How Not To Spread Rumors On The Internet
In yesterday's "Newscall" post on the Family Research Council's "Cloakroom" blog, Krystle Weeks, FRC's web editor, included this item:
HotAir.com asks a good question: Does Obama plan to spy on social networking sites? After all, CNet, there is a bill proposed in the Senate that would give the President emergency control of the internet.
I have a question of my own: did Weeks even bother to read the Hot Air article? Because if she had, she would have known that Hot Air was not "asking" this question, but was rather debunking this claim, which is being circulated by the National Legal and Policy Center:
NLPC has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.
The information to be captured includes comments, tag lines, emails, audio, and video. The targeted sites include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and others – any space where the White House “maintains a presence.”
Ed Morrissey points out that NLPC's claims are entirely bogus:
I’m not sure that highlighting a public contract offer amounts to “uncovering” a conspiracy, especially since their analysis turns out to be faulty. Contrary to NLPC’s take, the contractor would be collecting data required to be kept by the White House — by law.
Which brings us to the common-sense check on the rumor. How much time and resources would it take to effectively monitor every entry on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and every blog in the blogosphere? And to do that secretly, while archiving all of it? The NSA would have to take that on full time, and even then … best of luck just keeping up with the archiving, let alone surveillance ... [T]his is nothing more than a big, pointless archiving project, one which may stimulate the economy of a handful of people, but otherwise inconsequential. There are a lot of good reasons to be worried about the Obama administration, but this doesn’t appear to be one of them.
Note to Weeks: if you are going to try to spread unfounded rumors about the Obama administration, be sure to link to the people creating those rumors, not the people debunking them.
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