social media

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday morning shared with his millions of Twitter followers incendiary videos from a far-right British anti-Muslim party, drawing criticism from Britain's prime minister and Islamic groups.

Think before you snap that selfie.

That's the serious message of a joint campaign created by two groups that have spent the past few years poking fun at problematic photos taken by Western volunteers. They often have the tendency to paint themselves as saviors to needy people in low-income countries.

The Federal Election Commission is moving to improve disclosure of the money behind Internet and digital ads, as the shadow of Russian-funded social media ads in last year's presidential race hangs over the agency.

"We can't, obviously, take over the role of the Justice Department or of Congress," Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub told other commissioners Thursday, "but I do think that we could do this little piece."

You scroll through your friend's Instagram feed and see the most beautiful setting, and think: "I want to go there." And so you do.

According to travel photographer Brent Knepper, you are part of the problem.

In The Outline's article "Instagram is Loving Nature to Death," Knepper says that thanks to the photo sharing app, some of the best-kept secrets of the natural world are drawing big crowds and literally altering the landscape.

Pope Francis has a request for his followers: Put away your phones during Mass.

At a certain point in every service, Francis noted, "the priest says, 'Lift up your hearts.' He doesn't tell us to lift up our cellphones to take pictures."

Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have been testifying before Congress over the past few weeks about how their platforms were used by Russian agents to interfere in the 2016 US election.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Twitter may be the public square of our times, but some citizens say their elected officials don't want to hear from them. It has become increasingly common for politicians at all levels of government to block followers, whether for uncivil behavior or merely for expressing a different point of view.

Facebook says 126 million people may have seen Russian content aimed at influencing Americans. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to weed out Russian operatives and extremist propaganda from Facebook.

But savvy marketers — people who've used Facebook's advertising platform since its inception — say that social media giant will find it hard to banish nefarious actors because its technology is designed to be wide open and simple to use.

As fire fighters in California's wine country worked frantically to contain and put out devastating wildfires that killed at least 42 people in recent weeks, and while his officers were still evacuating residents and searching through the burned ruins of homes for missing persons, Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano had another problem to address.

Updated Oct. 25 at 1:42 p.m. EDT

Twitter has promised more disclosure about its advertisements as members of Congress put the big social networks under a microscope in investigating Russian interference in U.S. politics.

The San Francisco-based microblogging service said Tuesday that it plans to unveil an "industry-leading transparency center" through which it will "offer everyone visibility into who is advertising on Twitter, details behind those ads" and tools through which users can respond.

The news of Harvey Weinstein's expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the weekend is prompting victims to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

The academy ousted the powerful Hollywood producer over multiple abuse allegations, prompting social media users around the world to proclaim a simple idea: that sexual abuse is a common experience in women's lives.

Shortly before Election Day last year, some helpful-looking posts began popping up on Twitter: No need to stand in line or even leave home, they said — just vote by text!

The messages, some of which appeared to come from Hillary Clinton's campaign, had versions in Spanish, with gay pride flags and other permutations. They were also 100 percent false.

Where did they come from?

Updated at 2:17 p.m. ET, Oct. 3

Facebook said on Monday it has given Congress thousands of ads linked with Russian influence operations in the United States and is tightening its policies to make such interference more difficult.

"Many [of the ads] appear to amplify racial and social divisions," it said.

The social media giant confirmed that it discovered the ad sales earlier this year and gave copies to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Since the dawn of Twitter, the social network has been defined by its limit: 140 characters. But in a tweet that offered a glimpse of what is to come, co-founder Jack Dorsey announced that the service plans to experiment with doubling that cap.

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