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Tag: facebook

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.

Veterans of Secret Service Admonish Agent Who Won’t Take Bullet for President Trump

secret serviceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Veterans of the Secret Service said they were stunned to learn an agent based in Denver said she would not take a bullet for President Trump.

Gary Byrne, who protected President Clinton and the Oval Office, told Fox News that he was astonished by Special Agent Kerry O’Grady’s statements on Facebook. 

“It is unheard of and unbelievable that someone at her level would comment publicly on being unwilling to protect the president,” said Byrne, author of “Crisis of Character.” “Everyone has their own personal political opinions, but this job is not personal. You take an oath to the country, not the person. You are protecting the office, and what makes the country great.”

Retired Secret Service Agent Dan Emmett, author of “Within Arms Length” and “I Am a Secret Service Agent,” also admonished O’Grady.

“Her stated refusal or unwillingness to do what all Secret Service agents have been willing and expected to do since 1902 when the Secret Service began protecting presidents presents the worst possible example for her agents as well as all young agents Service wide. She has at this point rendered herself completely irrelevant as an agent. Few will be willing to work for her or with her.”

The Secret Service pledged to take “appropriate action” after her Facebook post came to the agency’s attention.

Detroit Man Charged After Allegedly Threatening to Kill Police at Cop’s Funeral

Deshawn Maurice Lanton

Deshawn Maurice Lanton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — A 21-year-old Detroit man threatened to kill police while they gathered at a funeral last week for a Detroit police sergeant who had been fatally shot, according to a criminal complaint.

Deshawn Maurice Lanton was charged in federal court with charges that he used the internet to transmit a threat, the Detroit News reports. 

The complaint alleges that Lanton said on a live video on Facebook, ““Maybe I should drop a bomb on that building and get rid of the rest of y’all.”

The post was made about 90 minutes after the funeral began in suburban St. Clair Shores.

An FBI review of Lanton’s Facebook page found that Lanton rejoiced about other police officers getting injured, saying “how pleased he was to see officers being injured,” according to the criminal complaint.

“This case is different from some other generalized threats on social media against police officers and other groups because this statement threatens specific harm to a particular group of people at a precise location,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement.

Other Stories of Interest

Federal Agents Confiscate Cell Phones of Wall Street Journal Reporter

Maria Abi-Habib pictured on the left, via Facebook.

Maria Abi-Habib pictured on the left, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal agents detained a Wall Street Journal reporter and confiscated her two cell phones at a Los Angeles airport.

Maria Abi-Habib, who covers the Middle East, wrote in detail about the incident on Facebook.

“My rights as a journalist or US citizen do not apply at the border, as explained above, since legislation was quietly passed in 2013 giving DHS very broad powers (I researched this since the incident),” the reporter wrote on Facebook. “This legislation also circumvents the Fourth Amendment that protects Americans’ privacy and prevents searches and seizures without a proper warrant.”

She said the agents wanted her cell phone to “collect information.”

“That is where I drew the line,” Abi-Habib wrote. “I told her I had First Amendment rights as a journalist she couldn’t violate and I was protected under.”

A federal agent provided a document that shows the government has a right to confiscate phones within 100 miles of U.S. borders.

Other Stories of Interest