AdIntuition Extension Highlights YouTube Videos Containing Affiliate Marketing–Google Removes It A Few Days Later

Researchers at Princeton’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab recently released a browser extension for Google Chrome and Firefox that highlights when a YouTube video includes sponsored content.

AdIntuition is a browser extension that alerts YouTube users when they watch a video containing a sponsorship. An influencer may endorse a product on social media, but it can be unclear if they were paid to endorse the product or if they genuinely endorse it without any incentive. The purpose of this research project was to automatically detect and disclose sponsored content to relieve users of the uncertainty about endorsements.

With the help of automatic disclosure software, content creators can no longer be deceptive about endorsements and viewers would be informed about any relationship between a social media influencer and a brand. AdIntuition is an automatic affiliate marketing disclosure tool that allows users to form an opinion about the content of a post with full information about sponsorships.

. . .

AdIntuition flags affiliate marketing, one type of social media marketing. In this type of marketing, a social media influencer provides a special link or coupon code, in addition to their endorsement of a product, in order to drive users to buy the product. Often a deal or promotion is given to users in the marketing campaign. The social media influencer is given a commission based off of the sales that they generate. Anyone can join an affiliate program.

Of course, Google almost immediately took down the Chrome extension, likely because the extensions does collect some information about the prevalance of affiliate marketing on YouTube for research purposes,

We will not share the data with anyone beyond our team. Our team is strictly interested in the research opportunities that the data will provide. We will not share your data for commercial purposes.

Silly researchers. Nobody shares information about Google users other than Google, and it better damn well be for commercial purposes.

Can Androids Pray: Blue

Can Android Pray: Blue is an interesting premise for a visual novel. According to IndieGamesPlus,

A pair of damaged mechs sit in the blowing sands. The machines are inoperable in their current condition, and the extent of the problems will lead to one of them exploding. There’s no avoiding it. No help is coming. They cannot escape. This leaves the two femme pilots with nothing to do but talk to one another until the inevitable occurs, delving into the feelings about the events that lead them there, as well as their thoughts on the imminent end of their mortality.

. . .

Can Androids Pray is a touching look at the difficult questions we will all have to face as the end of our lives draws near. It’s a game of coming to terms with the limited shelf life our brittle frames have, and what the meaning of all of this bickering and going to work and fighting to keep the lights on can mean for us. It’s about the connections we have with ourselves and the world around us, and is a lovely contemplative work on the things we often forget in the constant demands of everyday existing.

Can Androids Pray

Dataset of All of Donald Trump’s Publicly Available Tweets

Havard’s Dataverse project has, among other things, a downloadable dataset of “all known publicy available tweets for Donald J. Trump’s (@realdonaldtrump) Twitter account” as a JSON file.

This data was compiled from multiple sources including several online Github accounts that contained the status ids for previous tweets made by Donald Trump. All ids were compiled into a single list and then those ids were requested from Twitter’s “statuses lookup” endpoint. Tweets deleted by Donald Trump will not be in this dataset but can be obtained from the author of this publication for a subset of the time range present in this dataset. This dataset will also include the tweet information for any retweeted tweets under the “retweeted_status” key for each JSON object. The user object has been left in each tweet (both the main tweet and retweeted / quoted tweets if they exist).

UN Human Rights Report Suggests Venezuelan Government Committing Thousands of Extrajudicial Killings

On July 4, 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report (400kb PDF) that point to “unusually high” levels of extrajudicial killing by Venezuelan security forces as well as use of torture by security forces.

In most cases, women and men were subjected to one or more forms of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including electric shocks, suffocation with plastic bags, water boarding, beatings, sexual violence, water and food deprivation, stress positions and exposure to extreme temperatures. Security forces and intelligence services, particularly SEBIN and DGCIM, routinely resort to such practices to extract information and confessions, intimidate, and punish the detainees. The authorities have failed to conduct prompt, effective, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigations into credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment, including SGBV, to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice and to provide reparation to the victims. In particular, judicial authorities have often reversed the burden of proof refusing to open investigations if the victims did not identify perpetrators. According to the Attorney-General’s Office, 72 complaints of alleged torture and other ill-treatment concerning 174 persons detained in the context of demonstrations between 2017 and 2019 have been filed. No information was provided on the status of investigation

. . .

OHCHR interviewed the relatives of 20 young men killed by FAES from June 2018 to April 2019. All described a similar modus operandi. FAES would arrive in black pickup trucks without licence plates and block access points in the area. They were dressed in black, without any personal identification, with balaclavas covering their faces. They would also carry long weapons. Families of the victims described FAES breaking into their houses, taking their belongings, and exercising gender-based violence against women and girls, including forced nudity. They would separate young men from other family members before shooting them. According to their relatives, almost all of the victims had one or more shots in the chest.

In every case, witnesses reported how FAES manipulated the crime scene and evidence. They would plant arms and drugs and fire their weapons against the walls or in the air to suggest a confrontation and to show the victim had “resisted authority”. In many cases, FAES brought the victims to hospital even though they were already dead, apparently with the intention of manipulating the bodies and modifying the crime scene. In some cases, the authorities declared that the victims were criminals before the conclusion of a formal investigation.

The authorities classify the killings resulting from security operations as “resistance to authority”. The number of these deaths is unusually high. In 2018, the Government registered 5,287 such killings,39 while the NGO “Observatorio Venezolano de la Violencia” (OVV) reported at least 7,523 killings under this category. Between 1 January and 19 May 2019, the Government reported 1,569 killings for “resistance to authority”. The OVV reported at least 2,124 of such killings between January and May 2019. Information analysed by OHCHR suggests many of these killings may constitute extrajudicial executions.

In a press release accompany the report, the UNHCHR said the Venezuelan government was engaged in a systematic effort to undermine human rights.

The report, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, states that over the last decade – and especially since 2016 – the Government and its institutions have implemented a strategy “aimed at neutralizing, repressing and criminalizing political opponents and people critical of the Government.” A series of laws, policies and practices has restricted the democratic space, dismantled institutional checks and balances, and allowed patterns of grave violations. The report also highlights the impact of the deepening economic crisis that has left people without the means to fulfil their fundamental rights to food and health, among others.

. . .

The report details how State institutions have been steadily militarized over the past decade. During the reporting period, civil and military forces have allegedly been responsible for arbitrary detentions; ill-treatment and torture of people critical of the Government and their relatives; sexual and gender-based violence in detention and during visits; and excessive use of force during demonstrations.