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Recent Society articles from Daily Dot

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    Twitter's new video-sharing app Vine had its first real test this weekend, as the Super Bowl hit just 10 days after the service was unleashed. Fans shared videos from within the stadium and elsewhere as the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.

    The capacity of Twitter to cover live events is pretty well known at this point. The community's up-to-the-second updates provide an inside look at what's happening in any major incident.

    The same holds true for Instagram, where photographers snap and quickly share images from incidents ranging from natural disasters to riots and beyond.

    So Super Bowl Sunday was Vine's time to shine. An unofficial site called Vinebowl showed vines from the teams' fans in an effort "to see which Super Bowl team has the louder fans." Similar to Vinepeek, it showed a feed of all vines posted under the #bal and #sfo hashtags. As in the actual game, Baltimore emerged triumphant, with 404 vines to San Francisco's 375.

    Vine didn't appear to suffer an outage like the one it stuttered through last week.

    Vine's output was still a ways away from the number of tweets sent during the evening, but these are promising figures for a new service.

    Here's a look at some of our favorite Vines from the evening, posted both inside and far away from the New Orleans Superdome.

    Warming up for the game in typically upbeat New Orleans style.

    Alyssa Milano, one of Vine's early celebrity proponents, was atthe gameand snagged plenty of Vines.

    There werefans, and theywere loud.

    This seems like a solid way to watch the game and Beyoncé's halftime show.

    Others just sang and danced along with Bey.

    Jacoby Jones's full-field kickofftouchdown return was a Vine-worthy moment for many.

    The biggest talking point of the game for Twitter, the power outage that caused a half-hour delay during the third quarter, also had some attention on Vine.

    Any surprise that people were joking about the Super Bowl blackout on Vine? We wonder how long it'll take before we start seeing reactionary parody accounts à la Twitter.

    Despite the big game, this is by far the best vine from New Orleans on Super Bowl Sunday.

    Photo by Gelatobaby/Flickr


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    So much for doctor-patient confidentiality.

    Dr. Amy Dunbar, an OB/GYN at a St. Louis hospital, is facing calls to be fired after she posted disparaging comments about a patient on her Facebook account last Monday, reports KMOV-TV. She complained that an unidentified patient was constantly tardy for appointments prompting her to write "May I show up late for her delivery?"

    Dunbar's account on Facebook is still visible but she has limited the viewing settings on her status updates and wall.

    A screenshot of the post is being circulated on Mercy Hospital's Moms to Be page on Facebook as people are chastising Dunbar for her comments. Hospital employees also participated in the comments, and some are wondering whether the posting breached the patient's privacy although Dunbar didn't mention her by name.

    "[Dunbar] should not be allowed to work with patients if she callously talks about them on her own Facebook page. While she does not name patients on her page she gives personal information about patients which could identify who she is talking about," wrote an outraged Heather Tiedemann.

    A hospital spokesperson responded that the hospital has reprimanded Dunbar, calling the doctor’s comments "definitely inappropriate." The hospital is reviewing the Facebook posts, which may have revealed personal medical history, to see if they violate any privacy regulations.

    "That process requires a more thorough review, but we will determine the appropriate response as quickly as possible," it wrote.

    Photo via KMOV-TV


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    With the announcement that the Boy Scouts of America might repeal their controversial ban on gay members, the organization’s Facebook page has become ground zero for a heated debate on the policy.

    A status on the Boy Scouts page seeking feedback on the decision racked up more than 4,000 responses, notes Mashable. In a three-day meeting that started Monday, the Boy Scouts will decide whether to lift their national ban on homosexual members and leave the decision up to local chapters.

    The divisive topic is drawing comments from both for and against crowds as the Boy Scouts grapples with its religious teachings against a progressive chorus of calls for it to reform its views.

    "The good part about lifting the ban is no one will have to define themselves before they are ready. We have great leaders that are both gay and straight. I respect them both. Can we not respect children that are both gay and straight? Give them a chance to grow up," reasoned Jay Cardwell.

    Right below Cardwell's comment was a note from Ken Mraz, a staunch opponent of the Boy Scouts’ decision to open the organization to gays.

    "For God and country, do what is right," pleaded Mraz."Boys need moral and virtuous leaders. Stand firm on moral principles. Don't let the homosexual movement bully you."

    Of course, some comments pointed to inaccurate and dangerous homophobic stereotypes, including one person who wrote: "Don't change the policy. The boys are safer without camping out with gay leaders."

    As they begin debate about the ban, the Boy Scouts are facing dwindling membership numbers, notes Reuters. Youth membership has dipped 21 percent since 2000, to just 2.7 million members. A recent online movement shows Eagle Scouts returning their badges in protest of the group’s anti-gay stance.

    The Boy Scouts are expected to reach a decision on Wednesday.

    Photo via truthrider/Instagram


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    Every time fantasy author Vox Day insults John Scalzi on his blog, hundreds of dollars are donated to human rights charities such as the NAACP and RAINN. 

    Scalzi, who is almost as well-known for his popular blog, Whatever, as he is for award-winning sci-fi novels such as the Old Man's War series, is no stranger to Internet trolls. To deal with them, he has manually changed hate speech into saccharine comments about kittens and puppies. The new campaign, which he calls the Counteract a Bigot Drive, is an evolution of that idea.

    In a post titled "Solving my racist sexist homophobic dipshit problem," Scalzi writes:

    From now until the end of 2013 (and backdating to January 1st) when the Racist Sexist Homophobic Dipshit in question posts an entry on his site in which he uses my name (or one of his adorable nicknames for me), I’m going to put $5 into a pot. At the end of the year, I’m going to tally it up.

    Scalzi goes on to say that the money will be donated to a selection of human rights organizations, but that he will need help from readers to keep a tally of Vox Day’s blog. Soon enough, fans were lending their support, offering to donate alongside Scalzi. Only two days later, the Counteract a Bigot Drive is up to over $50,000 in total. 

    Who is Vox Day? It would be inaccurate to classify the author alongside the trolls Scalzi has encountered in the past. Day (real name Theodore Beale) has long been at loggerheads with Scalzi, clashing regularly over their opposing political beliefs. In fact, the two authors have more in common than you might expect. 

    Both run popular, discussion-focussed blogs that cover a wide range of topics outside their immediate professional sphere of sci-fi and fantasy writing. Both are happy to wade into the comments section and get stuck into debates with their readers. And neither are comfortable with taking the high road, preferring to embroil themselves in a kind of flame-war of attrition.

    When Scalzi mentions “adorable nicknames” in his Counteract a Bigot post, he’s referring to Vox Day’s love of calling him names like McRapey, as evidenced by his most recent post. This post challenges Scalzi to a political debate in response to the charity donation drive, although Vox Day concludes that Scalzi will never accept, saying:

    He's a rabbit. He's a gamma male. His blog readership is smaller than mine. His intellectual influence is miniscule in comparison with mine. He has no original ideas; he's little more than a parrot.

    Whether or not the debate ever takes place, the real winners are RAINN, Emily’s List, the Human Rights Campaign, and the NAACP, who will each be receiving well over $10,000 once the Counteract a Bigot Drive has run its course.


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    Sean Chapin convinced the San Francisco 49ers become the first NFL team to produce an "It Gets Better" video. Now he's demanding to know why two players denied taking part.

    Chapin, a San Francisco–based gay rights activist, created a petition on Change.org last year that garnered 16,000 signatures from supporters to "help confront homophobia." It featured four players, including linebacker Ahmad Brooks and defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga—both of whom distanced themselves from appearing in the video.

    "Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay [rights] video," said Brooks to a USA Today reporter prior to the Super Bowl. Reporters' questions about the video were prompted by their teammate Chris Culliver's inflammatory and homophobic comments.

    On comedian Artie Lange's radio show Jan. 29, Culliver said gay men weren't welcome on the team. "We ain't got no gay people," Culliver said to Lange. "They gotta get up out here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff. ... Nah, can't be ... in the locker room, man."

    It Gets Better creator Dan Savage pulled the 49ers' video. Chapin then released a statement on YouTube demanding the 49ers address the issue.

    "The last couple of days and what has happened has been very hard as a gay man and a 49ers fan," confessed Chapin in an eight-minute video. He called Sopoaga's and Brooks's comments "confusing, disheartening, and just really frustrated me."

    Chapin criticized the 49ers organization for releasing the video on Facebook initially, arguing that it wouldn't have the visibility of a YouTube release.

    "I think the way the 49ers handled this at this point is they have to do the right thing," demanded Chapin, who notes the team hasn't officially responded to the flap. "They're sending the wrong message to LGBT kids."

    Photo via SeanChapin1/YouTube


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    Welcome to the only online hookup network that won't let you lie about your job.

    Bang with Professionals, the first website to actually use the business-oriented social network LinkedIn as a facility to get you laid, arrived over the weekend with the force of a thousand swords. Think Blendr. Think Grindr. Think Bang with Friends. Think pencil skirts. Think power ties.

    The whole operation is alarmingly simple. You connect with the network through your LinkedIn account, then use that connection to cycle through the profile photos of your contacts. You scroll down. You click "Would bang" on the button that asks you if you "Would Bang?" under each name. When you click on someone, their status turns to "Down for it."

    Then you wait and hope that your contact decides to join the site and click "Would Bang" on the button under your name. Should that happen, you'll both get an email notification.

    "We let you work it out from there," the site explains with a wink.

    According to the site's Tumblr page, "the whole idea kinda started as a joke. 

    "We obviously saw what others were doing," the site's anonymous founders said in reference to communities like Grindr and Blendr, "but it was hard for us to think of really hooking up with someone using their services. In our opinion a network such as LinkedIn might be a good place to look when trying to hook up with someone. After all, you spend most of your time at work, so chances are finding someone to hook up with used on your LinkedIn profile might be a good place to start."

    Or, in other words, great minds think alike. You're most likely to be attracted to someone who seeks the same opportunities in life.

    We've reached out to these young socialites for some background figures and information, but they told us they prefer to remain anonymous until the hype around Bang With Professionals dies down.

    According to the site's Twitter feed, BWP traffic has already jumped 400 percent—so they've got something like four people on the site!

    Let's hope they all wanna bang.

    Photo via The Office/Facebook

     


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    As any urban cyclist will tell you, bike thieves are bad, bad people, on par with puppy-kickers and those who want to make the elderly cry.

    But a groups of Brits with an online petition at Change.org might have found a way to help shut them down. Each bike has a unique frame number, like a car's VIN, they've noted. So why doesn't eBay make those mandatory for used bike sales?

    "It has always annoyed me that it is so easy to sell stolen bikes quickly and for a decent amount of money. Being a member of cycling forums I hear about expensive bikes being stolen every week," wrote Richard Biggs, who started the petition. "That’s why I’ve started this petition calling on eBay and its subsidiaries to make frame numbers mandatory on listings on its site."

    An eBay representative told the Daily Dot that the company that "we keep our policies under continuous review," and indicated that the biggest reason why they don't have such a policy is because they haven't really considered it yet.

    While the spokesperson said that "eBay is not aware of any global or U.K. initiative to track frame numbers," the petition, which has almost 1,500 signatures since its start in late January, notes that several such databases alreadyexist online.

    And while the representative noted that eBay "believes any such policy would be best implemented industry-wide,” most major brands, including Trek, Schwinn, and Raleigh, already put unique serial numbers on their bikes.

    "eBay goes to considerable effort to protect the intellectual property of music and film companies, removes auctions for designer items it suspects are illegal copies, and requires motorists to enter a registration number when listing a car for sale," Biggs wrote. 

    "These are steps in the right direction, but cyclists of Britain would like the same consideration given to our bikes."

    Screengrab via Bike Thief 2012/YouTube


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    What do you get when fans decide to make a documentary about their own fandom? In the case of the Bronies—fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic—the answer seems to be erasure and exclusion. 

    So say some fandom critics of the recently released documentaryBronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony.

    Not everyone in the Brony fandom is happy about the newly launched documentary. Female fans are already planning their own documentary in response, to give a more inclusive portrayal of fans—particularly the female sector of the Brony population, which many fans claim was virtually ignored.

    Despite raising over $300,000 from thousands of My Little Pony enthusiasts in the fifth-most-successful funded video project on Kickstarter, the makers of Bronies still managed to go over budget. Even though they originally requested a mere $60,000 to make their feature-length film, an email sent to contributors by executive producer and actor John de Lancie explained why the costs grew:

    [W]hen the response to the Kickstarter campaign resulted in five times the original goal, Mike and I felt duty bound to expand the scope of the show. Immediately, this translated into four more cameras at the convention site in New Jersey. It also meant including four additional cities in the United States as well as traveling to Israel, Germany, Holland, and England. Of course, with this major expansion, we were now dealing with hundreds of additional hours of raw footage that necessitated the need to hire yet more editors, sound engineers and video engineers. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Bronies landed on January 20 at bronydoc.com, where you can purchase a digital download for $12.99, well over the cost of the average download online and almost as much as a regular DVD. Despite an earnest plea from producers to fans to pay full price for the download in order to defray costs, free copies almost immediately began circulating on the Internet. 

    So how does the Brony fandom portray itself? Questionable production decisions aside, the documentary seems to be an earnest attempt to positively portray the fandom, part of an ongoing attempt by Bronies to change their public perception. But many Bronies feel that its subjectivity is its downfall, and that it ultimately fails to respond to, or even approach, any of the major critiques about the fandom.

    Like any other fandom with a heavy amount of nerd cred, Bronies have to contend with being ridiculed, with having their fandom mocked and their masculinity inevitably questioned. Many fans have pointed out that this is par for the course with nerd culture. “There is [literally] nothing new and fresh about this fandom,” insists the critique blog fuck--no--my--little--pony.

    MLP fan Steve Holtz snarkily characterizes the documentary’s attitude: "'[H]ey we like something we’re NOT supposed to like, we demand an award.'"

    Holtz, like many other fans, points out that the martyred perspective can only exist because the documentary emphasizes the fandom’s male participants. “I believe it went as far as it could with covering what it was aiming to cover,” writes Wanderer D on FIMFiction.net, in a post calling for female fans to create their own documentary which garnered over a hundred largely supportive comments. “I really believe that they never had the intention to go any deeper than media perception about the male aspect of our fandom.”

    The creator of Friendship Is Magic, Lauren Faust, is an executive producer on the documentary, and appears several times in the documentary. But in a lengthy post, lensflarepony on Tumblr points out that even her appearances may be disingenuous:

    [T]he clips of [Faust] really show her talking more about what she thinks of male bronies rather than giving a strong description of her philosophy that she wanted to imbue into the show—being that there are many ways to be a girl, and that media made for girls and young women doesn’t have to be bad, and can be just as deep, relatable, and powerful as those targeted at male audiences.

    And there were other voices who felt marginalized as well. Over at Equestria Daily, kitschyduck commented, “I believe the documentary didn't focus enough on the fact that we're not all introverts with no friends outside of the Internet. ... I get the feeling that due to this documentary I've ended up possibly being labelled as someone who lacks adequate social skills and relies on ponies for a moral code to follow.”

    But not everyone believes the documentary’s moral code is foolproof, either. In a lengthy two-parteditorial critiquing the documentary, Derpy Hooves News castigates the documentary’s avoidance of the many problems plaguing the fandom: 

    The documentary doesn’t address things like the harassment of Yamino after the removal of Derpy or the explicit death threats in the lyrics of pony artist Yelling at Cats. Purple Tinker, the creator of the original Bronycon, is shown lauding the fandom, yet recently has spent much of her time across many social networks blasting bronies for transphobic language. Not facing these issues means that bronies cannot learn from these mistakes, or at least begin to discuss them and try to figure out why people think the way they do. It’s also misleading to the general public. It promotes an image of the fanbase that isn’t the entire truth. And if people aren’t getting the whole truth, then why should they believe the good things that are crammed hamfistedly into the doc?

    Still, kitschyduck did enjoy the documentary, and there were plenty who agreed. “It’s strengthened my aim to go to this year’s Bronycon, and Galacon,” wrote Tumblr user songopaul after watching. “... We have to also remember the good side of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom, and this documentary does exactly that.”

    It’s clear that for some fans, the film’s $320,000 budget has paid off. But for others, the documentary treads little new ground, and leaves the fandom’s complex range of issues—and fans—untouched.

    All screengrabs via Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony


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    You can’t guarantee what will become an Internet meme and what won’t, but if you want to become Internet-infamous, combining cluelessness with hypocrisy with the Streisand Effect will greatly increase your chances. Just ask Twitterer and alleged journalist and privacy advocate Teri Buhl—no, wait. On second thought, don’t ask her; she might try to sue you.

    Buhl is a self-described investigative journalist based in New Canaan, Connecticut. Her journalistic coups include a 2010 arrest for allegedly stealing the diary of her then-boyfriend’s teenaged daughter and posting excerpts of it on Facebook under a false name. (Buhl’s case hasn’t gone to trial yet; it was recently delayed due to the judge’s health problems.)

    Before Buhl’s alleged Facebook harassment of a teenager, she wrote for the Greenwich Time newspaper, which fired her in early 2010.
     
    But a bizarre privacy disclaimer on Buhl’s Twitter account is what recently brought her to the attention of Mark Bennett, a professional attorney who is thus unlikely to feel threatened by baseless lawsuit threats. Bennett also maintains a blog“about the art and science of criminal defense trial lawyering, as well as anything else that I am interested in.”

    And he became interested in Buhl’s Twitter account (now locked) after reading her bio on the site:  “Investigative journalist covering Finance/Wall Street. No tweets are publishable.”
     
    Bennett’s friend Gideon found this confusing— aren’t tweets, by definition, already published?—and asked Buhl for clarification. As Bennett related in a series of screenshots posted on his blog, Buhl believes that she can sue anyone who quotes one of her tweets.

    That’s not how copyright or expectation-of-privacy laws work, for journalists or anyone else—a comment posted on a public Twitter feed may indeed be quoted without the original writer’s permission, unlike (for example) a comment written in a teenage girl’s diary stored in a drawer in her bedroom. So far, Teri Buhl’s misguided attempt to protect her privacy is only bringing her greater levels of Internet infamy, including a brand-new Tumblr called dis iz teribuhl (barely more than a few hours old as of press time), whose “unpostable“ posts are covered by the copyright disclaimer “All posts are OTR and unpublishable, subject to lolsuit.”

    Photo via Teri Buhl/Twitter


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    YouTube has removed a controversial North Korean propaganda video after a videogame publisher in California filed a copyright claim that the clip had used some of its material. 

    The video, which posted to North Korea's official YouTube channel Saturday and collected more than 70,000 views before getting taken down, recounted a dream sequence of a man imagining a North Korean rocket descending onto a fictitious American city and setting it ablaze. 

    The videos contained Korean subtitles, which, according to The Telegraph, read, "Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing. It seems that the nest of wickedness is ablaze with the fire started by itself."

    It's intense. It's scary. It's effective social media. 

    But the footage wasn't original; it was ripped from a cutscene belonging to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, a popular first-person shooter game released by California publishing company Activision in 2011. 

    On Tuesday, Activision filed a copyright claim to have the video taken down. According to the BBC, it was removed shortly thereafter. 

    Not surprisingly, North Korea did not respond to our request for comment. 

    Photo via The Watched Videos/YouTube


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    Update: One of Chris Brown's representatives told GossipCop that the Instagram post was fabricated and that the singer is not currently on the photo sharing social network.

    The Internet's favorite douchebag, Chris Brown, has made his Instagram account private after posting a text-filled photo of him complaining about the hate he's received recently.

    On Tuesday Brown received a "19-page report from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office claiming that the R&B singer did not complete his community service requirement" stemming from his brutal assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, the New York Post reported. As a result of not fulfilling the requirement, Brown's probation may be revoked.

    "Im wise I can handle the hate but enough is enough yo!!" Brown wrote in a screengrab he posted on Instagram, which has since been deleted. "I'm a human being and I honestly think I deserve respect I'm sick of being accused. I'm Tired. y'all just don't understand."

    Over the past four months, Brown has deleted or deactivated his Twitter and Instagram at least two times because of criticism he's received. 

    The most recent instance occurred on Nov. 25, when Brown deleted his popular Twitter account after comedian Jenny Johnson called the singer a "worthless piece of shit," and other things, on Twitter. He ultimately reactivated his account about a week later and has not stopped feeling sorry for himself.

    On Jan. 29, Brown posted a photo on Instagram of a painting of Jesus on the cross and the message, "Focus on what matters!" He turned his account private shortly after the photo made national news

    Let's hope this time around, he doesn't reactivate his account. Better yet, maybe he'll just stop using the Internet all together.

    Photo by joeltelling/Flickr


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    In the 2005 hit "My Humps," noted anatomists the Black Eyed Peas coo earnestly about the hypnotizing effects of a lady's trunk. "I'ma … get you love-drunk off my hump," preaches Fergie. 

    Eight years later, the drunkenness hasn't worn off. Now dudes are using Instagram to express their love of lady lumps. Introducing the Thirstiest Men of Instagram, a Tumblr-based archival project documenting extra-special pickup lines posted on women's pictures.

    The little love letters basically split into a few different categories.

    Prostitution requests:

    Unabashed forwardness:

    Funny "jokes":

    "HEY HEY HEY GIRL":

    Phone numbers:

    How are these dudes not getting laid?

    Photo via Thirstiest Men of Instagram


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    There are few Internet subcultures ickier than pickup artistry (PUA), the science of targeting women for casual sex using a combination of manipulation, ridicule, and magic tricks, then bragging about it online.

    That Mystery dude is a complete charmer. So is the guy with the "rape van."

    Thankfully, there's an easy way to see the worst of the online seduction community, even if you're not on Instagram

    @PUA_txt tweets actual things people post on PUA message boards, trawling through ridiculous threads so you don't have to. With more than 1,000 tweets so far, the feed, run by @virgiltexas, has picked up more than 4,200 followers. 

    Fair warning: some of the following tweets are NSFW and/or completely gross. 

    Photo via truthshallsety0ufree/YouTube


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    Are you French? Do you have Facebook? Have you been sharing posts that say the social network is shutting down for maintenance from Feb. 29 to Feb. 31? Please stop. Those days don't exist. You've fallen victim to a pretty obvious hoax.

     

    The message, written in French, has been spreading across Facebook since yesterday, according to a post on security firm Sophos's Naked Security blog. The message has also crossed the language border after an English version also popped up:

    WARNING!! Facebook will be closed for maintenance from February 29th to 31st!! Facebook wants YOU to Share this message with at least 15 of your friends for the best chance of alerting everyone. Many people will try to log in from February 29 to 31, just to find the site closed down for those days with no warning.

    You can watch it flow in real time at Bing's social search. But no worries. Sharing the hoax won't compromise your account or cause you another trouble, other than a slight annoyance. So far, there's no evidence Facebook plans to shut down on those three nonexistent days. 

    And if it did, would anyone even notice?

    Photo by claytron/Flickr


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    How much money would it take for you to finally kick your Facebook addiction?

    For one teenager, that threshold is $200.

    Rachel Baier, a 14-year-old high school student from Wellesley, Mass., struck a deal with her dad that would require her to completely walk away from the popular social network for five months. In exchange, her father Paul will pay her $200. If successful, the teenager will receive $50 on April and $150 in June.

    To ensure fulfillment of the signed agreement, the elder Baier has access to the high schooler's Facebook account and can change the password to avoid reactivation. Given that this was the 14-year-old's idea in the first place, that shouldn't be a problem.

    Paul Baier, a vice president at a Boston-area energy firm, posted a photograph of the signed contract on his blog, which usually focuses on energy technology and sustainability.

    "It was her idea," Baier told the Daily Dot. "She wants to earn money and also finds Facebook a distraction and a waste of time sometimes. She plans to go back on after the 6 months is over"

    Photo via Practical Sustainability

    Taking a five-month break from the social network might be beneficial for the teenager. Studies have shown that Facebook can have an adverse effect on people with low self-esteem. They've also suggested that the service can make us overly self-indulgent.

    Photo via Practical Sustainability


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    For many people trying to lose weight, it's all about trying to fit into those pants that are just a few sizes too small.

    For Rolan Ajo of Taiwan, the inspiration was a Lum Invader-inspired pair of bra and panties.

    After 10 years of hard work, Ajo lost 44 pounds to become a cosplayer—an anime or video game fan who creates and wears costumes as an homage to her favorite characters. By drinking three liters (about 12 glasses) of water each day, exercising and avoiding carbs, Ajo was able to slim down from 154 pounds.

    "What I saw was the fat version of my favorite anime character," Ajo told RocketNews. "My impression of the character instantly crumbled…I was laughed at and looked down on because I was so fat and it broke my heart."

    The social pressure for cosplayers to alter their bodies for the sake of the hobby has been a frequent source of online controversy. Cosplayers are often criticized when their weight—or even their skincolor—doesn't precisely match the characters they're playing.

    But Ajo’s efforts to lose weight have been universally praised online (she’s been called “Taiwan’s cutest cosplayer”) and even inspired other cosplayers to follow in her footsteps.

    “Thank you for give me inspiration. I had [weighed] 70 Kg like you and now I have lost 61 and I'll fight because I want to be a good cosplayer,” wrote one fan on Twitter.

    The following are some (potentially NSFW) photos from Ajo's cosplay portfolio:.

    Photos via RocketNews


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    The Ivy League has a reputation for being on the cutting edge of social media. Harvard was, of course, the home of Mark Zuckerberg and the birthplace of Facebook. Now Yale students are setting the trend as early collegiate adopters of Snapchat.

    A recent blog post from Yale undergrad Sean Haufler highlights the growing popularity of the self-destructing picture app among college students. Originally the domain of high schoolers, the app is experiencing a boom in popularity among Haufler's Yale peers.

    "In September, virtually no one at Yale used Snapchat. Today, it’s huge. To measure Snapchat’s penetration, I went through my phone contacts and counted up all the Yale students who had accounts. 97 out of the 157 Yale undergraduates in my phone have Snapchat accounts. Assuming my contacts are representative of the Yale population [1], then nearly two-thirds of Yale uses Snapchat."

    Snapchat first came on the market in late 2011, the product of several Stanford University students who were reportedly inspired by the infamous Anthony Weiner sexting scandal that forced the Congressman to resign after he accidentally tweeted an embarrassing photo. The basic appeal of Snapchat is that users can send photo messages that automatically delete within 10 seconds of being opened by the recipient.

    This has opened the app up to criticism that it encourages "sexting." But thanks to a number of hacks and tricks that allow recipients to secretly save photos, the service may not be the secure sexting conduit for which users hoped. However, Snapchat's co-creator, Evan Spiegel has always insisted it was meant for much more than naked photos.

    “Everyone said, ‘That is a terrible idea,’’' Spiegel told The Daily Mail last month. 'Not only is nobody going to use it, they said, but the only people who do, will use it for sexting."

    Spiegel insists Snapchat can be a vehicle for more wholesome communication. And at Yale, Haufler said the app is being used for just that.

    "Most Snapchats I receive are pictures of a friend's facial expression," he told The Daily Dot. "In effect, their expression is sending me a specific emotion. By seeing their face, I empathize with them immediately."

    Haufler argues the appeal of the app for college students is manifold. The short lifespan of messages makes them more immediate, he says, simulating the nature of an actual conversation where messages are ephemeral and exist only in that moment. He also said the lack of traditional texting features - like chat histories and mass messaging recipient lists - take some of the social anxiety out of mobile communication.

    Still, Haufler says the app is not just for those students who are anxious or socially awkward about what they are sending.

    "I don't think it's fair to say that Snapchat is geared towards the socially anxious," he said. "That's like saying cars are geared towards those who are too lazy to walk. Snapchat helps make personal communication easier, just as cars make transportation easier."

    Growth in popularity among the college demographic can only mean good things for Snapchat and its creators—who still work out of Speigel's father's house in Los Angeles. It could mean continued success in a battle with a rival knock-off service from Facebook.

    The Poke App, introduced late last year, made as big a splash as anything Facebook does, but Snapchat still dominates. In the U.S., it's the second most popular free photo and video app for iPhone currently - beating out the seemingly ubiquitous Instagram. According to analytics company App Annie, it's the 19th-most popular free app overall.

    Photo via Snapchat


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    Benjamin Byerline is not a gifted con man.

    In April 2012, the Fort Wayne, Indiana, resident, who runs a lawn business ("home of the $27 gutter clean outs," says his LinkedIn), posted a swing set for sale on Craigslist. It wasn't his. He'd snapped photos of the thing at a customer's home earlier that day. The scam was discovered when a prospective buyer knocked on the woman's door.  

    His lawn business, meanwhile, has an F rating from the Fort Wayne Better Business Bureau, thanks to several complaints from customers who say Byerline billed them for services they never requested and he never performed. 

    He's not a stranger to the police, either. In the past, he's been arrested for check deception, forgery, and theft.

    Byerline's schemes spread to social media, too. On Facebook, he claims to be founder and CEO of the Stop Bullying organization, a nonprofit with 275,000 followers. Like the for-sale swing set, it's completely fictional. 

    The two actual founders of Stop Bullying are furious. Why won't Facebook help them?

    Bylerline declared himself Stop Bullying CEO in December. Soon he started asking for donations through online fundraising site Give Forward. The site suspended Bylerine's account after it was flagged for fraudulent activity and he ignored their request for more information. (The actual Stop Bullying organization, it should be emphasized, does not accept donations or run charity drives.)

    But while Give Forward was quick to shut Bylerline down, on Facebook he still claims to be CEO and founder of Stop Bullying (an organization whose goal, he writes, is to "Educate The Youth Of Bullying ,And The Outcome Of Bullying" [sic].)

    Reporting abuse on Facebook is as easy as clicking a dropdown menu next to the offender's name. The actual owner of the Stop Bullying account told the Daily Dot they've reported Bylerine's profile, but Facebook hasn't done a thing. Impersonation should result in a ban, according to Facebook's own help page.

    "We have had no one except you contact us regarding this issue," the account owner wrote via a Facebook message. "We are still trying to contact Facebook other than just reporting on his page, which we have found is very difficult since they don't provide any contact information."

    They added: 

    "We have no connection or have ever met Mr. Byerline. We hope that he will be stopped and can no longer take advantage of people."

    Byerline has starred in multiple local Fort Wayne news reports on his scams, including this latest one: 

    A representative from Facebook told the Daily Dot his page "does not violate Facebook's terms."

    Facebook's terms, in addition to prohibiting impostors, forbid users from providing "any false personal information on Facebook."

    Why is Facebook the only organization unwilling to admit Byerline is a fraud? 

    Photo via YouTube


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    A Massachusetts man was sentenced to seven years in prison after spending the better part of the past year tormenting his ex-girlfriend online, according to a WLJA report.

    Boston native Bruce Stimon, 47, met Arlington, Va., resident Soraida Hicks on an airplane in 2011 and they began dating long distance shortly thereafter. Stimon showed Hicks with gifts during that time, including a new iPhone, which he put on his own family plan—a move that would allow him to access information belonging to her friends and contacts.

    Then he used that contact information to tell Hicks' friends that she'd contracted an STD.

    Hicks broke up with Stimon shortly after finding out about his antics, but the tormenting continued. Before long, Hicks started receiving phone calls from adult men in northern Virginia who were looking for an escort. She looked online and found that her name and face had started to show up on escort sites around the Web.

    What's more, Stimon had filled out some of her profiles with the phone numbers of her employer and direct supervisor. She was fired from her bank job just a few days before her daughter's Twitter followers were made privy to a video of Hicks and Stimon having sex.

    "It was devastating," Hicks' daughter told WJLA. "I would go into the bathroom stall and just cry and would come back to class and act like everything was okay."

    But it wasn't okay, and the abuse didn't stop. Stimon turned to porn sites to advertise Hicks and her daughter as a "mother and daughter" sex package. Eager readers started showing up at their doorstep a few days later.

    Stimon's scheming went on for months before police could catch him. It took his venturing from Boston down to the Hicks' Arlington neighborhood in an effort to slash his ex-girlfriend’s tires to get the man arrested.

    Hicks, who's been active in her efforts to get her name removed from the porn sites, reports that she's only had limited success.

    Photo via NewsworldsUK/YouTube


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    Here's one advantage of technology's iron-fisted grasp on teenagers: When bullies bully, someone might whip out a smartphone and film them, then upload the video to Facebook. The result? Bullies in jail.

    That's what happened to two teens in New Port Ritchie, Fla., on Friday after one viciously attacked 16-year-old Chase Cristia at the back of the school bus. Her accomplice recorded the whole thing on her phone, then posted it to Facebook.

    You watch Cristia try to protect herself, covering her face with hands. She doesn't fight back. On Feb. 1, police arrested the 17-year-old who beat up Cristia and charged her with battery. They arrested her accomplice, too. All three are sophomores at Mitchell High School, near Tampa.

    Things haven't improved much for Cristia since their arrest, however. Tampa Bay Online reported:

    Chase Cristia’s return to Mitchell High School lasted only a few hours this morning.

    Instead of attending her third-period history class, Cristia called her mother from a school bathroom, crying. She said students were teasing her and told her she brought the trouble on herself.

    Her mother, Tracy Cristia, picked her up from school and took her home.

    If only the police could make arrests for non-violent bullying, too.

    Photo via YouTube


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