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NewFacebookLogoCalifornia Man Pleads Guilty to Volunteering for Al Qaeda on Facebook (The Verge)
If you run into an Al Qaeda recruiter on Facebook, there’s a good chance they’re actually working for the FBI. It’s a lesson 24-year-old Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen of Garden Grove, Calif., learned the hard way. Business Insider/The Daily Dot Ngo Nguyen thought he had offered his expertise in weapons training to Al Qaeda via Facebook, but like many homegrown would-be terrorists in the U.S., he was really talking to the FBI. Now, in an unexplained surprise move, he’s pleaded guilty to the charges consequently brought against him with an agreement filed in, and accepted by, a federal court. CBS Los Angeles In the agreement, Nguyen admitted he traveled a year ago to Syria, where he joined opposition forces. On a social network site during the four-month period he was in Syria, Nguyen told people he was fighting against the Assad regime and that he had a “confirmed kill.” Los Angeles Times In the late summer and early fall of this year, an undercover FBI agent met with Nguyen, a release said. Nguyen told the agent he wanted to return to jihad. NBC Southern California Sentencing is scheduled for March 21. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

BlackBerry Pulls Updated Twitter App for BlackBerry 10 (CNET)
As BlackBerry attempts to remake itself to stay alive, there continues to be a steady trickle of bad news for the struggling handset maker. The latest problem will be noticed by those looking to get their 140-character fix: BlackBerry has pulled the latest update to the Twitter app for BlackBerry 10.

Twitter Q&A Misfires: Three Companies to Learn From in 2014 (SocialTimes)
Public relations professionals are tasked with understanding how and when to use social media to support their organization’s overall marketing and communications goals, but several execs fumbled on Twitter in 2013. They work for companies including J.P. Morgan, British Gas and Ryan Air.

Public School Teacher Had Inappropriate Relationship with Boy Pupil, 17, After She Went Running with Him (Daily Mail)
A mistress at the top private school made famous by Chariots of Fire has been rebuked for having a relationship with a 17-year-old pupil. She also sent him private messages on Facebook and email, after they formed a personal bond by going running together.

Nasdaq Payouts for Bungled Facebook IPO Dec. 31 (AllFacebook)
Nasdaq parent Nasdaq OMX Group said it will pay out $41.6 million in claims over Facebook’s bungled initial public offering Dec. 31, Reuters reported. According to Reuters, firms that agreed to its compensation offer had until Dec. 23 to agree not to sue the company in order to remain eligible for the one-time payments.

Instagram Gets Blocked, Then Unblocked in Iran (Mashable)
For approximately 12 hours, Instagram became the latest apparent victim of Iran’s Internet censorship system commonly known as the “Filternet.” The blocking of Instagram was initially reported by Iranian netizens early Sunday, and later confirmed by independent researchers.

Four Features Of An Effective Event Hashtag (AllTwitter)
Hashtags help event attendees organize their online conversations – about panels, speakers, ideas and opinions – and stay connected virtually long after the event itself has run its course. If you’re planning your own event, it’s important to choose the right hashtag so that people actually use it – so here are four features that every effective event hashtag should have.

How Snapchat Became the Breakout Consumer Product of 2013 (TechCrunch)
Last year, as 2012 ended, I scanned the early-stage startup landscape and tried to identify one company that was a breakout for the year — I ultimately selected Stripe, and explained why, here. I liked the thought-exercise so much I decided to do it again this year, and it didn’t take much deliberation to choose Snapchat — in my personal opinion, the clear breakout consumer product of 2013.

How to Create a Great Startup Blog and Stand Out from the Competition (The Next Web)
Beside giving your startup a platform, having a blog can help you establish thought leadership, build SEO, and promote things that central to your brand’s messaging. But not all corporate blogs are created equal. When it comes to starting a blog, there are a few basic parameters to consider.

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