Why the Government is Reading Tweets

The CIA is Following You: President Obama receives a daily intelligence briefing on what’s going on in the world according to social media. That’s right, the CIA’s Open Source Center has been monitoring social network activity, tracking a wide range of important global topics like Internet use in China and other countries’ views of the U.S. They started monitoring the Twittersphere and other social media networks in 2009 during the Green Revolution protests against the Iranian presidential election that put President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad back in power. Government officials find this kind of social media monitoring and analysis a useful source of intelligence and a good gauge of countries’ feelings towards the U.S. (especially after political events and presidential speeches). The Open Source Center also uses social media monitoring to keep track of crises as they happen like riots and uprisings. With Facebook and Twitter becoming more and more important as real-time broadcasting tools and important modes of communication during social and political uprisings, it’s not the least bit surprising that the CIA is keeping tabs on social media, but it’s still a little unsettling to know that this kind of monitoring is taking place on a daily basis. AP

Facebook Spawns Memes: It looks like Facebook is becoming the new place for memes to get off the ground. According to this Slate article, this has a lot to do with Facebook’s new algorithms for the news feed. Whereas before the news feed featured posts from friends you interact with the most on Facebook, the new algorithm favors the most recent posts. This has made news feeds less personal and has helped spread image macros (the technical term for images with text superimposed on them). Also the size of images that appear in your news feed is now much larger than before when it was just a thumbnail. This obviously also facilitates the spread of memes, which are visual in nature. Slate

Bieberometer: It’s official: Justin Bieber has reached 2 billion views on YouTube, beating Lady Gaga’s 1.8 billion. To give you a clearer picture of Bieber’s online influence, according to The Daily Dot, Bieber’s Facebook page has 37 million likes, whereas President Obama’s Facebook page has only 23 million likes. Meanwhile, on Twitter, when Bieber tweets “Night girls,” over 20,000 respond. These are the times we live in. The Daily Dot

Tumblr of the Day: What if your cat learned how to use IM? Well, it would probably look something like this. Louis vs. Rick

Video of the Day: A lot is lost in translation between Siri and this Furby. HuffPo


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