• Crisis responseHow social media is energizing crisis response

    Natural disasters, such as the recent Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean, present a huge challenge for governments, non-governmental organizations, and of course the individuals and communities affected. But studies of the effectiveness or otherwise of the responses to these disasters typically focus on official activities, producing a top-down view of what unfolded. Researchers studying the 2011 Thailand flooding disaster – the world’s fourth most severe natural disaster at that time instead looked at how individuals on the ground used social media to share information and offer support, often in areas where the official response was lacking or ineffective.

  • Hate groupsAlt-right racists to flood Twitter with “fake black people” posts

    White supremacists associated with the alt-right movement said they were planning to retaliate against Twitter by inundating it with postings from fake accounts pretending to be black people. The alt-right extremists said the retaliation is in response to Twitter’s banning several accounts belonging to individuals and groups associated with the racist and anti-Semitic movement. Alt-right figure Andrew Anglin of the neo-Nazi Web site Daily Stormer instructed his followers: “When you have time, create a fake black person account,” he wrote. “Just go on black Twitter and see what they look like, copy that model. Start filling it with rap videos and booty-shaking or whatever else these blacks post.”

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  • Hate groupsTwitter suspends accounts of alt-right individuals, organizations

    Twitter has suspended the accounts of several individuals and groups linked to the alt-right. The alt-right movement embraces white supremacists, anti-Semites, and all manner of bigots in addition to conspiracy theorists and more “traditional” rabble-rousing populists and extremists. Steve Bannon, the publisher of the alt-right’s main organ, the Breitbart News Web site, was Trump campaign CEO, and is slated to become the strategic counselor to the Trump in the White House. Twitter said that company rules prohibit “violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies.” “The great purge is upon us. But Twitter could have purged the #AltRight BEFORE we memed a President into the White House. They didn’t because they never believed it was possible,” Pax Dickinson, founder of alt-right site WeSearchr; wrote. “Banning us now is too little & too late.”

  • CyberlifeTwitter goes down and believers in conspiracy theories pounce

    Twitter service in Japan and parts of the United States was down earlier today (Monday), shortly after WikiLeaks claimed that its servers had been subjected to a cyberattack. When service was restored, some users were quick to see a conspiracy, linking the outages at WikiLeaks and Twitter to the WikiLeaks release of a new set of hacked e-mails from the Democrat National Committee. “.@Twitter was down ~ 25 min. #DDOS or US Govt? #DNCLeak2 intel docs reference killings of Vince Foster & Ron Brown,” said one tweet.

  • RadicalizationThe “blind spot” in extremist Web content

    In order better to understand the process of on-line radicalization, researchers examined the average monthly number of global searches and regional search frequencies conducted in Google for 287 Arabic and English keywords relating to violent and non-violent extremism. Further analysis was then conducted within the search results for forty-seven of the relevant keywords to understand placement of extremist and counter-narrative content.

  • Hate groupsWidespread anti-Semitic harassment of journalists perceived as critical of Donald Trump: Report

    A new report released earlier today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) details a troubling, year-long rise in anti-Semitic hate targeting journalists on Twitter, with data showing that the harassment has been driven by rhetoric in the 2016 presidential campaign. The anti-Semitic tweets have been directed at 800 journalists, both conservative and liberal, who wrote critically about Trump. The tweet writers are disproportionately likely to self-identify as Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, or part of the “alt-right,” a loosely connected group of extremists, some of whom are white supremacists. There were 19,253 anti-Semitic tweets in the first six months of 2016, and the words that appear most frequently in the bios of the 1,600 most prolific anti-Semitic Twitter attackers are “Trump,” “nationalist,” “conservative,” and “white.” “To be clear,” ADL stresses, “this does not imply that the Trump campaign supported or endorsed the anti-Semitic tweets, only that certain self-styled supporters sent these ugly messages.”

  • Jihadist bridesFormer British topless model arrested for links to ISIS

    Former British topless model, 27, arrested for communicating with ISIS recruiters and distributing violent ISIS propaganda videos on social networks. He contact was a British citizens calling himself Abu Usamah al-Britani, a known ISIS recruiter operating out of Syria. Terrorism experts say his “specialty” is trying to persuade young Western women to come to Syria to marry jihadist fighters.

  • Terrorism & social mediaJudge questions whether Facebook is doing enough to deter terrorists from using its platform

    A federal judge harshly criticized Facebook, admonishing the social media giant for not be doing enough to deter terrorists from using its platform. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, New York, also accused Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Facebook’s lawyers — who had sent a first-year associate to a hearing — of not taking seriously lawsuits which touch on important issues such as international terrorism and the murder of innocents. “I think it is outrageous, irresponsible, and insulting,” Garaufis told the attorney. The judge ordered the law firm to send a more senior lawyer to the next hearing on 28 September because he wanted to “talk to someone who talks to senior management at Facebook.”

  • Digital spooksMI6 to recruit hundreds more staff in response to advances in digital technology,

    MI6, the U.K.’s overseas intelligence service, is set to recruit hundreds more digital specialists over the next four years in response to the ever-growing digital threats and challenges posed by advancing digital technology. MI6 employs 2,500 people, and the agency focuses on intelligence-gathering and operations outside the United Kingdom. MI5 is in charge of security within the United Kingdom (James Bond worked for MI6). In a rare public appearance, Alex Younger, the head of MI6, said of terrorism: “regrettably, this is an enduring issue which will certainly be with us, I believe, for our professional lifetime.”

  • Crises & rumorsTackling rumors during crises

    The proliferation of rumors during a crisis can hinder efforts by emergency personnel trying to establish facts. That is why a doctoral student at BGU’s Department of Emergency Medicine has developed a methodology for tracking rumors and guidelines for how to control them.

  • Domestic terrorismWhite Nationalist groups growing much faster than ISIS on Twitter

    The number of White Nationalists and self-identified Nazi sympathizers on Twiter had multiplied more than 600 percent in the last four years — outpacing ISIS in all social media aspects, from the number of follower counts to the number of daily tweets, a new study found. The study’s author notes that ISIS has gained a reputation for effectively using Twitter for propaganda and recruitment, but that White Nationalist groups have excelled even more in exploiting the medium. The report says that unlike the campaign Twitter has been conducting against ISIS, White Nationalists are continuing to use the service with “relative impunity.”

  • 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.

  • 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.