• ResilienceSocial media helps build a sense of community in the aftermath of disaster

    After natural disasters communities rely heavily on local governments to provide the necessary resources and information to respond to such disasters, but these approaches are not well equipped to meeting individual needs. As a complement to traditional methods, social media can provide a more personalized resource as well as fostering a sense of community in response to the crisis.

  • ISIS & social mediaU.S. social media strategy can use Twitter more effectively to weaken ISIS influence

    Opponents of ISIS and Syria are six times greater in number on Twitter than ISIS supporters, but those sympathetic to the group are more active on the social media platform, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The researchers, analyzing more than twenty-three million tweets posted in Arabic over a 10-month period, found that, on average, supporters of ISIS produce 50 percent more tweets than opponents on a typical day, although there is evidence that ISIS opponents are increasing their activity.

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  • European security Germany to search refugees' phones to establish identity, spot suspicious connections

    German interior minister Thomas de Maizière will next week announce a new German anti-terror steps, which, among other things, will require refugees and asylum-seekers arriving in Germany without a passport to surrender their smartphones – and all the passwords and security pin numbers associated with the phones – so German security agencies could check the owners’ social media accounts. The security services in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands already routinely examine refugees’ mobile phones to establish a refugee’s identity.

  • PrivacyLive-streaming crime incidents a challenge U.S. privacy law

    In July, the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile went viral on social media. The aftermath of the Castile shooting was first shared via Facebook Live, which is a type of mobile streaming video technology (MSVT) that allows users to stream live video to followers, similar to Periscope and Meerkat. The two incidents focus attention on the legal rights of people to record and live stream and any potential right to be free from being recorded and streamed in public places.

  • Social media & terrorismRecruiting technology companies to combat extremism on social media

    Extremists are exploiting the Internet. A new study aims to shed light on how accessible extremist content is beyond social media, with a particular focus on the role played by the search engine Google. Initiatives for better understanding extremism on the Internet have predominantly been led by experts in extremist ideology or the sociological aspects of radicalization. Technology firms, key stakeholders in this fight, have played a less prominent role.

  • Tracking extremistsNew tool keeps track of violent groups without having to geolocate the tweets

    Researchers have developed new sentiment analysis algorithms which can monitor the social network Twitter in search of violent groups. The system analyzes both the messages these individuals share and how their relationships develop. The police and other law enforcement agencies could use the tool to detect critical points, threats, and areas with concentrations of potentially dangerous people.

  • ISISISIS uses Whatsapp, Telegram to sell girls and women as sex slaves

    ISIS has been using instant messenger apps Whatsapp and Telegram to advertise Yazidi women and girls as young as 12 for sale as sex slaves. These apps are also being used to share photos databases of women held by ISIS as sex slaves. ISIS uses the apps to distribute these of photographs to ISIS militants manning the group’s checkpoints so that these women can be identified if they try to escape ISIS-controlled territory. Telegram and Facebook-owned Whatsapp both use end-to-end encryption, preventing the two companies from accessing users’ communications.

  • CounterterrorismState Department holds competition for social media apps challenging terrorism

    Can the obsession millennials have with smart technology be capitalized on as a weapon against terrorist propaganda? The U.S. Department of State thinks so, and has selected three teams of student finalists — chosen from fifty-six universities around the world — to its headquarters in Washington, D.C., next week for the “Peer-to-Peer: Challenging Extremism challenge.”

  • ISISTracking, analyzing how ISIS recruits through social media

    A team of researchers has developed a model to identify behavioral patterns among serious online groups of ISIS supporters that could provide cyber police and other anti-terror watchdogs a roadmap to their activity and indicators when conditions are ripe for the onset of real-world attacks. The researchers apply the laws of physics to study how terrorist support groups grow online, and how law enforcement can track activities.

  • DisastersSocial media used to assess damage caused by natural disasters

    A new study concludes that it is possible to determine the damage caused by a natural disaster in just a few hours by using data from social networks. “Twitter, the social network which we have analyzed, is useful for the management, real-time monitoring and even prediction of the economic impact that disasters like Hurricane Sandy can have,” says one of the researchers.

  • ISISPro-ISIS hackers issue threats to Facebook, Twitter founders

    Pro-ISIS hackers have released a video threatening the founders of Facebook and Twitter in retaliation for the two social media giants’ campaign to take down ISIS-related accounts. The threat was issued in a 25-minute video, uploaded on Tuesday to social networks by a group calling itself “Sons Caliphate Army” – which experts say is the latest “rebrand” of ISIS’s supporters online.

  • Social media & terrorismISIS should be kicked off the open Web: Google official

    Jared Cohen, director at Google Ideas and an advisor to the heads of parent company Alphabet Google, said ISIS should be kicked off the open Web. He noted that the Islamist group is always going to be in a position to use some aspects of the Internet, such as anonymized browsing through Tor and the uncatalogued dark Web, but it should be chased away from the open Web.

  • Social media & terrorismYoung women’s warning to other women: Don’t be fooled by ISIS

    A young woman who converted to Islam after being drawn to ISIS on social media has publicly warned other girls about how the jihadist group uses social media to reach vulnerable individuals such as herself. Her mother called the national hotline and the French police was able to intervene before the two women left for Syria. The young woman has since joined other youngest girls in France’s deradicalization program.

  • Disaster responseMining social media improves disaster response efforts

    Leveraging publicly available social media posts could help disaster response agencies quickly identify impacted areas in need of assistance, according to a team of researchers. By analyzing the September 2013 Colorado floods, researchers showed that a combination of remote sensing, Twitter and Flickr data could be used to identify flooded areas.

  • Social media & terrorismFamily of ISIS victim sues Twitter for enabling terrorism

    The family of Lloyd “Carl” Fields Jr., who was killed last year in an attack in Amman, the capital of Jordan in an ISIS shooting, is suing Twitter, claiming the network has not done enough about the spread of the group’s deadly reach. The complaint claims that the shooting might never have happened had Twitter not existed.