Connect with us


Nine OPD officers disciplined for ‘sexist and racist’ social media – The Oaklandside



Nine OPD officers disciplined for 'sexist and racist' <b>social</b> media - The Oaklandside thumbnail

A screenshot of a post by a former OPD officer who used the Instagram account “crimereductionteam” to share content that advocated insubordination. Credit: Screenshot via Instagram

The city of Oakland announced Friday that it is disciplining nine police officers for their misuse of social media, and that the department uncovered the identity of the person who created an Instagram account that spread misogynist, racist, and insubordinate content. But the person is a former officer who created the account shortly after they were terminated by the Oakland Police Department for other misconduct.

The Oaklandside exposed the Instagram account last January after learning about it from sources close to OPD. Named “crimereductionteam,” the account included memes and images that joked about police brutality. Some posts included rape jokes while others advocated for undermining constitutional policing reforms.

In response to news stories about the Instagram account, the city initiated an investigation that included the confiscation of 140 OPD work phones. “Investigators scraped the content and online histories from all of those phones,” the city announced in a press release.

An outside third-party investigator was hired to conduct the investigation for OPD, and the city’s Community Police Review Agency also conducted a parallel investigation.

“This broad and deep investigation revealed violations of OPD policy related to the offensive Instagram page, as well as several other unrelated violations,” the city stated.

According to the city, the investigators found that officers accessed inappropriate materials on their phones, engaged in “conduct that brings disrepute to OPD,” that some officers engaged in “sexual harassment or other conduct in violation of Oakland’s workplace standards,” and officers failed to perform their duties and report violations by other officers. Not all of the misconduct was directly related to the “crimereductionteam” Instagram account.

“The nine officers who were found to have violated department policy ranged in rank from officer to Lieutenant,” according to the city’s press release. “The discipline issued to them ranged from an 3-day unpaid suspension to a 25-day unpaid suspension.”

According to the city, “of the nine officers sustained for violating department policies, two have since taken positions with other law enforcement agencies. Oakland has notified those two agencies of the investigation’s findings.”

OPD has been under federal court oversight since 2003 because of the Riders scandal, in which a squad of West Oakland cops beat up and planted drugs on suspects. The outcome of the social media investigation will influence whether or not the Oakland Police Department can move forward with its reforms under this now 18-year-old court settlement agreement.

Last month, two civil rights attorneys who are part of the reform program, wrote in a court brief that they believe OPD has made significant progress and is one of the best police agencies in the nation, but that the department must prove it can hold itself accountable and continue with a culture change.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick mentioned the social media scandal earlier this month during a hearing in the reform case and said he will review the investigation and determine whether any of it can be publicly disclosed.

“Sexist and racist behaviors are far too prevalent in our culture and have no place in our public safety institutions,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a press release. “I wholeheartedly and strongly condemn any behavior, including online communications, that supports or engages with sexist or racist tropes. I’m heartened by the unprecedented size, scope, and thoroughness of this independent investigation, which held officers accountable and created new policies that raise our standards and expectations.”

Before joining The Oaklandside as News Editor, Darwin BondGraham worked with The Appeal, where he was an investigative reporter covering police and prosecutorial misconduct. He has reported on gun violence for The Guardian, and was an enterprise reporter for the East Bay Express. BondGraham’s work has also appeared with KQED, ProPublica and other leading national and local outlets. He holds a doctorate in sociology from UC Santa Barbara and was the co-recipient of the George Polk Award for local reporting in 2017.

David DeBolt reports on City Hall and policing for The Oaklandside. He spent 12 years working for daily newspapers in the Bay Area, including on the Peninsula and Solano County. He joined the Bay Area News Group in 2012 where he covered a variety of beats, most recently as a senior breaking news reporter. During his time at BANG, DeBolt covered Oakland City Hall, the Raiders stadium saga and the A’s search for a new ballpark, as well as the Oakland Police Department and police reform efforts. He was part of the East Bay Times staff honored with the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for coverage of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire.

Read More

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


‘Jersey Shore’ alums Vinny Guadagnino and DJ Pauly D on why social media is a ‘gift and a curse’



'Jersey Shore' alums Vinny Guadagnino and DJ Pauly D on why <b>social</b> media is a 'gift and a curse' thumbnail

Vinny Guadagnino and DJ Pauly D, known best for their time on “Jersey Shore,” have been reality TV famous since the MTV show premiered back in 2009.

When the show debuted twelve years, social media apps like Twitter and Instagram were on the precipice of becoming the cultural phenomenons they are today.

Vinny and Pauly spoke to Fox News about what it meant to them to be reality TV stars before becoming “Internet famous” was a regular occurrence.

“Sometimes I kind of wish we had social media… I’d have a lot more Instagram followers and Tik Tok followers, but I mean, we got the best of both worlds. You know, like back then, Twitter was everything. So we had the whole world tweeting about us. It was crazy,” Vinny said while promoting the third season of his show “Double Shot at Love.”


“Obviously, social media, in general, is a gift and a curse because, you know, all the haters and everything. And now everything travels so quickly. But at the same time, I like it. I like promoting my shows. I like talking to my fans, engaging with everybody, and putting out stupid Tik Toks. I kind of feel like we got the best of both worlds, some reality shows experience it all,” he added.

“I love my social media,” Pauly said. “It’s how I engage with my fans. But what was great about not having it was that there weren’t any spoilers [back then]. Now everything happens on social media, you know exactly what’s going on in somebody’s life, but not on our show back then. If somebody got into a fight, you have to wait to watch the show to know what happened.”

The pair also reflected on the iconic “Jersey Shore” note the housemates wrote to Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola about Ronnie Ortiz-Magro’s shady behavior at the clubs.

Pauly admitted he didn’t think the note would live on in infamy. “It’s on the bedsheets now and I swear I’ll be deejaying and somebody will hold it up. Fans get really creative when they put it on t-shirts, on everything,” he said.


Vinny loves when he sees it in the news. “Every single time there’s something in the news that has to do with a written piece of paper, fans Photoshop the note into it like president’s speech or something like that,” he said. “It was such an innocent little thing.”

In the new season of “Double Shot,” Pauly is trying to play matchmaker to his best friend. Vinny told Fox News he’s finally ready to get serious in a relationship.

“I get a little older, I get a little wiser. I’m at this stage of my life where I’m 33, so I’ve definitely slowed down a lot. I drink like once a month now. I work out every day. I care about my health and my goals. And I have a niece now. I’m so in love with her. So at this stage in my life, I am looking for something more substantial.” he teased.

“Double Shot of Love” airs Thursdays at 9/8c on MTV.

Read More

Continue Reading


Social Media Is Attention Alcohol – The Atlantic



<b>Social</b> Media Is Attention Alcohol - The Atlantic thumbnail

A fun product causes the same problems that drinking does. Instagram’s own internal research makes the case better than any critic.

Illustration of a sad person with their smartphone.

Matt Chase

About the author: Derek Thompson is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, technology, and the media. He is the author of Hit Makers and the host of the podcast Crazy/Genius.

Last year, researchers at Instagram published disturbing findings from an internal study on the app’s effect on young women. “Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” the authors wrote in a presentation obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “They often feel ‘addicted’ and know that what they’re seeing is bad for their mental health but feel unable to stop themselves.”

This was not a new revelation. For years, Facebook, which owns Instagram, has investigated the app’s effects on its users, and it kept getting the same result. “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” said one slide from a 2019 presentation. “Teens who struggle with mental health say Instagram makes it worse.”

The findings weren’t all negative. Although many teenagers reported that Instagram was compulsive but depressing, most teenagers who acknowledged this dark side said they still thought the app was enjoyable and useful.

So a fair summary of Instagram according to Instagram might go like this: Here is a fun product that millions of people seem to love; that is unwholesome in large doses; that makes a sizable minority feel more anxious, more depressed, and worse about their bodies; and that many people struggle to use in moderation.

What does that sound like to you? To me, it sounds like alcohol—a social lubricant that can be delightful but also depressing, a popular experience that blends short-term euphoria with long-term regret, a product that leads to painful and even addictive behavior among a significant minority. Like booze, social media seems to offer an intoxicating cocktail of dopamine, disorientation, and, for some, dependency. Call it “attention alcohol.”

I personally don’t spend much time on Instagram, but on reflection I love Twitter quite like the way I love wine and whiskey. Other analogies fall short; some people liken social media to junk food, but ultra-processed snacks have few redeemable health qualities compared with just about every natural alternative. I have a more complicated relationship with Twitter. It makes my life better and more interesting. It connects me with writers and thinkers whom I would never otherwise reach. But some days, my attention will get caught in the slipstream of gotchas, dunks, and nonsense controversies, and I’ll feel deeply regretful about the way I spent my time … only to open the app again, several minutes later, when the pinch of regret has relaxed and my thumb reaches, without thought, toward a familiar blue icon on my phone.

For the past decade, writers have been trying to jam Facebook into various analogical boxes. Facebook is like a global railroad; or, no, it’s like a town square; or, perhaps, it’s like a transnational government; or, rather, it’s an electric grid, or a newspaper, or cable TV.

Each of these gets at something real. Facebook’s ability to connect previously unconnected groups of people to information and commerce really does make it like a 21st-century railroad. The fact that hundreds of millions of people get their news from Facebook makes it very much like a global newspaper. But none of these metaphors completely captures the full berserk mosaic of Facebook or other social-media platforms. In particular, none of them touches on what social media does to the minds of the young people who use it the most.

“People compare social media to nicotine,” Andrew Bosworth, a longtime Facebook executive, wrote in an extensive 2019 memo on the company’s internal network. “I find that wildly offensive, not to me but to addicts.” He went on:

I have seen family members struggle with alcoholism and classmates struggle with opioids. I know there is a battle for the terminology of addiction but I side firmly with the neuroscientists. Still, while Facebook may not be nicotine I think it is probably like sugar. Sugar is delicious and for most of us there is a special place for it in our lives. But like all things it benefits from moderation.

But in 2020, Facebook critics weren’t the ones comparing its offerings to addiction-forming chemicals. The company’s own users told its research team that its products were akin to a mildly addictive depressant.

If you disbelieve these self-reports, perhaps you’ll be persuaded by the prodigious amounts of outside research suggesting the same conclusion. In June, researchers from NYU, Stanford, and Microsoft published a paper with a title that made their position on the matter unambiguous: “Digital Addiction.” In closing, they reported that “self-control problems cause 31 percent of social media use.” Think about that: About one in three minutes spent on social media is time we neither hoped to use beforehand nor feel good about in retrospect.

Facebook acknowledges these problems. In a response to the Wall Street Journal exposé published on Tuesday, Karina Newton, the head of public policy at Instagram, stood by the company’s research. “Many find it helpful one day, and problematic the next,” she wrote. “Many said Instagram makes things better or has no effect, but some, particularly those who were already feeling down, said Instagram may make things worse.” But this self-knowledge hasn’t translated into sufficient reform.

Thinking of social media as attention alcohol can guide reform efforts. We have a kind of social infrastructure around alcohol, which we don’t have yet for social media. The need to limit consumption is evident in our marketing: Beer ads encourage people to drink responsibly. It’s in our institutions: Established organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous are devoted to fighting addiction and abuse. It’s in our regulatory and economic policy: Alcohol is taxed at higher rates than other food and drink, and its interstate distribution has separate rules. There is also a legal age limit. (Instagram requires its users to be 13 years old, although, as it goes with buying alcohol, many users of the photo-sharing app are surely lying about their age.)

Perhaps most important, people have developed a common vocabulary around alcohol use: “Who’s driving tonight?”; “He needs to be cut off”; “She needs some water”; “I went too hard this weekend”; “I might need help.” These phrases are so familiar that it can take a second to recognize that they communicate actual knowledge about what alcohol is and what it does to our bodies. We’ve been consuming booze for several thousand years and have studied the compound’s specific chemical effects on the liver and bloodstream. Social media, by contrast, has been around for less than two decades, and we’re still trying to understand exactly what it’s doing, to whom, and by what mechanism.

We might be getting closer to an answer. A 124-page literature review compiled by Jonathan Haidt, an NYU professor, and Jean Twenge, a San Diego State University professor, finds that the negative effects of social media are highly concentrated among young people, and teen girls in particular. Development research tells us that teenagers are exquisitely sensitive to social influence, or to the opinions of other teens. One thing that social media might do is hijack this keen peer sensitivity and drive obsessive thinking about body image, status, and popularity. Instagram seems to create, for some teenage girls, a suffocating prestige economy that pays people in kudos for their appearance and presentation. The negative externality is dangerously high rates of anxiety.

How do we fix it? We should learn from alcohol, which is studied, labeled, taxed, and restricted. Similar strictures would discourage social-media abuse among teenagers. We should continue to study exactly how and for whom these apps are psychologically ruinous and respond directly to the consensus reached by that research. Governments should urge or require companies to build more in-app tools to discourage overuse. Instagram and other app makers should strongly consider raising their minimum age for getting an account and preventing young users from presenting fake birthdates. Finally, and most broadly, parents, teens, and the press should continue to build a common vocabulary and set of rules around the dangers of excess social media for its most vulnerable users.

Digital sabbaths are currently the subject of columns and confessionals. That’s a good start, but this stuff should be sewn into our everyday language: “No apps this weekend”; “I need to be cut off”; “I love you, but I think you need to take a break”; “Can you help me stay offline?” These reforms should begin with Facebook. But with social media, as with every other legal, compulsive product, the responsibility of moderation ends with the users.

Read More

Continue Reading


Gabby Petito missing woman case: Social media reaction, tweets spawn TikTok true crime …



Gabby Petito missing woman case: <b>Social</b> media reaction, tweets spawn TikTok true crime ... thumbnail

Social media has a vested interest in #GabbyPetito.

Missing since Sept. 11, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito had set out on a cross-country trip with her fiancé Brian Laundrie, according to authorities. The 22-year-old woman from North Port was reported missing by her family in New York after they hadn’t heard from her in two weeks.

Twitter is aflutter over the missing woman case, which also spawned true-crime videos on TikTok and a subreddit on Reddit (R/GabbyPetito), and these hashtags: #findgabby #wheresgabby and #bringgabbyhome

Petito, described as a white female, about five feet, 5 inches tall, and 110 pounds, has a popular following on social media already. On Instagram, her handle (which has 160,000 followers) is @gabspetito, and Laundrie’s handle @bizarre_design_ has more than 52,000 followers. On TikTok, the pair posted as @nomadicstatik.

Father of missing North Port woman Gabby Petito begs for help; FBI asks public for tips

What we know about missing Florida woman Gabby Petito

Details about Gabby Petito’s fiance Brian Laundrie

Petito has blonde hair, blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads “Let it be.” A YouTube vlogger, Petito has documented her cross-country travels with the 23-year-old Laundrie on their YouTube channel “Nomadic Statik.” A check on YouTube on Thursday shows the channel has more than 12,600 subscribers. Its bio reads: “Hey! We’re Gabby + Brian ☺︎︎ Recently we decided to downsize our life into a little Ford transit connect to travel across the United States!”

The last video was posted three weeks ago and includes clips of the couple seemingly enjoying their trips. The pair previously posted travel adventures on their site As of Thursday, the message on its homepage says, “Out of the WiFi, be here soon!”

Agencies from several states and the FBI are searching for Petito.

North Port Police Department officials said during a news conference Wednesday that Laundrie is now a person of interest in the case. North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison also is using social media for tips to find the missing woman.

Missing North Port woman Gabby Petito’s vehicle recovered, woman still not found

Here’s a roundup of social media reactions to the missing persons case.

Where’s Gabby Petito?

In a tweet, Garrison addressed Steven Bertolino, asking for a conversation with Laundrie.

North Port Police Department has kept the public informed on Petito’s case via updates on its social media channels.

Active Twitter users have done the same.

Gabby Petito’s fiancé now a person of interest in her disappearance, Florida officials say

Gabby Petito podcasts, true crime TikToks

The missing woman case has inspired people to create a true crime podcast with speculation about what happened to the YouTuber.

And, in a nod to “Unsolved Mysteries,” TikTok users have used the platform to speculate, report or react to cases like Petito’s in a series of videos. Some are people without a media background — citizen journalists — and others claim to have experience in TV news.

The true crime TikToks attempt to explain to viewers in minute-long videos the facts of the case and commentary.

Do you have information about the Gabby Petito case?

The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips at 800-CALLFBI (800-225-5324). It is the primary line for information related to Petito.

Contributing: Oscar Santiago Torres, USA TODAY Network-Florida

Read More

Continue Reading