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Anonymous has claimed it has been “hacking” and vandalizing social networking profiles linked to North Korea.

The hacking group has issued several warnings since North Korea’s threats have intensified.

Uriminzokkiri, a news site, has been forced offline – while Twitter and Flickr accounts have been breached.

Anonymous also claimed to have accessed 15,000 usernames and passwords from a university database.

As part of action which the loosely organized collective has called “Operation Free Korea”, the hackers have called for leader Kim Jong-un to step down, a democratic government to be put in place – and for North Koreans to get uncensored internet access.

Anonymous has claimed it has been "hacking" and vandalizing social networking profiles linked to North Korea

Anonymous has claimed it has been “hacking” and vandalizing social networking profiles linked to North Korea

Currently, only a select few in the country have access to the “internet” – which is more akin to a closed company intranet with only a select few websites that are government-run.

North Korea recently allowed foreigners to access mobile internet, but this service has since been shut off.

In a message posted online, members of Anonymous wrote: “To the citizens of North Korea we suggest to rise up and bring [this] oppressive government down!

“We are holding your back and your hand, while you take the journey to freedom, democracy and peace.

“You are not alone. Don’t fear us, we are not terrorist, we are the good guys from the internet. AnonKorea and all the other Anons are here to set you free.”

Urminzokkiri’s Twitter feed started displaying messages reading “hacked” at around 07:00 BST. The account’s avatar was changed to a picture of two people dancing, with the words “Tango down”.

On Urminzokkiri’s Flickr photo page, other images, including a “wanted” poster mocking Kim Jong-un, were also posted.

Anonymous has posted what it said was a sample of the hacked information.

However, some have questioned the reliability of the details as some of the email addresses were in fact Chinese.

Also unreachable on Thursday was the website of Air Koryo, North Korea’s airline, which launched its online booking site late last year.

Like the main Urminzokkiri homepage, it is suspected the Air Koryo site has been hit with a Distributed Denial of Service attacked (DDoS) – a technique which involves flooding a website with too much traffic for it to handle.

Although a highly secretive nation, North Korea puts considerable effort in to having a strong presence online.

Various YouTube accounts attached to the North Korean regime post news items and propaganda videos on a regular basis.

Facebook announces it is cracking down on services that allow users to purchase Likes in bulk to boost the appearance of their page’s popularity.

Celebrities, organizations and brands all vie for fans to show their support by clicking the Like button on the social networking website.

But Facebook admitted on Friday that the Likes of a particular page might not necessarily reflect actual Facebook fans since marketers have increasingly circumvented the website’s policies and have been offering Likes for purchase, to bulk up numbers.

New Facebook security measures will work to make it more difficult for third parties to deceptively garners Likes.

Facebook announces it is cracking down on services that allow users to purchase Likes in bulk to boost the appearance of their page's popularity

Facebook announces it is cracking down on services that allow users to purchase Likes in bulk to boost the appearance of their page's popularity

“A Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one,” the company explained in a posting by their security team entitled “Improvements To Our Site Integrity Systems”.

“When a Page and fan connect on Facebook, we want to ensure that connection involves a real person.”

“We have recently increased our automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms,” the announcement added.

The changes will likely mean a subtraction of about one per cent of the Likes on any given page.

Facebook maintained that it never sanctioned any of the rampant services available to purchase Likes and warned Page owners to be wary of marketing services that offer to build a brand’s presence on the website.

Facebook’s announcement seemed to be well received by users – the posting garnered over 700 Likes in the first few hours.

The admission that all Likes on a page may not be legitimate comes as Mark Zuckerberg’s empire struggles to prove it can monetize its popular web presence.

Advertising on the social networking website, one of the top destinations on the internet, is closely connected to a brand’s engagement with users and can often be quantified by the number of Likes a page earns.

In a crushing blow to the company before its highly anticipated IPO on May 18, General Motors pulled its $10 million advertising campaign on Facebook.

The auto-maker said they were reassessing how their marketing dollars were being spent and decided to make necessary adjustments.

But The Wall Street Journal cited sources who said GM execs were unimpressed with the effectiveness of Facebook as an advertising platform and just decided the partnership didn’t make sense.

Despite initial excitement about Facebook going public, the company stock has continued to plummet.

Shares of Facebook fell below $19 for the first time on Friday to $18.14, putting the shares about 52% below their IPO price of $38.

Analysts say Facebook’s innovation in terms of advertising will be key to generating revenue and boosting investor confidence in the viability of the company.


Facebook’s stock plunged to an all-time low today as the market braced for the company’s insiders to dump their stock after the expiration of a lock-up period.

Investors ranging from Accel Partners to Goldman Sachs, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus and Facebook board members James Breyer, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman are among those free to sell stock they own now.

By 10:30 a.m., the price was down 7% to $19.69 a share. By noon, it had climbed back to $19.95 a share. In May, the initial public offering of the stock was $38.

If the stock hits $19, it will have lost half its value since Facebook went public in May.

Before noon, the company lost $4 billion in market value, due to the plunging prices.

Facebook's stock plunged to an all-time low today as the market braced for the company's insiders to dump their stock after the expiration of a lock-up period

Facebook's stock plunged to an all-time low today as the market braced for the company's insiders to dump their stock after the expiration of a lock-up period

Mark Zuckerberg himself lost an estimated $1 billion Thursday morning alone.

It’s not yet known whether anyone had sold shares. The stock price decline could reflect investors’ anticipation of such a move.

More than 270 million shares have been unlocked – more than one-half of the 421 million shares sold in the May initial public offering of the social networking company.

Roughly 64 million shares of Facebook traded hands in the first hour of trading, more than double its 50-day daily average of just under 30 million shares.

“Pressure will be back on the shares now that liquidity is back in the market,” said Frank Davis, director of sales and trading at LEK Securities in New York.

“If (the value of) your holdings has been cut in half, are you going to sit around and risk the rest of that?”

It’s conceivable no one would sell those extra shares, but if too many do, Facebook’s stock would decline even more because the market would be flooded with additional shares.

It’s been a rough run for Facebook. After one of the most-anticipated IPOs in history, Facebook suffered what may be the most-botched public offering as trading glitches marred its first day.

Facebook, the world’s No. 1 Internet social network with 955 million users, has seen its shares pummeled since the market debut in May that put its value at more than $100 billion.

Investors have been concerned about Facebook’s ability to keep increasing revenue and make money from its growing mobile audience, even as many analysts hold positive long-term views.

Those eligible to sell additional shares Thursday were the investors and directors who had participated in the May IPO. The exception was CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who will be ineligible until November.

Other shareholders, including many Facebook employees, will be able to sell beginning in October. The last lockup period expires next May, a year after the IPO.

In all, up to 1.91 billion more shares could flood the stock market over the next several months – more than four times the 421 million shares that have been trading since Facebook’s IPO. Of the 1.91 billion, 271 million shares became eligible for sale Thursday.


What are lock-ups?

Lock-ups prevent company insiders from selling their shares in a newly-floated firm.

They usually start to expire 90 days from the initial public offering (IPO).

They are designed to prevent the share price from fluctuating wildly if too many investors decide to sell their shares all at once.

The lockup expired for initial investors on Thursday. It expires for Facebook employees in October.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg must keep his shares until November.

Apple is reportedly considering buying a stake in Twitter worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The technology giant, which has stumbled on the social media front, has been in talks with Twitter in recent months about the strategic investment, according to The New York Times.

Apple’s hefty injection of funds would value the social networking powerhouse at more than $10 billion, up from an $8.4 billion valuation last year, the newspaper’s sources said.

Apple has had huge success selling its iPhones and iPads but has had little traction in the fast-growing social media world.

As social media, accessed on computers and mobile devices, increasingly influences how people spend their time and money, Apple, which also sells applications, games, music and movies, is keen to get in on the action.

Apple is reportedly considering buying a stake in Twitter worth hundreds of millions of dollars

Apple is reportedly considering buying a stake in Twitter worth hundreds of millions of dollars

The New York Times said it’s not a done deal and the companies are not in negotiations at the moment. But are likely to form a strong partnership against intensifying competition from the likes of Google and Facebook.

Facebook is aligned with Microsoft, which owns a small stake in it, and Google, which rivals Apple in the smart phone market, is pushing its own social network, Google Plus.

“Apple doesn’t have to own a social network,” Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said at a recent technology conference.

“But does Apple need to be social? Yes.”

Twitter and Apple have already been working together, with the technology leader embedding Twitter features into its software for phones, tablets and computers.

Meanwhile, Twitter has been working to bolster its relationship with Apple, according to The Times.

An investment in Twitter would not be a big financial move for Apple, which has $117 billion in liquid investments, but it would be one of Tim Cook’s most important strategic decisions since taking the helm after Steve Jobs’ stepped down due to illness.

For Twitter, having the backing of a tech icon like Apple would see its valuation shoot up overnight.

Like that of other start-ups, the company’s valuation has languished in the wake of Facebook’s lackluster market debut.

But Twitter does not need Apple’s cash injection. Earlier this year, chief executive Dick Costolo, said the company had “truckloads of money in the bank”.

The Times’ sources reckon this “truckloads” adds up to more than $600 million in cash on hand thanks to a healthy flow of advertising revenue.

Both Apple and Twitter refused to comment in the article, but Dick Costolo said of Apple in a recent interview: “Those guys are a great partner. We think of them as a company that our company looks up to.”


Microsoft confirms it has bought the office social network site Yammer for $1.2 billion.

The business, which is four years old and has five million users, operates like Facebook for communication within companies.

There had been reports the two were talking about a deal but Microsoft only confirmed the plan on Monday.

Yammer is used by firms including the motor giant Ford and the business services firm Deloitte.

Microsoft confirms it has bought the office social network site Yammer for $1.2 billion

Microsoft confirms it has bought the office social network site Yammer for $1.2 billion

Microsoft hopes the acquisition will make its range of software products more appealing.

Last year it bought the communications business Skype and is integrating it into its products, including its Office software which contributed 60% of its profits last year.

Yammer plans to continue to offer its service in the way it does currently.

Yammer’s chief executive David Sacks said: “When we started Yammer four years ago, we set out to do something big.

“We had a vision for how social networking could change the way we work. Joining Microsoft will accelerate that vision and give us access to the technologies, expertise and resources we’ll need to scale and innovate.”


Facebook will pay $10 million to charity to settle a lawsuit over the way it used “social” ads.

Known as a “sponsored story”, the ads popped up on a user’s friends’ pages after the user clicked to “like” a firm’s advert.

The lawsuit was brought by five members of Facebook who said the ads violated Facebook members’ rights to control the use of their activity on the site.

Facebook has declined to comment on the lawsuit and settlement.

The deal with users who sued was reached in May, but court documents were made public this weekend.

Facebook will pay $10 million to charity to settle a lawsuit over the way it used "social" ads

Facebook will pay $10 million to charity to settle a lawsuit over the way it used "social" ads

The Facebook users filed their lawsuit in December 2011 in a federal court in San Jose, California, claiming that the social network had violated the state law by making their “likes” known to others without allowing them to opt out or paying them.

According to Reuters news agency, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is quoted in the lawsuit as saying that such friend endorsement is the “Holy Grail” of advertising.

But the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

“California has long recognized a right to protect one’s name and likeness against appropriation by others for their advantage,” Judge Lucy Koh wrote, reported Reuters.

Facebook said the settlement funds would go to charity.

It is just another court case involving the social networking giant, which listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in May.

One of the most recent cases involves Mark Zuckerberg and the banks leading the firm’s flotation being sued by shareholders who allege that the site’s revised growth figures were not disclosed to all investors.

In a different case, Yahoo has filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the social network has infringed 10 of its patents, including systems and methods for advertising on the web.

Facebook denies the allegations.


LinkedIn is investigating claims that over six million of its users’ passwords have been leaked onto the internet.

Hackers posted a file containing encrypted passwords onto a Russian web forum.

They have invited the hacking community to help with decryption.

LinkedIn, which has over 150 million users, has not released a formal statement, but tweeted: “Our team is currently looking into reports.”

LinkedIn is investigating claims that over six million of its users' passwords have been leaked onto the internet

LinkedIn is investigating claims that over six million of its users' passwords have been leaked onto the internet

The news comes as the social networking website was forced to update its mobile app after a privacy flaw was uncovered by security researchers.

Skycure Security said the mobile app was sending unencrypted calendar entries to LinkedIn servers without users’ knowledge.

The information included meeting notes, which often contain information such as dialling numbers and passcodes for conference calls.

In response LinkedIn said it would “no longer send data from the meeting notes section of your calendar”.

The company stressed that the calendar function was an opt-in feature.

However, the researchers who uncovered the flaw said the transmission of the data to LinkedIn’s servers was done without a “clear indication from the app to the user”.

In a statement posted on the company’s blog, LinkedIn’s mobile product head Joff Redfern said a new “learn more” link would be added to the app so users have a clearer picture about how their information is being used and transmitted.


A video presentation released ahead of the E3 video games conference has showed that Nintendo’s new Wii U console will embrace social networking.

Wii U console will promote the Miiverse in which users can see what others are playing, share self-created game content and swap gaming tips.

Nintendo said members would eventually be able to connect to the network via its 3DS handheld, PCs and smartphones.

The Japanese firm posted its first annual loss in April.

Its share price has nearly halved since it first announced the Wii U last year after investors expressed doubts about the potential of the next-generation device.

The revelations, ahead of the Los Angeles trade show, may be designed to create a new buzz about the product ahead of a more detailed press conference on Tuesday.

The presentation, by the firm’s global president Satoru Iwata, said that when users turned on their console it would show animated avatars on the television screen flocking towards the most popular games at that time.

However, the focus of the network is on a smaller touchscreen on the Wii U Game Pad.

This can be used to send typed or handwritten messages to other Miiverse members as well as drawings.

Wii U console will promote the Miiverse in which users can see what others are playing, share self-created game content and swap gaming tips

Wii U console will promote the Miiverse in which users can see what others are playing, share self-created game content and swap gaming tips

A video trailer showed one player using the device to quiz other gamers about how to kill a zombie. The actor then placed the handset next to his television to launch a video chat with another user.

“We believe it can solve the issue of ‘alone together’,” said Satoru Iwata.

“We believe it enables the sharing of more smiles, more laughs and more empathy.”

However, Patrick Garratt, founder of gaming website VG247, expressed reservations.

“The social aspects in the presentation show Nintendo realizes people now need to be constantly connected through their digital devices, but my concern is that the entire system appears to be closed,” he said.

“Without a wholesale embrace of Twitter and Facebook I think you have to ask serious questions about how well Nintendo understands the social networking space.”

The presentation also showed changes made to the game pad from the version displayed last year including redesigned thumbsitck controllers, extra buttons and a card slot to add data to the device.

Video games publisher Konami also opted to release a pre-show announcement video.

It included trailers for the firm’s upcoming Metal Gear Rising Revengeance – an action title featuring a cyborg ninja due out “early 2013” – and the latest in its vampire series, Castlevania: Lord of Shadows 2.

The coming days will bring a plethora of announcements from other firms at the trade show. Close to 200 are hosting exhibits.

Keynote presentations from Microsoft and Sony will be the focus of the event’s first day.

Both companies have said they would not debut their next-generation consoles at this year’s event. So the focus will instead be on how they will attempt to maintain interest in the seven-year-old Xbox 360 and six-year-old Playstation 3.

News site Examiner.com has reported that Microsoft’s announcement might include a new service called Xbox Smart Glass.

It said the product would allow users to control their console remotely via devices running Windows, Windows Phone, Android and iOS systems.

It added that the software would also work the other way, allowing consoles to screen content streamed to them by third-party devices.

Microsoft’s presentation is also likely to focus on its Kinect motion and voice recognition sensor, possibly including footage from a recently announced Harry Potter title.

There has been speculation that Sony will announce a tie-up or even a takeover of a cloud gaming company. This could allow Playstation owners to continue playing games when they do not have access to their consoles by streaming titles off remote servers to other types of devices.

Trade magazine MCV has reported a deal could involve one of two California-based companies: OnLive or Gaikai.

It noted that Gaikai had sent out a press release promising news that had “the potential to change the future of video games, game consoles and how we play”.

Cloud-based gaming services have had limited appeal to date because of issues including compromised picture quality and lag – delayed responses to button presses or joystick moves caused by the fact that commands have to be sent to a remote server.

However, one analyst noted that new technology might be about to solve these problems.

“A few weeks ago we saw Nvidia come out with a cloud GPU [graphics processing unit] product,” said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner’s consumer services group.

“Up until now cloud gaming vendors had to cobble together their own servers and graphics solutions and you can’t build those in a way that is easily maintainable and extendable over a long period of time.

“Now all of a sudden you can have standard Nvidia graphics with the same drivers you use on your desktop in a virtualized environment, and it provides a really great production environment for someone who wants to deliver cloud games.”

Tech site Engadget has also reported that Sony is expected to cut the price of its Vita handheld console. A similar move helped boost sales of Nintendo’s rival 3DS last year.

Away from the hardware manufacturers, extensions of existing gaming franchises are likely to dominate this year’s show with a raft of sequels, prequels and reboots set to be shown off.

Titles including Halo 4; Assassin’s Creed 3; Tomb Raider: Crossroads; Hitman: Absolution; Gears of War: Judgement; Dead Space 3; New Mario Super Bros 2; Disney Epic Mickey 2; God of War: Ascension and Star Wars 1313 are all set to be teased at the event.

However, hopes that the much anticipated Half Life 3 would be finally unveiled have been confounded by PC-developer Valve’s announcement that it would not announce any new products despite hosting a booth at the show.

Social games specialist Zynga is also exhibiting at the event – its first appearance. However, it has also signalled it would not launch any new products.

“We don’t have a big flashy show presence – it’s all business,” said the firm’s head of partner publishing Rob Dyer.

“We are focused on finding and signing partners to publish on our platform.”

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Yahoo has decided to file an intellectual property lawsuit against Facebook claiming that the social network has infringed 10 of its patents including systems and methods for advertising on the web.

Facebook denies the allegation.

The move comes ahead of Facebook’s planned flotation later this year.

Patent litigation has become common between the smartphone makers, but this marks a new front in the battles between the tech giants.

A statement from Yahoo suggested the web portal believed it has a strong case.

“Yahoo’s patents relate to cutting edge innovations in online products, including in messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising display, preventing click fraud and privacy controls,” Yahoo suit said.

“Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology.”

Yahoo has decided to file an intellectual property lawsuit against Facebook claiming that the social network has infringed 10 of its patents including systems and methods for advertising on the web

Yahoo has decided to file an intellectual property lawsuit against Facebook claiming that the social network has infringed 10 of its patents including systems and methods for advertising on the web

Facebook signaled that it believed that Yahoo had not tried hard to settle the matter without involving the courts. It described Yahoo’s action as “puzzling”.

“We’re disappointed that Yahoo, a longtime business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation,” it added.

The case has echoes of Yahoo’s decision to sue Google ahead of its flotation in 2004. That dispute centred over patents that Yahoo had acquired the previous year as part of its takeover of pay-per-position specialist Overture.

Google ultimately settled the case by issuing 2.7 million shares to its rival.

“It’s reasonable that Yahoo would want to try this tactic again as it worked in the past,” said BGC Partner’s New York-based technology analyst Colin Gillis.

“But there’s an air of desperation about this – it’s unlikely that they will get easy money from Facebook. This isn’t going to derail the IPO.”

Yahoo recently overhauled its board appointing Scott Thompson as its chief executive in January. The former Paypal executive replaced Carol Bartz who had been ousted in September.

Yahoo’s co-founder, Jerry Yang, also resigned from the board in January. The firm’s chairman and three other board members announced their decision to step down shortly afterwards.

The Wall Street Journal had reported that many Yahoo employees expected fresh job cuts following consecutive quarters of revenue declines.

Scott Thompson’s decision to sue may secure fresh funds or other assets if the courts rule in his favor.

“This is particularly interesting as it is one of the first patent cases concerning social media,” said Andrea Matwyshyn, assistant professor of legal studies at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

“The patentability of computer code is uncertain and recently several groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Computer and Communications Industry Association have asked the US Supreme Court to examine the state of the law and accept a case to clarify when computer code can be protected through patent.

“This may be a case that advances past the district court and at least reaches the appellate court level – one notch below the Supreme Court – if the two parties do not settle first.”

The latest suit was filed in the US district court for the northern district of California.


Tommy Jordan, the father who taught his disgruntled teenage daughter a very public lesson after she complained about her chores on Facebook has spoken out for the first time since his video went viral.

Tommy Jordan, an IT worker from Albemarle, North Carolina, filmed himself shooting his 15-year-old daughter Hannah’s laptop and published it on her Facebook page after she moaned about her parents.

Now the father, who has received a mixture of praise and derision for his tough parenting, has responded to calls for interviews by releasing a statement on his own social networking page.

In the long written response, he says he refuses to talk to the media as he believes benefiting from the ordeal would send the wrong message to his teen daughter.

Tommy Jordan filmed himself shooting his 15-year-old daughter Hannah's laptop and published it on her Facebook page after she moaned about her parents

Tommy Jordan filmed himself shooting his 15-year-old daughter Hannah's laptop and published it on her Facebook page after she moaned about her parents

Tommy Jordan’s full statement

Attention Media Outlets

While we appreciate the interest you’re all putting forth to get in touch with us regarding the video, we’re not going to go on your talk show, not going to call in to your radio show, and not going to be in your TV mini-series.

Some of you think I made an acceptable parenting decision and others think I didn’t. However, I can’t think of any way myself or my daughter can …respond to a media outlet that won’t be twisted out of context. The Dallas news TV news already showed that in their brief 5 minute interview with the psychologist.

Additionally, there’s absolutely NO way I’m going to send my child the message that it’s OK to gain from something like this. It would send her a message that it’s OK to profit at the expense of someone else’s embarrassment or misfortune and that’s now how I was raised, nor how she has been raised.

So I say thank you from all of us. If we have anything to say, we’ll say it here on Facebook, and we’ll say it publicly, but we won’t say it to a microphone or a camera. There are too many other REAL issues out there that could use this attention you’re giving us. My daughter isn’t hurt, emotionally scarred, or otherwise damaged, but that kind of publicity has never seemed to be to have a positive effect on any child or family.

If you’re a news outlet that wants to ask us a question, feel free to so via email. I’m sure by now my email address is easy enough to find. It might take me awhile to get to a response because I’d have to sort through the “Die you bastard” emails to find it, but we will respond if its something that we feel merits it. Otherwise, sorry… no interviews, no talk shows, no call-ins.

If we respond to anything, it will be on here, and it will be in a way that our words can’t be misconstrued or edited for appeal to specific audience or shock value.

Now, I’m going to try to get to work for the day.

Best of luck to all of you out there… and PLEASE give my phone a break.


HOW SHE GOT CAUGHT: The Dog Did It.. no, really.

I finally came out and told her this today, partly because it was too funny NOT to share.

When my daughter made her post, she used Facebook’s privacy settings to block “Family” and “Church” friend’s lists. All her other friends could see it. We, of course could not.

One of our dogs is always getting in photos and therefore has her own Facebook pa…ge. It’s just a cute dumb thing we did for fun. Well, the dog’s profile is rarely used except when funny pictures of her are posted. Since that’s not too often, and she has very few friends on Facebook, her wall is kind of bare, with relatively few posts showing up on it.

The other night we gave the dog a bath and there was a funny photo we uploaded to Facebook and tagged her in. I logged in as the dog the next morning to comment on the photo. However when I logged into the dog’s profile, my daughter had forgotten to add her to the “family” list…. so our family dog’s profile showed her post right there on the front page.

It wasn’t any parent-hacking, computer spying, or monitoring of any kind.. the dog actually ratted her out completely by accident. She hasn’t petted that dog all day today…


For those that wondered, commented, criticized, and just in general wanted to know:

My daughter came through it fine.

Yes, she’s in trouble, and yes she’s grounded, but that doesn’t mean every moment of her life has to be miserable. She’s going to come to terms with the changes that will be present for a while; no TV privileges, no Internet, etc.

In the meantime, once the initial anger passed,… she sat with me reviewing some of the comments that have come in via Facebook and YouTube. One person even suggested collecting the shell casings and auctioning them on eBay. I said I’d do it if it would help contribute to her college fund! When I told her about it, she thought a minute, got a funny calculating expression on her face and said, “in that case you should shoot my phone too. We can use more bullets and I’ll go half-sies with ya on it! It’s not like I’m going to need it any time soon. And I can use the money we get to buy a new one.”

While the whole point of this story isn’t funny, what is funny to me is how weak some people out there think kids are. Our kids are as strong as we help them to be. My daughter took a horrible day in her life, had her crying fit, then got over it, accepted her punishment, and hasn’t let it (or people’s comments) destroy her strength. I don’t get any credit for that. She’s strong and able to overcome almost anything life throws at her.

Since this unsuspectingly threw her into the limelight much more strongly than either of us intended, I asked her if she wanted to make her own response video, and told her I’d let her do it if she wanted to. She doesn’t like being in front of the camera, so she declined, but I’ve told her if she wants to write a response or post a video response, I’d be OK with it. It’s only fair considering the viral nature of the whole thing. So far she’s not really interested. Quite frankly it seems she’s gotten bored of it much faster than the general public has. If that changes I’ll post it here.


Media Response to Anita Li, from the Toronto Star

Since you took the time to email us with your requests like we asked, I’ll take the time to give you an honest follow-up response. You’ll have to forgive me for doing so publicly though; again I want to be sure my words are portrayed the way I actually say them, not cut together to make entirely different points.

Your questions were:

Q: Why did y…ou decide to reprimand your daughter over a public medium like YouTube?

A: Well, I actually just had to load the video file itself on YouTube because it’s a better upload process than Facebook, but the intended audience was her Facebook friends and the parents of those friends who saw her post and would naturally assume we let our children get away with something like that. So, to answer “Why did you reprimand her over a public medium like Facebook” my answer is this: Because that’s how I was raised. If I did something embarrassing to my parents in public (such as a grocery store) I got my tail tore up right there in front of God and everyone, right there in the store. I put the reprisal in exactly the same medium she did, in the exact same manner. Her post went out to about 452 people. Mine went out to about 550 people… originally. I had no idea it would become what it did.

Q: How effective do you think your punishment was (i.e. shooting her laptop and reading her letter online)?

A: I think it was very effective on one front. She apparently didn’t remember being talked to about previous incidents, nor did she seem to remember the effects of having it taken away, nor did the eventual long-term grounding seem to get through to her. I think she thought “Well, I’ll just wait it out and I’ll get it back eventually.” Her behavior corrected for a short time, and then it went back to what it was before and worse. This time, she won’t ever forget and it’ll be a long time before she has an opportunity to post on Facebook again. I feel pretty certain that every day from then to now, whenever one of her friends mentions Facebook, she’ll remember it and wish she hadn’t done what she did.

The second lesson I want her to learn is the value of a dollar. We don’t give her everything she asks for, but you can all imagine what it’s like being the only grandchild and the first child. Presents and money come from all sides when you’re young. Most of the things she has that are “cool” were bought or gifted that way. She’s always asked for very few things, but they’re always high-dollar things (iPod, laptop, smartphone, etc). Eventually she gets given enough money to get them. That’s not learning the value of a dollar. Its knowing how to save money, which I greatly applaud in her, but it’s not enough. She wants a digital SLR camera. She wants a 22 rifle like mine. She wants a car. She wants a smart phone with a data package and unlimited texting. (I have to hear about that one every week!)

She thinks all these things are supposed to be given to her because she’s got parents. It’s not going to happen, at least not in our house. She can get a job and work for money just like everyone else. Then she can spend it on anything she wants (within reason). If she wants to work for two months to save enough to purchase a $1000 SLR camera with an $800 lens, then I can guarantee she’ll NEVER leave it outside at night. She’ll be careful when she puts it away and carries it around. She’ll value it much more because she worked so hard to get it. Instead, with the current way things have been given to her, she’s on about her fourth phone and just expects another one when she breaks the one she has. She’s not sorry about breaking it, or losing it, she’s sorry only because she can’t text her friends. I firmly believe she’ll be a LOT more careful when she has to buy her own $299.00 Motorola Razr smartphone.

Until then, she can do chores, and lots and lots of them, so the people who ARE feeding her, clothing her, paying for all her school trips, paying for her musical instruments, can have some time to relax after they finish working to support her and the rest of the family. She can either work to make money on her own, or she will do chores to contribute around the house. She’s known all along that all she has to do is get a job and a lot of these chores will go away. But if you’re too lazy to work even to get things you want for yourself, I’m certainly not going to let you sit idly on your rear-end with your face glued to both the TV and Facebook for 5 to 6 hours per night. Those days are over.

Q: How did your daughter respond to the video and to what happened to her laptop?

A: She responded to the video with “I can’t believe you shot my computer!” That was the first thing she said when she found out about it. Then we sat and we talked for quite a long while on the back patio about the things she did, the things I did in response, etc.

Later after she’d had time to process it and I’d had time to process her thoughts on the matters we discussed, we were back to a semi-truce… you know that uncomfortable moment when you’re in the kitchen with your child after an argument and you’re both waiting to see which one’s going to cave in and resume normal conversation first? Yeah, that moment. I told her about the video response and about it going viral and about the consequences it could have on our family for the next couple of days and asked if she wanted to see some of the comments people had made. After the first few hundred comments, she was astounded with the responses.

People were telling her she was going to commit suicide, commit a gun-related crime, become a drug addict, drop out of school, get pregnant on purpose, and become a stripper because she’s too emotionally damaged now to be a productive member of society. Apparently stripper was the job-choice of most of the commenters. Her response was “Dude… it’s only a computer. I mean, yeah I’m mad but pfft.” She actually asked me to post a comment on one of the threads (and I did) asking what other job fields the victims of laptop-homicide were eligible for because she wasn’t too keen on the stripping thing.

We agreed we learned two collective lessons from this so far:

First: As her father, I’ll definitely do what I say I will, both positive and negative and she can depend on that. She no longer has any doubt about that.

Second: We have always told her what you put online can affect you forever. Years later a single Facebook/MySpace/Twitter comment can affect her eligibility for a good job and can even get her fired from a job she already has. She’s seen first-hand through this video the worst possible scenario that can happen. One post, made by her Dad, will probably follow him the rest of his life; just like those mean things she said on Facebook will stick with the people her words hurt for a long time to come. Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back, so think carefully before you use the internet to broadcast your thoughts and feelings.

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