How Facebook Is Transforming Disaster Response

David Moran was all set to go out that Saturday night. He thought he might hit Parliament House, Orlandos oldest gay nightclub, or maybe make it over to Pulse, another mainstay. But after he and a friend ended their shift at the restaurant where they both worked, car trouble kept them marooned in the parking lot for an hour. So Moran went home and fell asleep watching Bobs Burgers on Netflix instead.

He was awakened just before 5 am by the sound of his phone buzzing next to him on his bed. He fished it out from between the covers and found a text message asking if he had heard the news about Pulse. Mass shooting, said the message that arrived next. Now wide awake, Moran instinctively thumbed his way to Facebook.

Moran had just arrived at the diner when an unusual Facebook message arrived from his friend Marcus. Are you OK? it read. It looks like youre in the area affected by The Shooting in Orlando, Florida. Let friends know that youre safe. The message led Moran to a page with two buttons: a green one marked with the words Im Safe and a white one that read Im Not in the Area. Moran tapped the Im Safe button and another message appeared, suggesting he reach out to other people and listing all his Facebook connections in the area. Moran invited scores of people to check in as safe. And then he found himself on a page headlined The Shooting in Orlando Florida. The words Facebook Safety Check hung just below.

Moran could only vaguely recall having heard of Safety Check before. But as friends began marking themselves as safe, he kept returning to the page. For other Pulse regulars too, that Safety Check portal became the source of news they cared about most. Alex Wall, a graduate of the University of Central Florida who had moved to Brooklyn, sat awake through the early morning hours glued to her Safety Check page in her New York apartment. Alex Schnier, an Orlando barista, was getting ready to work an early shift at a Disney World Starbucks; he obsessively refreshed his Safety Check page as he drove to the theme park that morning. I didnt care that I was on my phone while driving, he says. I needed to know.

As it happened, that night last June was the first time Facebook had ever deployed its Safety Check tool for an event on American soil. The company debuted the service after Typhoon Ruby hit the Philippines in late 20141; since then its notifications have appeared in the feeds of more than a billion people worldwide, about 14 percent of the humans on earth. According to Patrick Meier, an expert on humanitarian crises and technology, Safety Check has already come to serve a fundamental need in disaster zonesgiving people answers about the specific individuals they care about in a mass eventat a scale and speed that was never possible before. But Facebook is getting ready to turn Safety Check into something much bigger.

Facebooks crisis hub promises to defragment the barrage of information that flies around and out of a disaster zone.

Think of the way Moran, Wall, and Schnier spent that Sunday morning, watching Safety Check as if it were a personalized breaking-news serviceone whose flow of information was narrowly focused on the fate of their friends. In its next move Facebook is going to open the valve a little further. Safety Check product lead Katherine Woo says the company aims to fold the service into what its calling a crisis hub: a live, centralized repository for information and media about any given disaster, where people can not only check on the safety of individuals but also coordinate ways of responding in the physical world, follow news and chatter, and perhaps monitor all the live video pouring in from the scene. All this happens on Facebook anyway, Woo says. But soon it will be powerfully organized by the companys algorithms into a single stream, automatically generated almost as soon as people start talking about a crisis.

This gets at a real problem. For years now, social media has been where people go to find out whats happening during a crisis; even aid agencies and emergency managers have come to rely on hashtags and live video to form a picture of how an event is playing out on the ground. But the hail of updates can be rapid and incoherent. As disaster sociologist Jeannette Sutton points out, for example, there was no consistent hashtag to follow through the Boston Marathon bombings. Facebooks crisis hub promises to defragment the barrage of information that flies around and out of a disaster zone.

Of course, sometimes theres no information coming out of a disaster zonebecause the internet has gone down, as happened in large parts of New York and New Jersey when Hurricane Sandy landed in 2012. This is another fundamental problem that Facebook is, almost by coincidence, working to solve. For the past two and a half years, the company has been developing a program to deliver the internet via drone to parts of the world that dont have it. The business reason for this fanciful-sounding project is pretty straightforward: It will speed up Facebooks efforts to expand globally and serve ads to even more people in what is already the worlds largest audience. But the team has always had the idea that the same technology could be vitally important in, say, an earthquake zone.

The upshot of all this is that Facebookthat place where you watch clips from American Ninja Warrioris fast becoming one of the worlds most important emergency response institutions. This development has taken even the company itself somewhat by surprise. The story of how it happened is partly one of sheer scaleabout 23 percent of the global population is on Facebook, and people naturally turn to the platform en masse when disaster strikesand partly one of rapid, ad hoc, seat-of-the-pants adaptation. In some cases, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told me on a recent afternoon, sitting in the glass bubble of his conference room, we dont realize how useful things are going to be.

When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013, Sharon Zeng was in Northern California, working for the Facebook payments teamthe unit that fashions tools for shuttling money across the social network. In response, Zengs team built a service that collected Red Cross donations for typhoon relief. A while later, almost as an aside, her boss asked if there was anything else the company could have done.

Zeng didnt have an answer, but the question stayed with her. The company was gearing up for its next hackathona quarterly tradition whereby employees load up on Chinese takeout and then stay up until all hours, working in small teams to build prototypes of software ideas that arent directly relevant to anyones day job. And Zeng needed an idea. At one point she remembered a makeshift disaster message board that a group of Tokyo Facebookers had built after the Japanese earthquake two years earlier, trying to accelerate communication among the more than 12.5 million people affected by the quake and the tsunami that followed. What if you could do that for every disaster? she thought.

Zeng wasnt a coder, though; she needed someone who could actually hack the thing together, so she asked a Facebook ad engineer named Peter Cottle. He was this guy who would say hi to me in the hallways, she tells meby way of explaining how ad hoc some of this is. Cottle agreed, and over the 72-hour hackathon he, Zeng, and a few other engineers built the very first version of Safety Check (they called it Crisis Center). Eventually the prototype reached Zuckerbergs desk.

In October 2014, Facebook formally unveiled Safety Check under the aegis of a new division of the company called Social Good; it described the feature as a simple and easy way to say youre safe and check on others during times of emergency. Over the next year, the team deployed the service a handful of times around the world, always during natural disasters: earthquakes in Afghanistan, Chile, and Nepal; Tropical Cyclone Pam in the South Pacific; Typhoon Ruby in the Philippines.

But then the company changed tack. In November 2015 the Social Good division turned the service on after a team of ISIS gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris attacked a string of cafs, a stadium, a music hall, and other public venues, leaving 130 people dead. It was the first time Facebook had deployed Safety Check for something other than a natural disasterand the decision proved surprisingly controversial.

The system is driven by Facebook algorithms first and then by the choices and behavior of people on the ground.

Paris, as it happened, wasnt the only city that saw attacks that weekend. A double suicide bombing had hit Beirut the previous day, killing 43 people. And on the same day as the Paris assault, 26 people were killed by a pair of bombs in Baghdad. The assaults on all three cities were carried out by ISIS. But only one eventthe attack in Parisinstantly received massive amounts of attention worldwide. Because Facebook had turned on Safety Check in one city and not the other two, it was accused of being just another media organization showing its Western bias.

Zuckerberg publicly acknowledged the complaints, saying the company would work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can. This turned out not to be a hollow promise: On the night of the attack in Orlando, Facebook tested a new version of the serviceone that didnt rely on the case-by-case discretion of the companys engineers.

This new incarnation of Safety Check begins with an algorithm that monitors an emergency newswirea third-party program that aggregates information directly from police departments, weather services, and the like. Then another Safety Check algorithm begins looking for people in the area who are discussing the event on Facebook. If enough people are talking about the event, the system automatically sends those people messages inviting them to check in as safeand asks them if they want to check the safety of other people as well. In other words, the system is driven by Facebook algorithms first, and then its driven by the choices and behaviorand white-knuckle worriesof people on the ground.

In Orlando, Facebooks algorithms automatically turned on Safety Check at 3:47 am, 11 minutes before police officially announced that there had been a shooting at Pulse.

at the IHOP, David Moran kept monitoring the news on his phone. By now the police had identified the shooter as Omar Mateen, a Floridian who had pledged allegiance to ISIS. But what mattered most to Moran was that 183 of his friends had checked in as safeeach bringing a new wave of relief.

At the same time, the process of elimination focused his anxieties on the dwindling list of people he knew who hadnt yet checked in. One of them was Drew Leinonen, the friend whose mother Moran had seen crying on video earlier that morning. Through the grapevine he heard that Leinonens boyfriend, Juan Guerrero, was in the hospital; but no one had heard from Leinonen.

He was someone everyone in the Orlando gay community seemed to know, a guy who was both sharp-witted and silly, who could talk foreign films as easily as he could dance through the night at a club. Wall, the former Pulse regular in Brooklyn, and Schnier, the one who was working at Disney World, had both tried to check on him as well. He was the friendliest guy in the world, Wall says. We ran into him everywhere we went.

Finally Moran decided to get out of IHOP and head over to the Orlando LGBT Center, a few blocks away, where he knew hed find people in a similar state of mind. He had sat at the all-night diner for an hour and a half with a breakfast getting cold in front of himpancakes, eggs, bacon. When he left, he took it to go but tossed the whole thing, uneaten, into a roadside trash can. At the LGBT Center, Moran sat down with a group in the corner trying to organize a response; in practice they did little more than juggle information on Facebook and other social media services. They were trying to post updates about how to donate blood, how to get information about someone who was missing, how to help, he says.

Facebook is cagey about what its crisis hubs will look like, but Facebook Live will play a part.

In the future, Facebook says, this is the kind of thing that will become easier to do through its new crisis hubs. To Sutton, the disaster sociologist, the idea is powerful because such a critical mass of aid agencies and people affected by crises is already using Facebook. Groups like the Red Cross already coordinate donations and relief efforts as best they can on the social network; at the same time, when disaster victims can grab just a few minutes on the internet, they often spend them on Facebook. The crisis hub will help channel them all into the same space. Facebook itself is cagey about what its crisis hubs will look likeas usual, its figuring things out as it goes alongbut Woo does let on that Facebook Live will play a part.

In the beginning, Facebook Live was for celebritiesa way for people like Kevin Hart, Gordon Ramsay, and Deepak Chopra to send real-time video to their fans. Then in April, Facebook expanded the service to everyone. For a time, the mediums most notable hit was a video of BuzzFeed employees blowing up a watermelon by wrapping it in rubber bands. But the real power of the service didnt become clear until a couple of months later, when a woman named Diamond Reynolds turned on Facebook Live moments after police shot her boyfriend, Philando Castile, in Falcon Heights, a suburb of Saint Paul, Minnesotaletting the rest of the world watch as the scene played out. That was not something the company anticipated, says Fidji Simo, director of product for Facebook Live, but it now sees that kind of videoa raw feed from an unfolding eventas the way forward.

Disaster response professionals are already starting to use Facebook Live and other real-time video services to get eyes on the ground and decide where to send resources. As a situational awareness tool, I think its absolutely huge, says Don Campbell, an emergency manager in North Carolina. Compared to even the most strongly worded public advisory message, live video is a much more powerful way to warn members of the public away from danger. You can hear a report that I-40 is closed, Campbell says, but until you see the giant picture of the sinkhole, it doesnt really hit home for a lot of people. News organizations have begun using the same services to cover fast-developing stories.

In a world where all those videofeeds are organized together into one of Facebooks crisis hubs, they could become an even more powerful tool for emergency responders. Its also likely these one-stop crisis hubs will further sideline the traditional media organizations that report on these kinds of events. But of course, all of that is moot if the internet goes dark.

Connecting Flight

Abhishek Tiwari, a Facebook engineer, is standing on the roof of a three-story building in Woodland Hills, California, in between Los Angeles and the coastal mountains of Malibu. The roof is flat, and beside him, a white bathtub-sized dish antenna sits atop a rotating robotic arm. Nearby theres a small network of PCs, flat-panel displays, and other electronic gear. Facebook employees designed much of this stuff during hackathons, Tiwari says.

We cant see it from here, but the dish antenna on this roof is locked in a staring contest with a sister antenna perched somewhere on one of those Malibu mountains, about 8 miles away. The two antennas are trading data at a rate of 19 Gbps, about 400 times faster than your home internet connection, an unprecedented speed for equipment so small, light, and energy-efficient.

To demonstrate how quickly and precisely the antennas can aim at each other, Tiwari tells another Facebook engineer to push the dish down toward the concrete roof. Were going to mis-point it, he tells me. When they do, the robotic arm automatically swivels the dish back into positiona move with an infinitesimal margin of error, given the distance and the size of the targets.

This is the Southern California outpost of the Facebook Connectivity Lab, the research operation thats building the companys massive internet-dispensing drone, Aquila. Today these two antennas send data between the roof and a nearby mountaintop, but in the future, if all goes well, theyll transmit data from a station on the ground like this one to a flying drone on the other side of the country. Then the drone will beam the signal down, like a flying cell tower, to peoples devices on the ground below.

Getting two stationary antennas to lock eyes across a single area code might seem like a far cry from that final goal, but Facebook is making progress. Three weeks later Tiwari and his team attach an antenna to the underbelly of a two-seat Cessna for a first stab at trading data with a moving target. With a Facebook engineer riding shotgun, the plane does several circles over the San Fernando Valley. It takes a while, but the airborne antenna eventually establishes a connection to the ground station in Woodland Hills, sending and receiving relatively modest amounts of datafor now.

If a hurricane or an earthquake or a terrorist attack knocks out communications, one of Facebooks drones could be deployed relatively quickly.

Zuckerberg created the Connectivity Lab in 2014, with the vague idea that he wanted to build new ways of delivering the internet to unconnected parts of the world. He organized the lab around an employee named Yael Maguire, a physicist who had helped oversee the companys recent sweeping effort to rebuild all the hardware that underpins its social network. At first Zuckerberg and Maguire thought theyd use satellites for the internet project. But one afternoon in 2013, an engineer on Maguires team had come across the records of an old Defense Department project called Darpa Vulture that proposed to build a high-altitude, solar-powered drone that could stay in the air for months. One of many applications that Darpa envisioned was that the drone might fly over the eye of a hurricane and drop in a swarm of sensors to study the inner dynamics of the storm.

Inspired in large part by that program, Facebook set out to build a drone that looks very much like the one imagined by Darpa. The company completed a prototype of the aircrafta solar-powered V-shaped prop, with a wingspan greater than that of a Boeing 737 and the weight of a grand pianoearlier this year. And while delivering internet access to chronically underserved areas is still the companys primary aim, the idea that these drones might be useful in natural disasters never left the engineers minds. Maguire says the company has already discussed the possibility with telecom companies in island nations vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis. Facebook isnt alone in thinking this way. Google, which is already relatively far along in a project to deliver the internet to remote places via high-altitude balloons, is also exploring ways to deliver cellular signals in disaster areas. According to the International Federation of the Red Cross, information networks are just as important as food, water, and shelter in a disaster zoneand the lack of them can be just as catastrophic. If a hurricane or an earthquake or a terrorist attack knocks out communications, one of Facebooks drones could be deployed relatively quickly. The plane can move, Maguire says.

People who work in disaster response instinctively worry about the idea that one major company might control access to the internet in the field. But Facebook plans to open source its antenna and drone designs, so that anyonefrom the United Nations and the Red Cross to government agencies and providers like Verizon or AT&Twill be able to build and operate the same hardware. The idea is that hundreds or even thousands of these drones will be in the sky at any given time, forming a high-altitude web of internet transmission.

That alone sounds futuristic, but theres more: As time goes on, Facebook Live and Safety Check will generate an unprecedented amount of data about disasters. Along with the hours of video that Facebook Live can deliver from inside a crisis zone, Safety Check could provide a map of who is safe and where and perhaps why. Meier, whose recent book, Digital Humanitarians, discusses the challenges of dealing with what he calls big crisis data, believes these services will eventually generate far too much data for humans to hunt through and understand manually. His hope is that modern machine learningthe kind of technology that has already proven so useful at recognizing faces in photos and finding whats relevant in internet datawill start to discern important patterns in crises too. And of course Facebook, along with Google and a few others, is at the forefront of machine learning research. Zuckerberg didnt seem to have any specifics, but he went out of his way to tell me he thought artificial intelligence was going to play a big role in identifying moments of crisis on the network.

Cell Tower in the Sky

Facebooks solar-powered drone, Aquila, has a greater wingspan than a Boeing 737 yet weighs only as much as a grand piano. Its designed to bring the Internet to places that dont have it, including disaster zones.Haisam Hussein

As daylight spread across the sky on that Sunday morning in June, millions of Central Floridians who slept peacefully through the night woke up to the news that Orlando had become the site of the worst mass shooting in American history. For Moran, it was surreal to watch as thousands upon thousands of people checked in as safepeople in the suburbs, many of whom had probably never even heard of Pulse. People who had never really been in danger.

For Moran, the flood of check-ins was especially hard to take given that he was still waiting to hear about Drew Leinonen. Facebook can do a lot to speed up the information that ripples through a social network, but it cant do anything to speed up a crime scene investigation. It wasnt until Monday afternoonroughly 36 hours after the shooting startedthat the city of Orlando said Leinonen was among those shot and killed by the gunman.

There is plenty more uneasiness to come as Facebook continues to feel out its role in mass emergencies. Already, for instance, people are starting to consider the psychological toll that graphic live videofeeds can take on viewers. And there are other concerns as well.

This fall, after police shot Keith Scott, an African American man in Charlotte, North Carolina, a number of protests broke out in the city, and some became violent. The demonstrations, predominantly by African Americans, were fairly localized, and the violence was even more so, but the live video that streamed out from the scene gave a different impression. When you start seeing a lot of video showing the same types of protest, it gives the impression that the entire city is engulfed, says Campbell, the emergency manager in North Carolina. At a certain point, Facebooks algorithms turned on Safety Check because the number of people talking about the event had reached a critical mass. But the particular makeup of the alarmed community in this community-driven version of Safety Check became uncomfortably clear as a sea of white people from the suburbs began checking themselves in as safe.

If you believe something must be fully perfect just to get started, Zuckerberg says, a lot of the time youll never get started.

While the new version of Safety Check may be superior to the one that relied solely on Facebooks corporate discretion, Meier argues that its not enough to put out products that are purely community-driven. There needs to be someone with experience at the helmpreferably experience with disasters, civil unrest, and conflict3. But that kind of person is scarce in Silicon Valley. You dont have experts in-house who have worked in disaster response, crisis response, conflict zones, he says. You have policy folks, privacy folks, and engineers. Thats starting to change a little: Tech companies are beginning to consult with people from the humanitarian aid world. Meier himself has consulted for Facebook. But the company, by nature, still has a strong bias toward crowdsourced knowledge; Naomi Gleit, the vice president who oversees the Social Good team2, says shes skeptical that any one social scientist or disaster expert could know better than the community.

For Zuckerberg, the only way to find the optimal formula is to keep pushing services into the world and then watch what happens. If you believe that something must be fully perfect just to get started, he says, a lot of the time youll never get started. The companys guiding philosophy is that it should draw the line where the community wants it drawn. Our job is to learnas quickly as we canwhat we can do for the community.

At the same time, the community is learning as well. Facebook turned Safety Check on once again in Orlando in October when Hurricane Matthew buzzed Floridas eastern coast. As the edge of the storm moved over the city, Moran saw a friend check in as safe on Facebook. It was uncanny to see that notification again. Memories flooded back. But Moran knew what to do. Without anyone having to ask him his status, he navigated over and checked himself in as safe.

Inside Facebook’s Internet-by-Air Tech

Senior writer Cade Metz (@CadeMetz) wrote about Googles Go-playing artificial-intelligence system Alpha Go in issue 24.06.

This article appears in the December issue. Subscribe now.

Styling by Lauren Goodman; grooming by Amy Lawson

On Yael Maguire: Vince sweater, shirt, and corduroys, from Saks Fifth Ave; Vince sneakers, from Bloomingdales. On Fidji Simo: Max Mara blouse and pants, both from Saks Fifth Ave; Christian Louboutin shoes.

1 Correction appended [10:00 am, 11-10-2016]: Facebook first deployed Safety Check after Typhoon Ruby in 2014, not the Nepal earthquake in 2015 as previously stated.

2 Correction appended [10:00 am, 11-10-2016]: Naomi Gleit is the vice president of Facebook’s Social Good team, not its director as previously stated.

3 Correction appended [12:40 pm, 11-11-2016]: This paragraph has been updated to clarify Meier’s remarks.

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Ivanka Trump Sat In for Her Father at the G-20 Leaders’ Table

Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, took his seat at a Group of 20 meeting table in Hamburg, sitting in for the president when he stepped away for one-on-one discussions with other world leaders.

A photo on Twitter showed Ivanka Trump, 35, sitting in her father’s seat between Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Also seated nearby were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkey’s President Recip Tayyip Erdogan.

One official who was watching the session said Ivanka Trump had taken her father’s place at the table on at least two occasions on Saturday, but didn’t speak.

Ivanka Trump at the G-20 summit on July 8.

Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A spokesman for Ivanka Trump said she’d been in the back of the room and then briefly joined the main table when the president stepped out. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim addressed the session, on “Partnership With Africa, Migration and Health” — an area that would benefit from a facility that Ivanka Trump and the World Bank had announced shortly before the meeting, the spokesman said.

G-20 leaders can bring staff into the room for some of the meetings, and when other leaders stepped out during Saturday’s session their places were also briefly taken by others. Ivanka Trump serves as an unpaid adviser to her father, with the title assistant to the president and an office in the West Wing of the White House.

Lines Blurred

But her presence at the table is the sort of blurring of lines — between family and official business — that Donald Trump is often criticized for, and it would be unusual for other world leaders to have their children or other family members step in for them. Later in the meeting, Trump’s wife, Melania, joined the U.S. delegation in the room while the president was in the chair.

Asked about Ivanka Trump sitting in on G-20 meetings, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the president’s daughter has in the past sat in on meetings with Haley and President Trump that involve issues she cares about. “She’s got her certain issues that she focuses on, and when those things come up, then that’s where she is and that’s what she likes to focus on,” Haley said of Trump, in a transcript of an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” that is scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday.

At a news conference later, Merkel — the host leader of the G-20 in Hamburg — said it’s up to the individual nations who represents them. “The delegations themselves decide, should the president not be present for a meeting, who will then take over and sit in the chair,” Merkel said. “Ivanka Trump was part and parcel of the American delegation so that is something that other delegations also do. It’s very well known that she works at the White House and is also engaged in certain initiatives.”

Women Entrepreneurs

The photo was tweeted by the Russian sherpa to the G-20, Svetlana Lukash, who wrote that Ivanka Trump “replaces Pres Trump at the #G20 table as he leaves for bilateral meetings.”

Earlier in the day, Ivanka Trump took part in a World Bank event on a fund for women entrepreneurs that she’s actively involved in. The president praised her work on the fund at the event.

“I’m very proud of my daughter Ivanka, always have been from day one. I have to tell you that, from day one,” Donald Trump said. “If she weren’t my daughter it’d be so much easier for her. It might be the only bad thing she has going, if you want to know the truth.”

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    ‘Make America White Again’: Hate speech and crimes post-election

    (CNN)Fears of heightened bigotry and hate crimes have turned into reality for some Americans after Donald Trump’s presidential win. And the list of incidents keeps growing.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center has counted more than 700 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the United States between November 9, the day after Election Day, and November 16.
    “They’ve been everywhere — in schools, in places of business like Walmart, on the street,” the center’s President Richard Cohen said this week.
    Critics accused Trump of fostering xenophobia and Islamophobia during the divisive presidential campaign. Recent days have witnessed ugly episodes of racist or anti-Semitic, pro-Trump graffiti along with threats or attacks against Muslims.
    The President-elect has said he was “so saddened” to hear about vitriol hurled by some of his supporters against minorities.
    “If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it,” Trump said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
    In a video statement released Friday, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said FBI statistics for 2015 showed a 67% increase in hate crimes against Muslim Americans. Hate crimes against Jewish people, African Americans and LGBT individuals also increased.
    Overall, reported hate crimes spiked 6%, but the number could be higher because many incidents go unreported, Lynch said.
    “These numbers should be deeply sobering for all Americans,” she said. “We need you to continue to report these incidents to local law enforcement, as well as the Justice Department, so that our career investigators and prosecutors can take action to defend your rights.”
    And it’s not just incidents of hate crimes that have happened since the election; there have been reports of other attacks, too. A man in Chicago reportedly was beaten as a bystander yelled, “You voted Trump!” And two men in Connecticut were arrested over assault allegations against a Trump supporter.
    Here’s what some Americans are dealing with across the country:


    ‘Go home’ scrawled on car
    A Puerto Rican family’s car was vandalized on November 17, with the words “Trump” and “Go home” scratched into the car in West Springfield, Massachusetts, according to police and one of the victims, who spoke to CNN.
    Jorge Santiago, an Army veteran who has served two deployments overseas, noticed scratches in the family’s red sedan after he put his daughter on the bus to school, said his wife, Toni Santiago. He reported the vandalism to the West Springfield police soon afterward, she said.
    West Springfield Police Department Capt. Daniel Spaulding said detectives are following up and the investigation is ongoing. They have not determined whether it was a hate crime.
    The Santiagos are the only minority family on their street, Toni Santiago said. Their family supported Hillary Clinton during the election, but they didn’t have any signs on their lawn, Santiago said. They have one small Clinton sticker on their other car parked in their driveway closer to the house, which was not vandalized, Santiago said.
    “It is terrible. It is horrific, and still, in a way, I’m not surprised,” Santiago said. “Racism was always there, but I feel now with our current President having been so vocal in some of the things he says, people feel more comfortable showing that racism, and our family was a target of it.”
    Both Toni and Jorge are US citizens, Santiago said. Jorge was born in Puerto Rico and has lived in Massachusetts for many years, Santiago said. Toni grew up in Massachusetts and is a social worker in nearby Holyoke, Massachusetts, she said. They have three children, ages 2, 8 and 12. Toni posted a photo of the vandalism to Facebook and shared it with CNN.
    “My first reaction is we need to get this out. We need to do something,” Santiago said. “People think ‘it’s not going to happen in my town,’ or Massachusetts is a liberal state, but this is real hate, and it’s not OK.”
    Uber driver verbally assaulted
    A motorist in a white SUV unleashed this hateful rant last week at an Uber driver in New York City.
    The Uber driver, a Muslim and a US citizen originally from Morocco, captured the incident on video. It occurred in the Astoria section of Queens on November 17.
    The Uber driver told CNN the motorist cut him off, yelled at him and continued to follow him for a few blocks.
    When they both pulled up to a stop, the man asked the Uber driver to roll down his window. The motorist then spewed profane and racist abuse at the man.
    One quote: “Trump is president a******, so you can kiss your visa goodbye, scumbag. They’ll deport you soon, don’t worry, you f***ing terrorist.”
    The Uber driver, who came to the United States about seven years ago, asked CNN that his name not be used over concerns for his and his family’s safety.
    Chris Cody, the Uber driver’s next passenger, asked him how his day was going. The driver explained what had just happened and showed Cody his video, Cody told CNN.
    Cody asked if he could post it on social media and share it with others, he told CNN.
    Later that day, Cody put the video on his Facebook page, writing, “this is not a political post… this is a post about the disgusting mentality that some uneducated & xenophobic Americans somehow still subscribe to in the 21st century.”
    The video has gone viral.
    Vandalism at Adam Yauch Park
    Swastikas and the word “Go Trump” were painted on playground equipment at Adam Yauch Park in Brooklyn, according to New York police spokeswoman Annette Shelton. The park is named after the late Adam “MCA” Yauch, a founding member of the pioneering rap band Beastie Boys.


    The vandalism was discovered Friday afternoon, according to Shelton. A resident reported it to police, who are investigating the incident.
    New York City Councilman Brad Lander, who represents that part of Brooklyn, wrote on Twitter: “Yet more hatred & anti-Semitism from Trump supporters.”
    He also tweeted, “No place for hate. We will not be cowed.”
    On Twitter, the Beastie Boys asked fans to join local officials Sunday morning at a rally in the park.
    “Hate has no place in Brooklyn, NYC, or America,” the tweet said. “Join us … to stand against hate messages.
    Lander told CNN the graffiti had been painted over. Instagram images show hearts and flowers over the graffiti.
    The swastika discovered Friday in a Brooklyn park was the 13th reported in the city since Election Day, according to Robert Boyce, chief of detectives for the New York Police Department.

    A photo posted by Pierrepont Hicks (@pierreponthicks) on

    Other swastikas have been found in a school in Manhattan and a housing development in Brooklyn, Boyce told reporters. The number is up from two in the same period of time in November last year, Boyce said.
    According to the New York police, the number of hate crimes in the city has increased 31.5% in the year to date from 2015 to 2016 — up from 250 to 328. Hate crimes targeting Muslims are up from 12 to 25, and hate crimes targeting Jews are up from 102 to 111, the police said.
    Boyce said the swastika at the Brooklyn playground was the only one that included Trump’s name.
    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters this week, “A lot of us are very concerned that a lot of divisive speech was used during the campaign by the President-elect, and we do not yet know what the impact of that will be on our country.”
    A note with obscenities
    A woman reported a frightening incident that happened while she was hiking at Mission Peak in Fremont, California.
    Nicki Pancholy had her car windows smashed and her purse stolen. A note containing obscenities and a reference to her “hiljab” was left on the car’s windshield, according to CNN affiliate KRON-TV in San Francisco.
    Pancholy has Lupus and wears a bandana to protect her from the sun. It has no religious significance, she said. A hijab is the traditional head covering worn by many Muslim women.
    “I was surprised, I was taken aback by the ignorance,” Pancholy said on “CNN Tonight” on Friday evening.


    Before the vandalism, she had the words “love trumps hate” written on her back window, and #notmypresident on the windows of the rear doors. And she intends to put those messages back on.
    “Me and a couple of really good friends got together and got the spray paint off,” said Timmons, who does not intend to press charges.
    Her message to the perpetrators?
    “That it’s OK,” she said. “It was done out of fear. That’s what hate is. Hate is fear. And we can fix that fear by love. It’s OK. I forgive them.”
    The Denver Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the incident as a possible act of criminal mischief, though there are no suspects at the moment.
    ‘Build the wall’ chanted at high school tournament
    Students from a small border town in northwest Texas say they were the target of ethnically charged slurs while warming up for a regional volleyball tournament.
    “When they were saying ‘Build that wall’ and holding the Trump sign, we knew it was for us,” Fort Hancock High School junior Jenna Aguilar told CNN affiliate KVIA-TV in El Paso after the game last week. Most of the school’s students are Hispanic.
    Amid the verbal abuse from the stands, apparently from supporters of the Archer City team, Fort Hancock coach Melissa Saldana called a timeout.
    “We’ve got to ignore what’s going on. We’ve got to stay focused and we’ve got to get tough,” Saldana said she told her players.
    The Fort Hancock team lost, but Saldana said they were still victorious.
    “My girls, they rose above and they handled themselves very well,” Saldana told KVIA.
    The superintendent of the Archer City Independent School District apologized for the students’ actions, but Fort Hancock’s schools chief is still upset.
    “What troubles us is that no game official, an official at the venue, even the officials at the game, school officials, nobody stood up to put an end to this,” Fort Hancock Independent School District Superintendent Jose Franco told the station.
    ‘Make America White Again,’ softball dugout reads
    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a joint investigation after someone painted a dugout wall in Wellsville, about 80 miles southeast of Buffalo.
    The message: A swastika, surrounded by the words, ‘Make America White Again.”
    The governor said both New York State Police and the State Division of Human Rights will investigate the alleged hate crime.
    “New York has zero tolerance for bigotry, fear and hatred, and those who seek to undermine the core values this state and nation were founded upon,” Cuomo said.
    ‘Heil Trump’ painted on church



      Indiana church vandalized with Nazi graffiti


    On Sunday morning, the Rev. Kelsey Hutto got the news that vandals had painted “Heil Trump,” an anti-gay slur and a swastika on the side of her church, Saint David’s Episcopal in Beanblossom, Indiana.
    She told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Thursday that she was at first sad, but believes that the church was targeted because it has always been inclusive to everyone. So, she said, she is taking comfort that whoever did this actually did this for the right reason, because the church has always been welcoming to everyone.
    “Doing the right thing is not always the popular thing.”
    In that spirit, the church has decided to leave the graffiti as is until November 30.
    “If we decide to look at these and be embarrassed, and consider them hateful and angry, and decide to cover them up, then we give power to the idea that hate is more powerful than love,” Hutto said. “And that’s not the case.”
    The Brown County Sheriff’s Department tells CNN it is investigating the incident. Investigators don’t currently have any suspects or leads, but they have shared their report with the state police department and are hoping someone in the community will come forward with information if they have it.
    Swastika, ‘Trump’ at New York campus
    Hours after Cuomo reported the Wellsville incident, the governor announced another alleged hate crime — this one at the State University of New York College at Genese.
    Someone spray-painted a swastika and the word “Trump” on a dorm building.
    “It is unacceptable that this is the second investigation that we have had to announce in the last several hours,” Cuomo said in a statement Saturday.
    “To any New Yorker who is scared, I want you to know that we have your back, that we will keep you safe, and that protecting your rights is what America stands for.”
    Muslim student threatened with lighter
    Police in Ann Arbor, Michigan, were investigating reports a man approached a Muslim student and threatened to set her on fire with a lighter unless she removed her hijab.
    The suspect is described as 20 to 30, unkempt and intoxicated, according to the University of Michigan.
    The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the alleged attack is among a spate of anti-Muslim incidents reported since Trump won the election.
    “Our nation’s leaders, and particularly President-elect Donald Trump, need to speak out forcefully against the wave of anti-Muslim incidents sweeping the country after Tuesday’s election,” Executive Director Dawud Walid said.
    ‘Trump!’ written on Muslim prayer room door in New York
    At New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, students discovered Trump’s name written on the door to a prayer room for Muslims on Wednesday, school officials said.
    “Our campus is not immune to the bigotry that grips America,” the NYU Muslim Students Association said in a Facebook posting.
    School spokesman Kathleen Hamilton said the school has many immigrant students, with about 20% from abroad.
    “It’s a real melting pot here,” she said. “We all believe this very much, that the university is a place of free expression. It has to be safe to be so.”
    New York police are investigating.
    Graffiti in high school: ‘Trump,’ ‘Whites only,’ ‘White America’
    Minnesota high school student Moses Karngbaye said he was terrified to see racist graffiti scrawled inside a bathroom.
    Someone had written “#Go back to Africa” and “Make America great again” on a toilet paper dispenser at Maple Grove Senior High School.
    “That’s the first time I honestly felt like crying at school,” Karngbaye told CNN affiliate WCCO-TV in Minneapolis.
    The bathroom door was also covered with graffiti, including “Whites only,” “White America” and “Trump.”
    Karngbaye sent photos of the graffiti to his mother, Denise Karngbaye, who told WCCO she takes the attack personally.
    “I train my kids to respect everybody, regardless of their race, their ethnicity, their background,” she said.
    Hate crime investigation at San Diego State University
    A San Diego State University student walking to her car was confronted by two men who made comments about Trump and Muslims, SDSU police said.



      Officers injured in anti-Trump protests in Oakland


    “Comments made to the student indicate she was targeted because of her Muslim faith, including her wearing of a traditional garment and hijab,” university President Elliot Hirshman said in a statement.
    The men grabbed the student’s purse and backpack and removed her keys. After the student returned from calling the police, her car was gone. The suspects are still at large.
    Hirshman called the incident a hate crime.
    “We condemn this hateful act and urge all members of our community to join us in condemning such hateful acts,” he said. “Hate crimes are destructive to the spirit of our campus, and we urge all members of our community to stand together in rejecting hate.”
    Graffiti: Neither black lives nor black votes matter
    The day after Trump’s victory, someone painted racist messages referencing the election on a wall in Durham, North Carolina.
    “Black lives don’t matter and neither does your votes,” the message said, according to CNN affiliate WNCN-TV in Goldsboro.
    On Thursday, crews came to paint over the graffiti.
    Phyllis Terry, whose family owns the JC’s Kitchen restaurant next to the graffiti, told the affiliate she was heartened by the effort to cover up the message.
    “I am amazed. I am really touched this morning that the community has rallied together,” she said.
    Nazi-themed graffiti in Philadelphia
    Someone spray-painted the words “Sieg Heil 2016” and “Trump” — with a swastika substituted for the T in Trump — on a building’s glass window on South Broad Street, police said.
    The words “Trump Rules,” “Trump Rules Black (expletive])” and the letter “T” were spray-painted on three vehicles and a house on South Sixth Street. And a swastika and “Trump” were written on a utility box at Broad and Reed streets.
    Police said surveillance video captured a male of unknown race spray-painting around 5 a.m. Wednesday.
    It was unclear if the graffiti were a protest of Trump or a pro-Nazi act. But the Anti-Defamation League has denounced it.
    “Swastikas and the Nazi salute send a message of intolerance and hate to the entire community,” the ADL’s regional director, Nancy K. Baron-Baer, said in a statement.
    Baron-Baer said the group views the graffiti as an isolated incident, but stressed that “we cannot allow this behavior to become routine.”
    Black doll hung from rod at college
    At Canisius College in west New York state, students posted photos of a black doll hanging from a dormitory curtain rod on social media, and one student created a meme with language about “Trump fans,” college President John J. Hurley said.
    Students who saw those photos notified campus police, who investigated, Hurley said.
    Some students have been suspended and may be expelled, he said. An outside investigator will be hired to determine if any students should be prosecuted for possible hate crimes, as several parents and students urged, Hurley said. He did not name the students or say how many were involved, citing privacy concerns.
    On Wednesday, the school held an open session on the doll incident attended by about 300 people. “It is clear to me that this episode has exposed some deeply held concerns among our students of color and that we need to go well beyond addressing the immediate incident involving the doll,” Hurley said.
    ‘Deportation’ letters handed out at school
    A student at Shasta High School in Redding, California, posted a video on Twitter of himself handing letters with the word “deportation” written across the top to half a dozen students, school district Superintendent Jim Cloney said in a statement.
    The students appeared to be of a variety of ethnicities, Cloney said. After talking to the student and his parents, the video was taken down. The student said he thought the video was funny, Cloney said.
    “Needless to say, we don’t think this sort of behavior is funny nor reflective of the culture of Shasta High,” he said. He said appropriate discipline will be applied.


    Trump supporter beaten in Maryland, police say
    A young Trump supporter was beaten Wednesday by students during an anti-Trump protest in Rockville, Maryland, police said.
    Police Maj. Eric Over said a juvenile has been charged with a misdemeanor in connection with the assault. He could face additional charges.
    Police are reviewing a video of the incident. Over said the protest was largely peaceful.
    A witness, Kathy Silverstein, told CNN the young man who supported Trump came upon the protest and exchanged words with some demonstrators before the alleged assault occurred.
    Hat-wearing supporter: I was assaulted on subway
    Corey Cataldo was riding a subway car to the Bronx when a man asked him whether he was a Trump supporter, police spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie said. When Cataldo said yes, the man grabbed him by the neck, hurting his left shoulder, McRorie said.
    Cataldo, 24, was wearing a white hat with the motto “Make America Great Again” stitched on it, CNN affiliate WABC-TV reported.
    The electrician told WABC that as he was being chocked another man acted like he was going to help, but shoved him against a window.
    McRorie said no one has been arrested and the investigation into the reported incident continues.
    CNN called a number listed for Cataldo and left a message seeking comment.
    Men charged in beating of Trump supporter in Connecticut
    Two men were arrested in the punching and kicking of a Connecticut man who was waving an American flag and holding a Trump sign on November 12, Meriden police said.
    Wilson Eschevarria and Anthony Hobdy were charged with assault.



      Man beaten, bystander yells ‘you voted Trump’


    David Wilcox said he was struck by another vehicle while driving in a Chicago intersection. When he got out to try to get insurance information, men from the other car started attacking him.
    “You voted Trump!” a bystander screamed as a man punched Wilcox in the head. Another tried to kick him in the face.
    Wilcox said he doesn’t think his attackers knew who he voted for. Still, the assumption was already made.
    Even though he was beaten on the street in broad daylight, Wilcox said, “Nobody did anything to help.”
    On top of that, someone stole Wilcox’s car. Police are investigating.


    Baylor University: 300 students escort victim to class
    Amid all the physical and verbal attacks, hundreds of Baylor University students rallied behind Natasha Nkhama to make sure she felt safe leaving class.
    Nkhama said she was walking to class last week when a guy “went out of his way to bump into me and shove me off the sidewalk.”
    “He said, ‘No n—— allowed on the sidewalk,'” Nkhama said in a video posted to Twitter last Wednesday. “I was just shocked, like I had no words.”
    Nkhama said two men she did not know defended her, asking the student what he was doing.
    “The guy said, ‘Dude, like what, I’m just trying to make America great again,'” Nkhama said.
    The university said it was “aware of a student who was pushed and subjected to racially offensive language,” an incident it describes as “deeply disturbing and does not in any way reflect Baylor’s faith or values.”
    Nkhama’s video and #IWalkWithNatasha quickly spread across social media. When Nkhama walked out of a class Friday, about 300 students stood by the door, waiting to walk her to her next class, according to campus police.
    Nkhama broke down in tears.
    “I just wanted to thank everyone for being here, and I want everyone who sees this to know that Baylor is a campus of love,” Nkhama said.
    She also thanked the two students who came to her defense when she was assaulted.
    “To whoever defended me that day, I don’t know who you are, but I thank you honestly and thank you for being an example to everyone on campus.”


    ‘Back to Africa’ comment in Florida
    A faculty member at a Pasco County, Florida, high school has been accused of telling a group of African-American students standing in a hallway, “Don’t make me call Donald Trump to get you sent back to Africa.”
    The Wesley Chapel High School teacher, who is also the golf coach, allegedly made the remark the day after Trump was elected.
    The school system is investigating. “As soon as the students reported the incident to administrators at the school on Wednesday, November 9, (the teacher) was sent home on administrative leave, where he remains,” Pasco County Schools spokeswoman Linda E. Cobbe told CNN.
    The teacher did not return a phone call and emails from CNN seeking comment.

    Read more:

    After 6 Years And 720,000 Attempts, Photographer Finally Takes Perfect Shot Of Kingfisher

    Alan McFadyen, who has been an avid wildlife photographer since 2009, just captured a photo that he has spent 6 years trying to get. By his count, it took him 4,200 hours and 720,000 photos to get a perfect shot of a kingfisher diving straight into the water without a single splash.

    “The photo I was going for of the perfect dive, flawlessly straight, with no splash required not only me to be in the right place and get a very lucky shot but also for the bird itself to get it perfect,” McFadyen told The Herald Scotland. “I would often go and take 600 pictures in a session and not a single one of them be any good. But now I look back on the thousands and thousands of photos I have taken to get this one image, it makes me realise just how much work I have done to get it.”

    McFadyen, who also runs a wildlife photography hide business, was inspired to love nature and wildlife by his grandfather. “I remember my grandfather taking me to see the kingfisher nest and I just remember being completely blown away by how magnificent the birds are. So when I took up photography I returned to this same spot to photograph the kingfishers.”

    It took Alan McFadyen 6 years, 4,200 hours and 720,000 photos to get this shot: