Propaganda War

Shooting down a passenger jet has exposed some good old-fashioned Soviet-style propaganda. It’s not as good as some of Putin’s efforts, but it’s interesting to watch.

The Wayback Machine has captured some very interesting evidence that Russian-backed terrorists shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. In a post by Igor Girkin on Vkontakte, Russia’s Facebook clone, the Ukrainian terrorist leader who is also known as Strelkov, claimed his forces downed what he thought was a Ukrainian military transport plane.

The Russian-backed terrorist claims he shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was caught by the Wayback Machine and publicized on their Twitter account, @InternetArchive ( See The Christian Science Monitor article that translates the content and provides a timeline of the attempts by the terrorists to hide this and blame the Ukraine government.

Meanwhile over at Wikipedia, the Twitter account @RuGovEdits monitors Wikipedia edits by the Russian government. It reveals Russia’s efforts to shift the blame to the Ukrainian government. Putin’s office and Russian media outlets made multiple edits to the page for the murder of the MH17 passengers to blame the “Ukrainian military”. @RuGovEdits should be trustworthy as the Wiki-twitterbot code is widely available on Github.

Getting to Know the Neighbourhood — Searching Facebook

Facebook Graph API Search

You may search publicly available information on Facebook via their Graph API at The Graph API provides access to Facebook objects like people, photos, events etc. and the connections between them like friends, tags, shared content etc. via a uniform and consistent Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) to access the representation. Every object can be accessed using the the URL, where ID stands for the unique ID for the object in the social graph.


Blippy allows its users to connect their bank accounts and credit cards to Blippy “to automatically or manually post your purchases so that your followers may view them.” It also syncs existing e-commerce accounts to Blippy such as iTunes, Netflix, Woot, eBay and more. Blippy will then ‘tweet’ each purchase, where it was purchased, and the cost. Many of the pictures have imbedded geolocation metadata.

Getting to Know the Neighbourhood

In a previous article I wrote about social media as the new neighbourhood that must be navigated and interrogated to gather information. This article deals with part of the learning process you will need to undergo to understand this neighbourhood.

RSS Feeds

To keep abreast of topics that interest you, in this case things you normally investigate, you will first need to set-up Google Reader to gather background information.  Using Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds will give you a summary of recent content and headlines. To find useful RSS feeds, use the RSS Search Engine and search by topic.

Google News

Create a complex query to narrow the results. Once ther query starts tp provide useful results click on the RSS button at the bottom of the page and copy the URL of the page. Go to Google Reader and add this URL as a subscription.

Google Blog Search

Do the same as the above for Blog searches.

In the next article in this series I will deal with tracking Wikipedia.

Collectors and FaceBook

In Florida, a Judge ordered a debt collection agency not to use social media in attempting to locate woman or her family. In Canada, you may specify to the collection agency when and where it can call you. A collection agency is not permitted to contact you at times and in places where you’ve asked it not to, such as a place of work or presumably through Facebook for example. If you have asked the agency not to contact you at a certain location or time and the agency contacts you at that location or time, then the agency may be subject to prosecution. It is likely that this extends to using Facebook, though I have not seen any similar cases like the one in Florida here in Canada.

Managing reputation through search results

Karen Blakeman’s Blog has an interesting article on removing unwanted references in Google and social media.

Removing information about you from Google

…you cannot make Google remove information you do not like except in very specific circumstances, for example copyrighted material on YouTube, images of you or your house on Street View.

…oft cited example of  how not to tackle bad publicity is that of Nestle. (Just Google Nestle social media fail or Nestle social media disaster.) “Nestle fails at social media