The Download: The true global covid death toll, and what Russians see about Ukraine on TV

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 How Russian TV spins the war in Ukraine
This runs deeper than disinformation. State-run TV wants to leave its audience baffled about what to believe. (NYT $)
+ We can’t afford to become complacent about the war’s horrors online. (NYT $)
+ How you can avoid spreading war misinformation online. (TR)
+ The data leaking out of Russia is of a higher value than ever before. (FT $)

2 Period-tracking apps could be weaponized post-Roe
And they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential data risks. (Protocol) 
+ Progressive pastors are preaching pro-choice sermons on TikTok. (Input)
+ The Roe v Wade draft opinion leak may not be illegal. (WP $)

3 Facebook deliberately caused havoc in Australia to influence a new law
The removal of emergency and charity pages was not inadvertent, but strategic, whistleblowers say. (WSJ $)
+ A week off social media can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. (Bloomberg $)

4 How Zillow’s house-flipping dream crashed and burned
But it’s still optimistic there’s money to be made, this time through loans. (Bloomberg $)
+ House-flipping algorithms are coming to your neighborhood. (TR)

5 Elon Musk is rallying his rich friends to finance his Twitter purchase
In his typically unconventional style. (FT $)
+ Musk’s commitment to free speech at all costs could stretch back to his childhood. (NYT $)
+ He hates adverts. That’s a problem for Twitter’s advertisers. (NYT $)
+ Musk’s Wikipedia page has turned into an online turf war. (Slate $)

6 Even high-profile crypto investors admit it’s a Ponzi scheme 
The rest of us don’t stand a chance. (Wired $)
+ Bankers are quitting their jobs in the hopes of making more money in crypto. (Bloomberg $)
+ Digital money is dividing the masses like never before. (FT $)

7 Not speaking English is a language barrier for top coders
Developing more diverse programming languages could empower overseas developers. (Rest of World)

8 AI has identified groups of criminal cops in Chicago
Less than 4% of officers made up a quarter of all shootings and complaints from Black and Hispanic residents. (Motherboard)
+ Minneapolis police used fake social media profiles to surveil Black people. (TR) 

9 Remote Alaskan villages are embracing food delivery apps
The deliveries aren’t hot or fresh, but they’re still a luxurious treat. (NYT $)
10 Fans of Squishmallow plush toys are getting harassed online
Simply for trying to buy or resell the cuddly critters. (Input)

Quote of the day

“I get up, eat, and then I go back to bed. Other than food, I can’t think about anything else.”

—Yang Jiwei, 21, describes his daily routine in locked-down Shanghai to the New York Times.