Associated Press

Islamic State's Twitter traffic drops amid US efforts

The Islamic State group's Twitter traffic has plunged 45 percent since 2014, the Obama Administration says, as the US and its allies have countered messages of jihadi glorification with a flood of online images and statements about suffering and enslavement at the hands of the extremist organization. Among the images: A teddy bear with Arabic writing and messages saying IS "slaughters childhood," ''kills innocence," ''lashes purity" or "humiliates children." A male hand covering a female's mouth, saying IS "deprives woman her voice." A woman in a black niqab (veil), bloody tears coming from a bruised eye, and the caption: "Women under ISIS. Enslaved. Battered. Beaten. Humiliated. Flogged." US officials cite the drop in Twitter traffic as a sign of progress toward eliminating propaganda they blame for inspiring attacks around the world.

The Case against Binge-Watching TV

[Commentary] Americans are increasingly engaging in a practice known as television binge-watching -- going through several episodes of a TV show in a single stretch. So why am I unhappy about this new way to watch TV?

The biggest challenge with binge-watching is avoiding mentions of plot twists and other spoilers in the news media, on social networks and in casual conversations. Aware of how it feels to hear about spoilers, I'm careful not to "spoil" others. But it's hard to keep track of what I can say to whom.

I lose the sense of time by binge-watching, whether something I watched just four hours ago really took place four weeks or four months ago. I've also let too much of my life slide trying to catch up on shows. There's a temptation to start from the beginning, even as new episodes air, such that it becomes overwhelming to catch up and keep up.

Gannett to Spin Off Its Publishing Business

Gannett is splitting its broadcast and publishing business in two, joining other major media players in allowing fast growing TV and digital operations to operate more freely and not be weighed down by the declining newspaper business.

Gannett also announced that it would take full ownership of for $1.8 billion. The publishing company will house USA Today as well as 81 local US daily publications and Newsquest, a regional community news provider in the UK.

China to Declare Qualcomm A Monopoly

Chinese regulators have concluded Qualcomm, one of the biggest makers of chips used in mobile devices, has a monopoly, according to Xu Kunlin, director of the anti-monopoly bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's economic planning agency.

Why Rupert Murdoch Wants To Buy Time Warner

In a move that aims to counter consolidation among TV distributors like Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV, Rupert Murdoch's Fox has made an unsolicited takeover offer for rival media giant Time Warner for about $76 billion in cash and stock.

The more must-have channels like HBO and Fox News Channel are assembled under one company, the stronger that company's bargaining position in demanding licensing fees from the TV distributors, no matter how big they get. Time Warner rejected the bid, but an analyst called it just a first attempt in a courtship that would make the combined company as large as Disney in market value.

US Given Heads Up About Newspaper Data Destruction

The Obama Administration knew in advance that the British government would oversee destruction of a newspaper's hard drives containing leaked National Security Agency documents in 2013, newly declassified documents show.

The White House had said it would be nearly unimaginable for the US government to do the same to an American news organization. The Guardian newspaper, responding to threats from the British government in July 2013, destroyed the data roughly a month after it and other media outlets first published details from the top secret documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The NSA emails, obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, showed that senior intelligence officials were notified of Britain's intent to retrieve the Snowden documents and that one senior US official appeared to praise the effort.

High court rejects Google appeal in snooping case

Google must face a class action lawsuit alleging the Internet giant violated federal wiretap law when its Street View vehicles collected data from private Wi-Fi networks.

The US Supreme Court said that it would not consider Google's challenge to the class action lawsuit. The federal Wiretap Act bans the interception of electronic communications.

Google had argued that it was not illegal to collect radio communications or any "form of electronic communication readily accessible to the general public."

But a San Francisco federal judge and the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals did not agree and refused to dismiss the class action. The class action was filed on behalf of individuals whose information was collected from unsecured Wi-Fi networks when Google's Street View cars rode past unsuspecting households.

Judge: Warrantless Bulk Surveillance Is Legal

A federal judge has affirmed the legality of the US government's bulk collection of phone and e-mail data from foreign nationals living outside the country -- including their contact with US citizens -- in denying a man's motion to dismiss his terrorism conviction.

It was the first legal challenge to the government's bulk data-collection program of non-US citizens living overseas after revelations about massive, warrantless surveillance were made public by former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden. The program also sweeps up information about US citizens who have contact with overseas suspects. This type of surveillance played a key role in this case.

Lawyers for Mohamed Mohamud, a US citizen who lived in Oregon, tried to show the program violated his constitutional rights and was more broadly unconstitutional. US District Judge Garr King denied that effort.

Youtube To Launch Music Service Amid Indie Dispute

YouTube will launch a new subscription music service, the company acknowledged after being dragged into a public dispute over royalties that will result in the blockade of some independent artists' music videos.

The Google-owned video site said that it is "adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube" and that "hundreds of major label and independent artists" have signed on. The paid service -- to be launched soon -- will likely allow playback of videos without ads and allow for offline playback on mobile devices.

The people familiar with the matter also confirmed that a small number of independent artists who had not agreed to new deal terms will have their videos blocked in some countries starting in a few days, even on the free version of YouTube.

YouTube will block the music videos so users of the test version won't be confused about which content they can access for free and which features require payment, the people said. Allowing free streams of music by certain artists while not offering them on the paid service would erode the value of the paid plan, one person said.

The move also adds pressure on those labels to sign, because not being on YouTube altogether will result in less advertising revenue and exposure.

US Media Getting Ready for World Cup

The World Cup kicks off in Sao Paulo with home team Brazil going up against Croatia in the opener of the world's most popular sporting event.

All 64 soccer matches will air in English in the United States on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. Univision and its associated networks -- UniMas, Galavision and Univision Deportes -- will broadcast the games in Spanish.

Here are some media questions heading into the World Cup:

  • Will the World Cup be profitable for ESPN?
  • Who will turn into TV combatants?
  • Is social media ready for the World Cup?