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Posting your views on Facebook and other social media sites delivers a powerful pleasure reward to the brain similar to the pleasure from food and sex, a Harvard study concludes.
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The study led by two neuroscientists and published this week concluded that “self disclosure” produces a response in the region of the brain associated with dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure or the anticipation of a reward.

The researchers said most people devote 30 to 40 percent of their speech to “informing others of their own subjective experiences” but that on social media, this is closer to 80 per cent.

They conclude “that humans so willingly self-disclose because doing so represents an event with intrinsic value, in the same way as with primary rewards such as food and sex.”

Although Facebook was not specifically cited in the study, it focused on the brain response of people’s “opportunities to communicate their thoughts and feelings to others.”

“To the extent that humans are motivated to propagate the products of their minds, opportunities to disclose one’s thoughts should be experienced as a powerful form of subjective reward,” wrote Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell of Harvard’s Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab.
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The research, published in the May 7 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said the study support the notion that humans, like some other primates, will give up some rewards because of a powerful brain response.

The study gave people a small cash reward for answering certain factual questions about things they observe, and a lower reward for offering their own views about a subject. But in many cases, the participants chose a smaller reward if they could talk about themselves.

“Just as monkeys are willing to forgo juice rewards to view dominant groupmates and college students are willing to give up money to view attractive members of the opposite sex, our participants were willing to forgo money to think and talk about themselves,” the researchers wrote.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha




India’s government has authorised the prosecution of 21 internet firms, including Facebook, Yahoo! and Google, in a case over obscene content posted online, sources say.

The approval could lead to company directors being called to a trial court in New Delhi to answer serious charges such as fomenting religious hatred and spreading social discord, an official and a lawyer said.

A criminal case against the web titans was first filed in a lower court by local journalist Vinay Rai, who complained that the sites were responsible for obscene and offensive material posted by users.

He also claimed they had broken laws designed to maintain religious harmony and “national integration” in India.

Rai’s lawyer, Sashi Prakash Tripathi, said: “We had applied for the government’s sanction and the ministry of communication and IT has filed it directly in the metropolitan magistrate’s court.”

The companies targeted have filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking to have the lower court’s case against them stayed. The hearing of the petition is to resume on Monday.

The lower court yesterday ordered that summons be served on the 10 foreign-based companies, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and YouTube.

The government’s sanction to prosecute represents an escalation of a recent tussle between social networks and the government.

Communications Minister Kapil Sibal last month pledged a crackdown on “unacceptable” online content and urged social networks to exert more control over their platforms.

He provided examples of religiously-sensitive images and obscene photoshopped pictures of Indian politicians.

Mukul Rohatgi, a lawyer for Google India, told the High Court on Thursday: “No human interference is possible and, moreover, it can’t be feasible to check such incidents.”

The companies will now hope the High Court stays the prosecution, but they received some hostile comments from a presiding judge.

“You must have a stringent check. Otherwise, like in China, we may pass orders banning all such websites,” the Delhi High Court said.

Companies should “develop a mechanism to keep a check and remove offensive and objectionable material from their web pages”, Justice Suresh Kait was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Brocial Network back online

Mex Cooper

May 20, 2011

The creator of a sexist Facebook group that spread raunchy images of women without their knowledge has allegedly resurfaced and appears to be selling a line of T-shirts.

The original group’s site, “The Brocial Network”, was removed by Facebook because it violated the use of real names after it is believed to have been set up using fake identities.

The group came under fire for spreading photos of scantily clad women copied from the Facebook photo albums of friends and family.

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At least some of the women had no idea their photos were being circulated and felt violated by the group’s actions.

A person, who has dubbed himself “King Brocial”, has quickly established a new Facebook page and claims to be the leader of the original group.

More than 500 people are listed as liking the new site.

A negative comment posted from a woman on the new site’s wall vanished within minutes this afternoon, leaving only male comments mostly praising a return of the “king”.

The “king” requests the men contact him via email and to buy a $5 wristband with the words “I’m a Bro” on it.

It is not clear what happens once the men email the site’s creator. An email from The Age went unanswered.

To one person who posted: “King, whats the DL? im still unsure of what happened to the original network”.

‘King Brocial’ responds: “It was removed my bro … have no fear though. Email me and your mind will be blown once again.”

T-shirts are also being sold at another Brocial-related Facebook group page for $20.

The original group had attracted 8000 members — including three AFL footballers who claimed they were unwittingly added — before being shut down.

One post on the new site complains that previous members had invited “snitches and feminists”, leading to the site’s demise.

It seems the group’s name has been copied from a short video spoof of the film Social Network called The Brocial Network by a group called Atomic Production.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Preteen girls charged

over Facebook sex prank

April 28, 2011 – 6:42AM

Two preteen US girls accused of hacking into a classmate’s Facebook page and posting sexually explicit photos and messages have been charged with cyberstalking and first-degree computer trespassing.

The girls, ages 11 and 12, have been under investigation since the alleged victim’s family contacted Issaquah police in Washington state on March 18, according to the charges filed in King County Juvenile Court. According to the charges, the two defendants used the victim’s password information to post sexually explicit content on her Facebook page.

They also posted messages that indicated the victim was willing to perform sex acts on people.

The defendants instant-messaged some boys to arrange dates where sex acts were to be performed by the victim, according to the charges.

Jon Knight, the stepfather of the 12-year-old alleged victim, said his family is relieved that the case has resulted in criminal charges. He said that he wasn’t taken seriously when he reported the incident to Issaquah police and to staff at Issaquah Middle School.

Knight said his stepdaughter, Leslie Cote, has asked the media to use her name in hopes of bringing attention to the issue of cyberstalking.

Issaquah police were called to the Cote-Knight home on March 18 after Leslie’s mother, Tara Cote, called to report vulgar postings on her daughter’s Facebook page, charges said. A woman who mentored Leslie told the family that she had noticed photos on the page had been changed to show Leslie with “devil’s horns” and with the words “I’m a slut” scrawled across one image, prosecutors said.

The alterations and postings apparently became more vulgar as the night progressed.

Prosecutors said that Leslie had been over at a defendant’s house in early March when she logged into Facebook. Leslie’s password information was somehow stored on the other girl’s computer.

After the girls had a falling out, the defendants hacked into the page “with the intent of embarrassing and tormenting the victim,” Issaquah police Detective Ryan Raulerson wrote in the affidavit of probable cause filed to support the charges.

Sara Niegowski, spokeswoman for the Issaquah School District, said Tuesday the district was not conducting its own investigation into the incident because it did not occur on school property. She said the defendants are still enrolled at Issaquah Middle School.

“This incident happened off-campus, off school time and not related to our school environments. There is no disciplinary action at all. It’s not a school district incident,” Niegowski said.

Niegowski said that the incident has not been a disruption at the school.

“You know what’s a disruption is the media coverage,” she said. “We always look out for the welfare of our students.”

Knight said that his stepdaughter has been granted a restraining order forbidding the defendants from contacting her and barring them from riding her school bus. The three girls are in some of the same classes, Knight said.

On Tuesday, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said, “This case reveals the dark side of social media sites used by young people.”

In a news release, Satterberg wrote: “Many kids think that on a social media site that their actions will be anonymous and that they are free to use it as weapon to bully, harass, and intimidate another person. This case demonstrates that assuming the identity of another person on the Internet with the intent to torment them and expose them to the harassment of others is a crime.”


‘Ban Facebook for under-18s’:

sexting scandal mum

Aja Styles

February 8, 2011 – 12:38PM

You’re dropped ... Frequent, unimportant posts were the top reason for people being ‘‘defriended’’ on Facebook.
‘Jan’ found 40-year-old men were Facebook friends with her daughter, the girl caught in the middle of a ‘sexting’ scandal. Photo: Getty Images

The mother of the 14-year-old girl at the centre of a “sexting” scandal that has seen three boys convicted of underage sex crimes has called for Facebook to be banned for under-18s.

The boys responsible avoided serving jail time after pleading guilty in the Bunbury Children’s Court to raping a girl over 13 and under 16, and are now registered sex offenders despite being aged 15 and 16 themselves.

In court it was revealed the boys had been drinking when they convinced the girl to sneak out on a Friday night, on August 27 last year, and meet them in a local park.

The boys then brought her back to one of the 16-year-olds’ homes where she was plied with vodka and gave the boy oral sex. She then had intercourse with his other two friends in the bedroom. The sexual acts were filmed on a mobile phone and sent to others.

The mother of the girl, who spoke to radio 6PR under the pseudonym of “Jan”, said the family would never get over the “humiliating” and “shameful” episode.

She said she thought she was a vigilant parent but her daughter had proved her wrong and had to now face the consequences of going to school despite being taunted.

“We thought because the computer was in the living room with us that we were keeping a pretty good eye on her being so close, but nope, they can be right under your nose… they can still manage to get this stuff out there – you’ve got your webcams, you’ve got your iPhones and all that,” she said.

“My advice to other parents is: check. Stand over their shoulder if that’s what it takes. Let your kids hate you for being a busybody but keep an eye on them.”

Now that the proceedings were over, Jan said her family had been able to breathe a sigh of relief. But her battle to prevent any further privacy breaches has continued after going through her daughter’s 600 Facebook “friends” and discovering some of them were 40-year-old men.

“Now what on earth 40-year-olds have in common with a 15-year-old on Facebook? It doesn’t add up to me,” she said.

“…She’s not unique that way, I’m not just saying it’s her, it’s other kids, I know it is. That’s why I said they should not be allowed on Facebook.

“We’ve banned her from it, but you give a kid a mobile they’ve got free access to Facebook anyway, so how can you fight it if at every turn there’s a way around it?”

She said the matter came to light when one of the boys then accessed a school computer to download the footage onto a thumb drive.

She said since the breach occurred at the school it was “taken right out of our hands at the get go” and reported to police.

It became clear during the police investigation that the images were destined for Facebook, which was contacted to remove any postings of the graphic footage.

“When we first realised we went into panic mode, we banned her from her phone and Facebook, but you can ban them until the cows come home, they will still find a way to get back on Facebook and use friend’s phones,” Jan said.

“So there’s no getting away from it, you just have to be so vigilant – you know, like a two-year-old. You’ve just got to constantly watch them because they just don’t realise once it’s up there for the world to see it, that’s it – you can’t take it back.”

She said she didn’t believe the boys deserved to go on the sex offender list because they were “just kids”.

“They don’t realise the consequences of what they’ve done and I don’t believe they ever will,” Jan said.

“… That’s just what they do. That’s OK, they see things on TV, you’ve only got to watch music shows and it’s all sex anyway. You know, flaunting their bodies… It seems a huge problem but it’s got to be fixed.”

She said she felt for the boy’s family and knew one was transferred by his parents to a new school.

She had insisted that their daughter return to her old school, as “there’s got to be consequences for her as well”.

“We don’t believe that moving her out of the school would benefit so we’ve made her go back to that same school,” Jan said.

“She gets sneered, she was getting bullied a few months after the incident coming back to the school which made life difficult for everybody but she had to deal with it.”

She said her daughter was now doing much better

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Social networking

leads to sex faster:

Survey finds….

January 25, 2011 – 8:53AM

Nearly four out of five women and three of five men say they believe texting, Facebook and other social media tools for staying connected cause new couples to jump into bed faster, a survey released this week has found.

However, only around 38 per cent of women say they have actually slept with a date any sooner because of digital intimacy, according to the 1200 women and men who participated in the third annual sex survey by Shape and Men’s Fitness magazines.

Smartphones and laptops are the new toys that lead to the bedroom, it said, with almost 80 per cent of women and 58 per cent of men saying social media tools leads to sex much faster.

Texting is the number one way lovers stay in touch, the survey found, with men texting 39 per cent more often than phoning and women 150 per cent more.

Even before the magic begins, 70 per cent of women and 63 per cent of men use Google and other online tools to screen potential dates.

A full 65 per cent of those polled said they had been asked out by text and 49 per cent through a Facebook message.

Once the relationship clicks, 72 per cent of women report scouring a current partner’s ex-girlfriends’ Facebook pages.

Even in the heat of passion, some people just can’t get enough of their digital devices, the survey found.

When a call or text comes in during sex, a full 5 per cent of respondents said they glance to see who is calling and 1 per cent say they stop to answer the phone.

And when the spark is extinguished, digital dumping is the new way to break up, with 43 per cent of women and 27 per cent of men reporting getting a text along the lines of a dear John “It’s not you, it’s me”.

For the heartbroken, the internet keeps hope alive, with 81 per cent of all respondents saying they won’t de-friend an ex on Facebook and 75 per cent admitting to constantly checking a former sweetheart’s page.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha