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Tag: Social Media

Homeland Security Enlists American College Students in Fight Against Terrorism

university of marylandBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security’s battle to stop the radicalization and recruitment of young people has tapped American college students for help.

The program, called Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism, gives students at 50 to 75 universities up to $2,000 each to counter online recruiting efforts by developing social media campaigns, the New York Times reports

Homeland Security and other national security officials judge a competition by students to develop online tools to counter recruiting efforts of terrorist groups like ISIS.

The University of Maryland placed first in the competition with a project, which was built around a video game and social media campaign, that teaches friends and neighbors to identify signs of radicalization.

“Who better to push back against the prejudice, bigotry and hate online than students?” said Tony Sgro, the president of EdVenture Partners, the company that created the program.

Other Stories of Interest

Secret Service Investigating Lawmaker over ‘Aggressively Sarcastic’ Anti-Trump Facebook Post

Maine Rep. Scott Hamann

Maine Rep. Scott Hamann

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is investigating a state lawmaker in Maine after causing alarm over a Facebook post about President Trump.

Rep. Scott Hamann called Trump a “half-term president, at most, especially if I ever get within 10 feet.”

The Democrat later said he regretted the social media post, describing his comments as “aggressively sarcastic and inappropriate.”

A Secret Service spokesman confirmed the investigation to Fox News.

“The Secret Service is aware of the comments in question and are investigating the matter.

“Allegations of any threat, inappropriate interest or unusual behavior directed towards a Secret Service protectee receives the highest priority of all our investigations.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Investigates Anti-Trump Gunman Who Shot 4 People at Virginia Ballpark

James T. Hodgkinson was killed by police after he shot four people at a congressional baseball game. Photo via Facebook.

James T. Hodgkinson was killed by police after he shot four people at a congressional baseball game. Photo via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has taken over the investigation of a 66-year-old gunman who opened fire at a congressional baseball team, shooting four people including high-ranking Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., who was in critical condition Wednesday night.

James T. Hodgkinson, a harsh critic of President Trump, was killed in a gun battle with police.

The FBI is investigating the background of shooter, his associates, social media activity and potential motivations.

According to the New York Times, Hodgkinson was living out of his van in the Northern Virginia suburbs and often posted venomous criticisms of Trump on Facebook. 

In the meantime, the ATF is tracing the history of the rifle and handgun used in the attack.

Dale Walsh, a friend of Hodgkinson, said the man was vibrant and positive when he was younger.

“He wasn’t evil,” Walsh said. “I guess he was tired of the politics.”

FBI Director Comey Compares Twitter to ‘Every Dive Bar in America’

FBI Director James Comey.

FBI Director James Comey.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey compared Twitter to a “dive bar” where everyone is yelling their opinions.

During a speech to the Anti-Defamation League on Monday, Comey said he doesn’t tweet but he does scan Twitter to see what people are saying about the FBI, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports

“It feels like I’m all of a sudden immediately in every dive bar in America, where I can hear everybody screaming at the television set,” Comey said. “But it is free speech; you don’t have to like it; you don’t have to agree with it, but we will protect it.”

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.

Secret Service Can’t Keep Up with ‘Tidal Wave of Threats’ to Trump

secret serviceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

So many threats are made against President Trump because of his habit of tweeting false or incendiary information.

“The Twitter thing is creating a lot of hassles,” said Dan Bongino, a former protective detail agent for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “It’s generated a tidal wave of threats that the Secret Service can’t ignore.”

The FBI said it is “appalled” after discovering that two former juvenile detention officers at an Arkansas facility conspired to assault youth inmates.

Investigators said the two officers peppers-sprayed inmates who posed no threat.

Those officers, former White River Juvenile Detention Center supervisors Capt. Peggy Kendrick, 43, and Lt. Dennis Fuller, 40, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to assault juvenile inmates in U.S. District Court. Kendrick also pleaded guilty to falsifying a report by trying to cover up that she pepper-sprayed a 16-year-old girl.

“In some instances, they then shut the compliant juveniles in their cells after pepper spraying them to ‘let them cook,’ rather than immediately decontaminating them,” a news release said. “Kendrick also encouraged the juvenile detention officers, who unjustifiably assaulted juveniles, to falsify their incident reports to cover up the assaults.”

The cause remains under investigation by the FBI in Little Rock.

Bongino said the Secret Service doesn’t have the resources to investigate every social media threat.

“It’s an arithmetic impossibility to interview every single person who sends a threat. It’s not possible,” he said. “By necessity they have to triage what’s credible and what’s not and it’s tough to do by just looking at a 140-character tweet.”

The Secret Service also is worried about Trump’s safety while he takes predictable weekend trips to his private Mar-a-Lago club.

“I used to joke if we don’t know where we’re going then the jackal doesn’t either,” Bongino said. “Patterns always hurt.”

Twitter Sues Homeland Security to Protect Anonymity of Trump Critic

twitter-birdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Twitter is suing Homeland Security after it threatened court action if the social media giant didn’t reveal the identity of a Twitter account – “@ALT_uscis” or “Alt Immigration” – that has been critical of the Trump administration.

The lawsuit alleges Homeland Security received a summons demanding the name, login information, phone number, mailing address and IP address of the Twitter user, NPR reports.

Twitter ignored Homeland Security’s request to not reveal the summons and instead wants a federal court to declare the summons “unlawful and enforceable.”

The account is one of several “rogue” accounts believed to be created by anonymous employees of the federal government, though that has not been confirmed. The Associated Press reports that they were told the account was run by “employees and former employees of the agency.”

Lawyers for Twitter said the summons violates the First Amendment rights of @ALT_uscis and is therefore unenforceable.

Social Media Backlash Follows FBI’s Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on Twitter

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI caught backlash Tuesday after tweeting a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on the anniversary of his assassination.

“Today, on the anniversary of his assassination, the FBI honors the life, work, & commitment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to justice.” the FBI tweeted from its official account.

The FBI also included one of King’s favorite quotes.

“We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” King said in the tweeted quote.

The FBI hasn’t also been so nice to King, who was repeatedly under surveillance by the bureau .

J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director during the height of the civil rights movement, is accused of sending King a blackmail letter that appeared to urge the activist to kill himself, the New York Post reports. 

The social media backlash was almost immediate.

“You have no f—ing right to co-opt the legacy of Dr. King nearly 50 years after you murdered him,” tweeted John Weiss, a writer and filmmaker.

“You shld have protected Civil Rights leaders, instead of running COINTELPRO smear campaign.” wrote Twitter user Kyle Linhares. “Evers, X, King might still be alive if you had.”