Weekend news roundup: cyber-trolls to get flamed, celebs flame each other

11 Jun 2012

In a trawl through the weekend newspapers’ tech coverage, we learn how a landmark legal case by a British woman could reveal her tormentors on Facebook, how actor Brian Presley became an unwitting Twitter celebrity, and the filming of the Steve Jobs biopic, jOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher, has begun.

Steve Jobs biopic begins filming

The Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher – not to be confused with a rival one by Sony that will start production next year – has begun filming at the very Los Altos garage where Jobs and Steve Wozniak built their first Apple computer, The San Jose Mercury News reported.

The movie, titled jOBS, is a rival to the Sony Pictures film that has tapped Apple co-founder Wozniak as an adviser and hired Aaron Sorkin of The Social Network to write the script based on Walter Isaacson’s biography Steve Jobs.

As the crew of jOBS descends on the Apple co-founder’s old neighbourhood this morning, thousands will gather in San Francisco for Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference. Instead of the deceased Jobs leading the proceedings, though, CEO Tim Cook will chart the company’s course.

Beating the cyber-bullies and trolls

The International Herald Tribune reported on what is being described as a landmark case, whereby a British woman has secured a court order obliging Facebook to reveal the identity of “cyber-bullies” who targeted her with an online campaign of “vicious and depraved” abuse.

In a robust example of a victim fighting back, 45-year-old Nicola Brookes intends to use the information to mount a private prosecution against her tormentors.

Brookes appears to have a strong case. As part of a months-long online attack, a fake Facebook profile was set up in her name that falsely portrayed her as a pedophile and a drug dealer.

The US-based social media giant removed the offending page but Brookes continued to be a target of online abuse.

Her experience was one of innumerable cases of online bullying and “trolling” that in some cases has led to the suicide of those targeted.

Know thy neighbour – and share it with the world

The Guardian has an interesting article on how Twitter is putting an end to our private lives, pointing to the ridicule of an actor, a marriage split and a couple’s sex life shared on social media. Should they have been?

The Guardian‘s Alex Clark wrote: “One of the most unnerving sentences I read last week was a brief question posed by someone I didn’t know, about someone I didn’t know: although by the time I read it, I was au fait with a conversation that they might – or might not – have had. But I certainly wasn’t well enough acquainted with Melissa Stetten to be able to judge the tone of this tweet: ‘Did I just ruin Brian Presley’s life via Twitter?’

“Stetten is a 22-year-old model who, on 6 June, took a flight from Los Angeles to New York and found herself sitting next to an actor called Brian Presley. This much, we think, is undisputed; what followed is not. In a series of tweets, Stetten appears to convey their conversation, which fulfils two cliches: that of person bored half to death by self-regarding neighbour who fails to pick up on their ‘I’m going to read my book now’ cues; and that of attractive woman hit on by man emboldened by a hiatus in matrimonial or familial obligations.”

Is Angry Birds about to fly to Ireland?

The Irish Times reported Saturday that the company that created the hugely successful Angry Birds mobile phone game is considering moving its headquarters to Ireland, referencing chief executive Mikael Hed.

The mobile phone game has been downloaded by more than a billion users around the world and its owner, the Rovio group, is developing a broad-based entertainment business on the income from the brand.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is among the people known to be regular players of the game.

“The Irish authorities have been very active and we have been promoting that. We are considering it,” Hed said.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years