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Unnamed Donor: Here's $62K, Destroy Vegas Shooter's Guns

Anonymous businessman wants money to be split among deceased victims' families

(Newser) - Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock left behind 50 or so firearms in the wake of the mass shooting that killed nearly five dozen people in October 2017, but what happened to those guns? If an anonymous donor—identified as a "San Francisco software executive" by the New York ... More »

Web Sites Liable for Anonymous User Comments: EU Court

Newser editors terrified

(Newser) - Web sites can be held legally liable for anonymous user comments posted on them, the European Court of Human Rights declared yesterday, in a ruling sure to terrify news sites everywhere. The case revolves around the Estonian news site Delfi, which in 2006 posted an unflattering article about a ferry... More »

Anonymous Comments Are Crucial, HuffPo

Huffington Post's real name solution is misguided: Joanna Geary

(Newser) - In an effort to promote more positive (or, at the very least, fewer awful) comments on its articles, the Huffington Post announced yesterday it will no longer allow anonymous comments—but that's a bad move, writes Joanna Geary in the Guardian . Keep in mind places like Egypt and Brazil,... More »

Judge Denies Anonymity for Sandusky Accusers

Victim's lawyer says it's like 'being branded with a scarlet letter'

(Newser) - Jerry Sandusky's alleged victims won't be able to hide their identities by testifying under pseudonyms, the judge ruled today, as he set the ground rules for the trial that is to begin tomorrow. Lawyers for five of the alleged victims had requested anonymity, and though Judge John Cleland... More »

Law Would Ban Anonymous Online Comments

New York legislators want to bring 'accountability' to digital age

(Newser) - Two New York lawmakers want to outlaw anonymous comments from websites based in the state. Their proposed legislation is now in both legislative houses, though no votes have been taken, reports Wired . The idea is to reduce cyberbullying and "baseless political attacks," and bring "some accountability to... More »

Vicious Small-Town Gossip Gets Online Forum

The virtual stuff is anonymous and nasty

(Newser) - It’s small-town gossip 2.0: Tiny towns in the Ozarks, Appalachia, and elsewhere are increasingly turning to the Internet for local chatter—and when posts are anonymous, they can get nasty. On sites like, cruel rumors get started virtually, and true or not, the fallout can be... More »

Westboro to Hackers: 'Bring It, Cowards'

Web war erupting as Anonymous targets the group

(Newser) - The hacktivist group Anonymous is now targeting the Westboro Baptist Church—but the Kansas church isn't going to play dead. "Bring it, cowards," its founder's 24-year-old granddaughter has responded. Anonymous threw down the gauntlet with an open letter to the church warning that the group is sick and... More »

Shame on You, Simon & Schuster

Tim Rutten: Marketing of 'O' is outright 'deception'

(Newser) - Now that we know McCain adviser Mark Salter is the author of O: A Presidential Novel, Simon & Schuster has some 'splaining to do, writes Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times . Marketing campaigns don't have to win prizes for honesty, "but they are supposed to stop somewhere just... More »

And the Author of O: A Presidential Novel Is...

...Mark Salter!

(Newser) - The anonymous author of O: A Presidential Novel didn’t stay anonymous for long: It’s none other than McCain speechwriter Mark Salter, sources confirm to Time . Page Six had previously guessed Salter could be the author , and there were some hints, writes Mark Halperin: Salter “has been holed... More »

O: A Presidential Novel: A Bit Dull, but On the Mark

Post reviewer: Not 'as good as you hoped or as bad as you feared'

(Newser) - O: A Presidential Novel is not the gossipy bombshell one might have expected of a novel, penned anonymously by an insider, depicting the 2012 Obama campaign, writes Ron Charles for the Washington Post . In fact, it suffers a bit in that the fictionalized Obama and his GOP opponent—a flattering... More »

DC's Big Mystery: Who Wrote Anonymous Obama Novel?

Book is due out Jan. 25

(Newser) - A mystery is sweeping Washington: Who penned the forthcoming O: A Presidential Novel ? The 368-page, $25.99 book, out for release Jan. 25, is about the Obama administration—and is reportedly written by an anonymous author who has “vast personal experience” with the subject, the Washington Post reports.... More »

State AG Orders Twitter to Rat Out His Critics

Republican candidate for governor wants names, addresses

(Newser) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has subpoenaed Twitter, demanding it release “any and all subscriber information” for two accounts that seem to mainly specialize in criticizing him. The subpoena orders Twitter to “testify and give evidence regarding alleged violations of the laws of Pennsylvania,” but doesn't specify... More »

News Sites Reconsider Anonymous Comments

Move to pull comments out of gutter

(Newser) - The anonymous free-for-all that online news commenters have always counted on may not be around for much longer. As anonymous comments come under increasing attack as bastions of "crudity, bigotry, meanness and plain nastiness," as one journalist puts it, many news sites are moving away from the practice,... More »

New Website Is Like LinkedIn, but Nastier

Unvarnished welcomes negative reviews of professionals

(Newser) - A new website intended to cut through the universal positivity of networks like LinkedIn with some real information on the job performance of potential employees or former managers has bloggers talking apocalypse. Unvarnished , which is now in beta testing, allows users to claim their profiles and comment on other comments,... More »

Web Protests Win Surprise Traction in China

Some fear official tolerance is surveillance in disguise

(Newser) - The usually repressive Chinese government has been surprisingly tolerant of—and even responsive to—a wave of Internet petitions protesting local injustices and corruption. Online campaigns have gotten accused killers freed, officials fired, and charges dropped against a motorist who cut off his own finger to protest police entrapment, then... More »

Toxic Teen Website Infuriates Parents, Cops

On anonymous message board, free speech becomes personal attacks

(Newser) - The creator of the online message board says he's just providing an "avenue for people to express their feelings," but parents and teachers disagree. The website allows teenagers to anonymously post slurs and false rumors about fellow students. Although it's legal, it's also hateful and humiliating,... More »

Anonymous Briefings Rile White House Press Corps

Members considering staging protest

(Newser) - The White House press corps is fed up with background briefings given by “senior administration officials” whose names can’t be revealed, and journalists are considering a protest, Politico reports. An AP reporter has urged the press to team up against such briefings. But frustrated reporters are still attending... More »

In Hard Times, Big Donors Don't Flaunt It

Some seek subtlety as neighbors struggle

(Newser) - In hard times, big givers are staying out of the spotlight, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports. Some 19% of donations of $1 million or more in the past 10 months have been anonymous, compared with 3%-5% over the past 10 years. Donors often stay nameless to keep other charities from... More »

$70M in Anonymous Gifts Spark Academic Whodunit

Nearly $70 million given to colleges nationwide

(Newser) - A wave of nearly $70 million in mysterious donations to a dozen colleges across the country has set off a happy guessing game in academic circles, the New York Times reports. "Whoever it is wishes to remain anonymous and I, for one, am perfectly happy to respect that,"... More »

In China, These Detectives Aren't for Hire

Millions of vigilantes rile Beijing by solving mysteries online

(Newser) - If you do a bad thing in China, just hope it doesn't go online. The nation's so-called "human flesh engine"—millions of web-surfers who like hunting for facts—have already gotten a Communist Party secretary fired and identified a woman who stomped a cat to death. Despite an... More »

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