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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 10:58 am, Thu May 1, 2014.

Police take a virtual beating in a Twitter forum they created

When the Police Department invited the public to post photos of people interacting with officers on the Twitter social media network, it may not have gotten the results it intended.

People sending tweets with the #myNYPD hashtag, which the NYPD created Tuesday, largely posted photos of police using force against members of the public.

Activist groups such as the New York Civil Liberties Union and Occupy Wall Street used the hashtag, which is a keyword letting Twitter users find all posts that contain it, to criticize the department and tout their organizations.

“NYC! Having fun with the #mynypd tweets? Remember to send us ur #mynypd stories using our ‘Stop & Frisk Watch’ app: nyclu.org/app,” the civil liberties group said in one of many tweets it posted.

Media outlets quickly said the initiative had backfired. “Predictably, NYPD’s #mynypd hashtag outreach goes very, very wrong,” Salon.com said in a post echoing many others.

The Police Department stood by its hashtag.

“The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community,” Deputy Chief Kim Royster said in an email to the media. “Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city.”

InBloom student data plan fails, shuts down

The nonprofit service inBloom, which had planned to collect and store information on public school students in a partnership with the state, has shut down after New York lawmakers barred its use in recent budget legislation, multiple media reports say.

Many parents and legislators had voiced concern that inBloom could turn over student data such as grades and discipline records to outside groups including businesses.

Some, however, say their fears were unfounded and based on a misunderstanding of what inBloom would be allowed to do. Media outlet City & State reported on Wednesday that an attorney with global law firm DLA Piper told a business group in Albany that sharing student information for purposes other than what schools request is already illegal under federal law. The 1974 measure banning such sharing, called the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or the Buckley Amendment, was authored by a former U.S. senator from New York, Conservative James Buckley.

Ex-cons get jobs boost

Bed, Bath & Beyond, which has three stores in Queens, has agreed to no longer automatically refuse all job applicants previously convicted of felonies, in order to comply with state law, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday.

The AG had launched an investigation of the retail chain after discovering it had a policy against the hiring of any former felon, regardless of how old a conviction was or evidence of rehabilitation. State law prohibits such a blanket ban on hiring those with criminal records.

As a result of the settlement, Schneiderman said Bed, Bath & Beyond will pay $40,000 to applicants who were denied employment, and $15,000 each to three groups that help former criminals find work, plus another $40,000 whose recipients were not specified.

Cleanser labels sought

Rep. Steve Israel (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens) recently reintroduced a bill he wrote in 2011 that would require household cleaning products to list their ingredients. Many contain known carcinogens and allergens, according to a study Israel cited. The bill is before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and there is no companion measure in the Senate yet, Israel spokeswoman Samantha Slater said Tuesday.

Harassment ebbs: gov’t

Complaints of workplace discrimination and harassment filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by New York State residents dropped 9.3 percent in 2013, from 3,914 in 2012 to 3,550 last year, according to government data available online at eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/2-5-14.cfm.

— compiled by Peter C. Mastrosimone

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