In the wake of attack on Paris newspaper extremists take to Twitter

first_imgDewey writes The Post’s The Intersect web channel covering digital and Internet culture. © 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments In the aftermath of adeadly attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, many took to social media to rally and mourn — changing their profile pictures to “Je suis Charlie” after the name of the paper, and making the terms #CharlieHebdo, Bernard Maris, Cabu and Wolinski trend worldwide on Twitter.But in murkier, quieter corners of the Internet, other hashtags are also trending: While it’s not entirely clear, at this point, who is responsible for the attack, a number of self-proclaimed jihadis have been celebrating it on a hashtag that Al-Hayat’s Joyce Karam translates as #ParisInvasion.“Mock the Prophet of Islam and pay with your life,” reads a rough translation of one tweet. “This is a deterrent for every coward.”“God is great,” wrote another, next to a graphic picture from the attacks. Another tweeted a picture of a man on a stretcher with a reference to a Quranic passage about jihad. tweets are, if nothing else, a fairly predictable illustration of extremist vitriol. But they’re also examples of a relatively new danger for mainstream social platforms like Twitter: infiltration by extremists who use the sites to recruit and spread their views.One would think that kind of thing has been going on for a while — after all, sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter were born at the height of the war on terror. But representatives for several major U.S. networks say it’s a problem that’s become particularly pressing since the rise of the Islamic State, with its sophisticated messaging and propaganda strategies.The group has, for instance, used the anonymous question-and-answer site to recruit a number of Westerners to its cause, including three American teenagers who tried to travel to a Syrian camp three months ago. They’re active on Twitter, Facebook, Kik and even Tumblr, where a number of fighters and their wives have started personal blogs. (Sample post from the blog Al-Khansaa: “Are there decent hair driers and straighteners in Syria?”)In September, an Islamic State-affiliated account even took to Twitter to threaten employees of the site, warning that “every Twitter employee in San Francisco … (should) watch over himself, because on his doorstep there might be a lone assassin waiting.” The account was quickly suspended, and Twitter promised a full investigation into the tweets.Unfortunately, weeding out extremists and their sympathizers is more difficult than it looks. For one thing, many extremists don’t use language that would catch the attention of keyword filters or other automated moderation tools; the jihadists who have recruited Westerners to join them in Syria, for instance, often speak more generally of religion or “travel.”“It’s a really tough issue,” Catherine Teitelbaum, chief of trust & safety at, told The Washington Post last month. “The language itself is benign — the tone of the conversations is actually very casual. There’s very little reference to violence. It’s not like other areas of abuse.”Even when social networks do find terrorists in their midst, they often leave the accounts up at the behest of law enforcement, who hope to glean some intelligence from them — or even tweet back.That’s an awkward, and complicated, position for networks: On one hand, they’re cooperating with law enforcement; on the other, they necessarily open themselves up to incidents like these — and accusations that they serve as some kind of mouthpiece through which extremists reach the moderate masses.Still, the opposite is true, too. On Wednesday morning, one of the more popular tweets on the #ParisInvasion hashtag was from the U.S.-based Arabic-language blogger Naseem Alomari.“No to terrorism, yes to dialogue,” it says, in part. French Internet users start using this image “I am charlie” as profiles.— Julien Pain (@JulienPain) January 7, 2015center_img Related posts:Publication attacked in Paris has history of bold satire World leaders express outrage over attack on Paris publication Blood, bodies, bullets turn heart of France into war zone France, allies signal major response after Paris attacks leave at least 127 deadlast_img read more

Viewpoints GOP Needs To Refine Its Message On Health Law Battle Over

first_imgViewpoints: GOP Needs To Refine Its Message On Health Law; Battle Over School Lunches This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The New York Times: The Vanishing Cry of ‘Repeal It’ It was supposed to be so easy this election year for Republican congressional candidates. All they would have to do was shout “repeal Obamacare!” and make a crack about government doctors and broken websites, and they could coast into office on a wave of public fury. … But it has not quite worked out that way. … That sentiment conflicts with the Republican playbook, which party leaders are suddenly trying to rewrite. The result has been an incoherent mishmash of positions, as candidates try to straddle a widening gap between blind hatred of health reform and the public’s growing recognition that much of it is working (6/1).  Politico: Running in 2016? Don’t Like Obamacare? Better Offer An Alternative. I am of the view that any candidates thinking about running for the Republican nomination in 2016 have to make clear that while they seek to repeal Obamacare, they also want to put in place a better health care system than the one we had before the law was passed in 2010. It is essential, therefore, that each candidate articulate a set of reforms that can plausibly replace Obamacare and, more importantly, address the challenge of rising health care costs (Lanhee Chen, 6/1). Bloomberg: Dr. Carson Will Find Politics Is Best Left to Politicians [Dr. Ben] Carson, a retired physician at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, has become a favorite of the political right as he weighs a run for the Republican presidential nomination. … In his calm, appealing manner, he unleashed a harsh critique of the Affordable Care Act at the National Prayer Breakfast last year, in front of President Barack Obama. He has gone on to call Obamacare “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” which, he said, it resembles. He later explained he was talking about any attempt to take away an individual’s control of his or her life. He hasn’t included Medicare in that critique yet (Albert R. Hunt, 6/1). Forbes: Five Alternative Futures For Obamacare [T]here is more uncertainty about what will happen to our health care system over the next five years than at any other time during the more than four decades I have been studying health policy matters. The range of possibilities include full repeal, repeal and replacement post-2016, morphing into “zombie legislation,” Medicare redux and H.J. Res. 263 redux … We can do much better than Obamacare. Put another way: if Obamacare is the best this nation can do, our best days are behind us (Chris Conover, 6/1).The New York Times: Bad Food In School Cafeterias Republicans on a powerful House committee have balked at requiring all schools to serve healthy lunches in the coming school year. The action drew a well-deserved rebuke from the first lady, Michelle Obama, who has focused public attention on combating obesity among young people through exercise and better nutrition. Let’s hope the Senate holds out against such inanity (6/1). The Washington Post: Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move!’ Goes Too Far The first lady’s “Let’s Move!” program and her focus on whole foods (as opposed to fast) and water instead of sodas have been welcome developments. Who better to bring needed attention to such issues? Obama is merely expanding her maternal focus to include all those public school kids whose mothers apparently have forgotten how to make a sandwich. Or whose fathers have forgotten to say, “Get those plugs out of your ears and make friends with the lawn mower” — or whatever its urban equivalent. But, as is often the case with mammoth federal programs, one size does not fit all (Kathleen Parker, 5/30).The New York Times: A Vote On Medical Marijuana The New York State Assembly easily approved a law legalizing medical marijuana last Tuesday, and there appear to be enough votes to pass similar legislation in the State Senate if that chamber’s leaders agree to allow a vote. They ought to do so before the legislative session ends on June 19. The bills would make the drug available, under tight regulation, to patients who, in many cases, do not get relief from other medications (6/1). The Denver Post: Getting Serious On Rx-Drug Overdoses Robert Valuck, professor of pharmacy at the University of Colorado, likens the prodigious task of reducing the country’s non-medical use of prescription drugs to turning an aircraft carrier. “The forces are so large,” he said. Deaths linked to prescription opioid use have doubled in 10 years in Colorado. For that matter, nonmedical use of painkillers is 19 percent higher here than the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. … One idea that could help became law last week when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill to modify the state’s prescription drug monitoring program to better identify abuse and prevent overdoses (5/30). last_img read more