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Tag: facebook

Suburban Mom Accused of Threatening FBI Mole on Facebook

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A suburban Chicago mother of seven faces federal cyberstalking charges for allegedly urging Facebook followers to kill a gang member-turned-FBI mole for helping put behind bars an associate of hers accused of trying to sell semiautomatic rifles stolen from a freight train.

Iesha Stenciel, 38, also faces a gun charge after she was found carrying a bag containing an AR 15-type assault rifles stolen from a Chicago train in September 2016, the Associated Press reports

Brian Stafford was arrested in October 2016 for allegedly telling the informant that he was in possession of the stolen rifles. Following the arrest, Stenciel is accused of posting the Facebook threats.

“Snitches get stitches and found in ditches,” one posting allegedly said, followed by 11 handgun emojis.

Stenciel later claimed the postings were fantasies, not legitimate threats.

Facebook is “a cyber fantasy community where you can live out any fantasy with no real means or intent of carrying anything out,” she wrote to a federal judge in a letter in July.

The AP wrote:

Filings aren’t clear about whether Stafford or Stanciel, both of whom have previous criminal records, played a direct role in the 2016 theft. The guns had been loaded in Atlantic City, New Jersey, two days before the train stopped in Chicago. The thieves also made off with several TVs.

The filings describe Stanciel and Stafford as “associates” but don’t offer details. Stanciel, of Aurora, and Stafford, from the Chicago suburb of Bellwood, have both pleaded not guilty. Stafford faces gun possession charges.

The informant, working with the FBI, agreed to pay Stafford $4,000 for the three rifles, court filings said. The informant wore audio and video devices during the exchange of the money and guns at Stafford’s home on Oct. 23 last year, and Stafford was arrested later that day.

Facebook Warned U.S. Government of Suspected Russian Hackers Before Election

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Read more »

Facebook Provides Robert Mueller with Facebook Ad Data Involving Russia

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Information about Facebook’s discovery that an operation likely based in Russia spent $100,000 on ads on the social media site was turned over to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in charge of investigating alleged Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election.

Facebook said the operation promoted thousands of ads in the U.S. on divisive social and political messages, Reuters reports.

The postings ranged from polarizing positions on immigration, gay rights and race.

Reuters wrote:

U.S. election law bars foreign nationals and foreign entities from spending money to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate. Non-U.S. citizens may generally advertise on issues. Other ads, such as those that mention a candidate but do not call for the candidate’s election or defeat, fall into what lawyers have called a legal gray area.

Facebook announced the findings in a blog post by its chief security officer, Alex Stamos, and said that it was cooperating with federal inquiries into influence operations during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Facebook briefed members of both the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees on Wednesday about the suspected Russia advertising, according to a congressional source familiar with the matter. Both committees are conducting probes into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, including potential collusion between the campaign of President Donald Trump and Moscow.

USA Today Urges FBI to Investigate Millions of Fake Facebook Accounts

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The USA Today has been swamped with so many fake users on Facebook that the newspaper is asking the FBI to investigate.

The newspaper, owned by Gannett Co., estimated that half of its Facebook follower are automated. Even after the social media giant removed more than a third of USA Today’s 15.2 million followers, millions more are fake as an average of 1,000 fake users “like” the page, the newspaper revealed

What remains unclear is why spam operators are targeting the USA Today.

“The continued presence of phony accounts hasn’t checked the social network’s user growth, but they can cause confusion and havoc for individual users and companies,” the USA Today wrote. “Fake profiles that masquerade as real people have also caused tragedy, such as the torture and killing of a university student in Pakistan after someone set up a fake Facebook account in his name that allegedly contained blasphemous content.”

“We don’t know why the scope of impact on USA Today’s Facebook Page appears greater than any other publisher,” said Shabnam Shaik, technical program manager on Facebook’s protect and care team.

In flings with the Securities and Exchange commission, Facebook estimated about 1% of its active users are “misclassified” accounts, which includes both fake accounts and those that violated its terms of service, such as pet accounts.

Parker: The Legal Duty to Report Crimes in the Age of Social Media

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Over the weekend NBC News and other media reported a story of the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in Chicago by a group of juvenile boys. The painful media “angle” of the report was that the offenders had broadcast the brutal assault to 40 Facebook viewers, none of whom had reported the crime to police.

The Chicago Police Chief stated that he was uncertain whether any of the viewers would be charged criminally. He said that he was “disgusted” by their inaction and added, “Where are we going in society?”

The incident follows another one in Chicago in which 4 people taunted and beat a mentally disabled man and broadcast the crime, also by Facebook.

The most recent Chicago case occurred 53 years, almost to the day, after the notorious rape and murder of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese in March 1964, while observers saw and heard the brutal stabbing and her cries for help. A sensationalized New York Times article, two weeks after the murder, reported that 38 people had watched the murder and did nothing about it.

The article shocked readers across the country and came to represent a widespread “truth” about apathy in the big cities, the breakdown of the values of the 1950s, and the social anxieties of the years which followed.

Many of us became familiar with the Genovese case in our Psych 101 and Sociology textbooks in college, under the title “Bystander Effect” or “Bystander Syndrome,” as the supposed tendency of large groups of people who witness crimes to refuse either to come to the aid of the victim or to call the police. Dozens of movies, TV shows, books, and songs decried the “Bad Samaritan” tendency of people who predominated in modern life.

The problem with the story and its widespread consequences was that most of the reported “facts” were not true. Fifty years later studies showed that the events had been grossly exaggerated and inaccurate in many respects, especially the overstated number of  witnesses (actually probably 5 or 6, some of whom did call the police and try to help the victim). Only one man indicated that he had seen and heard  the assault and “did not want to get involved.”

Read more »

Secret Service Agent Who Said She Won’t Take Bullet for Trump Removed from Post

badge_of_the_united_states_secret_serviceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Kathy O’Grady, the Secret Service special agent who said she would rather go to jail than take a bullet for President Trump, has been removed from her position.

O’Grady was the special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Denver district. Now there’s a concern she will be transferred to another federal agency, Townhall.com reports. 

O’Grady has been on paid administrative leave since making the comments about Trump on Facebook in January.

Secret Service is looking for someone to replace O’Grady.

FBI: White Supremacist Planned Violent Attack ‘in Spirit of Dylann Roof’

Benjamin McDowell

Benjamin McDowell

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A South Carolina man who was a known white supremacist planned to carry out a violent attack “in the spirit of Dylann Roof,” the FBI wrote in a complaint Thursday.

Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 29, caught the attention of the FBI after a series of Facebook posts in which he made threats and declared violent white supremacist ideologies, NBC News reports. 

McDowell was arrested after meting with an undercover FBI agent to purchase a gun in the parking lot of a Myrtle Beach hotel. He was charged with possessing a firearm because of his preexisting status as a felon.

On Facebook, McDowell unleashed rants about Jews.

McDowell told the undercover agent that more needed to be done because “screaming ‘white power’ was not getting the job done,” according to the FBI complaint.

“I seen what Dylann Roof did and in my heart I reckon I got a little bit of hatred … I want to do that sh*t,” McDowell allegedly told the agent.

FBI Tracks Suspected Michigan Murderer to Texas Using Facebook

Stephen Marcus Gilbert, 31

Stephen Marcus Gilbert, 31

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 31-year-old man accused of killing one person and injuring another in a shooting in downtown Flint, Mich., was tracked by the FBI using Facebook.

Authorities said they tracked Stephen Marcus Gilbert to Texas after a task force saw on his Facebook page that he had recently visited a woman in Arlington, MLive reports. 

The FBI, however, still had not located Gilbert as of Tuesday morning.

An apartment manager reported that he saw Gilbert walking toward the woman’s apartment.

Gilbert has bee charged with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and four counts of felony firearm, according to court records.