twitter infographic imageTwitter and other social media outlets have made it easier than ever to track the real-time response to current events and controversies. We did just that, and the results are about as unsurprising as they are unfortunate. Looking at important international events side-by-side with celebrity controversies, we found out a bit about where people’s priorities lie.

 
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Within the last few hours, thousands of Twitter accounts have been involuntarily posting links and advertisements for acai berries. And while acai berries are an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins, and are available for purchase with a simple click of the mouse (we’ve been hacked!); the source of these ads is much more nefarious, and stems back to the Gawker security breach we mentioned yesterday.

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Clicking on links from unreliable sources is like taking candy from strangers – you just don’t do it! Sure, some of these links might lead to safe and family friendly websites, but most seasoned Twitter users know that a lot of links can be very dangerous. But with Twitter’s latest security flaw, even the most security conscious users can be tricked into downloading malware.

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twiiter-superheroFor everyone who said Twitter was useless – we’ve got news for you. Rather than the chatter you sometimes see on the social networking site, this time Twitter was used for some serious good. Twitter was used to tell the world that a missing man wasn’t dead, but was being secretly held hostage in a jail in Afghanistan. 

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tweet-botA coder / hacker that specializes in building Twitter-controlled bots figured he could make a few extra bucks by selling his hacking skills to wannabe hackers. He created a tool that builds botnets, which is basically an automated program that lets a hacker control someone else’s computer and  execute commands using Twitter. The most alarming part is how easy it makes it for anyone to create and launch a botnet, and even control a person’s computer without them ever knowing it’s happening.

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conan-followingSome Twitter users may be confused as to why they are following people they never chose to follow. This annoyance is thanks to a new Twitter bug just discovered that allows a Twitter user to control who follows them, without the consent of those users. In addition, some users’ following and followers listings have been deleted and stand at zero. Twitter said in a statement that “follow/unfollow is temporarily offline while we fix a bug.” Also, Twitter wrote on its blog that “we identified and resolved a bug that permitted a user to “force” other users to follow them. We’re now working to rollback all abuse of the bug that took place. Follower/following numbers are currently at 0; we’re aware and this too should shortly be resolved.”

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screenshot_01If you’re a wanted criminal, choose your Farmville neighbors wisely. Instead of peeking over a picket fence at the strawberry patch belonging to the mysterious red-head who just friended you on Facebook, you could be looking through steel bars straight at the FBI agent that caught you.

According to an FBI document redacted by Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group, the FBI is using social networking sites to gather information on those suspected of illicit activity, known witnesses to crimes, and people who are targets of crime.

But the FBI is able to access a bit more information on a person than the average Tweeter. Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the FBI agents can prompt a social networking site like Facebook, Myspace, or LinkedIn to send a request in order to view confidential information such as private inbox messages.

The FBI document states that such information can be helpful in proving or disproving alibis, locating a suspect, discovering connections and relationships between people, and detecting the existence of a crime or a crime in the making.

Should your welfare ever depend on a criminal being caught using MySpace or Twitter, you’re probably out of luck. According to the document, MySpace requires a search warrant to view private inbox messages less than 181 days old.  Though Twitter also requires a subpoena or search warrant, it gives no contact information for law enforcement officials to use in order to demand information and retains only the IP address of the latest login. Facebook, on the other hand, usually cooperates with law enforcement officials.

So if you’re running from the law, maybe collecting cyber friends isn’t such a good idea–you might end up with a federal agent on your tail.

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mm_twitterThis past weekend Twitter users were subjected to a Chinese phishing scheme that stole many users Twitter login credentials. Apparently, the hackers used GroupTweet, so humorous links began appearing in individual tweets as well as many public feeds. The widespread reach of this virus has caused concerns for Twitter users.

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pleaserobme2comPeople have become more and more obsessed with status updates; whether it’s on Twitter or Facebook, people are all about letting others in on what they’re doing and where they’re going and what exactly they’re doing. Programs like Foursquare, let users check into different locations and find friends that may be in your same location. The more you visit certain spots, you move up in the ranking and unlock badges and points, eventually getting to “mayor” status the more you visit. The more these types of apps take off, the more security concerns they raise.

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