Showing posts from March, 2019

2019-03-18: Cookie Violations Cause Archived Twitter Pages to Simultaneously Replay in Multiple Languages

Would you be surprised if I were to tell you that Twitter is a multi-lingual website, supporting 47 different international languages? How about if I were to tell you that a usual Twitter timeline page can contain tweets in whatever languages the owner of the handle chooses to tweet, but can also show navigation bar and various sidebar blocks in many different languages simultaneously, now surprised? Well, while it makes no sense, it may actually happen in web archives when a memento of a timeline is accessed as shown in Figure 1. Spoiler alert! Cookies are to be blamed, once again.

Last month, I was investigating a real life version of "Ron Burgundy will read anything on the teleprompter (Anchorman)" and "Chatur's speech (3 Idiots)" moments, when I noticed something that caught my eyes. I was looking at a memento (i.e., a historical version of a web page) of Pratik Sinha's Twitter timeline from the Internet Archive. Pratik is the co-founder of Alt News (a…

2019-03-05: 365 dots in 2018 - top news stories of 2018

There was no shortage of big news headlines in 2018. Amidst this abundance, a natural question is what were the top news stories of 2018? There are multiple lists from different news organizations that present candidate top stories in 2018 such as CNN's most popular stories and videos of 2018, and The year in review: Top news stories of 2018 month by month from CBS. Even though such lists from respectable news organizations pass the "seems right test," they mostly present the top news stories without presenting an explanation for their process. In other words, they often do not state why some story made the list and why another did not make the list. We consider such information very helpful for two reasons. First, an explanation or presentation of the criteria of why some story made the list opens the criteria to critique and helps alleviate concerns about bias. Second, the criteria is inherently valuable because it could be reused and reapplied on a different collecti…