ISIS Tactics Illustrate Social Media’s New Place In Modern War
- According to TechCrunch, in the past year, ISIS has used social media and the web to control the narrative of the conflict in Iraq and Syria. And though it borrows some tactics from propagandists like Vladimir Putin, ISIS has also proven a macabre trailblazer.
- In 2011, the year of the Arab Spring, we saw how the Web and social media could be used to push back against tyrants and organize protest and revolution. In 2014, we’re learning that this powerful tool, like all others, can be used to spread lies and misinformation as easily as it can spread the truth, and it can be used to suppress and discourage free speech just as it can be used to promote it.
- For its “domestic” audience, ISIS uses propaganda to persuade recruits to join its fight by making jihad seem manly, cool and strong, posting highly produced, film-trailer-style promotional material. It has even posted pictures of terrorists with kittens and Nutella. So far, the propaganda looks to be succeeding. Content targeted at an international audience differs vastly. ISIS wants to scare frighten its enemies, both to deter counterattacks and to coerce conversions.
Feds Make AT&T Pay $105 Million For Loading Wireless Bills with Bogus Charges
- According to the Washington Post, on Wednesday, officials said AT&T would pay $105 million to settle accusations that from 2009 to January 2014, the firm charged consumers extra for spammy services they didn’t ask for, such as monthly ringtone subscriptions and horoscope text messages. The action marks the largest in the history of the Federal Communications Commission and also involved officials at the Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of all 50 states.
- According to a federal complaint, AT&T placed unauthorized third-party charges on Americans’ wireless bills under a category labeled “AT&T monthly subscriptions,” which, said FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez, led consumers to believe that they were being charged “for services provided by AT&T and not by third parties.”
- Of the $105 million fee, AT&T will pay $80 million to current and former customers who were affected by the unauthorized billing, also known in the industry as “mobile cramming.” State governments will receive $20 million, and AT&T will pay a $5 million penalty to the U.S. Treasury.
EBay to Spin Off PayPal Into a Separate Company in 2015
- According to the Mashable, EBay has announced a plan to split its PayPal business into a separate, publicly traded company in 2015. The movehas been advocated for some time by minority shareholder Carl Icahn, though his January 2014 proposal for the spinoff failed in April. Icahn, known for his willingness to make big bets on companies and publicly push for new strategies, had argued that making PayPal a public company would raise needed capital and help it compete in the increasingly crowded digital payments industry.
- After the two companies are separated into two entities, Devin Wenig, currently the president of eBay Marketplaces, will become the CEO of eBay. Dan Schulman, previously the President of American Express’ Enterprise Growth Group, is joining the company to become president of PayPal; following the spinoff, he will become the CEO of PayPal.