The CIA In The Social Media Age


There is no denying that we live in a social media world. Every activity is tweeted or posted, photos are edited and shared, and private thoughts are broadcast for the world to see. Social media has changed the way we have relationships with friends and loved ones and the way we interact with employers and clients. The CIA had to put some serious thought into how social media can and will affect their ability to effectively gain new intelligence, and new employees. Continue reading

Here’s Why Facebook Really, Really Wants You to Use Those New Response Emoji


Facebook wants to know: How are you feeling?

There’s a water crisis on the other side of the planet. Donald Trump tweeted his latest offensive screed. Your old friend’s brother unexpectedly and tragically died. Do you like it? Better yet, do you love it? Does it make you sad or angry? Does it make you say “wow”?  Continue reading

Facebook Scam WARNING: Have YOU Been Targeted By This Shocking Con?


Facebook users are being targeted in a shocking new scam, where payday loans are taken out in their name – thanks to stolen details.

British social network users have had their accounts hacked, with crafty cyber-criminals then posting on the Facebook users’ timelines to trick their friends into revealing personal details.  Continue reading

So, You Want to Hide from the NSA? Your Guide to the Nearly Impossible

Complaining about the government is a key part of being American, the first amendment to the Constitution. But it seems like a bit of a trickier proposition these days, with the government listening to everything you say online. In the interest of preserving your freedoms and bolstering our fair nation, here is the full articulation of the deeply paranoid and complex life you must live in order to assure that the government leaves you alone. <!-more-> Continue reading

Google, Microsoft Speak Out on Gov. Requests; New Firefox Plug-in Informs Users of NSA Spying


On Friday, Facebook’s general council member Ted Ullyot publically announced that his company had been inquired by various local and federal government agencies to provide personal information of up to 10,000 users within the last six months of 2012. In all, those 10,000 demands implicated up to 19,000 personal Facebook user accounts. Continue reading

The Facebook Home disaster

The Facebook Home disaster

The reviews are in: Facebook Home, Mark Zuckerberg’s grandiose stab at totally controlling our mobile experience, is an unmitigated disaster.

On Wednesday, AT&T announced that it was dropping the price of the HTC First smartphone, which comes with Facebook Home built in, from $99 to 99 cents. Think about that: a new smartphone, priced to jump off the shelves at Dollar General. It’s a great deal, but it is also hugely embarrassing for Zuckerberg.

A little over a month ago, I wrote that the only way I could see a Facebook phone making sensewas if Facebook planned to cut deals with the phone carriers to give the phone away for free. But such a strategy doesn’t seem to be what’s in play here. Best guess, no one wants to buy a Facebook phone.

For confirmation we need only look at the Google Play store, where the Facebook Home app, which can be installed on select Android phones, has now fallen to the No. 338 ranking in the category of free apps. That’s 200 spots lower than it ranked just two weeks ago.

Even worse: More than half of Facebook Home’s 15,000 user reviews give the app just one star. A typical review:

Uninstalled after 1 min
Just takes a nice phone and ruins the interface. Waste of time.

The numbers represent a remarkable rejection of an initiative that Facebook pushed with a high-profile national advertising campaign and a dog-and-pony rollout at its Menlo Park headquarters. Smartphone users are announcing, loud and clear, that they do not want Facebook in charge of their interface with the mobile universe.

Pentagon “Cyber-Warriors” Planting “False Information on Facebook”

Who’s Faking It? Pentagon


On November 22, 2012, the Los Angeles Times published an alarming piece of news entitled “Cyber Corps program trains spies for the digital age”. The “cyber-warriors” who are headed for organizations such as the CIA, NSC, FBI, the Pentagon and so on, are trained to stalk, “rifle through trash, sneak a tracking device on cars and plant false information on Facebook [emphasis added]. They also are taught to write computer viruses, hack digital networks, crack passwords, plant listening devices and mine data from broken cellphones and flash drives.”

Not surprisingly, less than a month later, it was rumored that Iran ’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei had started a Facebook page. The style and content of the site ruled out its authenticity, but the State Department was amused. In spite of the potential for alarm, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland jokingly expressed Washington ’s curiosity to see how many “likes’ Khamenei would receive. This is no joking matter. Any message on this page would be attributed to Khamenei with a potential for dangerous ramifications.

Barely a month later, on January 24, 2013, Guardian’s blaring headlines exposed fake blogs and Facebook pages made for BBC Persian’s Iranian journalists with claims that these were made in order to harass, intimidate, and discredit the journalists. These fake blogs, according to The Guardian charges, are not by the American Cyber Corps warriors, but are alleged to be the creation of the Iranian ‘Islamic cyber-activists’ in “what appears [emphasis added] to be an operation sponsored by the authorities”.

While truth is the fist casualty of war, journalists are also fair game thanks — in large part owing to the provisions of the Information Operations Road Map of 2003 (signed by the then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and pursued by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta). As part of the plan, “public affairs officers brief journalists”. In 2005 it came to light that the Pentagon paid the Lincoln Group (a private company) to plant ‘hundreds of stories’ in Iraqi papers in support of U.S. Policies. The plan also called for “a range of technologies to disseminate propaganda in enemy territory: unmanned aerial vehicles, “miniaturized, scatterable public address systems”, wireless devices, cellular phones and the internet. “

In light of such wide spread propaganda, deception and digital warfare by the Pentagon, and with the recent Los Angeles Times revelations of the Cyber Corps training, truth become indistinguishable from falsehood and thus accepting or rejecting the authenticity of allegations by the Guardian becomes subjective, in spite of the reality of the victimhood of BBC journalists (ditto Radio Farda, VOA) whose reporting is not welcomed in Iran.

The broadcast of BBC Persian into Iran is problematic. Leaving aside the illegality of it (see article), BBC Persian which was launched in early 2009, receives significant funding from the United States . To many Iranians, no doubt including the Iranian government, BBC’s role was (and continues to be) a dark reminder of its past role in destroying Iran’s democracy in 1953 when, by its own admission, the BBC spearheaded Britain’s propaganda and broadcast the code which sparked the coup and the overthrow of Prime Minister Mossadegh.

As if in a reenactment, the role of BBC Persian in the 2009 post-election unrest was significant. Claiming that BBC Persian Services was basing its reporting on “citizen journalists” and on the receiving end of “eight user generated communications per minute”, their own report indicates that some of the reporting was impossible to verify. Unlike BBC Persian (and VOA, Radio Farda, etc.), Wired Magazine did its homework fully. In its report aptly titled “Iran: Before You Have That Twitter-Gasm…” , it revealed that the “ U.S. media is projecting its own image of Iran into what is going here on the ground.” BBC Persian, true to its track record, and thanks to State Department funding, had a desire to trumpet in a new era in Iran ’s history – A historical change planned from without, with help from within. Unlike 1953, it failed.

Once again, with the Iranian elections on the horizon, indications are that the recent elections in the United States and Israel will not produce a break-through in the US-Iran relations, or the foreign policy agenda of the United States toward Iran — warfare by other means, including propaganda. Cognizant of this fact, either the Iranian government is bracing itself for a propaganda war by discrediting sites with a potential to propagate misinformation, which may explain duplicating the BBC (admittedly, a clever move), or, the American Cyber Corps has outdone itself with the ability to point the finger at Iran.

Either way, in launching its cyber warfare, the United States has crossed the Rubicon. Cyber warfare, much like germ warfare, is dangerous, relentless, and without boundaries. The casualties of such warfare will continue to rise – unstoppable.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is a Public Diplomacy Scholar, independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups.

Six states outlaw employer snooping on Facebook


(CNET) -Six states have officially made it illegal for employers to ask their workers for passwords to their social media accounts. As of 2013, California and Illinois have joined the ranks of Michigan, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware in passing state laws against the practice, according to Wired.

With Congress not being able to come to agreement on the Password Protection Act of 2012, individual states have taken the law into their own hands. Both California and Illinois agreed on password protection laws in 2012, but the laws didn’t go into effect until yesterday.

The laws are designed to prohibit employers from requiring an employee or job applicant to provide their username and password for social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Assemblymember Nora Campos, who authored the California bill, called the law a “preemptive measure” that will offer guidelines to the accessibility of private information behind what she calls the “social media wall.”


It’s unclear how many employers have actually demanded access to workers’ online accounts, but some cases have surfaced publicly and inspired lively debate over the past year. In one instance last April, a teacher’s aide in Michigan was suspended after refusing to provide access to her Facebook account following complaints over a picture she posted. 

According to Campos’ office, more than 100 cases before the National Labor Relations Board in September involved employer workplace policies around social media. Facebook has also said it has experienced an increase in reports of employers seeking to gain “inappropriate access” to people’s Facebook profiles or private information this past year.

While these six states now ban employer snooping on private information, all public information posted on social media accounts is still fair game.

Censorship: Facebook deletes pages of 9/11 activists

(Digital Journal) -Recently, Facebook has removed the pages of about 50 political activists. Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth founder Richard Gage lost his page, as did several other activists. Later, the pages were reactivated.

Several people associated with the alternative news website also had their pages removed. InfoWars reports,


In September 2011, Infowars reporter Darrin McBreen was told by Facebook staff not to voice his political opinion on the social networking website. Responding to comments McBreen had made about off-grid preppers being treated as criminals, the “Facebook Team” wrote, “Be careful making about making (sic) political statements on facebook,” adding, “Facebook is about building relationships not a platform for your political viewpoint. Don’t antagonize your base. Be careful and congnizat (sic) of what you are preaching.”


The Facebook purge includes those who have posted pro-Second Amendment statements and/or made comments about the report made by the Washington Post /CBS News that another gunman had been arrested in the woods near Sandy Hook Elementary after the shooting.


The office of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth reports that Mr. Gage has never made any statements about gun ownership on his page. The AE911 office also confirms that a number of 9/11 activists have been targeted by Facebook.


Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth produced a documentary last year, Experts Speak Out, which has found large audiences, particularly through a PBS affiliate. Consequently, many engineers and building professionals now question the official story of the collapse of the three World Trade Center towers.


Infowars reports the following individuals have had their pages deleted or suspended:


Kurt Nimmo (account suspended)


Aaron Dykes (account inactive)


Amber Lyon (account suspended)


Brandon J. Raub (account inactive)


Michael F Rivero (account inactive)


Anthony J Hilder (account inactive)


William Lewis (account inactive)


Richard Gage (account inactive)


William Rodriguez (account inactive)


Infowar Artist (account inactive)


We are Change (account inactive)


Wacboston At Twitter (account inactive)


Michael Murphy Tmp (account inactive)


Robert M Bowman (account inactive)


Peter Dale Scott (account inactive)


Jason Infowars (account inactive)


Mike Skuthan (account inactive)


Packy Savvenas (account inactive)


Sean Wright (account inactive)


Katherine Albrect (account inactive)


Update: As of December 28th, the above pages have been reactivated. Facebook has not issued a statement.

Facebook to sell your photos: Social media giant claims it owns the rights to ALL your Instagram pictures

(DailyMail) -A popular photo-sharing website owned by Facebook has told users it now owns the rights to their pictures.

Instagram will not give any warning or payment before cashing in on the images posted on its site. It means pictures by children as young as 13 could be sold to advertisers.

People whose photos have been taken by Instagram users risk finding their image published without their knowledge.

'Did we mention its free?' Except Instagram's new terms of service makes clear that users grant the company rights over all their photos and personal information uploaded to the site‘Did we mention its free?’ Except Instagram’s new terms of service makes clear that users grant the company rights over all their photos and personal information uploaded to the site

The new policy will operate from the middle of January under changes to terms and conditions announced yesterday.

Instagram’s 30million global users cannot opt out and must close their accounts to maintain control over their images. The change does not affect users of Facebook, which bought Instagram for £616million in April.

The new terms make clear that users effectively hand over the rights to their pictures and personal information in exchange for ‘free’ access to Instagram.

Its website now reads: ‘You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos … in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: His company bought out Instagram in a $715million deal in September

The site also updated its privacy settings to share information about its users with Facebook as well as with other affiliates and advertisers.

Instagram says users must be at least 13 years old to sign up for the service. But the new rules assume that when an underage teenager signs up, a parent or guardian is aware that their child’s image, username and photos might be used in adverts.

The shake-up was described as a ‘disgusting’ and ‘egregious’ breach of privacy yesterday. Nick Pickles, of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘People thought they were Instagram’s customers, but in reality users are Instagram’s product. It goes to show when respecting people’s data and privacy come into conflict with profit, there’s only ever going to be one winner.’

Instagram said the changes will make it easier to integrate with Facebook.


If Instagram’s new terms of service are tough for your to swallow, there is a quick way to remove yourself from the service - and save all your pictures.

First you need to download all the pictures you have handed over to the app. Wired Gadget Lab recommends using Instaport, which will download your entire library in just a few minutes.

Once your photos have been rescued, you can upload them to another photo-sharing service with less invasive terms like Flickr.

Once your photos have been removed, its time to delete your account - but bear in mind that once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

Instagram will not reactivate delected accounts and you will never again be able to sign up to the service with the same user name.

‘This means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used,’ it said.

It came as Simon Milner, Facebook’s UK policy director, told a Commons committee that ministers shouldn’t introduce tough laws surrounding the use of data.

‘Our services are free to users but they don’t cost us nothing. We have to pay for it and the way we pay for that is advertising and that involves innovative use of the data people provide to us,’ he said yesterday.

Instagram launched in 2010 and allows users to share on Twitter and Facebook images they have taken with digital devices including iPhones.

The app configures photos to produce a square shape similar to the Polaroid images of the 1970s. There are 11 filters that can produce a ‘retro’ look.

NRA takes down Facebook page, stops tweets after Sandy Hook

(Digital Journal) -The NRA has taken down its Facebook page after it came under  attack following the Sandy Hook shooting. The group deactivated its Facebook  account soon after it posted a self-congratulatory message that it had received  1.7 million Facebook “Likes.”

According to the NY  Daily News, it remains unclear why the leading pro-gun group in the US has  deactivated its Facebook page and stopped tweeting. The group proudly claims a  membership of 4.3 million.


NY  Daily News also reports that the group has canceled a “Tweet & Greet” event with the country musician Colt Ford, scheduled for Friday, without giving  any reasons.

According to the Daily  Mail, so far, the NRA has not issued any response to the recent Sandy Hook  School massacre. The group has not issued any statement expressing sympathy with  the family of the victims nor has it issued any press release commenting on the  issue of the “right to bear arms.”

The Daily  Mail reports that on the day of the shooting, the organization’s website  announced that their show “Friends of NRA,” was organizing a “Golden Moose”  award. The message was published at 9:12 a.m., moments before Lanza broke into  Sandy Hook Elementary School and massacred helpless children.

According to the Examiner,  on Dec. 13, 2012, the day before the Sandy Hook shooting, the NRA tweeted: “Did  you hear? Our #facebook page reached 1.7 million ‘likes’ today! Thanks for being  a friend!”

But by Saturday, the organization’s  Facebook page had disappeared, while the Twitter account remained up, but  silent.

The sudden disappearance of the NRA’s  Facebook page was first noticed on Friday, the NY  Daily News reports.

According to the Examiner,  many have attempted to get the NRA to comment on the tragic incident, but the  organization has remained silent:

@MissBaileyWoof - @NRAwaitingwaitingwaitingwaitingwaitingwaitingwaiting.Still no expression of  sympathy?

@BradleyBananas - Say something p***y  @NRA

@zaibatsu: National Rifle Association  @NRA Hides Facebook Page To Avoid Hosting Flame Wars

MSN  Now reports that  @JayandSteve, said “Hey @NRA why aren’t you speaking?” and  @MissBaileyWoof said: “@NRAwaitingwaitingwaitingwaitingwaitingwaitingwaiting.”

NRA has also declined to talk to the  media.

The NRA’s Twitter  account (see below) shows that the last tweet “10 Days of NRA  Giveaways,” was posted Friday morning, at the about the time the deadly shooting  began in Newtown.

NRA  Twitter

NRA, Twitter

The NRA  web site has also not spoken about the incident.

The NY  Daily News reports that meanwhile, the  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg,  has been vocal in his call for gun control legislation. He told NBC’s “Meet the  Press” that the NRA and its lobbying arm are “vastly overrated” having been  unable to stop Obama’s re-election.

Bloomberg said: “If Congress wasn’t so  afraid of the NRA — and I can show you that they have no reason to be — but if  they were to stand up and do what was right for the American public, we’d all be  a lot better off.”

Gun range nearest Newtown still  active

The Daily  Mail reports that gun owners are still active at Shooters in New Milford,  Connecticut, the nearest shooting range to Newtown.

According to The  Guardian, on Sunday, the range was open and users queued up outside, waiting  their turn at the stations where they shoot at targets.

A customer at the range,  Mike D’Amico,  who was with his teenage son on Sunday, said: “We enjoy it, it’s our personal  enjoyment,” The Guardian reports.

D’Amico, commenting on Obama’s  reference to a need for  “meaningful action” on gun control, said:  “I’ve  thought this for quite a while. I think we do need more gun control. I don’t see  the need people to carry some of these big guns. They’re not appropriate.”