National briefs: Facebook hit over privacy

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DALLAS -- Facebook Inc. allowed researchers to manipulate what almost 700,000 readers saw on the website in a study that revived concerns about how much privacy online users can expect.

Researchers altered the number of good or bad comments posted in the users' news feeds, which also contain photos and articles, for a study published June 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. People shown fewer positive words were found to write more negative posts, while the reverse happened with those exposed to fewer negative terms, according to the trial involving random Facebook users in January 2012.

The data showed that online messages influence readers' "experience of emotions," which may affect offline behavior, the researchers said. Some Facebook users turned to Twitter to express outrage over the research as a breach of their privacy.

Facebook said Saturday that none of the data in the study was associated with a specific person's account.

Gay pride celebrations

NEW YORK -- Gay pride parades stepped off around the nation Sunday, in cities large and small, with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their supporters celebrating a year of same-sex marriage victories.

New York City's parade marked the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the 1969 uprising against police raids that were a catalyst for the gay rights movement. The parade route passes The Stonewall Inn, the site of the riots in the borough of Manhattan.

BET Awards party shooting

LOS ANGELES -- One person was killed and four others wounded in an early Sunday shooting at a pre-party ahead of the Black Entertainment Television Awards show, police said.

The gunman fired several rounds at the gathering at a restaurant and banquet hall about 3 miles west of downtown before fleeing, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

IRS bias probe debated

WASHINGTON -- The head of the House panel probing alleged bias by the Internal Revenue Service against conservative groups said former agency official Lois Lerner must have known she was required to keep paper copies of emails that vanished when her computer crashed.

Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, made his comments on CNN's "State of the Union" program Sunday.

Ms. Lerner's attorney, William Taylor, said on CNN that his client didn't violate any record-keeping law requiring paper copies.

Ms. Lerner's missing emails are the latest twist in a 14-month partisan battle over what prompted the IRS to give extra scrutiny to some groups seeking tax-exempt status. Most of the groups were linked to the Tea Party movement.

Marine deserter in custody

WASHINGTON -- A Marine listed as a deserter for almost a decade since going missing after his return to the United States following his brief disappearance in Iraq is back in military custody, the Marine Corps said Sunday.

Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, 34, is scheduled to return today to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, 91/2 years after he failed to report for duty there on Jan. 5, 2005, following a visit to his family, the Marines said.

Also in the nation ...

A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday reinstated a criminal charge of obstruction of Congress against David Rainey, a former BP executive accused of minimizing the severity of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. ... Two men exchanged gunfire early Sunday on New Orleans' always-crowded Bourbon Street in the celebrated French Quarter and nine people were shot in the crossfire, including two who were critically wounded, police said.

-- Compiled from news services


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