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First POST: Hosts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 16 2014


  • After studying four years worth of anonymized data covering nearly 500,000 stays in more than 35,000 locations across New York City, NY's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is charging that nearly 3/4 of Airbnb's rentals are illegal, David Streitfeld reports for The New York Times. He notes that "Airbnb declined to aggressively dispute the numbers in the report." The AG's report appears to confirm many of the charges first raised by Tom Slee a year ago.

  • A bunch of civic tech projects just won $35,000 each in funding from the Knight Foundation's Prototype Fund, including CommunityRED (for a mobile game to teach journalists about online security), How Wrong Are You (a tool for correcting misinformation), Muck Rock (for a mobile app enabling crowd-sourcing of support on news stories), and the Participatory Politics Foundation (for expanding its Q&A web app to media organizations).

  • Ebola Deeply is here, brought to you by the same team that launched Syria Deeply.

  • Infectious disease specialist Dr. Paul Farmer, the founder of Partners in Healthreports from a recent trip to Liberia's Ebola epicenter and argues that with proper treatment, "the great majority, as many as 90 per cent, should survive."

  • Facebook is launching "Safety Check," a simple app that will check up on users in the event of a natural disaster in their area and enable them to mark themselves and their friends as "Safe," pushing those messages out into their News Feeds. (Not explained in the post announcing the tool: whether Facebook will show that message to everyone in your feed, or make you pay to promote the message to all your friends.)

  • 677 New York Times staffers have publicly listed Twitter accounts: here are the top 1000 accounts that they, collectively, most commonly follow. And here are the top 1000 accounts followed by Members of Congress with Twitter accounts. (Results are based on Twitter data from last spring.)

  • At the Washington Post, Erik Wemple reports that online traffic to its competitor, Politico, seems to be in decline.

  • Google's relative silence during the current debate over net neutrality has caught the attention of GigaOm's Jeff John Roberts, and he has four interesting reasons for why, ranging from internal factionalization to the company's no longer having a distinct interest solely favoring the open Internet side of the debate.

  • New website from the National Priorities Project gives detailed and (since 2010) previously unavailable data about how the federal government is spending tax dollars at the state level.

  • Public radio pioneer Brian Lehrer's show is robocalling registered nonvoters in New York to urge them to vote, hoping to turn the annoying outreach tool on its head.