Apr 18, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon


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11Home Depot Apologizes For Racist Photo Tweeted From Official Twitter Account

Home Depot Inc. apologized Thursday for a racist tweet that included a photo of two African-American drummers with a person wearing a gorilla mask sitting between them.

“Which drummer is not like the others?” the tweet asked from its official @HomeDepot account. It was part of a promotion for College GameDay on ESPN, which it sponsors, the Huffington Post reported.

The home improvement retailer says it has terminated the person and outside agency responsible for the tweet, but did not release their names.

"We have zero tolerance for anything so stupid and offensive," said Stephen Holmes, spokesman for the Atlanta-based company.

"We're also closely reviewing our social media procedures to determine how this could have happened, and how to ensure it never happens again," Holmes said in a statement to The Huffington Post.

The Associated Press reports that Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates, said the tweet if "the worst possible message Home Depot can send out ... even if it gets attributed to stupidity.

"In a Twitter world where everyone can see everything instantly I think you'll see more rather than less of this because people tweet before they think."

According to AP, Home Depot is not the first company to land in hot water for offensive tweets. AT&T apologized back in September for a tweet that commemorated the attacks of Sept. 11 because of complaints that they were using the event for self-promotion. There was also unfavorable reaction towards KitchenAid last year when one of its employees accidentally tweeted about the death of President Barack Obama’s grandmother on the official KitchenAid Twitter account.

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11Alicia Ann Lynch, 22, Threatened With Death And Rape After Dressing As Boston Bombing Victim In Halloween Twitter Post

In a Halloween season where some costumes pushed the extreme boundaries of good taste, to say the least — including some donned by celebrities — one 22-year-old Michigan woman may have taken the prize for sheer thoughtless stupidity.

But when Alicia Ann Lynch of Bay City, MI, tweeted out a photo of herself in costume as a Boston Marathon bombing victim (see full photo below) she was unprepared for the vitriol that would be spewed in her direction from every corner of the internet almost immediately.

Lynch has not only received death threats and threats of rape, her parents and best friend have also been subject to a barrage of abuse after online vigilantes dug up information about them.

She was also fired from her job, which perhaps was to be expected.

While there’s no question that Lynch’s costume was horrendously offensive, insensitive and just plain stupid — and posting a picture of herself in costume on Twitter perhaps even stupider — the over-the-top reaction to her idiocy raises questions about how much is too much when it comes to social media retaliation against people who post tasteless material.

Do the people threatening and harassing Lynch on line actually care about her insensitivity to victims of the Marathon attack? Or is there some other, more unsavory motivation at work?

“Threatening to murder and rape a young woman for f*****g up is not bringing her any closer to realizing the fault of her ways,” wrote commentator Laura Beck on the web site Jezebel. “Proposing punishment by rape and murder couldn't be more antithetical to the light and love flooding Boston after the marathon. Those venomous cries for vigilante ‘justice’ come from a dark, ugly place.”

“Is that chick with the marathon bombing halloween costume dead yet? have we killed her yet? If we havent, then what are we waiting for?” went one fairly typical tweet, posted by Josh Duhamel and reproduced on the site Buzzfeed, which first publicized Lynch’s photo.

Other internet users in various social media tracked down Lynch’s personal information, which wasn’t hard to find since she had earlier posted a photo of her own driver’s license on line.

Clearly, she is not given to considering the consequences of her social media postings. She had also posted a lengthy series of nude and semi-nude photos of herself — which in the interest of propriety we won’t link to here — on the social blogging site Tumblr.

The sexy selfies were quickly located by various users and circulated on line, before Lynch apparently canceled all of her social media accounts.

She then appeared to return to Twitter to apologize for the costume, but her supposed user name, @SomeSkankInMI, should have been a tipoff that the account was phony, as Lynch now says that it was.

However, she did issue an apology of sorts in an e-mail to Buzzfeed, though the apology took the all-too-familiar “sorry if anyone was offended” form often favored by celebrities and politicians.

“My costume was not meant to disrespect anyone, ever. I am truly sorry to anyone that I may have offended or hurt with this,” she wrote. “I wore a costume to work, with people that know me, and wouldn’t get offended by it. I had even ran the idea by a friend whom had his father in the marathon and he didn’t have an issue with it.”

She later told Buzzfeed by phone that her closest friend had received threats to “blow up her house and hang her child.”

While she claims not to be bothered by most of the threats directed against her personally, the rape threats, she said, hit home. According to Buzzfeed, they recalled for her “an experience she tearily described undergoing last Thanksgiving.”

Nonetheless, she still appeared not to fully grasp why her costume was deeply offensive to many people.

“Honestly, it’s the Day of the Dead,” she said. “I wasn’t a dead person, I wasn’t being disrespectful. I was a survivor of a marathon. And it’s not like I was walking around with a fake leg or my arm torn off or something like that.”

Marathon Halloween Costume

SOURCES: Buzzfeed, Jezebel, Toronto Sun, New York Daily News

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11Former NSA Director Michael Hayden’s Supposedly Private Phone Conversation On Train Gets Live Tweeted

The former director of the NSA was having what he probably thought was a private conversation during an Acela train ride, but he’s since found out that his talk was being live tweeted by a fellow passenger who was sitting nearby.

The Huffington Post reports that progressive activist Tom Matzzie found himself on a train sitting near former NSA Director Michael Hayden on Thursday, and quickly sent out tweets describing Hayden’s conversation. Matzzie wrote on Twitter that Hayden was "blabbing 'on background as a former senior admin official.'"

Hayden reportedly told the Huffington Post via email that Matzzie's version of the phone conversation was "not especially accurate."

When Matzzie, a former Washington director of the political group MoveOn.org, realized who it was on the phone talking near him, he began tweeting, according to The Washington Post.

“Former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden on Acela behind me blabbing ‘on background as a former senior admin official,’” Matzzie wrote. “Sounds defensive.”

Matzzie then continued to provide updates.

“Michael Hayden on Acela giving reporters disparaging quotes about admin,” Matzzie wrote. “‘Remember, just refer as former senior admin.’”

Hayden denied chastising the Obama administration when he spoke with The Washington Post.

“I didn’t criticize the president. I actually said these are very difficult issues. I said I had political guidance, too, that limited the things that I did when I was director of NSA. Now that political guidance [for current officials] is going to be more robust. It wasn’t a criticism.”

Sources: Huffington Post, The Washington Post

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11H.S. Athlete Tyson Leon Suspended From Sports After Tweet About Drilling His Teammates Deemed A ‘Threat’

A 16-year-old Minnesota high school student was banned from playing school sports after his tweet that said he would “drill” his opponents was interpreted as a threat, according to the Daily Mail.

Tyson Leon, a football player and wrestler at Shakopee High School, tweeted in August, “Im boutta drill my ‘teammates’ on Monday.”

School district officials didn’t appreciate Leon’s competitive spirit, deemed the tweet as a direct threat to his teammates and suspended him from playing sports.

A letter sent to Leon said that “threatening to harm members of the football team” was only one of the reasons for his punishment. Other reasons cited were swearing at the football coach, damaging a door, having previous suspensions for poor conduct in sports.

But his attorney, Meg Kane, claims school officials violated Leon’s rights to freedom of speech, privacy and his right to be free from unlawful seizure. The complaint also claims the school district singled Leon out because he is Native American, according to San Francisco Gate.

The tweet, says Leon, was not a threat but a reference to him tackling his opponents hard during practice.

Leon took the case before a federal judge who ruled in his favor. He has since been reinstated in the football team.

In a statement Wednesday, Shakopee Public Schools Superintendent Rod Thompson said the case wasn’t about social media or Twitter and that all student athletes and their parents or guardians must sign a form agreeing to abide by certain expectations.

Sources: Daily Mail, San Francisco Gate

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11Fired National Security Official Jofi Joseph May Have Run Second Anonymous Twitter Account About Sex, Prostitution

The White House national security official fired for running an anonymous Twitter account that leveled acid-tongued put-downs at his administration colleagues and higher-ups may have operated a second, racier Twitter feed that delved enthusiastically into the seamy world of Washington D.C. sex and prostitution.

The web site Politico reports that Jofi Joseph, 40, who until last week was better known in D.C. circles as @NetSecWonk, the acerbic tweeter who prided himself on his snarky and often nasty online remarks about Obama administration officials, as well as some Republicans, is suspected by investigators of also going by the Twitter handle @dchobbyist.

That account, Politico said, “included racier tweets about sexual encounters, escort services – and the inner workings of the State Department.”

While barely noticed outside of the Beltway, @NatSecWonk became a virtual obsession for Washington insiders. The account went online in February of 2011 and almost since then, administration officials were trying to find out who was behind it.

Last week, they did. And Jospeh was out of a job.

Joseph had worked for the State Department and more recently as a director in the division of the the House national security staff that deals with preventing nuclear proliferation. He has been involved with the administration’s efforts to negotiate with Iran over that country’s nuclear program.

Joseph was a well-known figure to foreign policy buffs in Washington. And his wife, Carolyn Leddy, is Republican staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The @dchobbyist account is still on line but has been locked by its anonymous owner “due to a bunch of strange tweets aimed at me.” Joseph has not confirmed whether he is the man behind that account as well.

While Joseph took potshots at just about anyone on the political landscape from behind his @NatSecWonk veil, many of his nastiest remarks were reserved for women, New York Magazine pointed out.

"I feel sorry for the husband of @jrubinblogger He has to have sex with her every five years,” he tweeted, referring to conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin.

"Admit it, when you heard Helen Thomas went out on a date with JFK back in the day, you asked yourself, "Wait, she was attractive once?" went another tweet directed at highly respected longtime, now retired White House correspondent Thomas.

Women’s weight seemed to be a @NatSecWonk fixation. "Who are the two blondes flanking [Chelsea Clinton]? And is it just me, or has she put on some weight?"

"[Liz Cheney is ] what happens when rank nepotism meets sheer stupidity. Also, she takes after her father -- she's like 30 pounds overweight."

"Has rich kid Tagg Romney ever even been in a fight? What a piece of shit. He needs to tell his mom to lose about 15 pounds"

In an e-mail to Politico, Joseph apologized for his two-plus years of anonymous vitriol.

“What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments.  I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted,” he wrote.

See more of @NatSecWonk’s tweets, preserved for posterity here.

SOURCES: Daily Beast, Politico, New York Magazine

@NatSecWonk Tweets

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11White House Aide Jofi Joseph Fired For Twitter Account Criticizing Administration

A national security staffer was fired from the White House last week for operating a snarky Twitter account in which he criticized top White House and State Department officials.

Jofi Joseph, the former the director of nuclear non-proliferation for the National Security Council, was the voice behind @NatSecWonk, which tweeted hundreds of anti-administration messages for two years.

“‘Has shitty staff.’ #ObamaInThreeWords,” said one tweet.

Joseph, 40, claimed the account began as a parody, but it grew and grew in popularity for its scathing commentary. He apologized to anyone who he may have offended, but he did not indicate if the tweets are actually his true feelings.

“What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments,” Joseph told Politico.

He admitted he is singularly responsible for the tweets from the account and has since deactivated @NatSecWonk. The tweets, however, are still available on FavStar.

During the Syria chemical weapons crisis, he suggested President Barack Obama was wasting his time.

“Menendez-Corker resolution, as written, would prevent U.S. action if Syria used chemical weapons against Israel or any other nation,” he wrote.

Joseph was highly critical of the administration’s foreign policy, suggesting that both Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are relatively ignorant.

“That Obama only called Kerry/Hagel AFTER he made decision with his WH aides on going to Hill underscores how all foreign policy is WH-based,” he wrote.

He criticized senior staff: “Growing problem for the Administration — too many 1st term holdovers not getting the hint that it’s time to move on and get the f*ck out.”

He doled out a great deal of vitriol, especially for liberal couples in Washington.

“Loved, LOVED the @NYTimesDowd column eviscerating the Clintons today. @ChelseaClinton seems to be assuming all of her parents’ vices ...” he wrote.

In another tweet he wondered if Huma Abedin was wearing beer goggles when she met husband Anthony Weiner.

Josh Rogin of the Daily Beast outed Joseph for being the real tweeter. In early October, Joseph was criticizing Rogin, too.

“Just a hunch, but I have the sense lots of people would like to punch @joshrogin in the face,” Joseph tweeted.

Sources: Raw Story, Newser

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11Former Vice President Al Gore Tried To Buy Twitter

Al Gore is fond of Twitter. So much so, that he apparently tried to buy the social networking site back in 2009.

The Blaze reports that a new book entitled “Hatching Twitter” and authored by The New York Times’ Nick Bilton, alleges that the former vice president of the U.S. got drunk in a San Francisco hotel with Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone and offered to purchase the company.

Obviously, Gore wasn’t successful in his attempted acquisition, but he did admit that he tried to purchase Twitter during an interview with Bloomberg TV.

"I'm very bullish on Twitter, it's become a global utility, it's a great business" Gore told Bloomberg TV, according to Business Insider.

Bilton also reported that Facebook tried to buy the company, and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally met with Twitter executives, according to CNN.

The company didn’t get sold and, as Business Insider reports, Twitter filed for an IPO this year that could be worth $20 billion.

CNN notes that even though the company is quickly growing its user base and ad sales, it is not yet profitable.

Gore, who sold Current TV to Qatar's Al Jazeera for $500 million, still has strong presence in tech. He serves as a director on the Apple board.

Sources: The Blaze, CNN, Business Insider

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11Students at Ohio University Witness Apparent Public Rape, Then Post Pictures and Video Online

Students at an Ohio University homecoming celebration this past weekend caught an apparent rape on camera. Instead of reporting the incident, however, they posted pictures and video all over social media.

The people watching it take place apparently did not know that it was a sexual assault, but based on their Tweets and other postings, assumed it was a consensual act taking place in public.

The graphic pictures and video show a man performing sex acts on a woman in front of a Chase Bank near campus following the evening’s festivities. According to authorities, the woman went to police the following day to report the rape.

It’s apparent in the photos and videos, which have since been taken down off social media sites but are still published online by Buzzfeed, that onlookers were just feet away from the activity.

Some of the people present began to Tweet about what was going on, with one Twitter user @FilthyRich writing, “Still can't believe a dude was eating box on court street Saturday night in front of like 10 people.”

The Twitter user that took one of the pictures of the assault, @vy_vance, was reportedly trying to send it to the founder of a “revenge porn” website, which indicates that he was trying to get it published. That user has since deactivated his account.

The reaction from fellow Ohio University students is generally shock and disgust. Allie Erwin, a student at OU who runs an anti-rape group on campus, says that the actions of the onlookers are despicable.

“Some of us are really angered and disappointed that no one intervened and they just filmed it,” said Erwin. “Their first impulse was to share it on social media and make a mockery of something that was probably the worst thing that’s ever happened to her. There are other people who saw it as her asking for it and think it’s a joke. Basically they’re slut-shaming her for what happened,' she said according to Metro. The response on social media is kind of heartbreaking, how harsh and cruel people are being.”

Authorities are currently investigating the situation.

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11NY Comic Con Hijacks Attendees’ Twitter, Posts About How ‘Awesome’ It Is

New York Comic Con gave attendees the option to link their Twitter with their badge this year, then proceeded to tweet from their accounts without permission or knowledge.

Under the hashtag NYCC, Comic Con tweeted things like “So much pop culture to digest! Can’t. handle. the. awesome”; “So much to see, so much to do!”; and “Best Four Days of my Year!”

Attendees who pre-registered their NYCC badge online were allowed to connect their social media accounts, but it was not explicitly stated that NYCC would be posting on their behalf, according to Mashable.

Once attendees noticed the tweets, many were outraged.

“Hey, @NY_Comic_Con. I did not Tweet this. What the hell? Your wifi? Your app?” tweeted Greg Miller.

“RT So much pop culture to digest! Can’t. handle. the. awesome. #NYCC … This wasn't me. It was NYCC tweeting for me :/” wrote Brian Crecente.

The tweets were apparently the brainchild of NYCC organizer ReedPop. The badges are equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips to avoid counterfeiting. Through these chips the NYCC was able to sense when attendees arrived and transfer information onto their Twitter, turning their accounts into fake testimonials.

“Opting in” to the posts apparently meant connecting social media at all. NYCC said the experience would be “100x cooler,” but Wired says what they really meant was “we’ll use your social media presence to post spam in your feed as soon as the RFID badge senses that you’ve entered the Javits Center to attend the show.”

An NYCC spokesperson later informed Mashable that the “service” was shut down.

“As you may have seen yesterday, there were some posts to Twitter and Facebook issued by New York Comic Con on behalf of attendees after RFID badges were registered,” the NYCC statement said. “This was an opt-in function after signing in, but we were probably too enthusiastic in our messaging and eagerness to spread the good word about NYCC. We have since shut down this service completely and apologize for any perceived overstep. Please accept our apologies and have an absolutely excellent time this weekend. -Your friends at NYCC”

The Twitterverese began referring to the incident as NYCC’s “RFID hack.”

NYCC attendees are still half-heartedly questioning whether tweets they see from other users are actually authentic.

Sources: Wired, Mashable

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11White House Aide Dan Pfeiffer Apologizes For Accidental Racist Tweet

A senior communications adviser to President Barack Obama had a little communications problem of his own this morning, in a Twitter conversation with New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin.

A glance at any standard keyboard, including the keyboard on most smartphones, reveals that the letter “N” is directly to the right of the letter “B.” Pfeiffer was apparently attempting to type the word “bigger” when his finger did what everyone’s does from time to time when texting or tweeting from a phone. It hit the next key over.

And in the super-fast paced Twitterverse, there is little time to proofread. So Pfeiffer’s errant tweeting finger turned an otherwise innocuous post into a shockingly racist one.

Pfeiffer (pictured) immediately deleted the offending tweet and apologized. “Obviously a horrendous typo in my previous tweet. My apologies,” he wrote at 9:54 am this morning.

Martin had tweeted that he was glad to see an NBC News story acknowledging that the media plays a key role in creating political polarization. Pfeiffer replied that it was “a very smart point and massive factor in political polarization.”

Then he followed up with another tweet, intending to make the point that the right wing is affected by the media in a much “bigger” way. And that’s where the typo came in.

“Also a much nigger factor on the right,” read the tweet.

One can only imagine how mortified Pfeiffer, a top adviser to America’s first African-American president must have felt at that moment. Fortunately, Twitter has a delete option. Unfortunately for Pfeiffer, the internet doesn’t.

SOURCES: Politico, Hypervocal, Wikipedia

Pfeiffer Tweets

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