Russia will apparently be monitoring every piece of social media, telephone and email communications sent during the Winter Olympics, just in case you were worried this wouldn’t be the most Russian thing ever.
The Guardian reports that the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is tracking tampered telephone and Wi-Fi networks around the country to “ensure extensive and all-permeating monitoring” of anything that’s said. Called Sorm, the system has been installed by the country’s telcos so the FSB can filter out keywords, phrases and conversations across all platforms.
“How Much Would You Pay To See A Photo Of Ryan Lochte’s Alleged Penis?” begs a headline on the irreverent sports blog, Deadspin. The post, which went up a little over an hour ago, is illustrated by a photo of Gawker Media employees clustered around a computer screen looking (and laughing) at an alleged photo of Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s penis.
The pic, which is “a neck-down bathroom-mirror self-portrait, in which the tip of the penis almost but not quite reaches into the sink basin,” was provided by a source, who is demanding a fee. Deadspin has decided to start a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo, probably because Kickstarter doesn’t consider dickpics “art” (subjective!).
This man is not happy with Facebook: “Your team doesn’t seem to understand that being “good negotiators” vs implying that you will destroy someone’s business built on your “open platform” are not the same thing.” [Dalton Caldwell]
Ears perked up over in Mountain View at this public display of unhappiness on the part of developers. [All Things D]
Speaking of Facebook, the company finally admitted it’s got more fakes than a sorority house. [CNET]
Today, in patent-suit potshots: Apple accuses Samsung of “bad faith litigation misconduct.” [Businessweek]
Two boosters of the local tech scene would like cheaper apartments. Honey, spit in one hand, wish in the other. [Forbes]
In L.A., too many city hall employees are using their work computers to watch the Olympics. [LA Times]
Mitt Romney is not a member of the “thumb tribe,” which is apparently a thing. [Politico]
Twitter has not had a great 48 hours. After spending years developing a reputation as an especially open and free-speech-friendly platform, suddenly the company looks an enthusiastic handmaiden to corporate interests. And so it’s none too surprising to see a lengthy exegesis of corporate policy, complete with apology, appear on the official blog.
Of course, the company had little choice after NBC ratted out them out to the Telegraph, revealing that Twitter had contacted NBC and suggested they file a complaint regarding the gadfly journalist Guy Adams, who’d been lambasting the network’s Olympics coverage, including posting the email address of an NBC Sports exec. That complaint, of course, resulted in Mr. Adams’ suspension from Twitter, thereby quieting his nonstop complaints but unleashing a torrent of Internet fury.
Twitter’s tardy response, authored by general counsel Alex McGillivray, explains that, “The Trust and Safety team does not actively monitor users’ content,” adding:
This Olympics flap just got a little more embarrassing for Twitter.
For those just tuning in: Yesterday, after tweeting numerous complaints about the quality of NBC’s coverage of the London Olympics, journalist Guy Adams was suspended from Twitter. The official reason given? Mr. Adams had revealed the email of an NBC exec and that it was a terms of service violation to publish “the private and confidential information of others.” So once NBC complained, Twitter suspended his account.
That narrative looked a little suspect in light of the big, splashy partnership Twitter and NBC formed to integrate 140-character updates into the media monolith’s broadcasts from London.
But a new twist reflects poorly on Twitter. The Telegraph reports that, in an email,
Time to check in on the Twitter-lympics! How are the first social media games going? About like we expected. Well, we’re not sure who’s pulling ahead in the athletic arena, but looks like we’ve already got an instance of outstanding PR clusterfuck. Someone’s gonna end up with a headache over this one.
Deadspin reports that Guy Adams, a reporter for the Independent, has spent the last couple of days complaining about NBC’s allegedly less-than-stellar coverage of the Olympic games (we wouldn’t know, as we studiously ignore summer athletics). The tweets at issue are here, including such zingers as quoting anchor Matt Lauer’s less impressive attempts to fill airtime (“Madagascar, a location indelibly associated with a couple of recent animated movies”) and deeming him a #tosspot. Burn, ya’ll.
Eye of the Tiger
The first “Twitter Olympics” start Friday. And how is that going, so far? Let’s just say the games are off to a rocky start, and we’re popping popcorn in anticipation.
As we’ve mentioned before, the International Olympic Committe rolled into town with a long list of social media rules for athletes, volunteers and anyone with a press pass. The document concluded with a warning: “The IOC will continue to monitor Olympic on-line content to ensure that the integrity of rights-holding broadcasters and sponsor rights as well as the Olympic Charter is maintained.”
So how’s that going? Well, it’s not even day one and already an Olympian has been booted from the games for offensive tweets, athletes’ complaints are going viral, and organizers are begging participants not to tweet about and therefore spoil the opening ceremony.
What does it take to overshadow an Olympian? If you guessed “Be Mark Zuckerberg,” please collect your prize. Bloomberg News profiles Samyr Laine, who is headed to the London Olympics to represent Haiti in the triple jump. Heartwarming! But it’s not a news peg. You know what’s a news page? Being the Facebook founder’s former freshman roommate.
Asked about his youthful days with the billionaire, Mr. Laine presumably heaved a great, big sigh and said:
“We had a good time our freshman year in Straus, we played a ton of PlayStation,” Laine said in an interview at his home in Lorton, Virginia. “We probably didn’t sleep nearly as much as we should have. None of us slept as little as Mark did, and now you can see why.”
This man is literally about to go for the gold, and all anyone wants to talk about is some famous guy he used to bunk with. Ain’t no problems like Harvard grad problems.