"A Guide to Potential Liability Pitfalls for People Running a Mastodon Instance"


The absolute safest thing to do, to shield your own personal assets, is register a LLC (limited liability company), get a separate bank account in the name of the LLC, transfer any assets and liabilities (donations you receive / bills you pay) to the LLC, and get insurance in the name of the LLC. This is obviously complete overkill for anyone who’s running a really small server, especially because the annual fees for LLC registration are likely to exceed whatever amount your users chip in, but if you’re running an open-registration server or you exceed 20-30k users, or you have a lot of personal assets, you should think hard about it and talk to a lawyer.

https://cutt.ly/iM2aXNd

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"Tumblr to Add Support for ActivityPub, the Social Protocol Powering Mastodon and Other Apps"


In practice, this means that Mastodon users can interact and follow users on other instances . . . . It makes for a web of social networks where users can find and follow each other without having to set up new accounts on each new service. . . . users on Mastodon could follow Tumblr users’ posts from their own Mastodon instance — without having to use the Tumblr app.

https://cutt.ly/tMBIadM

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Paywall — NYT Wirecutter: "Why Every Twitter User Should Archive and Lock Down Their Data"


Now is a good time to take steps to lock down your Twitter account, grab what data you can, review where you’re using Twitter to sign in to other online services, and delete anything you’d rather not live on a site that may be on its last legs. Taking these steps could protect you from identity theft or private messages being made public

https://cutt.ly/oMZDWod

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"Is Mastodon Private and Secure? Let’s Take a Look"


For basic security, instances will employ transport-layer encryption, keeping your connection to the server you’ve chosen private. This will keep your communications safe from local eavesdroppers using your same WiFi connection, but it does not protect your communications, including your direct messages, from the server or instance you’ve chosen—or, if you’re messaging someone from a different instance, the server they’ve chosen. This includes the moderators and administrators of those instances, as well. Just like Twitter or Instagram, your posts and direct messages are accessible by those running the services. But unlike Twitter or Instagram, you have the choice in what server or instance you trust with your communications. . . . Two-factor authentication with an app or security key is available on Mastodon instances, giving users an extra security check to log on. The software also offers robust privacy controls: allowing users to set up automatic deletion of old posts, set personalized keyword filters, approve followers, and hide your social graph (the list of your followers and those you follow). Unfortunately, there is no analogue to making your account "private. . . . Mastodon users can mute, block, or report other users. Muting and blocking works just as you’d expect: it’s a list associated with your account that just stops the content of that user from appearing in your feed and prevents them from reaching out to you, respectively."

https://cutt.ly/mMZIEtS

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"Requiem for a Tweet — Is There a Future for the Academic Social Capital Held on the Platform?"


The mechanisms through which this network status can be exchanged into academic advantage are not straightforward, but any academic who has achieved a degree of popularity online can attest to the direct and indirect advantages which this has brought to their career.. . . What if that capital is now worthless? It’s a strange position that has the potential to leave academics clinging on to their Twitter accounts long after the beneficial impact of the platform has evaporated in a mushroom cloud of moving fast and breaking things. The collapse of Twitter would be a significant event within higher education, analogous to (though not on the same scale as) citational rankings being reset overnight.

https://cutt.ly/VMZmyaA

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"Twitter’s Potential Collapse Could Wipe Out Vast Records of Recent Human History"


Twitter’s ubiquity, its adoption by nearly a quarter of a billion users in the last 16 years, and its status as a de facto public archive, has made it a gold mine of information, says Thomas [senior analyst at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue].

"In one sense, this actually represents an enormous opportunity for future historians—we’ve never had the capacity to capture this much data about any previous era in history," she explains. But that enormous scale presents a huge storage problem for organizations.

For eight years, the US Library of Congress took it upon itself to maintain a public record of all tweets, but it stopped in 2018, instead selecting only a small number of accounts’ posts to capture. "It never, ever worked," says William Kilbride, executive director of the Digital Preservation Coalition. The data the library was expected to store was too vast, the volume coming out of the firehose too great. "Let me put that in context: it’s the Library of Congress. They had some of the best expertise on this topic. If the Library of Congress can’t do it, that tells you something quite important," he says.

https://cutt.ly/EMPxp0h

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"Gender and Country Biases in Wikipedia Citations to Scholarly Publications"


We investigate gender- and country-based biases in Wikipedia citation practices using linked data from the Web of Science and a Wikipedia citation dataset. . . . we show that publications by women are cited less by Wikipedia than expected, and publications by women are less likely to be cited than those by men. Scholarly publications by authors affiliated with non-Anglosphere countries are also disadvantaged in getting cited by Wikipedia. . . . The level of gender- or country-based inequalities varies by research field, and the gender-country intersectional bias is prominent in math-intensive STEM fields.

https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24723

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"Humanities Commons Launches Mastodon Server Open to Scholars"


In response to community requests and our own recognition of the potential in this moment, we are launching hcommons.social, a Mastodon server open to all scholars (which we take to include: researchers, librarians, instructors, students, staff and anyone else with an active interest in research and education.) While we expect this space to lean Humanities-heavy, we leave it up to users whether it feels like the place they want to be. To start, there will be no limit on sign-ups, though we will review that policy over time as we learn more about the costs and overhead of managing the server.

https://cutt.ly/qN704oa

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"Europe Prepares to Rewrite the Rules of the Internet"


Next week, a law takes effect that will change the internet forever—and make it much more difficult to be a tech giant. On November 1, the European Union’s Digital Markets Act comes into force, starting the clock on a process expected to force Amazon, Google, and Meta to make their platforms more open and interoperable in 2023. That could bring major changes to what people can do with their devices and apps, in a new reminder that Europe has regulated tech companies much more actively than the US.

https://cutt.ly/CNQPNS4

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Or the Opposite: "Meta Quest Pro Hands-On: The $1,500 Headset That ‘Will Enable the Metaverse’"


After using the Quest Pro, I feel like this is the headset Meta really needs to provide a high-quality VR experience for building out apps and environments. Now I still don’t know if this is enough to convince people to work and live in VR, but when it comes to enabling the Metaverse, the Quest Pro seems like the big building block for making that happen

https://cutt.ly/pBbeddp

See also: Paywall: "Inside Zuckerberg’s $1,500 Headset, the Metaverse Is Still Out of Reach," https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/10/11/meta-quest-pro-metaverse/.

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"The Real Impact of #BookTok on Library Circulation"


From before #BookTok began in 2019 to now in 2022, the sales of backlist titles that have trended on #BookTok increased over 1,000%! . . .Since a library’s ability to circulate titles is limited by the number of copies it has in its collection, library holds, rather than library loans, can show a clearer picture of library book borrowers’ interest in particular books. When we look at the library holds for our #BookTok trending titles over this time period, the number of holds increases exponentially, by 1,430%.

https://cutt.ly/rBbrYhQ

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Paywall: "A Comparative Study of Social Media Data Archiving Software"

"This study compares the features of three SMDAS: ArchiveSocial, Pagefreezer, and Smarsh. First, by surveying the developers’ websites and catalogs, the features of all three software products are identified and classified into four areas. After using statistical methods and the Chi-square test, significant differences among features of the software in each domain are investigated."

https://doi.org/10.1515/pdtc-2022-0013

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