With federal and state investigators searching for clues about the person or organization behind the Boston Marathon bombing, social networks could hold a treasure trove of information.
"I would imagine that the authorities are casting a wide net and will have certainly taken note of anyone celebrating what happened in Boston whether it's on Twitter or an online forum," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "If they haven't already, I think social networks will become part of the default investigative method."
On Monday, two bombs went off at the finish line of the world-famous Boston Marathon as onlookers cheered and runners crossed the finish line. So far three people, including an eight-year-old boy, have been killed and more than 170 have been injured. As of Tuesday afternoon, doctors at various hospitals reported that 17 people remain in critical condition. Read more...
The micro-blogging site went down at approximately 11:45 a.m. EST Thursday, according to Twitter's Status page. The site was restored around 1:15 p.m.
Users from several different parts of the country reported that they were without Twitter service.
The crash came the day before the opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics. Read more...
Chinese micro-blogging phenomenon Sina Weibo has warned that new government rules mandating the use of real names on social networks could silence at least 40 per cent of the site’s punters.
The firm announced decent financials on Monday in line with analyst expectations, but dampened the mood by forecasting a poor start to 2012 thanks in part to the government’s increasingly hardline web laws.
After successful pilot trials in various cities, the government mandated that by 16 March all users of Twitter-like weibo sites in the country must have registered with their real names.
However, Sina chief executive Charles Chao said that since December only about 55 per cent of new registrants on his site have managed to pass the strict new verification process. Read more...
In a move that's unlikely to sit well with privacy advocates, the FBI has begun scouting for a tool that will allow it to gather and mine data from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.
The goal is to use the tool to keep on top of breaking events, incidents and emerging threats, the agency said in a recent Request for Information (RFI) from IT vendors.
The FBI said it's seeking a "secure, lightweight web application portal using mashup technology."
According to the RFI document, "The application must have the ability to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence that will allow [the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center] to quickly vet, identity and geo-locate" potential threats to the U.S. Read more...
Bosses have been warned against using social networks to check up on potential employees in a report published by employment relations body Acas.
The report said managers who use social networks to vet candidates could find themselves facing charges of discrimination if they are considered to have rejected a candidate because of information they found about their age, sexuality or religion.
But it also conceded that it is unlikely rejected applicants will be able to find evidence of discrimination - so it will be up to employers to regulate themselves.
Your Facebook account may help you connect with more people than you think, including your employerPhoto: Pixelbully Read more...
Last week, in the aftermath of the English riots, there was much debate about banning social networks in times of strife: a ridiculous knee-jerk reaction which is sadly the standard response from some politicians when faced with new technology.
There are plenty of good arguments against this stance. Twitter and other social media services were tools used for good as well as evil during the riots, and giving anyone the right to switch them off would not only undermine freedom of expression, but also cut off the law-abiding population from information in the middle of a crisis, just when they need it most.
In any case, police have already been keeping an eye on Twitter, Facebook and other networks to great effect, as they told MPs earlier this week. There should be no surprise at this - after all, the modus operandi of social media is collating information and making it easily accessible to all. Read more...
In a strong message to those who incite violence on social networks, a British court sentenced two men to four years in prison for using Facebook to try to organize a riot. It's the sternest punishment yet for abuse of social networks during the U.K. riots.
In Chester Crown Court south of Liverpool, 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw of Marston near Northwich, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Warrington, were sentenced for creating Facebook events calling for violence. Blackshaw was charged on Aug. 9 and Sutcliffe-Keenan was charged on Aug. 10. Read more...
Twitter is not the same as Facebook or Google+. There, I've said it. And, for the benefit of certain internet power users, such as Robert Scoble, I'll say it again: Twitter is not the same as Facebook or Google+. Nor should it be.
Facebook and to a lesser extent Google+ are, first and foremost, social networks. Twitter is an information network. That's a big distinction.
A social network is a network of people connected by acquaintance, whereas an information network draws people together based on interests. The first set of connections are typically forged - in the first instance at least - by geographical proximity. You need to have been in the same room as a person in this network, at some point in time. Read more...
Responding to some people's seemingly insatiable need to share their thoughts online, Nuance has updated its Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software so users no longer need to type to post updates to Facebook or Twitter.
"We're seeing a strong user interest in interacting with social media sources," said Peter Mahoney, Nuance senior vice president and general manager of Dragon.
The newly released Dragon 11.5 also allows the iPhone to be used as an input microphone. Read more...
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