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Facebook's Future, the Dark Lord of the Internet and More

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During the week, we consume words in snack able, tweet able bites. But on the weekends, we have the time to take a dive into the murkier, lengthier depths of the Internet and expand our attention spans beyond 140 characters. We can brew a cup of coffee and lie back with our iPads, laptops, Smartphone’s and Kindles.

Since you're bound to miss a few things during the daily grind, we present to you, in our weekly installation of Mashable Must Reads, a curated list of can't-miss stories from around the web to read and reflect on.

The Year in Racial Amnesia

The 21st century has been hailed as a post-racial America, a country where an African-American is serving his second term in the nation's very highest office. But, Cord Jefferson argues, that's a narrow, utopian and skewed perception. His essay is as thoughtful as it is disheartening: "A person's skin color as it relates to crime only becomes pertinent when that person's skin is dark."

How Will New York City's Tech Industry Fare Under Mayor de Blasio? 

As Michael Bloomberg, who put technological advancement at the forefront of his mayor ship, exited office this week, companies nervously bit their fingernails. Would Bill de Blasio, a man who campaigned to the everyman, the opposite of the tech billionaire, place the same emphasis on digital innovation? De Blasio plans to continue some of Bloomberg's work with Silicon Alley, but with any regime shift comes a refreshed list of priorities. 

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Jesse Willms, the Dark Lord of the Internet 

 

Ecommerce rears its ugly head in the form of Jesse Willms, the man behind most of those inescapable spammy ads that pollute the Internet; he defrauded customers of hundreds of millions of dollars. This profile weaves the story of a hustler who gives new definition to the word "hustle" — an important read for anyone who has ever sold or purchased anything online.

 

Could Bidding for Players Fix the NCAA?

 

College athletes don't get paid what they deserve; that much has been argued many, many times. The NCAA is an unforgiving monopoly that doesn't pay athletes more than a free ride to school, Jonathan Mahler argues, even while colleges are raking in hundreds of millions from ticket sales, concessions, merchandise and TV contracts. But if colleges simply placed bids to bring on high school recruits — well, that could change the game.

 

Marketers Learn to Play by Facebook's Changing Rules

 

As Facebook continues to tweak its News Feed algorithms, companies and their social media marketers watch as years of work are undermined seemingly overnight. Yet they can't do anything but throw their hands up in the air, take a deep breath, and start anew at adapting to the changes. Otherwise, they'll be left behind.

 

A Deadly Mix in Benghazi 

 

In a thorough investigation, the Times examine the reality behind the deadly attack on American outposts: one that is much murkier and complex than initially believed, or at least initially conveyed to the public. This conspiracy theory takedown reports that the violence was fueled entirely by something other than al Qaeda.

 

Facebook in 2014: Fighting for Social Supremacy | Mashable

 

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more popular, yet polarizing, service than Facebook over the last decade. While 2014 is, in all truth, just another year for the social media giant to collect users, data and revenues, it's also a reminder of how far Facebook   has come — and how quickly the tech world evolves.

 

 

 

How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood

 

To understand how people look for movies, Netflix makes up micro-genres. 76,897 of them, to be exact, from "Cult Evil Kid Horror Movies" to "Romantic Chinese Crime Movies." These micro-genres, a strange confluence of human intelligence and machine intelligence, even take priority over a movie's rating. Alexis Madrigal delves inside the system to uncover the video streaming service's business model.

 

 

 

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