Entries in Internet (13)


Internet Takes Off with Mitt Romney’s ‘Binders Full of Women’

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Despite all the fireworks over taxes, oil and Libya, the most buzzworthy social media moment of Tuesday night’s presidential debate was Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s comment about “binders full of women.”

The inadvertently funny comment came in response to a question about pay equity for women from a member of the audience of the debate between Romney and President Obama at Hofstra University.

Romney was explaining that as the governor of Massachusetts searching for qualified women to fill cabinet posts, women’s groups brought him “binders full of women” who were good candidates.

“And I said, ‘Well, gosh, can’t we -- can’t we find some -- some women that are also qualified?” Romney said. “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.”

The response was swift.

“‘They brought me whole binders full of women’ Did I just hear that? #debate,” tweeted @MichaelAusiello.

“‘They brought us binders full of women,’ doesn’t sound good in any setting,” added the New York Times’ Nick Bilton.

It wasn’t long before the Internet took the comment and ran with it.

A new Tumblr account popped up with images inspired by the comment, including one from the now-famous “Texts from Hillary” meme.

“Romney still uses binders? LOL,” read the caption attached to a photo of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A freshly minted Twitter account “@RomneysBinder” tweeted out: “Boy, I’m full of women! #debates” and by the end of the debate had more than 30,000 followers. A second @Romneys_Binder handle netted more than 12,000 followers by the end of the debate.

A fake “Binders Full of Women” Facebook account launched shortly after, along with several others. And the domain name was purchased just minutes after the comments came from Romney’s mouth.

Though it didn’t top the 10 million tweets that watchers put out during the first presidential debate, more than 7.2 million tweets poured out from watchers of this second town hall-style event.

A few other moments of this more lively debate caused a stir.

When Romney repeated questioner Lorraine Osorio’s name several times before getting it right, more than 109,000 tweets per minute commented on the moment.

When the candidates first argued directly with each other on Obama’s policy on oil drilling, Twitter comments peaked at 97,000 tweets per minute.

And more than 98,000 comments were tweeted out when Obama jabbed Romney on the size of his pensions.

“I don’t look at my pension, its not as big as yours,” Obama said.

And the same number of tweets -- 98,000 -- came in response to Obama’s answer to a question about how his administration responded to the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Paul Ryan Gets His Own 'Hey Girl' Internet Meme

Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Internet meme that propelled Ryan Gosling to viral Internet heartthrob status took a turn for the political this week, setting its hunky photo captioning prowess upon House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

Both Twitter and Tumblr lit up with photos of the Republican budget maker, overlaid with quirky economy-related tag lines, such as the "Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan" meme was born.

"Hey Girl, go ahead and splurge on those shoes," reads one of the photos posted to the "Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan" microblogging website Tumblr Tuesday. "I'm saving trillions by reforming entitlement programs."

Over a photo of Ryan gazing forward while resting his chin on his hand, another post reads: "Girl, there's a deficit in my heart that only you and an unbridled private sector can fill."

The 5-term congressman has made a name for himself both on and off Capitol Hill of late by proposing sweeping changes to the country's budget, which include deep spending cuts to bring down the federal deficit.

His budget plan passed through the House this year with virtually no Democratic support and was declared dead-on-arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Ryan is supposedly on the short list of vice presidential picks for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The two campaigned together last month in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin.

While Ryan is perhaps the highest-profile politician to be made into a "Hey Girl" meme, the online sensation first went viral last year when photos of actor Ryan Gosling were paired with charming phrases such as "Hey Girl, sometimes I get so sad when we can't watch 'Golden Girls' together."

A similarly simple photo-stream meme made its first salvo into the political realm when two photos of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, clad in sunglasses and texting on her BlackBerry aboard a C-17 military plane, were used to create "Texts from Hillary."

The site paired the photos of Clinton with images of other celebrities (from Oprah to Romney) holding their cellphones along with their imagined text messages.

The Tumblr site soon went viral, and even got a shout-out from Clinton, who met with the site's creators and posted an imagined text of her own.

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker earned himself a spot in Internet memedom as well, after he ran into a burning house to save his neighbor in April.

Days later the site "Super Corey Booker" was born, showcasing photos of a fierce-looking Booker saying, "Time to run into burning buildings and chew bubble gum… and I'm all outta gum!"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


On Capitol Hill, Nick Cannon Talks Online Privacy for Children

Gary Gershoff/WireImage(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Music and television personality Nick Cannon appeared on Capitol Hill Wednesday to endorse a bill aimed at increasing online privacy for children. Appearing at a press conference hosted by Representatives Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Joe Barton, R-Tex., the entertainer said he was concerned about websites and smartphones storing information on young consumers without their knowledge or parental consent.

“Most at that age don’t have the judgment or the maturity to protect themselves from those capable of taking advantage of them by tracking their whereabouts on the Internet,” Cannon said, but he warned it was still a parent’s responsibility to teach the fundamentals of online safety.

“Parental supervision should extend from the playground to the Internet.”

Congressmen Markey and Barton are co-sponsors of the Do Not Track Kids Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that if passed by Congress would require the FCC to enforce strict guidelines limiting the ability of websites, cellular providers, or advertising agencies to use children’s personal data. Specifically, it would prohibit companies from tracking minors and restrict the use of ads targeted to children. It also introduces an “eraser button,” which would allow parents to remove information on their child already circulating the Web. The lawmakers are co-chairs of the Congressional Privacy Caucus.

Outside moral questions of targeted advertising, the lawmakers shared concern over the long-term ramifications of the data storage.

“Children are young and impressionable,” Markey said. “What they say or do online should not haunt them for the rest of their lives. Kids’ personal information can easily be turned and used without their knowledge or turned and used against them.”

The congressman used hypothetical examples to illustrate his point: A young girl bombarded by weight loss ads, or a 21-year-old being denied a job after photos surface of them engaging in underage drinking as a teenager.

“I need some of my online activity erased too,” Cannon later joked.

Cannon, who currently hosts NBC reality show America’s Got Talent, was picked up as a spokesman for Safe Communications, Inc., in February. Some of the company’s products are designed to filter children’s emails and texts for inappropriate content or unknown contacts.

The Do Not Track Kids Act is an amendment to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, an era the lawmakers were quick to point out came long before a wired generation raised on social media. A recent Consumer Reports survey says of the 20 million minors on Facebook, over a third are younger than 13, the minimum age to use the site.

The bill has slowly gained traction since it was first introduced to the House of Representatives in May 2011 but critics say the legislation is over-broad and unenforceable. Justin Brookman of the Center for Democracy and Technology says that if the bill were to pass, even general-purpose websites such as would require a user’s credit card or other strong ID form to verify their age. He doubts it would stand up to scrutiny in federal court.

“It would be extremely expensive for companies to even try to comply with it, which might be technically impossible,” Brookman told ABC News. “Many services would probably just stop operating out of liability concerns.”

In an email interview, Brookman says the “eraser button” would cause the most difficulty given the complex landscape of the Internet.

“Data is so easily copied and repurposed you can’t reasonably expect permanent and persistent deletion of your record.”

Brookman says an easier approach would be wider protections for consumers regardless of age. The theme coincides with a recent call from the White House for a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Website Gets Makeover -- Less than a year to Election Day, the Obama campaign on Friday refreshed the look of its website to more prominently promote its grassroots efforts in key states.

Gone is the opening “I’m in” page leading to the campaign’s blog.  The site now opens to an image-focused layout that highlights constituency outreach groups, fundraising incentives, and an expanded online campaign store where you can buy Obama-Biden-themed basketball jerseys, martini glasses, and Christmas ornaments.

Specific pages for each of the 50 states offer updates posted by field directors about activities and tweets from their volunteers.  

It also prominently features an “Obama’s record in brief” section that lists the president’s accomplishments in six areas: education, energy and environment, equal rights, health care, jobs and economy, and national security.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney’s Google Problem Solves Itself

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- Google seems to be as lukewarm about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney as are Republican voters, who have yet to show more than 25 percent support for the former Massachusetts governor.

Last week when anyone Googled the phrase “Romney can win,” the search engine asked: “Did you mean: ‘Romney can’t win?’”

But after a flurry of recent news stories about the search and suggested search, which were first reported by Slate, the top-secret Google algorithms about the prospects of the on-again-off-again Republican front-runner seem to have changed.

For those searching “Romney can win” this week, Google has ditched its “did you mean” suggestion and has merely underlined the word “can” in red. The change, a Google spokesperson suggests, is purely mechanical and was not done deliberately.

“Our algorithms are automatically refreshed to take into account the latest data available,” the spokesperson said in an email. “With the latest data refresh, the spell-checking feature no longer appears for this particular query.”

Romney’s campaign declined to comment on the search results.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Twitter Followings Shed Light on GOP 2012 Field

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the GOP 2012 horserace well underway, here’s a snapshot of what we know about the field based on the candidates' Twitter followings and integration of the social networking tool into their campaigns:

  • Newt Gingrich has an audience, the largest of the GOP field at 1.3 million, but it’s growing at an anemic pace -- the worst of the field in week-over-week adds.  The former House Speaker won fewer than 100 new followers last week, fewer than any other candidate.
  • Jon Huntsman is no Twitter star. He’s averaging about a tweet a day, since he activated his account a month ago.  And with a following of 6,261, he’s the last in the GOP pack.
  • Michele Bachmann’s Twitter trend reflects her appeal among the conservative grassroots: She’s the only candidate to post consistent weekly growth above 1 percent of her following, which now stands at more than 62,000.
  • Herman Cain has been the most active tweeter over the last three months. His following – 49,000 – puts him smack dab in the middle of Pawlenty and Romney.
  • Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney: The two former governors began the race with similarly sized followings, but Pawlenty has since seen the steepest drop off in weekly percent growth of his base since he launched his presidential bid.  He trails Romney in the supporters race by roughly 15,000 followers.

Does any of this matter?  Yes, says University of Minnesota political communications professor and social media expert Heather LaMarre.  “But it’s not how much you tweet, it’s how much you can get those followers to re-tweet and push out your message for you,” she said.

LaMarre’s research from the 2010 cycle also found a small but statistically significant relationship between the number of a political figure’s followers and winning an election.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Orders Freeze on New Federal Government Websites -- The White House, which has long boasted of its transparency, especially on the Internet, has imposed an immediate freeze on the creation of new federal government websites, saying the current number of nearly 2,000 is “clearly ridiculous.”

Jeffrey Zients, federal chief performance officer, told reporters the government should be able to save millions under a new effort to consolidate and eliminate one quarter of the dot-gov sites in the next few months.  

Zients announced an immediate halt to the launch of any new websites, and said the Office of Management and Budget will cut the overall number of federal websites by “more than one thousand” in a year.

Vice President Biden, who calls himself “Sheriff Joe” for the administration’s enforcement efforts, sent out an email message targeting one particular website sponsored by several government entities, on behalf of the desert tortoise.      

“I'm sure it's a wonderful species,” the vice president deadpanned, "but we can't afford to have a standalone site devoted to every member of the animal kingdom. It's just one of hundreds of government websites that should be consolidated or eliminated."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Administration Unveils Strategy for International Cybersecurity

John Foxx/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration's first-of-its-kind “International Strategy For Cyberspace” details the White House's vision for a secure Internet and calls for tougher global standards for cybersecurity, but while long on goals, the strategy falls short on specifics.

The cyberspace envisioned by the administration is defined broadly by four characteristics: open to innovation, interoperable the world over, secure enough to earn people’s trust, and reliable enough to support their work. To realize this future the strategy calls for enhanced diplomacy, defense and development.

“The United States will work internationally to promote an open, interoperable, secure and reliable information and communications infrastructure that supports international trade and commerce, strengthens international security, and fosters free expression and innovation,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a White House event Monday afternoon to launch the new strategy.
“To achieve that goal we will build and sustain an environment in which norms of responsible behavior guide states’ actions, sustain partnerships, and support the rule of law in cyberspace,” she said.

The strategy released Monday articulates for the first time the principles that guide the government’s cybersecurity efforts.

“This is a strategy that goes beyond any single department or agency. It is not an implementation plan for a particular program or a particular part of government. It is about the principles that unite our nation, the vision that unites our policy and the priorities that unite our government,” Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan said.

The administration envisions an international coalition to heighten global defenses against cyber attacks and protect Internet freedoms. The strategy calls for international cybersecurity standards and emphasizes consequences for "hostile acts in cyberspace."

The wide scope of the strategy was evident in the range of speakers at Monday’s event.  Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt also spoke at the event.
The State, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce and Justice Departments will all participate in shaping the strategy going forward. According to Brennan, in six months the White House will assess the agencies' progress at meeting the policy goals outlined in the plan.

Last week the administration sent Congress the first-ever cybersecurity legislative proposal, and on Monday Brennan reiterated that the administration is eager to work with Congress to enact a cybersecurity bill.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jon Stewart Revives Rick Santorum's 'Google Problem'

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, who turned 53 on Tuesday, is trending high in the Google-sphere, but not for the reasons he’d like.

Daily Show host Jon Stewart revived Santorum’s so-called “Google problem” Monday night on his show, encouraging viewers to search ‘Rick Santorum’ and see what they find.

The top results are a less than flattering mix of links to web sites that associate his name with a sex act.

“Santorum might as well change his last name to lemon party,” joked Stewart.

The search results have been the fixation of gay rights advocates since 2003, when blogger Dan Savage mobilized online supporters to create a new definition for Santorum after he publicly compared gay sex to pedophilia and bestiality.

Using a network of cross links and by driving up “clicks,” the activists have succeeded in keeping their definition at the top of search returns.

“There's no better way to memorialize the Santorum scandal than by attaching his name to a sex act that would make his big, white teeth fall out of his big, empty head,” Savage said at the time.

Santorum, who has said he believes homosexuality will “undermine the fabric of our society,” has acknowledged the controversy but sought to downplay its significance.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clinton to Promote 'Freedom to Connect' in Internet Freedom Speech

Photo Courtesy - Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be at George Washington University on Tuesday to deliver what’s billed as a major address on Internet freedom, promoting what she calls the “freedom to connect.”

Clinton's address will follow a similar speech last year, and comes just days after Egypt, Iran and other countries in that region have tried to manipulate Internet access to quell uprisings.

A top aide to Clinton says she will “reaffirm U.S. support for a free and open Internet and underscore the importance of safeguarding both liberty and security, transparency and confidentiality, and freedom of expression and tolerance.”

According to excerpts made available from her remarks, Clinton will defend an open Internet.

"We are convinced that an open Internet fosters long-term peace, progress and prosperity.  The reverse is also true.  An Internet that is closed and fractured, where different governments can block activity or change the rules on a whim -- where speech is censored or punished, and privacy does not exist -- that is an Internet that can cut off opportunities for peace and progress and discourage innovation and entrepreneurship,” she will say.

“History has shown us that repression often sows the seeds for revolution down the road.  Those who clamp down on Internet freedom may be able to hold back the full impact of their people’s yearnings for a while, but not forever… Leaders worldwide have a choice to make.  They can let the Internet in their countries flourish, and take the risk that the freedoms it enables will lead to a greater demand for political rights.  Or they can constrict the Internet, choke the freedoms it naturally sustains -- and risk losing all the economic and social benefits that come from a networked society,” Secretary Clinton will declare.

Clinton will also reference the important role the Internet has played in recent Mideast uprisings.

“There is a debate underway in some circles about whether the Internet is a force for liberation or repression.  But as the events in Iran, Egypt and elsewhere have shown, that debate is largely beside the point.  The Internet isn’t good or bad.  It is both.  It is neither.  What matters is what people who go online do there, and what principles should guide us as we come together in cyberspace.  That question becomes more urgent every day,” she plans to say.

Secretary Clinton will also proclaim the “freedom to connect,” saying “the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association online comprise what I have called the freedom to connect.  The United States supports this freedom for people everywhere, and we have called on other nations to do the same.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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