social media

While Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was on lockdown, with an active shooter in the building, students were on their phones.

As the news broke of a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, hundreds of Twitter accounts believed to be under Russian sway pivoted.

Many had been tweeting about places like Syria and Ukraine — countries where Russia is seeking to strengthen its influence. Suddenly the accounts shifted to hashtags like #guncontrol, #guncontrolnow and #gunreformnow. Tweets mentioning Nikolas Cruz, the name of the shooting suspect, spiked.

Updated Feb. 16

The 19-year-old man who’s confessed to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people on Wednesday left a violent social media footprint. But the teens and adults who might have stopped him say they weren’t aware.

Twitter says it has turned a profit for the first time last quarter, sending its shares surging. As of mid-morning Thursday its shares were up nearly 23 percent.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says recent changes to the site have reduced the amount of time users spend there — a development he says he expected, and one he welcomes as good for both his business and the health of society at large.

Peter Haden

On the opening day of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, founding chairman and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, “The museum is not meant to be an answer. It's meant to be a question.”

Museum director Sara Bloomfield says that’s the starting place for the new “Never Stop Asking Why” digital campaign, launched to mark the 25th anniversary of the institution by engaging new generations on the lessons of the Holocaust. 

“Why did the Holocaust happen? What made it possible? How could it have been different? What does it mean for me today?” she said.

Grumpy Cat finally has something to smile about.

The perpetually scowling kitty, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, has been awarded a cool $710,000 in a copyright infringement case. Or at least her human, Tabatha Bundesen, has.

It was 8:07 a.m. when the alert hit phones across Hawaii.

"BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII," it declared in no uncertain terms. "SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

Just two minutes later Gov. David Ige learned the alert was a mistake.

Then, an additional 15 minutes passed.

Facebook is doing some soul-searching.

In a new commentary, the social media giant acknowledges the possibility that social media can have negative ramifications for democracy. This comes after repeated criticism that it didn't do enough to prevent the spread of fake news that had the potential to impact the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that the social media giant would begin emphasizing more "meaningful" content on users' feeds — giving greater weight to posts from friends and family and less to businesses, brands and media.

In a long Facebook post of his own, Zuckerberg stressed that the social media platform — which has more than 2 billion active users worldwide — was created "to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us."

Since 2010, Library of Congress has been archiving every single public tweet: Yours, ours, the president's.

But today, the institution announced it will no longer archive every one of our status updates, opinion threads, and "big if true"s. As of Jan. 1, the library will only acquire tweets "on a very selective basis."

In an effort to curb a reputation of faulty policy enforcement — and to "make Twitter a safer place" — Twitter says it will enforce a fresh set of guidelines to reduce abusive and violent content, beginning today.

The new rules target hate symbols, abuse and unwanted sexual advancements. One clause effectively prohibits accounts from associating with hate groups:

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."

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