Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Video: Inside a migrant hotspot in southern Italy

Read more

ENCORE!

'Oh my Gad!' French comedian Gad Elmaleh on his American dream

Read more

THE DEBATE

Democratic Convention: Can the Democrats now unite around Hillary Clinton?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Lady Liberty': The story behind the pictures

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The People Want Bernie' chanted at Democratic Convention

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Air France set for fresh strike action

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is France 'at war'?

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

South Sudan: President Salva Kiir names new vice president

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Leaked emails overshadow Democratic convention

Read more

Americas

New York bomb plot suspect's name puts Internet in a spin

Text by Marc DAOU

Latest update : 2010-05-04

When New York police released the name of the man arrested for the attempted car-bombing in Times Square, internet users trawled social networking sites for more clues to the identity of Faisal Shahzad, with some unhappy results.

Within hours of his name being released, Faisal Shahzad’s name became the web’s biggest hit.

The number one suspect in the failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square became the object of fascination for media organisations and amateur sleuths looking for a picture of the US citizen, originally from Pakistan.

But without much luck: both his first and family names are extremely common on the Indian subcontinent, ditto for combinations of the two. Facebook alone has 500 profiles under that name.

Online news site the Huffington Post was quick to published a number of links to Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, as well as Flickr (Yahoo!’s online public photo repository) accounts under the name of “Faisal Shahzad”.

The Huffington Post’s valiant efforts to unmask the would-be bomber created an immediate Internet buzz, and with the help of popular “microblogging” site Twitter the dam was opened on a host of innocents, mostly based in Pakistan. Two of these unfortunate Faisal Shahzads suffered the indignity of seeing their pictures commented upon online.

The US-based Huffington post has since withdrawn its 20-odd links. But the damage was done: on top search engine Google, “Faisal Shahzad” topped the list of Internet searches within seven hours of his name being released.

The use of social networking sites for finding photos of people in the “public interest” is nothing new.

The first photo of “rogue trader” Jerome Kerviel, accused of losing 4.9 billion euros for his employer Societe Generale, was lifted from his Facebook account and used extensively by the media.

More recently, the first picture of Zahia Dehar, the call girl linked to the sex scandal involving Franck Ribéry and the French national football team, was also taken from her Facebook profile.
 

Date created : 2010-05-04

  • USA

    Suspect in Times Square bomb plot says he acted alone

    Read more

  • USA

    Authorities arrest man over New York car bomb plot

    Read more

  • USA

    Police reportedly identify rigged SUV owner as Pakistani-American

    Read more

COMMENT(S)