New York State Governments Are One of the Most Frequent Requesters of Twitter Account Information in the World

Last week, the Manhattan District Attorney's office subpoenaed Twitter, Inc. for any information the company might have pertaining to the identity of @bicyclelobby, a parody account created last year as a response to the ravings of Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz. The fact that two German artists claimed responsibility for the flags on Tuesday--and they have the video to back them up--only further confirms how absurd this request was.

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NYPD Encourages Everyone To Tweet Their Photos With the Cops, Things Go Predictably Awry

Photo by C.S. Muncy
A woman is arrested at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration protesting police brutality.
When government agencies and social media meet in the beautiful golden field of Twitter, nothing can go awry, right? That timeless principle was demonstrated yet again this afternoon, when someone at the New York Police Department got a brilliant idea: encourage the citizenry to tweet their photos with the cops! They can use the hashtag #MyNYPD, and we can all come away with a renewed appreciation for the beautiful and sensitive ways the police protect and serve New Yorkers. Maybe some of them will even show up on the department's official Facebook page.

Or, um, not. Former Village Voice staff writer Nick Pinto said it best:

We are certain you can guess what happened next.

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The Castle Braid vs. Occupy Bushwick Fight Has Devolved Into a Highly Entertaining, Possibly Fake Twitter Brawl

Image via Google Maps.
Castle Braid's exterior at 114 Troutman Street in Bushwick
For months, there's been a battle raging in Bushwick between Castle Braid, a pricey condo building "custom-built to enable the artist," as their website puts it, and Occupy Bushwick, who accuse Castle Braid of failing to provide affordable housing, despite receiving a generous tax abatement that required them to do just that. OB also accuses Castle Braid of flooding the neighborhood with credit-card-wielding, barely post-college youngsters whose parents will offset the cost of the eyebrow-raising rents (between $1,700 and $2,200 for a one-bedroom, up to $3,300 for a three-bedroom). The local 99 percenters responded to Castle Braid's general existence by circling the property with police tape that read "Occupy" a few months back.

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Feminist Comedians Raised $50,000 During an Abortion Access Telethon, and Conservative Twitter's Heads Exploded

Screenshot via Ladyparts Justice
Lizz Winstead, Sarah Silverman, and a giant stuffed vulva raise money for Texas abortion access.
As you may have heard, there's a public health emergency going down in Texas, where a far-reaching abortion ban has made the procedure virtually impossible for many women to obtain. The law in question, HB 2, went into effect on November 1. It shuttered about one-third of the abortion clinics in the state, and created a new requirement that physicians who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, an impossibility for many rural doctors.

The remaining clinics are now stretched to the breaking point, and the nonprofit foundations that help women pay for abortions are quickly running out of money. The Supreme Court is now deciding whether to block the law's implementation while it's being appealed in a lower court; in a brief to the Supremes, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott argued that the law wasn't hurting anyone. No one he cares about, anyway.

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"No One Threw Coins at the Fuckin' Jews:" Pine Bush Reacts to Being Called Anti-Semitic

Image via.
Pine Bush High School.
On Friday, the New York Times lobbed a bombshell upstate: a story about allegations of anti-Semitism in the Pine Bush Central School District, an hour and a half north of the city, spanning across several small towns. Three Jewish families are suing the district, alleging widespread and fairly nasty harassment against their kids and other Jewish children, harassment they say the district knew about and did virtually nothing to stop.

Several children gave testimony in the lawsuit last year, and the incidents they described and which the NYT recounted are disturbing: swastikas drawn everywhere, including on a seventh-grade girl's face as she was held down by two boys. Middle school students being called "Christ killer," "stupid Jew," "disgusting Jew," and being subjected to jokes about the Holocaust. Several students also alleged that they'd had coins thrown at them, a practically medieval form of insult. According to the suit, some students were given detention or sent to counseling, and some weren't disciplined at all. (In reporting the story, the NYT was given a fun bonus in the form of one John Barker, mechanic and proud civic booster, who said of Jewish families, "We don't want them in our town.")

The article had an immediate effect: Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a joint statement with New York Congressman Patrick Maloney, pledging "a full state and federal response" to the allegations. Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a letter/press release to State Education Commissioner Dr. John King, asking if his department had heard about these incidents, and informing him that the state police and the Division of Human Rights would be investigating.

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Government Twitter Accounts Are Among the First Casualties of the Shutdown

Categories: Twitter

The government officially shut down at midnight, which means that, for the time being, only essential government services will be in operation.

High on the list of government services deemed "nonessential" is the management of federal Twitter accounts.

Along with the national parks, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Library of Congress--all of which have effectively closed for business--Twitter accounts for NOAA Hurricane Hunters, NASA Voyager 2, and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife (among many, many others) are going dark during the shutdown.

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New Visualizations of the Geography of Twitter Use in New York City

If you ever wanted to know the places in New York City with the largest number of people standing on street corners, eyes glazed over, tapping out 140 characters about last night's Game of Thrones, look no further. Twitter data scientist Nicolas Garcia Belmonte has developed topographical maps of Twitter use in the city using geolocated tweets. Manhattan blows every other borough out of the water, with midtown demonstrating the highest loads in the aggregate. A little hard on the eyes, but reminds us of what is true enough: You can find a lot of New York on Twitter.

See some renderings after the jump.

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How to Become a #Time #Magazine #Power #Tweeter

Today, Time magazine published its annual list of the 140 Best Twitter Feeds (in the world!). The list is full of cultural tastemakers, newshounds and celebrities--but it seems to missing something. That's right, it's missing you. You didn't make the list, despite your tireless dedication to Twitter and the Twitter arts. Put down that bottle of Wild Turkey and your grandfather's old service revolver; we have some tips on how to get on Time's list next year.

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Meet Your Friendly Neighborhood Great White Shark

Categories: Animals, Twitter

Mary Lee.jpg
Ocearch's Facebook page for Mary Lee shows her checking in Near Martha's Vineyard.

Her name is Mary Lee, she weighs 3,500 pounds, she's swimming around near the Hamptons, and she's writing about her adventures on Twitter. (She's even invented her own shark smiley face, fin and all.)

The social media-saavy shark sure gets around fast. Only two weeks ago, she was chilling 200 yards off the coast of Florida, scaring swimmers out of the surf. But now she's cruising through local waters, visiting important shark landmarks like the Martha's Vineyard coastline where the 1975 blockbuster Jaws was filmed and house-shopping near East Hampton and Montauk Point.

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Chill, Guys, No One's Trying to Scalpel Your Pup

Twitter user @thomasgensemer
Have you seen these Puppylift ads on the subway recently? From a distance, they appear advertise plastic surgery for dogs, asking, "Is your dog a 'total dog'?" They also display pre- and post-facelift pics of a client's furry friend.

It's enough to make sleepy commuters double-take. On closer examination, though, there are hints the ad isn't for real. For instance, the quote splashed across the center of the ad -- "When push comes to shove, I wouldn't trust my dog's plastic surgery to anyone but Dr. Armond!" -- is attributed to a fictional character on TV's Kroll Show.

Also, the doggy surgery clinic's website,, redirects to Comedy Central's website. Fact-checking on the subway is tricky though, considering most phones don't get 3G service underground, which has helped trick MTA passengers into thinking the ads are real.

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