly Tracks You: Wearable tech designed to detect COVID-19 symptoms or track proximity to others is rising in popularity among factories, universities and nursing homes. However, the devices’ data collection practices are concerning privacy advocates. 


Nintendo asks brands to keep politics out of Animal Crossing: Animal Crossing, the adorable Nintendo game that got many of us through the first few months of quarantine, has issued new guidance on what companies/organizations can and cannot do in the game, and that includes politics. Perhaps this is a response to president-elect Joe Biden’s virtual headquarters that appeared during the 2020 campaign.

Zillow Surfing Is the Escape We All Need Right Now: Scrolling through Zillow, a website that shows homes and apartments for sale/rent has become an obsession for many-housebound people (myself included) as we all collectively run out of things to go. Personally, I recommend checking out some of the creepy victorian mansions in New England.

Artist Christine Sun Kim Rewrites Closed Captions: Closed captions are something many may not think about, let alone analyze. For those who rely on this tech to enjoy the media many of us take for granted, these captions could use a more artful approach, and this beautiful piece shows why.

The Holidays

How to Have a Fully Remote Family Thanksgiving: If you’re staying home this season, here are a few tips on how to celebrate remotely. Hint: make sure everyone is familiar with your video conferencing app of choice. 

DoorDash launches gifting feature in time for the holidays: DoorDash’s new gifting feature makes it easy for users to send their loved ones personalized gifts from local restaurants and businesses. 

 Remote Living 

Americans Got Tired of Looking Bad on Zoom:  Since March, those of us working from home or connecting with friends online have had to quickly adapt to video- making use of tools internet influencers have been using for years. Hint: the ring light is your friend. 

Bandcamp adds ticketed live streams for virtual concerts: Bandcamp Live, a ticked livestream service lets artists make money off of online performances, which is great for artists, in theory. If artists don’t have the technical skills to stream a good show, however, they might run into trouble.