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Social media can be an extremely powerful marketing tool used for promotion, and that is evident by the number of celebrities, athletes, and other public figures using Twitter, Facebook, and other networks.
TweakTown recently chatted with Paul Daley, a popular - yet polarizing - English mixed martial arts (MMA) and kickboxing specialist. The fighter, sporting a 37-13-2 MMA record and 20-3 kickboxing record, most recently defeated Dennis Olson during Bellator 140 earlier this month. Daley is quite active on Facebook, sharing news updates about training, upcoming fights, and news that combat sports fans have shaed with him.
"Social media has taught me that it's good to be yourself," Daley told TweakTown. "People have an idea of how a fighter's life is, [but if] they really want to know and follow."
Teenagers on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more than two hours per day are more likely to report higher psychological distress, poor mental health, or suicidal thoughts, according Ottawa Public Health.
Considering the study took a look at all social networking websites, it's a rather frightening revelation - especially with more younger folks logging social media time using their smartphones. They are never really far away from Facebook or Twitter.
Researchers analyzed data from students in seventh grade up to grade 12, with 25 percent reporting at least two hours of daily social networking time. They took a closer look at correlations between the amount of time logged on social media to self-reports of mental health and psychological well-being.
Remember how the Islamic State is using social media in a clever way to recruit members, lure girls away from their homes, and intimidate locals? Well, it looks like a few women in Chechnya have duped the Islamic State for some quick cash.
The unidentified women, currently being investigated for fraud, scammed at least $3,300 from the Islamic State - by promising to head to Syria to join the group. Instead, the women shut down the social media accounts after the money was successfully wired into their accounts.
"I don't recall any precedent like this one in Chechnya, probably because nobody digs deep enough in that direction," said Valery Zolotaryov, a police officer in Chechnya, speaking to a Chechen newspaper. "Anyhow, I don't advise anyone to communicate with dangerous criminals, especially for grabbing quick money."
Facebook is by far the No. 1 social networking website, at least based on numbers, with a whopping 1.49 billion monthly active users, the company said. The site also has 968 million daily average users, which was higher than the 960 million estimate put forward by Wall Street analysts.
Combining the Facebook website, Messenger app and Instagram, users average 46 minutes per day, Facebook officials said.
The increased number is a strong 3.47 percent over its previous quarter, and 13 percent year-over-year increase - as Facebook still finds ways to keep users engaged. Not surprisingly, Facebook is generating a lot of success, especially when it comes to advertising, with the company's mobile app ensuring people are using the service.
More US citizens are being stopped as they try to leave the country, in an effort to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
FBI Director James Comey admits the group's recruitment efforts using social media is successful, as they recruit "troubled souls." IS has been able to radicalize potential recruits from across the world, and those responsible for running the accounts are quick to create new online profiles if one is taken down.
"What worries me most is that ISIL's investment in social media - which has been blossoming in the last six to eight weeks in particular - will cause a significant increase in the number of incidents that we will see," Comey said while speaking at a national security conference. "That's what I worry about all day long."
Republican House representative Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, believes it's time for the United States to begin striking back against the Islamic State's cyber commanders.
"What they are saying is 'attack military installations and attack police officers,'" said McCaul, while speaking on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos. "The chatter is so loud and the volume so high that it's a problem that's very hard to stop and disrupt in this country."
"We need to take the fight over there a little stronger. And we need to hit these guys, these cyber commanders, that are sending these Internet directives out to attack, attack, attack in the United States." However, trying to figure out how to "take the fight" to Islamic State in the online world will be rather challenging - there are at least 100,000 Tweets per day from 50,000 suspected Islamic State-influenced Twitter accounts.
The Islamic State is facing daily problems trying to keep ground in Iraq and Syria, but has had little trouble on the Internet. The group is able to use Twitter and other social networking services to recruit, spread propaganda, and terrorize opponents in a clever twist on public relations.
Islamic State wasn't the first group to spread propaganda and expand extremism using the Internet, but its savvy social media abilities caught Western intelligence officials off-guard. There are thousands of Twitter users posting and retweeting extremist material - and resources simply outmatch that of the State Department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, for example.
"Online, we move too slowly and know too little to combat this generation of Web-native jihadists," said Jane Harman, former Democratic member of the House of Representatives, in a Washington Post op-ed. "We've failed to mobilize tech and messaging talent to counter the Islamic State on social media. This country built Silicon Valley, we shouldn't need computer lessons from 7th-century thugs. It's past time to bring our counter-narrative up to date."
An officer from the North Charleston Police Department has been fired after he foolishly posted a picture in which he was wearing nothing but Confederate flag boxer shorts. Not surprisingly, the post by former Sgt. Shannon Dildine - which was online for a few days - quickly spread on the Internet, and found its way to his commanding officers.
"Your posting in this manner led you to being publicly identified as a North Charleston Police officer and associated both you and the Department with an image that symbolizes hate and oppression to a significant portion of the citizens we are sworn to serve," said Police Chief Eddie Driggers, in a termination letter to Sgt. Dildine.
Following a violent gun incident in which nine black worshippers were killed in a South Carolina church by a self-proclaimed white supremacist, the Confederate flag has become a topic of national debate. Even for those arguing the officer has the right to free speech, he clearly lacked a bit of common sense by posting the picture.
Europol has dedicated itself to the difficult task of fighting the Islamic State online, as there are around 100,000 daily tweets from up to 50,000 accounts with links to the terrorist group. Europol officially starts its operation on July 1, and wants to take down Islamic State-linked accounts within two hours following identification.
"Who is it reaching out to young people, in particular, by social media, to get them to come, in the first place? It's very difficult because of the dynamic nature of social media," said Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, in a statement to the Guardian.
Trying to fight IS online has proven difficult, with more interest from the Western world - but the United States has struggled in its efforts. There are no easy answers, and it will take cooperation from regular Twitter users, and continued vigilance from intelligence experts.
Google wants to fight back against the Islamic State's "viral moment" that has been effective in posting rather disgusting and gruesome videos and images on social media.
The Internet giant wants to allow users to be educated about the barbaric and violent actions of the Islamic State, but doesn't want to serve as a distribution method for beheading videos and other content.
"ISIS is having a viral moment on social media and the countervailing viewpoints are nowhere near strong enough to oppose them," said Victoria Grand, policy director at Google, while speaking during the Cannes Lions advertising festival. "ISIS, in particular, has been putting up footage that is inhuman and atrocious. We are still seeing about two or three of these beheadings each week. They are heeding advice from a decade before from Osama bin Laden and they are taking it to another level using social media."