The weekend means two things: The hangover breakfast and hours spent on social media. However you should probably think before you post. As recent events show that being careless on social media can leave you unemployed, arrested or even dead.


Location, Location, Location.

Two IS soldiers one with a balaclava. Tagline "no filter"

A social media fail led to US forces bombing the location of IS soldiers

We all love a good selfie. Especially when we’re in a glamorous location. But if you are a member of a rebel terrorist group, it might be best to stay off Twitter.

This week the location of an Islamic State hideout was busted after an IS fighter decided to post a selfie.

US spies recognised the background and within 24 hours they had bombed the area.

If alive, the IS fighter probably hasn’t had any new follower requests.



Similarly, a Russian soldier gave the game away when he posted on Instagram from Ukraine. You can find out all about the Russia/Ukraine saga right here, but in a nutshell Russia was NOT supposed to be in Ukraine. They’d even denied they had soldiers in the country.

Social Media Fail by Alexander Sotkin revealed that he was in Ukraine with Russian soldiers

The social media fail which revealed Russian soldiers might be somewhere they shouldn’t


VICE news even used social media to track down Russian soldiers;


Come Fly With Me

Everyone loves a good prank. Pretend to be someone else and wind them up. Classic banter. A fourteen year old girl decided to take it to a whole new level and tweeted a threat to an airline as a joke.

As you can imagine this very quickly backfired.

Teenage girl tweets an airline pretending to be a terrorist. They pass on her details to the FBI: Social Media Fail

Airline Fail: Don’t pretend to be a terrorist


Don’t worry though, she had things covered.


Social Media Fail - the girl who tweeted pretending to be a terrorist then blocked the FBI

Good plan.

However, this didn’t stop her from being arrested. Nice try though.


Hackers gonna hack

Hacker Chris Roberts commits a Social Media Fail and was arrested. His tweet looked like he was going to hack into the WIFI of a plane

Chris Roberts was about to get hacked off

Bragging about your skills is never cool. But if your skill is hacking… maybe keep it on the down low. Computer expert Chris Robert’s wasn’t expecting the response he got when he posted this tweet to the right:

Yeah, we don’t really understand it either. But apparently it refers to a weakness in the airplane WI-FI system which could allow a hacker to take over the flight controls.

It’s like every plane disaster movie you’ve ever seen rolled into one.

The US authorities didn’t take kindly to this and arrested Roberts as soon as he landed. Then confiscated his laptop.

Oh, and if you want the low down on hacking you can read our guide. You’re like totally welcome.


Funeral = Not A Photo-Op


David Cameron's Social Media Fail - getting a selfie with Barack Obama and the Prime Minister of Denmark

“Did you get my good side?”

It was all going so well for David Cameron. Leader of the Conservative party, then Prime Minister, he was finally invited to one of the biggest public events in history: Nelson Mandela’s funeral. What could possibly go wrong?


What better way to show your respect to a dead world leader than selfie-ing up with US President Barack Obama and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt?


David Cameron's Social Media Fail - getting a selfie with Barack Obama and the Prime Minister of Denmark

Say Cheese!



The world didn’t take too well to this social media fail and Cameron later tried to save face by suggesting the photo be auctioned off to charity.

Bidding starts at 1p, any takers?

Don’t think President Obama got off the hook, however. Just look at the frown on his wife’s face. He’s in big trouble.





David Cameron also took flak after the Downing Street official Facebook page changed its profile picture to an image of the prime minister wearing a Remembrance Day poppy. Poppies are worn to honour those who gave their lives in war and conflict.

David Cameron's social media fail with a poppy photo-shopped onto an existing image

Spot the difference

The problem? Turns out the poppy was actually photo-shopped onto an existing image. Awkward!


By-Election Bye Bye


Emily Thornberry MP's tweet about Rochester features a white van and three England flags.

A political social media fail led to the resignation of Emily Thornberry

It’s not just the Prime Minister who found out that Politics and Social Media fails really don’t mix. Labour MP Emily Thornberry lost her job in the Shadow Cabinet for tweeting this picture of a white van and some England flags.

Thornberry had travelled up to support the Labour party in a by-election. (What is this I hear you say? Take a look at The By-Election: Decoded)

Residents of Rochester were furious at the tweet and many thought Thornberry was making a snooty comment about the working classes.

Then a “helpful” journalist decided to point out it wasn’t the first time she had tweeted about England flags.


Maybe she just really likes flags. Maybe.


Queen Elizabeth II is (not) DEAD

Yeah, OK, maybe not. But BBC journalist Ahmen Khawaja decided to send a tweet saying exactly that.

Tween From Ahmen Khawaja stating that Queen Elizabeth II is dead

Killing a royal is the ultimate Social Media Fail

Turns out the BBC was just running a rehearsal to work out how they would cover an event such as the Queen’s death. Not weird at all. The rehearsal coincided with Queenie’s annual medical check up.

Khawaja’s version of events; she got pranked. #likelystory


Learnings: Social Media Fails can be fun.

If you take fun to mean “deadly dangerous”.

Could Instagramming your brunch lead to you being arrested? More importantly  – is anyone actually using Pinterest? Answers in 140 characters or less.


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The difference between sounding cool and being cool: Hacking explained.

What is a computer hacker?

Computer Hackers look for gaps and weaknesses in computer code (that’s the stuff which makes your laptop work) and break in. They can do this to cause harm, steal personal details like your banking PIN number or just simply to have fun. Some hackers work to improve computer security by exposing the flaws in the technology. Yes, you heard that right.

It’s tough being a Millennial. We were born just on the cusp of the computer revolution. Nowadays, kids in primary schools are being taught to code and hacking groups like Anonymous and the South Korea Hacker gangs are hitting the headlines.

In recent years a whole hacking culture has evolved. So, if you technically want to be a hacker, TECHNICALLY, what would that entail?

If it seems complex, well that’s because it is.

How to become a computer hacker in three not so easy steps:

200-11) Choose a TYPE of hacking. Yes there are different kinds.

Contrary to popular belief, hackers aren’t just criminals or geeks. There are many different types of hackers. There are “White Hats”, “Black Hats” and even “Grey Hats”. Hackers love hats.

Not really. The colour of hat just shows why you are hacking. For example White Hats hack to find weaknesses in order to improve them. Black Hats generally do it to cause trouble. And Grey Hats sit in the middle. They will look for websites or companies to hack for fun, but will sometimes offer to fix the problem. For a fee of course. Hackers gotta eat just like the rest of us.

You’ll start out as a “Noob” or newbie, and then work your way up. Work hard and you could become an Elite Hacker.

Or if that seems like a massive effort you could just become a “Script Kiddie”. They are hackers who use code written by other hackers. Takes all sorts I suppose.


2002) Choose a method of hacking

Now you’ve chosen the type of hacker you want to be, you need to find a way to access other people’s computers.

The most common hack is a Virus. If this gets into your computer it basically tries to screw everything. It attaches itself to a programme like Word or Excel. Every time you run that programme the virus will reproduce and spread through the computer. Viruses slow down the computer and eventually cause it to crash.

Another type is a “Trojan”. Just like a Trojan Horse, this pretends to be doing something else whilst accessing your data. Trojans are often hidden in downloads like games or music. When you try to play the game, the Trojan deletes everything on your computer.

If you want to find passwords you might choose to use a “Logger”. Hint: it’s nothing to do with lumberjacks. Loggers record what you type. Get it into someone’s computer and when they enter a password, you get a record of what they write.

The most common way of trying to get viruses and other programmes onto another computer is through email. So when you receive another email saying you’re owed $220,000 from “your good friend” it’s probably a good idea not to open it.

There are many other ways to hack into computers. “Brute Force” attacks go through password combinations and “Worms” can spread to different computers using shared connections like Wi-Fi.


200-23) Learn from the best and maybe try to stay away from the criminal hacking activity?

Hacker culture is massive. So if you want to be the best, you gotta learn from the best. If you don’t fancy trawling seedy internet chatrooms you can go on legal hacking courses. Big companies allow hackers to take part in a “penetration test”. Sounds kind of dirty but it just means they let you hack them to test their security.


Why are we talking about this?

We recently learnt about a hacking “nation state”. These are groups of hackers who work together to achieve the same goal. A group called “The Guardians of Peace” decided they had beef with film company Sony. You would have heard of this but why? Sony was about to release a film which was about two Americans killing the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

We don’t know why Guardians of Peace took a dislike to this. But whatever the reason they hacked Sony and released some controversial emails from Sony bosses. Some of whom have had to quit.

One man’s freedom of speech is another’s shame. 200-3

The suspicion fell on North Korea, but it’s not been proved they were involved. However a man who escaped from North Korea, yes we said escaped, has claimed they have an army of hackers waiting to do serious damage to anyone who crosses them. Should we believe it? Who knows. 

Guardians of Peace might see themselves as “hacktivists”. These are computer hackers who infiltrate computers or systems for a social or political reason.


What we learned today: Hacking appears to only be associated with criminal activity, we should broaden our horizons and if you’re curious dive in and save the online world!

Is hacking basically online mugging?  Answers below please.