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Submission + - Mass Stalking Organized On Facebook

Jack Action writes: "Police in Cambridge, Ontario are investigating a 700-hundred member Facebook group that was dedicated to harassing and posting humiliating photos of a black, apparently homeless woman. Called "Obeeba Sightings" (the name group administers gave to the woman), Facebook members called the woman racist and sexually explict names, and called for her to be run over by a car and put in a trash compactor. In their response to the incident, Cambridge police indicated Facebook cooperated fully with them in their investigation to the point of handing over IP addresses for all those involved in the group; at which point Facebook shut down the group. Police say it is the worst case of online harassment they have ever seen.

Recent research indicates Facebook is homogeneous even by the standards of the internet, and that members of social networks are more likely to "cyber-bully." Is this a sign that cyber-bulling will get worse as social networks make themselves more like-minded and exclusive? Should companies like Facebook be held responsible for the bad behaviour of their members? Or is this just the nature of distance and anonymity on the internet?"
Businesses

Submission + - Big Boxes Squeezing Small Computer Stores

Jack Action writes: "Small computer stores, even those with a few locations are being squeezed by big boxes like Best Buy and Staples using PC's, especially notebooks, as loss leaders. According to the Globe and Mail, spending on computer products at small retailers in the Canadian market dropped in half over the last year, while at the same time jumping by 29% at big box stores. Elsewhere, even large chains like CompuServe and Circuit City are in trouble.

Small retailers in the Canadian market have had to make innovative changes to stay alive: slashing staff, paying for assembly by the piece, negotiating bulk orders from vendors, and emphasizing customs orders for the geek market — but still its a struggle. Is the loss of the local neighbourhood computer store the inevitable outcome of the market, or will something valuable be lost if they all go down the tubes?"

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"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead

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