Thursday News: Facebook’s many experiments, Canada’s new anti-spam law, World Book Night US says goodnight, and two writers debate book categories

Thursday News: Facebook’s many experiments, Canada’s new anti-spam law, World Book...

In fact, Facebook knew most of the users were legitimate. The message was a test designed to help improve Facebook’s antifraud measures. In the end, no users lost access permanently.

The experiment was the work of Facebook’s Data Science team, a group of about three dozen researchers with unique access to one of the world’s richest data troves: the movements, musings and emotions of Facebook’s 1.3 billion users. –Wall Street Journal

Good point. The government says the law applies to anyone who sends spam to someone in Canada, but enforcing that is another matter. The agency will have its hands full just trying to apply the law in the first place, let alone tangling with complicated cross-border issues.

What Canada will do is try and work with other governments to go after the worst of the worst, which is what it does when it comes to telemarketers. In Canada’s own words: “[We will ] share information with the government of a foreign state if the information is relevant to an investigation or proceeding in respect of a contravention of the laws of a foreign state that is substantially similar to the conduct prohibited by this Canadian law.” –Gigaom

The problem in the U.S. was the cost of, production, organization and distribution. “The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, and shippers, are too high to sustain without additional outside funding,” executive director Carl Lennertz wrote in a statement. –Los Angeles Times

This is an experience very familiar to genre readers. However, categories can also ghettoize, as Mishra cautions:

Writers like Gary Shteyngart (Russia), Aleksandar Hemon (Bosnia), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria), Yiyun Li (China), Junot Díaz (the Dominican Republic) and Dinaw Mengestu (Ethiopia) have bypassed the old lines of connection between Europe and America. The ethnic and linguistic communities they belong to are spread across the United States rather than concentrated in the East and the Midwest. They may have grown up speaking Mandarin, Igboand Spanish at home; some of them fled disorderly societies and despotic regimes. But their advantages of class or education — and renewable intimacy with the mother country in the age of the Internet and cheap air travel — clearly mark them out from the huddled immigrant masses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. –New York Times