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Nearly 250 million Americans have the right to vote, but many don't exercise it.

University of Pittsburgh Professor Victoria Shineman said there are plenty of reasons for that.

"Voter registration is one of the biggest barriers, especially for initial participation," she said. "A lot of states have deadlines well before the actual election. A lot of people miss that deadline. Also things if you move, if you change your address, remembering to update your address."

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

A group of neighbors in the Mexican War Streets knew the local food pantry was short on food and turned to Facebook.

They said the pantry was well stocked Monday night but more than 100 families shopped Tuesday. They asked for walk-in donations.  

Tripling a penalty that was announced this spring, Penn State has shut down the school's Kappa Delta Rho fraternity chapter for three years, after an inquiry over a Facebook group page that collected pictures of nude women also uncovered other transgressions.

Analyzing Big Data Comes With Big Challenges

Dec 9, 2014
Martin Gysler / Flickr

All those clicks, likes, and retweets you do on social media add up to a huge amount of data that can be worth millions to some companies.

But according to new research, actually using that data is easier said than done.

Derek Ruths, assistant professor of Computer Science at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec stresses that, at a general level, using social media data to predict behavior is challenging.

That's because data analysts are typically asked to study data for purposes different than what the data was originally intended for-- in effect, “trying to extract information that wasn’t intentionally put in there.”

Courtesy photo

Teresa Ferguson was not on Facebook before October 2008. Now she finds it indispensable.

Ferguson uses the site to manage the Facebook page of her daughter Ginny Kleker, who after years of battling a deep depression, ended her life at age 31.

Shortly after her daughter’s death, Ferguson accessed Ginny’s Facebook profile and posted a soul-baring letter describing her daughter's vibrant personality and mental health struggles. She also shared her thoughts as a mother about Ginny's suicide.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has joined 18 other states and the social media site Facebook in an online safety campaign.  

The initiative is geared toward teenagers and their parents, but Assistant Press Secretary Lauren Bozart said Facebook users of any age should take care about what they post online.