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Tag: Social Media

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.”

12,000+ Tweets about Assassinating Trump Create Challenge for Secret Service

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Since Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day, more than 12,000 people have tweeted “assassinate Trump,” causing a headache for the Secret Service.

Some of the tweets are jokes or hyperbolic, but some are serious, Mashable reports. 

But it’s unclear how serious the Secret Service is taking the tweets.

There are reports of agents arriving at the homes of social media users, including a Kentucky woman who tweeted, “If someone was cruel enough to assassinate MLK, maybe someone will be kind enough to assassinate Trump.” 

An Ohio man was charged with making threats to Trump following several tweets about killing the Republican on election night. 

“It’s the people who have a true and genuine intent to do harm that the Secret Service is worried about,” said former U.S. Secret Service special agent Tim Franklin, who is now a criminology and criminal justice professor.

Secret Service Agent Placed on Leave for Saying She Wouldn’t Take Bullet for Trump

Special Agent Kerry O’Grady.

Special Agent Kerry O’Grady.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Secret Service agent who said she would not take a bullet for President Trump has been placed on administrative leave.

Kerry O’Grady, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Denver district, alarmed her colleagues by statements on Facebook.

In October, she posted on Facebook: “As a public servant for nearly 23 years, I struggle not to violate the Hatch Act. So I keep quiet and skirt the median. To do otherwise can be a criminal offense for those in my position. Despite the fact that I am expected to take a bullet for both sides. But this world has changed and I have changed. And I would take jail time over a bullet or an endorsement for what I believe to be disaster to this country and the strong and amazing women and minorities who reside here. Hatch Act be damned. I am with Her.”

O’Grady removed her Facebook post after two or three days, the New York Post reports. 

“It was an internal struggle for me but as soon as I put it up, I thought it was not the sentiment that I needed to share because I care very deeply about the mission,” she said.

Other Stories of Interest

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.