The Switchboard: Imagery of ISIS execution of American journalist scrubbed from Twitter


The Twitter logo . (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard is your morning helping of hand-picked stories from the Switch team.

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Foley video, photos being scrubbed from Twitter. "The militant group Islamic State in Iraq released a video on Tuesday that appeared to show the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley," The Switch's Nancy Scola reports -- and Twitter has been trying to stop its spread, suspending accounts and scrubbing links to the video. Twitter policy says it will remove imagery of the deceased from near the moments of their death if requested by family or other authorized persons.

Uber hires former Obama adviser David Plouffe to wage a war on taxis. "Uber's self-described campaign against "Big Taxi" took a major turn on Tuesday when it announced that it's hired former Obama adviser David Plouffe as its senior vice president for policy and strategy," reports The Post's Brian Fung. Uber also announced a pilot project called "Corner Store" to deliver convenience store goods in the D.C. area -- but its initial delivery zones include only wealthy parts of the city.

Why CSIS’ Twitter faux pas was worse than that time the Red Cross got slizzerd. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, a prominent Washington think tank accidentally tweeted at Amnesty International endorsing interventionism and telling the human rights organization to "suck it." The rogue tweet was sent by an intern intending to share the message from his personal account, according to CSIS which has since deleted and apologized for it. But the reason it was worse than other social media slip ups was that it focused on issues the organization actually works on -- and was tangential to the ongoing chaos in Ferguson, Mo.

New study shows exactly how patent trolls destroy innovation. Over at Vox, former Switcher Timothy B. Lee reports on a new study from researchers at Harvard and the University of Texas that hows how non-practicing entities -- also called patent troll by critics -- hurt innovation. "Firms that are forced to pay NPEs (either because they lost a lawsuit or settled out of court) dramatically reduce R&D spending" according to the study, which also found "evidence that trolls discourage innovation even before they file lawsuits."

Why the Congressional Black Caucus is urging the FCC to save the sports blackout rule. "Members of the Congressional Black Caucus want to save a controversial rule whose critics say makes it impossible for sports fans to watch their local teams," reports The Switch's Brian Fung. "In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, over a dozen black lawmakers said repealing the sports blackout rule, as at least one FCC commissioner has suggested, would hurt the business model that supports sports leagues like the NFL, as well as broadcasters."

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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