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01/17/19 5:30am

Officials in the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District are taking steps in response to “several” reported incidents of students using racist language, “acting in association” with anti-Semitism and joking about their support of and admiration for Nazism and Adolf Hitler. READ

03/05/14 6:01pm
03/05/2014 6:01 PM
(Credit: Facebook Screen Shot)

(Credit: Facebook Screen Shot)

Social networking giant Facebook has vowed to help put a stop to illegal gun sales initiating on its social media sites, officials announced at a press conference Wednesday.

Facebook, which also owns the picture sharing platform Instagram, has agreed to remove posts by users who are trying to skirt gun laws and sell firearms illegally, said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management.  (more…)

03/21/13 2:00pm
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Southold school board president

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Southold Superintendent David Gamberg, shown at last week’s budget meeting, said Tuesday he plans to use YouTube to post videos about budget information.

After discovering a stream of misinformation through social media leading up to Southold School District’s budget workshop last week, Superintendent David Gamberg decided to embrace the platform to better educate the community.

“You realize that people are gaining knowledge and inside information through that mechanism, so why not embrace it, and travel down that path,” Mr. Gamberg said at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Last Wednesday about 70 parents, district employees, students and graduates assembled in the high school auditorium to voice concerns over rumored budget cuts. Many of them had heard what turned out to be missinformation thorough social media.

The superintendent said he plans to post informative videos on YouTube about various aspects of the school budget.

“The whole idea is access to anyone,” Mr. Gamberg said. “Giving people opportunities to learn, and not just have to be here [at board meetings], to learn about the budget.”

The videos will be answering questions in terms of the budget process, the tax cap, and future projections, “where we see it’s going and why were doing certain things with our budget,” Mr. Gamberg said.

He expects to have the videos available sometime in early April.

“I will try to make it a little entertaining, not too dry,” Mr. Gamberg laughed. “It strikes me as the right time to be doing it, it’s timely.”

The board took the time to compliment the student body for its “poise and compassion” during last weeks budget meeting.

“Input is always huge,” said Judi Fouchet, school board vice president. “We love to hear from the students.”

The school board also changed the date of a required board meeting from May 1 to May 8 due to scheduling conflicts.

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02/28/13 8:00am
02/28/2013 8:00 AM

A screenshot of the Facebook page called Ashley Come Home.

Marshall McLuhan coined the term “global village” in 1962 to describe how our world was being transformed by electronic technology and its ability to carry information anywhere in an instant. Could he have envisioned back then how accurate his assessment would prove to be five decades later?

Did he imagine the rise of the Internet and the more recent phenomenon of social networking? The evolution of the specific systems is less noteworthy than his accurate description of the direction we were headed.

For proof, look no further than this week’s search for a 16-year-old Peconic girl who went missing after she left home Monday morning but never made it to school. The case is following two non-parallel tracks: the police investigation and the sharing of information and comments on social media. With the exception of issuing a missing persons report, investigators are conducting their search in relative quiet. That’s standard police procedure — and it works. But in the age of Facebook, there’s a not entirely separate approach that deputizes virtually anyone with a computer, tablet or smart phone.

Will that help the investigation? It’s too early to tell. Will it hinder the search? We certainly hope not, but this is uncharted territory, on the North Fork at least, and there are no real local precedents to refer to.

Given all the fear and anxiety surrounding the disappearance, it comes as no surprise that many online commenters are taking what appear to be unjustified pot shots at the police. But this is not “CSI” or a similar television show where each case is wrapped up in less than an hour. Police work is often quite time-consuming and rarely provides immediate results. On Tuesday, Southold Town police took the unusual step of issuing a missing persons report with the type of poster — bearing the girl’s name and photo — usually associated with more suburban and urban settings. And that’s where social media can provide valuable assistance.

Did anyone see her, hear from her, receive a text from her? That’s the type of information needed to help find Ashley Murray and, we hope, return her safely home.

Keep Ashley in your thoughts and prayers with the hope that police and their digital deputies can bring the case to a happy conclusion.