Updates from June, 2016 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 10:37 am on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mental health, suicide prevention   

    Are Facebook’s new suicide prevention tools susceptible to abuse? 

    Are Facebook's new suicide prevention tools susceptible to abuse?

    Recently, Facebook announced that they will be adding new suicide prevention tools to the ever burgeoning social network. Some of these tools will include being able to flag a friend’s post if you think they may be in danger of harming themselves. According to Tech Crunch this could result in a number of options…

    Facebook gives them several options. For example, a list of resources, including numbers for suicide prevention organizations, can be shared anonymously, or a message of support can be sent (Facebook suggests wording).

    The post may also be reviewed by Facebook’s global community operations team, which may then “reach out to this person with information that might be helpful to them,”

    However, with this being the internet every tool that’s designed to help can also be used to hurt, or as the saying goes ‘this is why we can’t have nice things.’ While Facebook should be applauded for adding this feature there is also a potential for abuse, especially when it comes to younger users who may be cyberbullied.

    It’s almost inevitable that group of trolls or bullies will hammer someone’s Facebook posts with this ‘suicide flag’, for lack of a better term, as either a threatening message (e.g., the ‘kill yourself’ type of harassment) or just as a way to interfere with their Facebook experience.

    Mental health is still a tricky topic even in today’s society and is still somewhat stigmatized. In that case Facebook should be commended for helping to try to bring the topic to the forefront however, they need to be careful that this feature isn’t used to even further stigmatize though who may be in need of mental healthcare by allowing this new tool of theirs to be abused.

    Engadget is reporting that Facebook does have a team in place to monitor for potential abuse. Hopefully they’ll be able to curtail abuse so resources for those who need it can be effectively put to use.

  • Geebo 11:30 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Is Peter Thiel suing Gawker over Donald Trump’s hair? 

    Is Peter Thiel suing Gawker over Donald Trump's hair?

    From the ridiculous to the sublime.

    Just when you thought the feud between venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Gawker Media couldn’t get anymore strange comes the news that Thiel’s team of legal attack dogs of Harder Mirell & Abrams are threatening more legal action against Gawker over Donald Trump’s hair.

    One of Gawker’s reporters, Ashley Feinberg, has claimed that she has solved the mystery of Donald Trump’s infamous coiffure. In a Gawker blog post she claims that The Donald’s hair is actually an expensive hairpiece produced by a company named Ivari International. Ivari, while being represented by Charles J. Harder, of the above named legal firm, sent a letter to Gawker…

    Thiel’s lawyer-for-hire, Charles J. Harder, sent Gawker a letter on behalf of Ivari International’s owner and namesake, Edward Ivari, in which Harder claims that Feinberg’s story was “false and defamatory,” invaded Ivari’s privacy, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and committed “tortious interference” with Ivari’s business relations.

    As it currently stands, Thiel backed lawsuits are already draining Gawker of all available capital. How much more money does he think that his paid proxies can bleed from an already drained stone and is Donald Trump’s hair really the hill that he wants to die on?

    In this blogger’s opinion this recent threat of legal action shows not only how petty Thiel has become and not only how much he’s abusing the legal system but also shows how much he’s willing to strong-arm a media outlet into non-existence. What happens when a media giant like the Washington Post or the New York Times reports something about Thiel that he doesn’t like? Will he back lawsuits against them too and if so where does it end? What’s stopping other billionaires from funding lawsuits by proxy against the media? Will they all try to sue the media out of existence? Granted, that’s an extreme scenario that is unlikely to come to pass but how many journalistic voices could fall in the meantime?

  • Geebo 9:59 am on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Gawker Bankruptcy: A defeat for a free press 

    Gawker Bankruptcy: A defeat for a free press

    This past weekend it was announced that Gawker has filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the $140 million settlement awarded to Hulk Hogan in a lawsuit funded by venture capitalist Peter Thiel. However, while Gawker may have lost the battle the war rages on.

    While Gawker has declared bankruptcy to protect itself against creditors it’s not yet officially out of business. Not only is media publishing company Ziff Davis looking to buy Gawker but Gawker is exploring legal options against Peter Thiel to see if his funding of lawsuits against them violated any laws.

    As has been mentioned before on this blog, Peter Thiel’s and Hulk Hogan’s win over Gawker sets a dangerous precedent of billionaires being able to squelch the press if they don’t agree with or even like the content. It’s reminiscent of old gangster movies where a heavy would threaten a store owner. It’s almost like Peter Thiel told Gawker media “You have a nice network here, it would be a shame if something happened to it.”

  • Geebo 9:45 am on June 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Pulse Orlando   

    Remembering the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting 

    Remembering the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting

    We here at Geebo would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the friends and families of the innocent lives lost at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and our best wishes and hopes to those recovering from injuries.

    If anything positive is to come from this tragedy please let it be for us to come together as a country in order to fight all the intolerance and hate that has permeated our society.

  • Geebo 9:52 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: boxing, Muhamad Ali, ,   

    Off Topic Friday: Are scalpers disgracing the memory of Ali? 

    Off Topic Friday: Are scalpers disgracing the memory of Ali?

    As most of us know Muhammad Ali passed away this past weekend. A public memorial is scheduled today at the Yum Center in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The admission to the event is free and thousands lined up yesterday in order to get tickets. It didn’t take long for scalpers to start trying to sell the tickets online for exorbitant prices leading a number of people to claim that this goes against the memory of Ali.

    While Ali was probably the greatest boxer who ever lived he was so much more than that. Not only was Ali active in the Civil Rights Movement but was so adamantly opposed to the Vietnam War that he was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title and was suspended from boxing for four years after refusing to be conscripted into military service. Whether or not you agree with his stance you have to admire his conviction considering it kept him away from his passion for four years. After his boxing career was over Ali was still active within social causes around the world and at one point was even awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We also can’t forget the work Ali did for raising the awareness of Parkinson’s disease which had plagued the boxer since 1984. The thought of people extorting other people just to attend his public memorial would probably be anathema to him.

    Since the ticket price was zero, selling the tickets for any amount is considered illegal. Ali was a hero to many and those who looked up to him should not be charged and arm and a leg for a chance to say goodbye to The Greatest.

  • Geebo 9:59 am on June 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Gersh Zavodnik, ,   

    Overly abusive litigant sues man for $30K over $40 printer 

    Overly litigious litigant sues man for $30K over $40 printer

    In case you needed another reason to only do online transactions locally, comes this story out of Massachusetts, and Indiana.

    in 2009 a Massachusetts man sold a used printer to a man from Indiana for $40. This was done through an online classifieds site that has a reputation for attracting people who may be, to put it politely, not all there. The man from Indiana is said to allegedly be one of those people. He is 54-year-old Gersh Zavodnik of Indianapolis who makes his living off of what some may describe as frivolous lawsuits. The Indiana Supreme Court is so familiar with him that he is sometimes called a “prolific, abusive litigant.”

    Mr. Zavodnik is suing the Massachusetts man for $30,000 claiming breach of contract because the printer allegedly did not work. This case has bounced around in courts for so long that the seller of the printer has racked up $12,000 in legal fees from fending off Mr. Zavodnik’s legal attacks. The case could be dismissed later this year, then again with some of the stranger lawsuits that have happened in the past, it might not be.

    If you’re selling something relatively inexpensive and innocuous and someone from halfway across the country offers to buy it, when it’s obviously something that they could buy in their own region, you may want to question their reasons before ending up in a mess like this.

  • Geebo 10:08 am on June 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , jacksonville, , ,   

    Dad sells son’s truck online for smoking weed 

    Dad sells sons truck online for smoking weed

    Possibly inspired by the Minnesota mom who sold her daughter’s truck for skipping class, a Florida father recently sold his son’s truck online. A Jacksonville, Florida, man recently sold his son’s Ford Explorer online because of the 16-year-old’s penchant for smoking weed and ‘acting all thug’ in the father’s words. To add a little insult to injury the father offered to take $250 off the price if the buyer lived in the same neighborhood so his son could ‘see it every now and then and be reminded of how good he had it’.

    The father continues…

    “Now he can put those Jordans to use walk his a** off on these hot summer days!” his father wrote in the post.

    The sale of the truck seems to be working as the father has said that his son has approached him about turning over a new leaf.

    How do you feel about the viral ad? Is online embarrassment of an unruly teen really the way to go for parents? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

  • Geebo 10:41 am on June 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Just hang up 

    Just hang up

    Even with the advent of the internet, phone scams are still as prevalent as ever. Whether it’s someone posing as the IRS, your bank or credit card company, or winning sweepstakes company they’re all looking for the same thing. They’re all looking for just the smallest bit of personal information to use to try to steal your money. Now you may think that you’re clever enough on how to deal with these scammers but you may be inadvertently providing them with the exact information that they’re looking for.

    This article from Forbes by tax attorney Kelly Phillips Erb advises not to engage in any way with these scammers. She says that your best bet is to just hangup on them. She goes on to say that of you engage them in any way you may be providing them with just enough information for them to try to either steal your identity or your money. She goes into detail about a number of the possible outcomes that could happen when engaging a scammer.

    Much like our post about being careful of your reflection it only takes just a tiny crumb of information for scammers to be able to overturn your life.

  • Geebo 10:06 am on June 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Guest Post: 36 Hours For Removal: Why does Backpage get a pass when Facebook doesn’t? 

    Guest Post: 36 Hours For Removal: Why does Backpage get a pass when Facebook doesn’t?

    (Guest post from crime blogger Trench Reynolds)

    43-year-old Jennifer Streit-Spears was recently stabbed to death. Her boyfriend and alleged killer, 45-year-old Kenneth Alan Amyx, posted a picture of her dead body on her own Facebook account. Members of Streit-Spears’ family tried to get Facebook to remove the photo off of her profile but the photo remained on her profile for 36 hours. Facebook offered the following explanation….

    “Facebook has long been a place where people share their experiences and raise awareness about important issues,” a rep told the newspaper. “Sometimes, those experiences and issues involve violence and graphic images of public interest or concern.”

    While Jennifer Streit-Spears’ murder is indeed tragic and the length of time it took to remove her photo unfortunate, Facebook was at least able to provide a somewhat reasonable explanation as to why it took them so long to remove the photo.

    Recently ABC News’ Nightline did an expose on Backpage and their CEO Carl Ferrer. In case you haven’t heard, Ferrer was called to appear before the US Congress to explains his website’s role in online prostitution and human trafficking but Ferrer refused to appear. Not only has Congress held Ferrer in contempt but they’re currently suing Backpage in order to compel them to turn over records that may show Backpage’s complicity in the sex trade.

    During their investigation of Ferrer, Nightline placed an ad on Backpage, with police assistance, that was blatantly advertising a prostitute who was underage. Here’s how it was reported by Nightline…

    Det. Lincoln posted an ad for an 18-year-old escort, adding in a line that said she had “a younger friend” who was available as well. Minutes after he posted the ad, calls and texts started streaming in. The ad was up and running.

    The ad remained up for about 36 hours, leading to dozens of phone calls, texts and even an arrest captured on “Nightline’s” cameras. The ad was only taken down after “Nightline” sent an anonymous email to Backpage’s dedicated email address for suspected child trafficking. It took eight hours to receive a response, which said to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC. The ad was taken down shortly after Backpage’s email response was sent.

    Backpage later told “Nightline” in a statement that even though they thought that the ad did not clearly advertise that a girl under 18 was involved, their moderators did take it down and they say they banned the account. They also reported the ad to NCMEC.

    So according to Backpage an 18-year-old prostitute who says that she has a younger friend isn’t advertising a girl who was under 18. Either they have no concept of the term ‘younger’ or they have abysmal math skills.

    Facebook provides a reasonable explanation as to why a murder victim’s picture stayed up for 36 hours and the media is all over it. Backpage gives what can be best described as a half-hearted excuse as to why an ad for child prostitution stays up on their website for 36 hours and barely anyone bats an eyelash.

    Granted that the child prostitute in this case was fictitious, but how many girls have been peddled on Backpage without them even taking a second look at the ad once they have their money?

    These two stories are equally egregious yet only one of them got the media attention that they both deserved. How many women and children have to be sold into sexual slavery in not just our country but most of our cities and towns before we finally decide to speak out about it? There’s been too many victims of Backpage already.

    Thanks Trench. Please also watch the following report from Nightline about Backpage’s involvement in the sex trade and the victims it has left behind.

  • Geebo 9:45 am on June 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , salt lake city   

    Off Topic Friday: Like us on Facebook or be evicted 

    Off Topic Friday: Like us on Facebook or be evicted

    An apartment complex in Salt Lake City recently found themselves in hot water after giving notices to their tenants that they were required to like their Facebook page or possibly face eviction. As should have been expected, the tenants did not care for this and fired back at the apartment complex. Not only did they rate the apartment complex badly on their Facebook page but they also took to the media which in turn made this into a national story. The apartment complex has since revoked this requirement and has said they were doing this to make sure that pictures from a community pool party would be allowed to be posted on their Facebook page.

    Have Facebook likes become the new metric when it comes to business? Have they become more important than actual customers? Instead of focusing on Facebook likes maybe companies should focus on better products or services then the likes will follow. Trying to generate false or forced likes tends to make you look like a corporation of phonies.

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