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Newley's Notes

NN282: Dads Doting on Dogs

Sent as an email newsletter November 21, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: taking in a recent sunset here in Hong Kong.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🇺🇸 A group of cryptocurrency investors nearly succeeded in an attempt to purchase a rare copy of the U.S. constitution, raising more than $40 million but losing out to private collector.

2) 🦠 New research on Covid–19’s origins in China points not to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but to the market where animals that can carry the virus were sold.

3) 🎨 A massive new contemporary art museum, called M+, just opened here in Hong Kong; there are concerns about censorship. (I haven’t visited. Yet!)

4) 🪛 Apple is introducing a self-service repair program so people can fix their own iPhones and Macs.

5) 📷 Here are the winning photos from the first-ever Natural Landscape Photography Awards.

6) 🏞️ The National Park Service will for the first time be headed by a Native American: Charles “Chuck” Sams III, who is Cayuse and Walla Walla and hails from Eastern Oregon.

7) 📺 Netflix now provides a list of the top ten most watched movies and shows around the world (also viewable by country).

8) 🍑 The ATL Rap Map, painted by designer Joseph Veazey, shows Atlanta spots mentioned in hit songs through the years.

9) 🍴 FoodTimeline.org catalogs things humans have eaten over the millennia.

10) ⚡ Forget Tesla. Is Hyundai making the coolest looking electric vehicles these days, or what?

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

Dads with dog they say they didn’t want GIF

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“A genius is the man who can do the average thing when everyone else around him is losing his mind.” – Napoleon

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN281: Caring Canines

Sent as an email newsletter November 16, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: a Hong Kong alleyway on a recent evening.

🆕 My latest story, an exclusive out Friday, is headlined:

Facebook Is Stifling Independent Report on Its Impact in India, Human Rights Groups Say

It begins:

Human rights groups say Facebook is stifling an independent report it commissioned to investigate hate speech on its services in India, the company’s largest market by customers and where scrutiny of its operations is increasing.

Representatives for the organizations say they have provided extensive input to a U.S. law firm that Facebook commissioned in mid–2020 to undertake the report. The groups say they supplied hundreds of examples of inflammatory content and suggested ways Facebook could better police its services in India.

Facebook executives from the company’s human rights team, which is overseeing the law firm’s effort, have since narrowed the draft report’s scope and are delaying a process that has already taken more than a year, the groups say.

“They are trying to kill it,” said Ratik Asokan of India Civil Watch International…

Click through to read the rest.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🇨🇳 Evan Osnos on Xi Jinping and China’s past, present and future.

2) 🔫 Longread of the week: “My Father, the Hitman.”

3) 🥾 “Nimblewill Nomad” just hiked the more than 2,000-mile-long Appalachian Trail. He is 83 years old.

4) 🐅 “Tiger King” season two is out on Netflix Wednesday. Here’s the trailer.

5) 🇺🇸 🇰🇷 “Sesame Street” is getting its first Asian-American muppet: Ji-Young, a seven-year-old Korean American who loves skateboarding and the electric guitar.

6) 🎧 Airpods are no longer cool. It’s all about wired headphones these days.

7) 🗞 “Storm Lake” is a new PBS documentary about the future of local news, centered on Northern Iowa’s Storm Lake Times. The trailer is here.

8) 🌍 Enjoy this “Timeline of the human condition.”

9) 🚢 MarineTraffic provides an amazingly detailed, clickable ship tracking map.

10) 🏠 McMansionHell is a blog that “roasts the world’s ugliest houses from top to bottom, all while teaching about architecture and design.” (Thanks, Anasuya!)

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

How dogs react when kissed… 🤗🤗

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.” – Kurt Vonnegut

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
India Journalism

Facebook Is Stifling Independent Report on Its Impact in India, Human Rights Groups Say

That’s the headline on my most recent story, an exclusive out November 12. It begins:

Human rights groups say Facebook is stifling an independent report it commissioned to investigate hate speech on its services in India, the company’s largest market by customers and where scrutiny of its operations is increasing.

Representatives for the organizations say they have provided extensive input to a U.S. law firm that Facebook commissioned in mid-2020 to undertake the report. The groups say they supplied hundreds of examples of inflammatory content and suggested ways Facebook could better police its services in India.

Facebook executives from the company’s human rights team, which is overseeing the law firm’s effort, have since narrowed the draft report’s scope and are delaying a process that has already taken more than a year, the groups say.

“They are trying to kill it,” said Ratik Asokan of India Civil Watch International, one of the organizations that provided the law firm with input. Mr. Asokan said that Facebook has raised technical objections through the law firm that have caused delays, such as changing definitions of what can be considered hate speech and included in the report, undermining what Facebook said would be an independent study. The law firm hasn’t provided a timeline for completing it, he said.

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN280 Dynamic Disco Dogs

Sent as an email newsletter November 7, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

🙏 If you like NN, please share this link so others can subscribe.

🪔 Image of the week, above: Happy Diwali from Hong Kong! Anasuya and I celebrated the holiday over dinner with friends.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 👏 This feels like big Covid news: Antiviral pills, which lessen Covid’s effects on those infected, appear to be coming soon.

2) 🦠 Also in Covid updates: vaccines for kids are imminent. The CDC recommended children ages 5 to 11 get Pfizer’s short.

3) 💻 Wondering what to make of Facebook – er, Meta – and the so-called metaverse? Here’s Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” on “productizing reality.” (Thanks, Stuart!)

4) 🔨 File under “the world in 2021”: Transitory workers are moving around the U.S. helping fix climate-related disasters.

5) 🔍 Marginalia is a search engine made to “help you find some things you didn’t even know you were looking for.”

6) 🏠 The pandemic is breathing life into America’s suburbs.

7) 😴 Eleven artists explain their bedtime rituals.

8) 🏠 Arquitectura Libre features Adam Wiseman’s photos of “fantastical” houses funded by workers who have sent home money to relatives in Mexico, India, and Romania’s Transylvania region.

9) 📺 David Chase, creator of “The Sopranos,” seems to suggest what many have long assumed: that Tony was whacked in the series finale.

10) ✍️ Wes Anderson’s latest film, now out: “The French Dispatch,” about (if I’m discerning the plot correctly) the publication of a New Yorker-like magazine by expat staff in mid-century France.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

🐕 “4 puppies walking to Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive full song.” (Via PB)

•••

Dog-related reader submission of the week:

Mike and Marsha

Thanks to NN reader Mike S., who sends along this photo of him and his wife, Marsha, in their award-winning Halloween “101-Dalmatians” costume!

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“The beginning is always today.” – Mary Shelley

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Misc.

NN279: Don’t Mess with Luna’s Dog Bed

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, October 17, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: Hong Kong’s skyline, seen from a recent outing on Victoria Harbour.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 👉 Last Saturday my colleague Jeff Horwitz and I had a new story out as part of The WSJ’s Facebook Files series.

The headline: Facebook Services Are Used to Spread Religious Hatred in India, Internal Documents Show

It begins:

Mark Zuckerberg praised India in December as a special and important country for Facebook Inc., saying that millions of people there use its platforms every day to stay in touch with family and friends. Internally, researchers were painting a different picture: Facebook’s products in India were awash with inflammatory content that one report linked to deadly religious riots.

Click through to read the rest (no WSJ subscription required for the link above)…

2) 🗞 …Then on Friday, a follow-up, with my colleague Rajesh Roy, after our story ran: Facebook Faces Official Questions in India Over Policing of Hate Speech.

3) 💻 Meanwhile, Facebook has rebranded as Meta, a decision that in part “reflects the company’s perceived growth opportunities beyond its namesake social-media platform,” my colleague Steven Russolillo writes.

4) 📹 On license plate scanners and American neighborhoods.

5) ✒️ New Yorkers are embracing ephemeral tattoos that last about a year and cost a few hundred dollars.

6) 🎨 Lee Me Kyeoung creates beautiful paintings of Korean corner stores.

7) 📖 Amazon lets authors go directly to readers via its Kindle Direct Publishing wing. Is that changing how novels are written?

8) 📺 Interesting data visualization: Ratings for the longest-running TV shows over time.

9) 🧘‍♂️ Here is eight hours of deep space video footage set to ambient music.

10) 🐕 When dogs tilt their heads, they’re not just being cute. They might also be thinking hard.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

🐶 “This is Luna. In her defense, that is her bed. 14/10 she did nothing wrong.”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Hate is a lack of imagination." — Graham Greene

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
India Journalism

Facebook Faces Official Questions in India Over Policing of Hate Speech

That’s the headline on my most recent story, with my colleague Rajesh Roy. It begins:

NEW DELHI–India’s government has asked Facebook Inc. for details about how it monitors and removes inflammatory content on its platform in the country, according to government officials.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology wrote to Facebook’s top executive in India this week, the officials said. The letter follows news reports including a Wall Street Journal article Saturday that said Facebook researchers had determined the company’s services are rife with inflammatory content in India, much of it anti-Muslim.

Based on the response from Facebook, the government will decide if it needs to seek more information, one of the officials said, adding that the present information sought was a preliminary inquiry.

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
Journalism

Facebook Services Are Used to Spread Religious Hatred in India, Internal Documents Show

That’s the headline on my newest story, with my colleague Jeff Horwitz, out Saturday as part of our Facebook Files series.

It begins:

Mark Zuckerberg praised India in December as a special and important country for Facebook Inc., saying that millions of people there use its platforms every day to stay in touch with family and friends. Internally, researchers were painting a different picture: Facebook’s products in India were awash with inflammatory content that one report linked to deadly religious riots.

Inflammatory content on Facebook spiked 300% above previous levels at times during the months following December 2019, a period in which religious protests swept India, researchers wrote in a July 2020 report that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Rumors and calls to violence spread particularly on Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service in late February 2020, when communal violence in Delhi left 53 dead, according to the report. India is Facebook’s biggest market with hundreds of millions of users.

Hindu and Muslim users in India say they are subjected to “a large amount of content that encourages conflict, hatred and violence on Facebook and WhatsApp,” such as material blaming Muslims for the spread of Covid-19 and assertions that Muslim men are targeting Hindu women for marriage as a “form of Muslim takeover” of the country, the researchers found.

Click through to read the rest.

You can find all of our Facebook Files pieces in one place on the WSJ website here. And our podcasts from the series are all here.

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN278: Puppy Foam Parties

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, October 17, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: Mr. Nudly. I continue to derive joy, even after all these years, from Starbucks baristas’ amusing spellings of my (admittedly unconventional) name. I’ve yet to add this newest gem to my Starbucks Misspellings gallery, but will do soon.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 📱 Is TikTok causing an increase in tics among teenage girls?

2) 👷‍♂️ Why the pandemic is driving a “Great Resignation” in the U.S.

3) ✍️ A New York Times Magazine longread by Robert Kolker that’s been getting a lot of buzz: “Who Is the Bad Art Friend?”

4) 🌲 A trip to Skellefteå, Sweden, home to tons of stuff made of wood, including a 20-storey building.

5) 🔫 Weaponry innovation of the week: quadrupedal robots with guns.

6) 🎵 The 200 best albums of the last 25 years.

7) 🎥 Coming December 24: “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, written and directed by Joel Coen. Here’s the trailer. Can’t wait.

8) 📸 Photographer Ola Maddams snaps beautiful nighttime photos of wildlife – right in her back yard.

9) 🎬 Map of the week: What the 1988 comedic classic “The Naked Gun” was called in various European countries.

10) 🎧 Podcast of the week: “The Unraveling of the Murdaugh Dynasty,” featuring my WSJ colleague Valerie Bauerlein discussing tragic events in rural Hampton County, S.C.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

Weeeeee!

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“The rarest of all human qualities is consistency.” – Jeremy Bentham

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Journalism Newley's Notes

NN277: The Facebook Files — Follow Up

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, October 10, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, testified before Congress Tuesday.

So: A lot has happened since my last dispatch, on September 22, which I sent after the initial batch of stories in our Facebook Files series ran.

I wanted to devote this edition of Newley’s Notes to share some notable developments since then, though you may have seen several. Here goes, in roughly chronological order:

1) 📸 Instagram said it is pausing its project for kids.

2) 🗞 Facebook argued that we mischaracterized its internal findings in our Instagram article; we published several of the documents that formed the basis of that piece.

3) 📱 My colleagues Georgia Wells and Jeff Horwitz published another piece in the series. The headline: Facebook’s Effort to Attract Preteens Goes Beyond Instagram Kids, Documents Show.

4) 👉 Members of a Senate panel grilled Facebook’s global head of safety, Antigone Davis.

5) 📺 Then Haugen appeared on “60 Minutes.” Worth a watch, if you haven’t seen the segment.

6) ✍️ And don’t miss Jeff’s profile of Haugen.

7) 🎧 Also excellent: Haugen on The Journal podcast.

8) 🗣 Another good podcast: Jeff speaks with CNN’s Brian Stelter, on Reliable Sources, about how he first met Haugen and the stories came about.

9) 🏢 We ran another piece in the Facebook Files series. The hed: Is Sheryl Sandberg’s Power Shrinking? Ten Years of Facebook Data Offers Clues.

10) 👏 And finally, a lighthearted moment: On “The Late Show,” Stephen Colbert joked about Jeff sporting a headband during TV interviews.

•••

Normal editions of NN will resume soon!

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Journalism Newley's Notes

NN276: The Facebook Files

Sent as an email newsletter Wednesday, September 22, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

I missed sending NN out last Sunday, as I usually do. This will be a shortened, dog-video-less version, sent in the middle of the week. But I wanted to highlight some reporting I’m really proud of.

👉 Image of the week, number one, above: The Facebook Files, a WSJ series we published last week.

WSJ Facebook Files page one

🗞 And image number two: The front page of last Friday’s WSJ, featuring a piece I wrote with my colleagues Justin Scheck and Jeff Horwitz for the series. It went online Thursday.

The headline of our story: Facebook Employees Flag Drug Cartels and Human Traffickers. The Company’s Response Is Weak, Documents Show.

Click through to read the story; you don’t have to be a WSJ subscriber to read it.

🎧 And there’s an accompanying podcast with additional material.

The series, which began on Monday, Sept. 13 and contained contributions from a team of us at the Journal, has already had a sizable impact.

My outstanding colleague Jeff, who covers Facebook and has led our reporting, has also done several media appearances to discuss the series. Here he is on CNN, CNBC, and NPR, among others.

⭐ Here are links to the rest of the stories in the series (again, these links are non-paywalled), each containing unique revelations about how the world’s largest social network operates:

– Monday: Facebook Says Its Rules Apply to All. Company Documents Reveal a Secret Elite That’s Exempt.

🎧 Podcast here.

– Tuesday: Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show

🎧 Podcast here.

– Wednesday: Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got Angrier Instead.

🎧 Podcast here.

– Friday: How Facebook Hobbled Mark Zuckerberg’s Bid to Get America Vaccinated

Normal editions of NN will resume soon!

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley