Twitter users erupted in anger Saturday after discovering shirts listed on Amazon with a slogan that appeared to promote rape and violence against women.
The shirt read "Keep Calm and Rape On" and was available on Amazon's UK website. The company that prints the shirts, U.S.-based Solid Gold Bomb, removed the listing after it was notified of the slogan.FULL STORY
Call it the Super Bowl MVP - the most valuable power outage.
For 35 bewildering minutes Sunday night, the Super Bowl showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers ground to a halt when half of the lights in the New Orleans Superdome went out.
Players stretched on the field. The more than 71,000 fans in attendance did the wave.
And with no immediate explanation for the outage, social media lit up.FULL STORY
Twitter is coming forward as the latest site to be hacked. The social network said in a blog post Friday afternoon that approximately 250,000 user accounts were potentially compromised, with attackers gaining access to information including user names and email addresses.
The company first detected signs of an attack earlier in the week, which led to an investigation and the discovery of a larger breach.
"This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later," said Bob Lord, Twitter's director of information security, in a post. "However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information."
Sweden's tourist board decided to try to drum up interest in the country recently by handing control of the national Twitter account to a different Swedish citizen every week.
They got what they wanted.
In fact, this week, they may have gotten more than they wanted.
The current curator of @Sweden is a foul-mouthed mother of two who has tweeted photos of herself breastfeeding and of a dish she called strawberries with milk and urine. She's also made a joke about Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury having AIDS, the disease that led to his death.
This week, Newark, New Jersey, Mayor CoryÂ Booker rushed into a burning building to rescue a neighbor.Â That wasn't the first time Booker has gone above and beyond the standard mayoral duties for his constituents.Â You Gotta Watch Brick City's leader at work.
Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker rescues his next door neighbor from her burning home. CNN's Mary Snow reports.
Mayor Corey Booker of Newark, New Jersey, explains why he went door to door to encourage residents to seek shelter.
Mayor Cory Booker helps citizens dig out of the snow in Newark, New Jersey.
Forest Whitaker has a new documentary about Mayor Cory Booker and his efforts to turn around Newark, New Jersey.
Editor's note: This post is part of theÂ Overheard on CNN.comÂ series, a regular featureÂ that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
"Drone came by yesterday. I was sitting on the can. Asked what I was doing...snapped a few pics. I flushed. 'Why do you want to know?' 'Just doing my job, sir ... just wondering what you were doing.' 'Look suspicious?' 'Not sure ... you were sitting, not standing, right?' 'Right,' I said. 'I'll put that in my report ... why did you flush so fast?' 'I was done.' 'You know that can't be verified, sir.' 'Sorry,' I said. 'We'll be watching,' it said. Then it left. Yes, without another word, it flew away and disappeared into the blue, afternoon sky like the brilliant cyber creature that it surly was."
Comedian Dean Obeidallah wrote a column expounding on the government's Twitter searches. Readers responded with comedic takes of their own.
Some suggested we ought to watch the government.
rlowens1: "Perhaps, we can clean up Washington, if we insist that all candidates for public office, should they be elected, consent to have ALL of their communications monitored for the duration they are in office? Sure, it infringes on their civil rights. But, isn't that ok, as long as it furthers the public interests and improves security for us all? That is the argument they're using on us."
Others wanted to sabotage the effort.
FoxTS: "So in short, everyone should make sure to use 5-7 of these words in at least two posts every day. Thus making this data mining project all but useless."
ENDFEDNOW: "Smallpox, virus, nerve gas, anthrax, dirty bomb, radioactive, nuclear facility, and hummus ought to do the trick... ;-)"
rlowens1: "No, that would just make it more expensive."
Imagine your breakfast on a billboard.
Republican presidential candidateÂ Mitt Romney made $42.7 million over the past two years and paid $6.2 million in taxes, newly released documents show.
Romney and his wife, Ann, filed a joint 1040 reporting $21.7 million in 2010 income and $3 million in federal taxes. They also said their 2011 income was $21 million and tax bill was $3.2 million.Â Over the two years,Â Romney's effective tax rateÂ - the percentage of his income that he owed in federal income taxes - was just under 14%.
Nevertheless, and contrary to popular perception, Romney's effective federal income tax rate is still above that of many Americans - 80% of whom have an effective rate below 15%. That tax rate is higher when other federal taxes - such as the payroll tax - are included.
And there's nothing that gets people revved up like peering into someone else's taxes to learn more about their wealth, especially when they're running for office. So you know that people were abuzz this morning trying to dissect it all, that is, if they could wrap their heads around it.
It appears Romney and his campaign knew that too, and expected the onslaught. If you did a search on Twitter for "Romney Taxes" "Romney Tax Returns" or "Romney" you saw an interesting promoted tweet, meaning someone paid for that tweet to show up at the top of the heap.
And judging by the tweet, Romney's camp must have thought, if people are going to be searching around, we ought to offer a message.
For the most part, the conversation online seemed more focused on what Romney's overall taxes show about America, rather than the candidate himself.
Rick Newman, the chief business correspondent for US News & World Report, tweeted a statistic that seemed to characterize what others were thinking.
A majority of the comments we saw online showed that many folks, while they may have been a bit revolted by the mass amount of money Romney makes, found that more of the problem was our tax code or a major gap divide between the wealthy and middle class.
There's no doubt this year has been one filled with dramatic news events. There have been global natural disasters and world-shaping revolutions in Arab nations in the Middle East and North Africa. There have been deaths marking the end of successful careers and also those of long-time dictators or terrorists.
And some might say 2011 more than any other year was one influenced by you, by what you were saying, what you were doing, what you were sharing and what you were contributing to the news. Some of the major news stories of the year even began with you, whether you were uploading photos and videos from the dramatic Arab Spring uprisings, capturing the devastation after an earthquake and tsunami in Japan, or commenting on the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Moammar Gadhafi. In an increasingly mobile world, news rippled through our social spheres at rapid paces this year.
So it is interesting to examine what Twitter has released as its top news stories and trending topics of the year. CNN has also taken a look and created our own year in review.Â But we want you to vote onÂ what you think the biggest and most important stories of the year were.
In some cases, the similarities between CNN's list and Twitter's list make complete sense. Certain stories were prevalent no matter where you were or where you get your news. But naturally, because certain movements began or were influenced more by social networking or citizen journalism like CNN's iReport (the revolutions in Arab nations, Occupy Wall Street and others), some rank higher on Twitter's list. It's an interesting dynamic between two forms of media that are constantly dovetailing.
Many of the top news stories also found their way into being the top hashtag topics of the year (#egypt, #tigerblood, thanks to Charlie Sheen, and #japan), Twitter reported.
So without further ado, here's a look at some of the stories Twitter says were the biggest topics of 2011. You can read the full list here.
1. Mubarak's resignation
When Hosni Mubarak's decades-long rule over EgyptÂ came to an end in February, Cairo's Tahrir Square was a scene of jubilation, as hundreds of thousands of people celebrated the fall of a man many had feared for years.
[Updated at 10:41 a.m. ET] Research in Motion says BlackBerry service is fully restored globally after its worst-ever outage, CNNMoney.com reports.
The president of BlackBerry's parent company apologized Thursday for the device's worldwide service outage, and said service levels are improving in many areas.
"I apologize for the service outages this week," said Mike Lazaridis, who is also the founder and co-CEO of Research in Motion, in a videotaped message on the company's website . "We've let many of you down. But let me assure you that we're working around the clock to fix this."
But that hasn't satisfied many irritated users.
And naturally, when you take away the ability for tapped in people to communicate, they will find a way to communicate their anger about it - loudly. So many BlackBerry users have taken to one of the technological democratic forums, Twitter, to share their grievances.
A lot of the chatter has focused on users threatening to ditch their BlackBerry phones for other competitors.
Some joked that their long relationship with the company, was turning into such a bad experience it was like having a fight with their significant other that appeared to be leaning towards a break-up.
Some focused on how their device was completely unusable without data capabilities.
Twitter users and bloggers were keen Sunday to share tributes to the victims and heroes of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Frequently used Twitter hashtags included #Sept11, #NeverForget, #WTC, #FDNY, #Wherewereyou, #911whereiwas, #NYC, #godblessamerica, and #RIP 9 (which probably was supposed to be 9/11, but Twitter cut it off after the slash).
While many tweets sounded the same notes of honor for the dead and condolence to their families, a few stood out. Some examples:
FDNYnews: Today we honor the 343 #FDNY members & thousands of others killed 10 years ago. They were all heroes.
Queen Rania of Jordan: As we remember that tragic morning ten years ago today, let us work together for better understanding and reconciliation.
1PolicePlaza: Today we remember the 23 NYPD Officers, NYC's finest that were killed at the site of the WTC.
Anonym_Iran: On 2001/09/11, thousands and thousands Iranians went instantly in the streets with candles in homage to the victims.
Rachel Sklar, editor-at-large, Mediaite.com: Hold ya head, NYC ... still the greatest city in the world. Salute, 143 (143 is code for "I love you")
JennymontyinSD (Jennifer Montgomery): I was working in the US Capitol, the Let's Roll heroes of Flight 93 prob saved my life. Peace, Love, & Remembrance to all.
Pandaa_TC: It's hard to think that the victims of 9/11 were home sleeping in bed with their families 10 years ago. RIP 9/11.
Jeffhardyforevr, a New Yorker named Dawn: Unfulfilled unfinished undone and innocent. The sadness n stress is washing over me like a black cloud. Miss you SO much Joey RIP 9/11/01
New York poet Amalie Flynn completed a year-long project to post a short poem every day to remember 9/11 and honor its victims and heroes on her blog at http://septembereleventh.wordpress.com/.
A blogger called Star Bear on WordPress.com wrote, among other things, "Things are changing, some minds are changing. There are quiet, joyful voices singing in harmony. Peace to you this day, may your heart be filled with peace - and joy."
British Home Secretary Theresa May will sit down with officials from the social media industry Thursday, her office said, as the government considers trying to ban people from social networking during or after crises.
Twitter, Facebook, and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion all declined to say what position they would take at the meeting.
Top police officers and other government officials will also be present for the meeting, which follows riots that swept England earlier this month.
Prime Minister David Cameron suggested limits on social networking in the wake of the unrest.FULL STORY
Ai Weiwei is back, and he's not taking any prisoners.
His Twitter missives, however, which began Monday night after a lengthy hiatus, may land the controversial contemporary artist back in a Chinese prison. In one tweet, he directly accused the government of illegally detaining innocent people who had connections to him.
Ai, who was released from prison in June after a three-month stint on tax evasion charges that some observers alleged were trumped up, had been instructed by the government to keep a low profile and to rein in his social-media activity. He had obliged until this week.
An outspoken critic of China's human rights record, Ai had loudly accused the government of trying to silence dissidents before his April detention. His Twitter account went silent shortly thereafter, and his mother told CNN no one heard from him for 43 days.
When he was released, he seemed subdued, telling a Radio Free Asia reporter outside his Beijing home, "I can't talk about anything."
A new law in Missouri that makes it illegal for teachers to privately contact current or former students on Facebook and other social networking sites is not a friend of education, teaching professionals told CNN on Monday.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jane Cunningham and signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon, is set to take effect August 28, about two weeks after the school year has started for the majority of Missouri schools.
Cunningham was quick to point out Monday that despite what was being circulated on the Web about the law it didn't stop teachers from talking to students online.
"The law doesn't prohibit social media contact," Cunningham told CNN. "If anybody says it does then they have not read the law," she said. "It just stops exclusivity, we just want those conversations to be available to the parents and school districts,â€ť Cunningham said.
So while social networking sites would be OK - as long as the communication was public - conversations that take place, say, in Facebook's built-in e-mail feature or Twitter's direct messaging feature may be unlawful.
[Updated at 3:06 p.m.] Another interesting observation from CNN's Shawna Shepherd: Obama answers at least twice as many questions at twitter @townhall than he usually answers at news conferences in same time frame.
So, does that make this a successful forum to look towards in the future? Surely the pundits will bounce that around later.
[Updated at 3:03 p.m.] Welfare spending question gets a reaction from the audience.The person asking the question basically said that people won't try hard if everything is handed to them.
"Some welfare programs in the past were not well-defined, and did encourage dependency," Obama acknowledged.
However, Obama said the focus in social programs should be to give folks the tools to get in the work force and "let them know that we are there to support you and encourage you as long as you're showing responsibility."
[Updated at 2:59 p.m.] Next up: Military spending. Obama proudly touts troop withdrawal plans.
He notes that while changes have to be made you can't just hack at the defense budget without making sure you're still being safe and being committed to veterans returning home. Another problem? Outdated equipment. But as Commander-in-Chief there's a fine line to walk between trying to cut some money but making sure we have the tools we need to protect ourselves, he says.
[Updated at 2:55 p.m.] CNN's Becky Brittain (@beckybcnn) notes: POTUS takes a break from economy and energy and answers question re: #NASA.
Obama discusses how private sectors will take the lead on the commercial aspect and the government on some groundbreaking innovations.
CNNMoney.com's @AnnCenskyÂ enjoys part of the response: "Obama: Letâ€™s ultimately get to Mars â€“ a good pit stop is an asteroid! @townhall #askobama"
[Updated at 2:51 p.m.] Now we're getting to more real-time questions.
One question is about tax cuts and bringing them back to Bush standards. It's a question Obama is likely used to hearing these days and will continue to hear when he has to hit the campaign trail again.
Obama says the tax cut issue isn't one that needs to be radical, but instead a balanced approached. It's one he says he's already put out there. Now he just had to get everyone on board.
CNNMoney.com's @AnnCensky notes : Obama wants to make bush tax cuts permanent for low and moderate income folks â€“ 98% of Americans, he says. @townhall #askobama
Newsweek and its new editor Tina Brown aren't just reporting the news, they've become the story this week after publishing a computer-generated cover photo showing Princess Diana and Kate Middleton side by side.
The women are dressed similarly, wearing hats, their heads facing toward each other as if they are walking together. The cover accompanies a fictional piece Brown authored which imagines how Di's life might have turned out had she not died in a 1997 car crash in Paris. Another couple of photos inside in the magazine are eye-catching. They are of Diana and the daughter-in-law she never knew wearing similar red dresses.
The issue is pegged to what would have been Diana's 50th birthday on Friday.
Here's a sampling of Brown's take on Diana in 2011: "Gliding sleekly into her 40s, her romantic taste would have moved to men of power over boys of play."
Diana would have had a Facebook page with millions of followers and named "Bridget Jones' Diary" as one of her favorite movies. She would have lived in a New York City loft and been married at least twice to men on both sides of the Atlantic. She would have enjoyed front-row seating next to Victoria Beckham during New York's Fashion Week, owned an iPhone andÂ been totally devoted to philanthropic causes when not doting on sons Harry and William.
Many have found the digital manipulation of Diana and Brown's imagining of the princess' future revolting.
The London Telegraph called the cover photo "ghoulish" and dubbed Brown "Newsweek's grave robber."Â The newspaper supposes Newsweek's motivation was to sell magazines. E! Online wrote a story titled "Bad taste alert!"Â Jezebel, which reports on issues related to women, penned a reaction under the headline "Undead Princess Strolls with Kate Middletown on Ridiculous Newsweek Cover."Â Mediaite's Lizzie Manning said she didn't take issue with Brown's creative prose. It was the photos that creeped Manning outÂ , more than Brown's writing. Popular blog Cafemom criticized Brown in an open letter to her, addressing Brown as Bonnie Fuller, the American magazine editor famous for print tabloid entertainment.
"You took a woman who has been dead for 14 years and made up an entire story about what she would look like, where she would be living (the Big Apple of course!), what she would be doing (apparently lots of Botox!), and perhaps most importantly, what she would be wearing (Galliano - the anti-Semite - and J.Crew a la Michelle Obama!) ... if she were still alive today," Cafemom wrote. "This is pure brilliance. I've never understood why a magazine called Newsweek would waste its time having reporters write about current events or world affairs when it could simply make up stuff."
The British Brown, new to the helm at the news magazine, formerly edited the New Yorker and founded the Daily Beast. She is well-known for her observations about British politics and culture, as well as American culture.
Wednesday morning, Brown explained why she wrote the story the way she did.
"I wanted to make her a time traveler," she said, adding that she viewed Diana as a "global, mover shaker kind of woman."
"She loved the limelight but she would have professionalized all that humanitarian giving," Brown said. "She would have been very much a woman of our time."
The Newsweek package isn't without straight reporting. The magazine highlights causes Diana championed by tracking how much good they've done after her death.
And the magazine isn't the only media outlet pondering what Diana would have been like at 50. The U.K.'s Daily Express newspaper also published a digitally aged image of Diana's face. It also is not the first magazine to attempt a fictionalized story about a famous and beloved life cut short. In April 2008, Esquire magazine imagined, in narrative form, what actor Heath Ledger's last few days alive might have been like. Ledger died of an accidental drug overdose that year. The magazine's editor at the time insisted the piece was neither stunt nor gimmick.
For a certain age group, the words to the theme song of the public television children's show "Reading Rainbow" brings back warm, fuzzy memories.
Butterfly in the sky/I can go twice as high/take a look/it's in a book/a reading rainbow...
Yeah, sing along. It's OK. And now it's OK to sing it in public because the show's former host LeVar Burton is planning to lead a flash mob of people singing that sweet song.
The Billboard Music Awards aired Sunday night on ABC with a bevy of top performances from musicâ€™s luminaries.
Rihanna. Taylor Swift. Lady Antebellum. Justin Bieber. All the big names won awards. But as it goes with awards shows, it was the performances that made the show.
Keith Urban turned in a spirited performance of "Long Hot Summer." Mary J Blige and Lil Wayne performed "Someone to Love." The Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj all took turns on the stage.
Beyonce, who took home the Billboard Millennium Award, rocked the place into a frenzy. The singer delighted fans with a fiery performance of her new single, â€śWho Run the World (Girls)" before receiving the award from her mother, Tina Knowles.
On Twitter Sunday night, the eventâ€™s goings-on were heavily and hilariously tweeted,Â with Lady Antebellum, Billboards, Black Eyed Peas and Fergie all being top Twitter topics.
In February the social networking site was posited by Twitter CEO Dick CostoloÂ as a â€śsecond screenâ€ť alongside live TV shows, turning television broadcasts into interactive social networking affairs.
And Sunday night was no exception. The hilarious tweets were coming rapidly.
BobbyJamess tweeted, "That awkward moment when Tina Knowles is trending & BeyoncĂ© isn't."
It was that kind of night.
Beyonce's performance Sunday capped an impressive week in which she debuted the long-form version of the lead single from her forthcoming album, "4," and released the cover art for the project.
â€śI first want to start off by thanking my foundation, my family," she said. "I like to thank my father for teaching me so much about the music industry ... I like to thank (former Destiny's Child members) Kelly and Michelle," she said.
Rihanna won top female artist, screaming â€śRihanna Naveeeey," an endearing term for her legion of fans, into the mic in what passed for a short acceptance speech.
For those of you who haven't been paying attention,Â it could be your last day here on Earth.
At 6 p.m. Saturday,Â according to radio host Harold Camping,Â the Day of Rapture and the start of Judgment Day begins.
At this writing there have been no reports of people being taken up into heaven, but plenty of folks are talking about it.
Jim Brenneman, a cartoonist and CNN iReporter in Marcellus, New York, said he expects to remain on Earth, but you never know.
"Although I assume that I've lived a sinful life and will probably be here on Sunday, there is a small chance that maybe I was better than I thought and might get sucked up into the heavens on Saturday with all the other self-righteous wing nuts," he said. "If that happens, feel free to have my stuff. But probably not! Let the Looting Begin! HAPPY APOCALYPSE EVERYONE!!"
Brenneman posted a cartoon envisioning himselfÂ being caught up.
Another iReporter, Greg Reese, created an entertaining - and thought-provoking - video from interviews with people on the streets of Cincinnati.
The top Twitter trend on Saturday morning was #endoftheworldconfessions. Among them:
Lord_Valdemort7: "I 'let the dogs out.' It was me."
Firenzeii: "You know your cute little bunny rabbit? The one you called Fluffy and loved more than anything else? I ate him."
BiebersNachos: "I loved, I love and I will always love this sexy badass singer called Justin Drew Bieber :)"
WagTheFox: "You really do look fat in those jeans. There. I said it."
CNN iReporter Jutka T. Emoke Barabas from Honolulu just isn't that into the Rapture.
"We have better things to do, like take care of our environment," the iReporter said. "Today we should reflect about what we could do that our planet would be a better and more livable place for everyone in the future and not think about the end of our planet."
She said she drewÂ a picture of Earth covered with different trees because she was tired of hearing about all this "doomsday business." While still on the Earth, Barabas suggested, "just plant a tree."
She said she plans to do just that on Sunday for the people affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
CNN iReporter Cameron Harrelson, 16, from southern Georgia, started researching the idea of Saturday as Judgment Day after his literature teacher had students express their thoughts on the day in their class journals.
"The Bible tells us no man, not even Jesus, knows the day he will return," Harrelson said, and so those predicting the day are trying to elevate themselves to the status of God.
"I am ready if it happens tonight a 6 o'clock, but I don't think it is very likely," he said.