New Media Index: Hacking Stories Top Twitter

By David Cohen Comment

Online security, or the lack thereof, dominated Tweeted news links for the week of June 20-24, specifically the hacking of Dropbox and the handiwork of LulzSec, while the June 22 speech by President Barack Obama regarding the role of the United States in the war in Afghanistan accounted for the most shared news links by bloggers, and the most-watched news and politics video on YouTube was footage of angry Vancouver fans setting cars on fire June 15, after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Finals, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index.

The security breach against Dropbox, a website that facilitates sharing and synching files, was the subject of 28 percent of tweeted news links, while the exploits of international hacking group LulzSec — which counts the U.S. Senate and Sony among its victims — accounted for 13 percent. They were followed by: a study by German college students finding that the brains of people who live in urban areas are more susceptible to stress than those who live in rural areas, at 8 percent; the arrest of a California mother after investigators discovered that her baby likely died from burns suffered in a microwave oven, at 5 percent; and also at 5 percent, a story in The Independent about accusations that the government of Bahrain systematically tortured patients in hospitals who were suspected of participating in anti-government demonstrations.

The angry hockey fans were followed on the list of most-viewed news and politics videos on YouTube by: a since-removed video of NBC’s lead-in to the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament, which removed the phrase, “under God,” from the Pledge of Allegiance; and three more videos from Vancouver — a local man standing up for his city, a since-removed clip titled Global News — Vancouver riot participant apologizes,” and CBC footage of the riots.

Obama’s speech accounted for 18 percent of news links shared by bloggers, followed by: a study showing that California taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1978, also at 18 percent; an Associated Press item about former Vice President Al Gore’s criticism of Obama for his lack of leadership on the issue of global warming, at 10 percent; China’s release of dissident artist and activist Ai Weiwei after two months in prison without being charged, at 9 percent; and a Los Angeles Times story about State Controller John Chiang’s decision to deny state lawmakers pay for failing to produce a balanced spending plan, at 8 percent.