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Onlookers must respect boundaries. EPA

Sydney siege shows social media is a risky business

As the hostage crisis in Sydney came to a dramatic, deadly end, people were flooded with information. The siege at the building in the city’s Central Business District is over and the gunman is dead. The…
The printed word or waving flags, such as this ISIS banner, can only reach so many people. EPA

How terrorists use Twitter to become ‘brand ambassadors’

On an overcast afternoon in London in May 2013, an off-duty soldier named Lee Rigby was murdered near his barracks in Woolwich, southeast London. Rigby’s killers were two young British men of Nigerian…
Tons of social media there for the taking… but is it truly representative of real life? Jürgen Pfeffer

Studying society via social media is not so simple

Behavioral scientists have seized on social media and their massive data sets as a way to quickly and cheaply figure out what people are thinking and doing. But some of those tweets and thumbs ups can…
The internet has become a safe haven for racial and religious abuse. Shutterstock

You’ve got hate mail: how Islamophobia takes root online

In late 2013 I was invited to present evidence, as part of my submission regarding online anti-Muslim hate, at the House of Commons. I attempted to show how hate groups on the internet were using this…
Teachers are taking to Twitter. Tweet via svariophoto/Shutterstock

Teachers tweet truth to power, but will the politicians listen?

During the magical month of December 2013 teachers across the UK were given an early Christmas gift from the least expected donor. Twitter buzzed with the news. I first saw it thanks to @teachertoolkit…
As the leaders were meeting at G20 the tweeters were tweeting their own thoughts on the global summit. Flickr/Palazzo Chigi

From selfies to climate change: the #G20 debate on Twitter

The G20 Summit that brought many of the world’s most important leaders to Brisbane last weekend was also a major Twitter event. Australian and international users expressed their concerns over the appearance…
Rape and death threats on Twitter? Not on. Lara604/Flickr

Abuse of women on Twitter: no quick fix, but that’s no excuse

The Women, Action and the Media (WAM) activist group announced on Friday a collaboration with Twitter to address online harassment of women, which it claims has “reached crisis levels”. The group, concerned…
Think twice before you over-react. Jim Bourg/Reuters

#Ebola in the USA: don’t trust what you read on Twitter

Whatever you do, don’t turn to Twitter for news about Ebola. The volume and tone of tweets and retweets about the disease will make you wish you were watching the zombie apocalypse of The Walking Dead…
Trial by media? John Stillwell/PA Wire

Should McCann Twitter abuser have been doorstepped on TV?

Brenda Leyland, a 63-year old woman from Leicestershire who had been accused of publishing a stream of internet abuse about the family of missing child Madeleine McCann, has been found dead in a hotel…
Women ask why there aren’t more women in lists of top scientists. Katrina Cole

Women scientists get vocal about top billing on Twitter

A steady infiltration of scientists onto Twitter has accompanied the growing recognition that a social media presence is just as important as taking the podium at a conference. Social media is leading…
Mario Goetze’s 112th-minute goal won Germany the World Cup final, but that match wasn’t the most tweeted of the tournament. EPA/Marcus Brandt

The World Cup that was: a look back through social media

On Sunday, Germany held the World Cup aloft after scoring a goal in extra time. Somewhat surprisingly, the final wasn’t the most tweeted event of the 2014 tournament: that title went to Germany’s demolition…

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