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US gov mulls issuing terrorist warnings on Twitter, Facebook

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The US government may soon issue terrorism alerts over Twitter and Facebook in certain circumstances.

According to the Associated Press, which recently obtained a 19-page confidential plan from the Department of Homeland Security, terrorism alerts would be published over the two sites “when appropriate.” The alerts would go public only after federal, state, and local officials had already been notified.

The Twitter and Facebook alerts are just one change discussed in the plan, which a DHS spokeswoman said is not yet final. According to the AP, terror alerts would have just two levels of warning: elevated and imminent. The new designations would replace the current five color-coded levels, which have become a regular staple of ridicule among late-night comedians.

According to the draft plan, elevated alerts would warn of credible threats against the US. They would expire after no more than 30 days but would be subject to extensions. Imminent alerts would warn of credible, specific, and impending terrorist threats or ongoing attacks against the US. They would expire after no more than seven days, but also could be extended.

The new system replacing the current color codes is expected to be in place by April 27. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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