Tag Archives | Social Media

Romney: The Rise of the Twitterbots

Picture: todo tiempo pasado fue mejor

The controversey surrounding Mitt Romney’s twitter account continues. According to The Guardian, in July of this year, Mitt commanded around half a million followers compared to Barack’s 18 million. Then suddenly all that changed and thousands of adoring fans emerged, as if by magick, from the digital wilderness:

a couple of students at the Oxford Internet Institute asked themselves a question: what’s the probability that Romney’s new followers are genuine? Their account of the researchmakes fascinating reading. They started from the empirical observation that fake accounts created by Twitterbots tend to have few or no followers. Then they picked 20 Twitter accounts comparable in size to Obama’s and Romney’s and examined the statistical properties of the 150,000 newest followers in each. What they were looking for, of course, was the proportion of new followers who had few or zero followers and were therefore likely to be the product of bots.

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UK Government to Use Facebook in “New” National ID Scheme

“Why do you think it’s called a net or a web? Because it’s a trap!” – Alan Parker: The Urban Warrior

The UK Government is set to use already existing online profiles as a means of officially verifying the identity of Her Majesty’s subjects, reports  The Independent :

The Government will announce details this month of a controversial national identity scheme which will allow people to use their mobile phones and social media profiles as official identification documents for accessing public services.

People wishing to apply for services ranging from tax credits to fishing licences and passports will be asked to choose from a list of familiar online log-ins, including those they already use on social media sites, banks, and large retailers such as supermarkets, to prove their identity.

Once they have logged in correctly by computer or mobile phone, the site will send a message to the government agency authenticating that user’s identity.

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California Outlaws Violating Workers’ And Students’ Electronic Privacy

It blows my mind that companies and universities would require employees and students to hand over the log-ins to their personal email and Facebook accounts — in short, demanding access to people’s love lives, friendships, private conversations, bank accounts, and everything else. TechHive reports:

It’s officially illegal for employers and universities in California to request social media log-in information—that is, user names and passwords for Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail—from employees and students.

On Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two privacy bills, Assembly Bill 1844 and Senate Bill 1349. These laws prohibit employers, universities employees, and university representatives from requiring or requesting the social media log-in information of their respective employees, prospective employees, students, prospective students, or student groups.

The privacy question came up earlier this year when reports suggested that employers (and universities) were requiring employees and students give up their log-in credentials. [San Jose Democrat Nora] Campos’ office says that 129 cases relating to employer social media policies are currently before the National Labor Relations Board.

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The Increased Criminalization of Dissent

Jason Wilson (CC)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

American law enforcement agencies continue to increase their surveillance on an otherwise fairly complacent citizenry, logging an incredible amount of requests for information regarding cell phone and social media use.

Last week, a judge in New York ruled that Twitter must give a court close to three months of information from a user in a pending case involving an Occupy Wall Street protester arrested at a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge in October. In February, a subpoena from the New York City District Attorney’s office demanded the microblogging site, often used by protesters to update their followers on events happening on the street in real time, give up “any and all user information, including email address, as well as any and all tweets posted for the period of 9/15/2011-12/31/2011” from user Malcolm Harris.” Harris (@destructuremal), managing editor for the New Inquiry online magazine was arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge with 700 other demonstrators.… Read the rest

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Mexican Drug Lords Vs. Cybervigilantes & Social Media

John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus write:

The Mexican drug war cannot be understood without reference to the virtual dimension. Cartels are seeking to aggressively shape the use of information within the drug war to promote an image of themselves as a source of unstoppable power and influence. Their methods range from the classic “propaganda of the deed” — killing for intimidation and effect — to psychological operations against Mexican police, military, and the public. By doing so, cartels struggle for information dominance. Civil society and press coverage of the cartel war have been quite literally silenced, pushing reportage to the margins of social media. However, the entry of cyber-vigilante organizations and use of new media by cartel gangsters have created a new dynamic that could change the rules of the game.

First, it is essential to understand that advances in information, while hailed as revolutionary, also tend to be excellent tools for facilitating the violent coercion and destruction of human life.

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Homeland Security Releases Keyword List Used to Monitor Social Networking Sites

Writes Reuven Cohen on Forbes:
If you are thinking about tweeting about clouds, pork, exercise or even Mexico, think again. Doing so may result in a closer look by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In a story appearing earlier today on the UK’s Daily Mail website, it was reported that the DHS has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites when looking for “signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.” The list was posted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center who filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act, before suing to obtain the release of the documents. The documents were part of the department’s 2011 ’Analyst’s Desktop Binder‘ used by workers at their National Operations Center which instructs workers to identify ‘media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities’.
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We Need A Media War On All Fronts

Radionette TV SetWhen do you feel like you are over the hill?

When you get letters like this one from Jose Hevia after writing an op-ed featuring an essay from your recent book Blogothon, recounting your experiences as a network TV insider turned independent media outsider. The essay offered a case study of how the nominally non-commercial network, PBS, turned its back on a human rights TV series I co-produced. It is about the challenges progressives face in offering a counter-narrative to parochial mainstream thinking.

My critical correspondent wondered what I was whining about:

Complaining that the old media is getting more and more monopolized is … Who cares about old media? … Nobody is my inner circle under 30 watches old media any more.

Bye.

Take that, old man. Ha, ha, ha.

I am not sure his view is totally true, what with Comedy Central, movie channels galore and unlimited sports coverage.… Read the rest

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‘Covert’ U.S. Drone Operation in Yemen Mapped Out on Twitter

YemenThese “covert” operations are seemingly becoming more difficult to keep “covert” … Reports Chris Woods and Jack Serle of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

Though the hour was late, Yemen’s social media was still very much awake.

A US drone’s missiles had just slammed into a convoy of vehicles in a remote part of Yemen, killing three alleged militants.

The attack—like all other US drone strikes outside warzones—was supposed to be clandestine. Yet within minutes Sanaa-based lawyer Haykal Bafana was reporting the strike in almost-realtime. Just after 1 a.m. on May 17 he posted the following on Twitter:

NOW | Missile strike on car in Wadi Hadhramaut. Near city of Shibam. Suspected US drone attack.

As Bafana later explained to the Bureau, his relatives live in Shibam, a town of 30,000. ‘When the drone struck, the town—which was then experiencing a power cut—had completely lit up. My relatives got straight on the phone to tell me about the attack.’

‘No attacks so far’

The day prior to the strike Bafana had already tweeted that drones were behaving suspiciously in the area.… Read the rest

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Anonymous Starts Social Music Platform: Anontune

AnontuneAngela Watercutter writes on WIRED:
In a move sure to attract attention from the music industry, a small group of coders claiming to be part of Anonymous is putting together a social music platform. The rather ambitious goal: Create a service that seamlessly pulls up songs streaming from all around the internet. The project, called Anontune and still in its infancy, is designed to pull songs from third-party sources like YouTube and let anonymous users put them into playlists and share them — while keeping the service from being shut down by music industry lawsuits. Reached by e-mail, one of the creators of Anontune told Wired the project was started by a group of anons who met online six years ago on what was then an underground hacking site. The group, mostly focused at the time on “cracking,” began discussing music, favorite artists and what they would do to fix current music business models...
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