social media

In name and in aim, it's a bill for our political moment.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois presents: the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement, or COVFEFE Act.

As Congress has taught us time and again, any legislative priority can be pretzeled into an acronym if you simply toss away the conventions of standard American English.

What do you do about a problem like "covfefe"? That word from President Trump's late-night tweet set Twitter ablaze overnight, sparking jokes and quasi-definitions of what seems to have been a typo. The covfefe kerfuffle is a reminder that we're living in a unique political era: Even the words are brand-new.

Is 'Internet Addiction' Real?

May 18, 2017

When her youngest daughter, Naomi, was in middle school, Ellen watched the teen disappear behind a screen. Her once bubbly daughter went from hanging out with a few close friends after school to isolating herself in her room for hours at a time. (NPR has agreed to use only the pair's middle names, to protect the teen's medical privacy.)

"She started just lying there, not moving and just being on the phone," says Ellen. "I was at a loss about what to do."

A video of Russian President Vladimir Putin taking a turn at the ivories in Beijing is currently making the Internet rounds.

It wasn't a serious political gaffe, but it was awkward. On Feb. 12, the Republican National Committee tweeted a picture of the Lincoln Memorial along with the quote, "'And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count; it's the life in your years' — Abraham Lincoln."

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus first wowed audiences in the 19th century. For the iconic American spectacle's final act, it will broadcast the final performance on a 21st century medium: Facebook Live.

Faced with a recent spate of violent videos and hate speech posted by users on its network, Facebook has announced plans for a heap of hires: 3,000 new employees worldwide to review and react to reports of harm and harassment.

"Over the last few weeks, we've seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook — either live or in video posted later. It's heartbreaking, and I've been reflecting on how we can do better for our community," CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday in a Facebook post.

President Trump has been tweeting about a federal court ruling that temporarily blocked his plan to suspend funding for "sanctuary cities."

These are cities — among them New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and San Francisco — that have limited their cooperation with federal immigration authorities. For example, they may refuse to detain people who are in the U.S. illegally on behalf of the federal agents.

Now, the Trump tweets:

Unicorn Frappuccino: A Digital Age Drink

Apr 19, 2017

If ever a drink were concocted to quench the thirst of social media, this may be it.

With its whimsical name, bright pink and blue swirl topped with a pillow of whipped cream and a pixie dusting of sprinkles, Starbucks' new Unicorn Frappuccino practically pleads to be posted.

And a glimpse at Twitter shows the frozen confection is indeed gaining attention.

A nationwide manhunt for a suspect who allegedly shot an elderly man dead in Cleveland and then uploaded it to Facebook has ended with the man shooting and killing himself in Pennsylvania's Erie County.

"Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by [Pennsylvania State Police] members in Erie County," the state police said on its Twitter account. "After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself."

  

Chicago police have now arrested two suspects in the brutal sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that was streamed on Facebook Live. Both of those charged in the attack are teenage boys, ages 14 and 15, and police continue to look for more accomplices.

About 40 people may have watched the rapes on Facebook as they happened, but none of them reported the crimes to the police. That's raising ethical and legal questions about those who witnessed the crime, including whether they can be charged for their inaction.

President Trump's Tweets, Annotated

Mar 7, 2017

President Trump tweets a lot. With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news. But 140 characters rarely gives the full context. Here, we attempt to do just that for key tweets beginning on Jan. 20, when he officially took office.

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For young adults, social media may not be so social after all.

Among people in that age group, heavy use of platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram was associated with feelings of social isolation, a study finds.

In 2010, Lester Packingham was convicted of having a Facebook account. That's a crime in North Carolina, which bars registered sex offenders from "accessing" certain social media sites, including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on whether that law violates the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. Packingham contends the statute, instead of being narrowly targeted, encompasses a "vast amount" of speech that is protected by the Constitution.

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