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Europol trying to combat Islamic State social media recruiting efforts

Europol wants to combat the Islamic State online, trying to keep track of almost 50,000 Twitter accounts with suspected ties to the terrorist organization. The United States seems to doubt its own ability to fight IS online, and the group continues to recruit new fighters and young women into its ranks in Iraq and Syria.




If all goes according to plan, the new efforts would be able to shutdown Twitter accounts within two hours of creation - and is designed to be an "effective way of combating the problem," said Rob Wainright, director of Europol, in a statement to BBC.


However, trying to identify and track all social media accounts with suspected IS ties is not feasible. "We will have to combine what we see online, with our own intelligence and that is shared with us by European police services, so we can be a bit more targeted and identify who the key user accounts are... and concentrate on closing them down."

Continue reading 'Europol trying to combat Islamic State social media recruiting efforts' (full post)

North Korea blacklists Instagram, denying access to residents

The small number of Instagram users in North Korea reportedly can no longer access the website, after the service has been blacklisted. The government blamed the site for sharing harmful content - and mobile users connected to Koryolink cannot upload, share or view images.




"Warning! You can't connect to this website because it's in blacklist site," reads an English prompt when a Koryolink subscriber tries to access the social networking site. Company officials reported they haven't been updated by new policy changes - and no official government statements have been released.


Users trying to access Instagram via traditional Internet connection also are blocked from accessing Instagram. North Korea heavily restricts Internet and mobile access inside of the country for its citizens, though foreign visitors can use mobile 3G connections.

Continue reading 'North Korea blacklists Instagram, denying access to residents' (full post)

Red Sox player Pablo Sandoval benched for... using Instagram

Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was recently punished by the team after he was caught browsing social media network Instagram during a game. During the seventh inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves, Sandoval claims he was in the locker room using the restroom - when he "liked" two images on Instagram.




Both the MLB and Red Sox have a rule requiring all mobile devices be turned off at least 30 minutes prior to first pitch. Instead of fining him, the Red Sox decided to bench "Panda" for one game.


Here is what Sandoval said regarding the incident, per the Boston Globe: "I know I [messed] up. I made a mistake yesterday so I learned from that. I'm a human being; I make mistakes. I apologized to my teammates and the organization."

Continue reading 'Red Sox player Pablo Sandoval benched for... using Instagram' (full post)

Memo: Concern US cannot counter Islamic State's social media efforts

The US State Department recently issued an internal memo that shows growing frustration in the effort to combat the Islamic State on social media. The US has tried launching "countermessaging" campaigns that have only been "trumped" by recent IS efforts, according to officials.




"The memo is an assessment not of the larger counter-ISIL messaging effort, but how the small group of coalition members communicates internally and externally, said John Kirby, State Department spokesman, while speaking to the New York Times.


There is concern that the Obama Administration is leading a failed effort to combat IS in Iraq, with the extremist group trying to solidify its so-called caliphate.

Continue reading 'Memo: Concern US cannot counter Islamic State's social media efforts' (full post)

ISIS social media use leads to USAF airstrike, destroys the building

The ISIS terrorist group suffered an attack from three Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) missiles, based on social media intelligence collected by the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group. It took just 22 hours following the US military identifying the online posts before an airstrike that destroyed an ISIS headquarters building.




"It was a post on social media to bombs on target in less than 24 hours," said Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of the Air Combat Command, in a statement published by Defense Tech. "Incredible work when you think about (it)."


ISIS is rather clever in its continued use of social media, which the US and other governments have struggled to keep up with, but mistakes have been made by the extremist group. This is the latest example of social media-related issues leading to real-world destruction - and unknown casualties.

Officials say social networking, hookup apps leading to spike in STDs

It looks like social media and adult hookup apps are one of the high-risk behaviors contributing to new cases of HIV and other STDs increasing in Rhode Island - and possibly in other states.




The department in Rhode Island noted it saw gonorrhea cases increase 30 percent, HIV cases by almost 33 percent, and syphilis cases skyrocketed by 79 percent.


"The increase has been attributed to better testing by providers and to high-risk behaviors that have become more common in recent years," said the Rhode Island Department of Health. "High-risk behaviors include using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters, having sex without a condom, having multiple sex partners, and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol."

Continue reading 'Officials say social networking, hookup apps leading to spike in STDs' (full post)

US struggling to counter Islamic State's clever social media strategy

The Islamic State continues vicious attacks in Iraq and Syria, taking over new territory while also suffering setbacks - and the fight continues on another front: the Internet.




The US State Department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) tries to monitor how IS uses the Internet for its own purposes, though has struggled to counter its evolving online strategy. Secretary of State John Kerry has hired Richard Stengel, former Time managing editor, to help create a new strategy to publish the harsh reality of citizens living under IS control.


Here is what Stengel told the Houston Chronicle: "You say the Caliphate is heaven on earth? We're going to show you pictures where sewers don't work. You're winning on the battlefield? Here's a satellite picture of you guys retreating."

Continue reading 'US struggling to counter Islamic State's clever social media strategy' (full post)

Selfie with a gun? Lady accidentally shoots herself in the head

A 21-year-old Russian woman just wanted to take a selfie with a 9mm handgun... but accidentally shot herself instead.




There are conflicting reports about the weapon, with some reports claiming the security officer left it unattended in an office before leaving for holiday. However, the RT says the security guard reportedly allowed the woman to use his weapon to take a selfie, and then the woman began to pose for a picture. She grabbed the trigger, the weapon discharged, and a bullet ricocheted off a wall and into her head, according to a witness.


If true, the guard faces a negligent weapon possession leading to injury charge, and could face up to six months in a Russian jail if convicted.

Continue reading 'Selfie with a gun? Lady accidentally shoots herself in the head' (full post)

Angry users take to drought shaming celebrities on Twitter

If you weren't currently aware, California is currently going through a serious drought with water officials reporting that "growers have been sucking more water from the ground than nature or man has put back for decades" with many more sobering statistics involved.




Now as members of the public are being warned to watch their water usage, celebrities have been brought into the spotlight as some of our biggest water wasters.


Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have been pointed out as a specific example among many others, sporting lush green lawns and full swimming pools amid a barren desert landscape, without any real measures put in place to curb their water usage in the immediate or distant future alongside. Adding to this, some companies are continuing to bottle water despite the severe shortage.

Continue reading 'Angry users take to drought shaming celebrities on Twitter' (full post)

Plastic surgeon broadcasts procedures via Snapchat to adoring fans

Dr Michael Salzhauer has become quite the 'internet celebrity' recently through the power of Snapchat - posing as his alias, Dr Miami, Salzhauer has been using his Snapchat story feature to broadcast videos of what he's been up to in the office.




While most users will post photos of their morning coffee, business lunch or absurd amount of incoming emails, Salzhauer has been showing off his handiwork in the medical sense, describing it as the most fun he's had since medical school.


Salzhauer has a cool 124k followers on Instagram and just under 11k followers on Twitter alongside his growing Snapchat fan base.

Continue reading 'Plastic surgeon broadcasts procedures via Snapchat to adoring fans' (full post)

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