Mugbook or Facebook for Gun Traffickers?

— Ellyn Grimm

Earlier this week, undercover police in northwestern Iowa busted a man for illegally trying to get a handgun on Facebook.

As a convicted felon, the suspect wasn’t allowed to own or buy guns. And Iowa law blocked him from buying handguns without getting a background check and a purchase permit. So he turned to his next best option — Facebook — where users can buy and trade guns with zero oversight.

More after the jump.
Facebook is already feeling the pressure from the campaign Mayors Against Illegal Guns launched asking them to prohibit gun sales on their site. Almost 55,000 supporters have signed the petition to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook Warned Over Illegal Hosting of Iranian Ministers


Mark Zuckerberg.

Tel Aviv based civil rights organization Shurat HaDin has sent a warning letter to Facebook Chairman Mark Zuckerberg, informing him that the provision of internet services to Iranian government ministers was illegal, under the United States’ sanctions being imposed against the Islamic Republic.

In recent days, Iranian officials had been encouraged to open Facebook pages, by evading the government-imposed firewall that blocks Facebook and utilizing an alternative site. Ordinary Iranian citizens are, however, prohibited from logging onto the regular Facebook pages. Shurat HaDin contends that the ministers’ Facebook pages are part of a propaganda effort by the newly-elected Iranian government, to place a liberal face on the oppressive regime’s civil rights violations and support for international terrorism. By encouraging ministers to use Facebook and other social media, the rulers in Tehran now intend to promote the cosmetic appearance, solely for western consumption, of instituting a more open atmosphere in this brutal Islamic regime.

More after the jump.
As Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner wrote in her to letter to Zuckerberg:

Please be advised that providing social media and other associated services to ministers of the Government of Iran is illegal under the OFAC administered sanctions regime. In addition, Iran’s support of designated terrorist groups such as Hizbullah and Hamas may expose persons providing services to the Government of Iran to liability under the criminal and civil provisions of Chapter 113B, Title 18 United States Code, and of the criminal provisions of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, of numerous Executive Orders and of their implementing regulations.

The letter warned the social network giant, that the continued provision of Facebook services to the Iranian officials after it had been warned, could open up Zuckerberg and his company to both criminal and civil prosecutions:

Many U.S. entities and individuals who have provided material support to terrorists have been sued by the terror victims and their families for aiding and abetting international terrorism. Many of these defendants now find themselves defending against multimillion dollar civil actions in federal courts around the United States. In addition, American corporations that provided material support to militant organizations in the Middle East are currently defendants in multimillion dollar civil actions in U.S. federal courts brought by the victims of these groups, and officers and principals of such corporations have also become defendants.

During the past 24 hours, the Islamic regime apparently unblocked Facebook services for a few hours, but then quickly reinstated the firewall. Thus, the only ones enabled to view the Iranian minister’s Facebook pages are those websurfers living in western democratic states. Darshan-Leitner states:

If Facebook thinks that it is above the law, now it has been warned that it could be civilly and criminally liable for the actions of Iran and its agents for supporting terror. There is no person or organization in the U.S. which is not bound by the American sanctions against Iran. It makes no sense that a publicly traded company like Facebook would be involved in assisting this brutal Islamic regime in promoting a more liberal face simply for western consumption. The only individuals able to access the Iranian officials pages are Europeans and Americans. Regular Iranian citizens are still prohibited.

TEDx Jaffa: Israel and Iran, A love story?

When war between Israel and Iran seemed imminent, Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry shared a poster on Facebook of himself and his daughter with a bold message: “Iranians … we [heart] you.” Other Israelis quickly created their own posters with the same message — and Iranians responded in kind. The simple act of communication inspired surprising Facebook communities like “Israel loves Iran,” “Iran loves Israel” and even “Palestine loves Israel.”

Ronny Edry of Israel accidentally created an online movement for peace in the Middle East when he posted a Facebook image that declared “Iranians, we will never bomb your country.”

Yet More Profitable Companies Avoid Paying Any Taxes


From 2008-2010 Verizon did not pay any federal corporate income taxes, despite billions in profits. According to Citizens for Tax Justice’s new report, Facebook is raking in many extra millions because of tax loopholes that let them pay nothing. Share this graphic on Facebook if you agree that this is outrageous.

The Ten Days of Repentence: Don’t Tweet it, 10Q it!


Reflect. React Renew
Life’s Biggest Questions. Answered by you.

— by Tanya Schevitz

In an era where most reflection happens publicly in 140 characters or less, the 10Q project provides a private, deeper online forum for personal reflection beyond the waffles you had for breakfast.

Timed to coincide with the Jewish New Year, traditionally a time of introspection and self-reflection, 10Q is a unique project that, started today, will email participants of all backgrounds a question a day about the year that’s past and the year to come. After the 10-day period, the answers are sent into a digital vault. A year later, the answers are returned to participants and the process begins again.

“Thanks to new technologies like texting and Twitter, people have more opportunities than ever to express themselves, but fewer than ever to express themselves well,” said 10Q co-founder Ben Greenman, a New Yorker editor. “What 10Q wants people to do is what people should want to do for themselves — to reflect on life without worrying about status updates.”

Last Thursday, 10Q partnered with the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia  on a roundtable discussion at the Museum on reflection. 10Q’s Greenman moderated a panel including the Hebrew Mamita, Vanessa Hidary, and authors Charles London and Matthue Roth.

While the 10Q project is a reinvention of the ancient ritual of reflection between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and occurs during the Jewish High Holidays, it is intended for people of all backgrounds and has attracted participation of people of many denominations, including Catholics, Episcopalians, Buddhists and Muslims. The 10Q questions are about your place on the planet, and the planet’s place within you.

And regrets are universal, so the events are intended for people to absolve themselves of everything from skipping services to that tweet you wish you never posted.

About 10Q
The 10Q website launched in 2008 and garnered more than 80,000 visitors of all backgrounds last year. Glee’s Jane Lynch, Harry Potter’s Tom Felton and Oscar winning screenwriter Diablo Cody all participated in 10Q last year, and beginning on September 28th, the first of the series of 10 questions will again be sent out to those who sign up at http://DoYou10Q.com. 10Q can also be found on Facebook and Twitter: @10_Q. 10Q is a partnership between Nicola Behrman, Ben Greenman, and Reboot’s Acting Executive Director Amelia Klein.

About Reboot.
Reboot is a catalyst to catalysts – a growing network of thought-leaders and tastemakers who work toward a common goal: to “reboot” the culture, rituals, and traditions we’ve inherited and make them vital and resonant in today’s world. In partnership with the Reboot network, we create opportunities for our peers to gather, engage, question, and self-organize with their own networks, in their own way, in their own time, using the magazines, books, films, records, local salons, gatherings, and events we develop together. Reboot has a track record of reinventing Jewishrituals for a broad audience, including the Sabbath Manifesto project that had Katie Couric telling the nation to unplug, the Sukkah City project that had New Yorkers paying attention to 12 re-imagined Sukkahs in the City’s Union Square Park and DAWN, a revision of the traditional holiday of Shavuot as a cultural arts festival at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco.

10Q 2011 Questions:

  1. Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?
  2. Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?
  3. Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?
  4. Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?
  5. Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? “Spiritual” can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.
  6. Describe one thing you’d like to achieve by this time next year. Why is this important to you?
  7. How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you in this project?
  8. Is there something (a person, a cause, an idea) that you want to investigate more fully in 2011?
  9. What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?
  10. When September 2011 rolls around and you receive your answers to your 10Q questions, how do you think you’ll feel? What do you think/hope might be different about your life and where you’re at as a result of thinking about and answering these questions?