UK tourists sent home after jokes on Twitter

While getting ready for a vacation to the United States, Leigh Van Bryan tweeted a couple of jokes about his upcoming visit, including that he had plans to dig up Marilyn Monroe's grave and destroy America. Once the tweets were seen by Homeland Security, Van Bryan and travel partner Emily Bunting were detained upon arriving in Los Angeles.

The two were held on suspicion of planning to commit crimes. The pair was reportedly questions for five hours, after which they were put on a van and held overnight. After spending over twelve hours in separate holding cells, they were put on a flight home.

Twitter to begin censoring tweets by country

On Thursday, Twitter announced that it would begin censoring content on the site on a country-by-country basis. Twitter said on the official Twitter blog that "As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some will differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others will be similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain content..."

This announcement was met with outrage from many, along with many planning to boycott the service. But actually, Twitter has always had to remove content that is illegal in one country or another. Twitter used to have to remove content globally.

The plan is completely reactive, meaning that they will withhold specific content, if necessary, in response to "a valid and applicable legal request". Twitter is also aiming for complete transparency, building in a way to "communicate transparently to users when the content is withheld, and why." When content is withheld from a certain country, users in that country will see an alert box in place of the tweet or account. Twitter also created a new page for users for find notices relating to Twitter.

McDonald's latest #McFail

McDonald's found themselves in hot water on Twitter over the summer when some folks played a "McHoax". Well now the company is trying to recover from another social media disaster. Last week, McDonald's ran a Promoted Trends campaign on Twitter, promoting the hashtags #MeetTheFarmers and #McDStories.

The campaign was supposed to promote the farmers McDonald's gets produce from. But the #McDStories hashtag was quickly taken over by critics of the company's food. I think Forbes put it best: this is an example of "when a hashtag becomes a bashtag".

The hashtag was quickly taken over by people bashing McDonald's and perpetuating stereotypes about people that eat there. People mentioned bad service, bad food, health disorders, and drug use...hardly the kind of content McDonald's had in mind when they paid for the hashtag to appear as a Promoted Trend.

After about 2 hours, McDonald's pulled the campaign. The next day, McDonald's tried again by launching another hashtag: #littlethings. The responses were much more positive, such as "a good cup of coffee in the morning." The fiasco shows all companies how much thought must go into launching a campaign on Twitter.