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  • Jim Sugar/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- In Dallas, a team of 40 customer service experts take turns around the clock monitoring Southwest Airlines' various social channels with one primary goal: to listen to you. Their job becomes even more important this week as more than 24 million travelers are expected to fly for the Thanksgiving holiday.Southwest's "Listening Center," as it's called, is often where the airline will first hear of any problems or incidents surrounding its service.In today's era of heightened tension between airlines and passengers, Southwest sees it as essential to tackle these issues as quickly as possible."Things that you may not think were a big issue now can become a monster issue for you if you're not responding in a very expedient manner," said Matt Hafner, vice president of network operations control at Southwest.The team is able to address virtually all customer concerns themselves without bumping the passenger to another department.According to Southwest, they are well versed in company policies and procedures and have the tools to assist passengers with everything ranging from reservations and baggage to a customer’s frequent flier account.Every year, the nation's busiest airline receives 2,500 to 3,000 inbound posts per day on Twitter and Facebook and all posts are reviewed to determine which ones require action. About a third of the posts Southwest receives are travel-related questions and another third are issues passengers are experiencing typically before and during travel.Some are more positive. Some are negative. Regardless, Twitter seems to be the fastest way to get a response from the Dallas-based airline.The team is operating around the clock to attend to every actionable question or comment. On average, from 2015 to 2016 Southwest saw an 11 percent increase in inbound posts, and from 2016 to 2017, a 14 percent increase.These posts allow Southwest to identify pain points for customers and ultimately make informed business decisions.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Credit: HBO(NEW YORK) -- An Iranian hacker was accused by federal prosecutors in New York Tuesday of orchestrating the summertime cyberattack that targeted HBO and compromised some of the channel’s most popular programming.Behzad Mesri was charged in a seven-count indictment with computer fraud, wire fraud and other crimes. He is believed to be in Iran and likely beyond the reach of American authorities, but federal prosecutors and the FBI scheduled a lunchtime news conference to discuss the case.The hack of HBO lasted for several months this past summer and exposed confidential and proprietary data, including video files of unaired episodes of "Ballers," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Deuce," the indictment said. Scripts for "Game of Thrones," confidential cast and crew lists and emails belonging to at least one HBO employee were also compromised.The motive was money. According to court records, Mesri “commenced the extortion phase of the scheme” in an email to HBO executives: “Hi to All losers! Yes it’s true! HBO is hacked!” The email demanded $6 million worth of the digital currency bitcoin, federal prosecutors said.Another email quoted in court records said, “I have the honor to inform you…that we successfully breached into your huge network.” The message continued: “We obtained most valuable information.”Mesri was a self-professed expert in computer hacking, court records said. He had worked previously “on behalf of the Iranian military” to hack military systems, nuclear software systems and Israeli infrastructure.He was known online as Skote Vahshat, a hacker pseudonym federal prosecutors said Mesri used to deface hundreds of websites in the United States and elsewhere around the world.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Whether you've been naughty or nice, you will need a reservation to sit on Santa's lap this holiday season at Macy's flagship store in New York City.The department store announced that starting this year, entrance into the iconic Santaland exhibit on the 8th floor of Macy's Herald Square location in midtown Manhattan "is by reservation only.""Santa's a popular guy, so the wait times to meet him have been quite long in previous years, especially on our busiest days," Macy's said in a statement posted to their website. "The new reservation system is designed to minimize this by scheduling visitors to join the line at a time of your choice, allowing for the best possible holiday experience."St. Nicholas will start taking appointments today through Macy's website, which states that the no-cost reservations can be cancelled and re-booked at any time. Time slots to meet with Santa, however, are subject to availability. Admission into Santaland is free, but Macy's does sell professional photo packages with Santa, which start at $20.99.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Apple says it "immediately" offered to help the FBI in the wake of Sunday's Texas church massacre after the agency said it was unable to unlock the shooter's encrypted smartphone.The FBI has refused to identify the make and model of the phone used by the suspected shooter, Devin Kelley, but sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News the device in question is an Apple product."Our team immediately reached out to the FBI after learning from their press conference on Tuesday that investigators were trying to access a mobile phone," Apple said in a statement Wednesday. "We offered assistance and said we would expedite our response to any legal process they send us."We work with law enforcement every day. We offer training to thousands of agents so they understand our devices and how they can quickly request information from Apple," the statement added.On Tuesday, FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs said the agency sent a phone belonging to Kelley to its Quantico, Virginia crime lab because authorities could not unlock it. The Sunday morning attack at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs left 26 people dead, according to police, who are including an unborn child in the death toll, and at least 20 others injured."It actually highlights an issue that you've all heard about before, the advance of the technology and the phones and the encryptions. Law enforcement, whether at the state or local or the federal level, is increasingly not able to get into these phones," Combs said. "I can assure you that we’re working very hard to get into the phone and that will continue until we find an answer."It could be tomorrow, could be a week, could be a month [from now]. We don't know yet, but we're going to keep working on that phone and the other digital media that we can turn it over to the rangers," he added.Authorities have not discovered a motive for the shooting.The FBI has criticized tech companies for how difficult it is to obtain data from locked devices even when they could contain critical evidence.Federal authorities challenged Apple in court in the wake of the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, in which a couple inspired by the Islamic State killed 14 people, authorities said.The couple died in a shootout with police hours after the massacre, but the authorities eventually managed to unlock the device, an iPhone 5C, without the help of the tech behemoth.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABCNews.com(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- Google’s big cheese is ready to put everything aside to tackle the debate over hamburger emojis that ignited on Twitter over the weekend: whether the cheese should be on top of the patty or below?Google CEO Sundar Pichai took to Twitter Sunday to say he would “drop everything else” he’s doing to address the matter.It’s safe to say that burgers are most commonly made with the cheese on top of the patty, as the Apple emoji features.Author and media analyst Thomas Baekdal brought light to the design on Twitter after his comparison of the burgers went viral."I think we need to have a discussion about how Google's burger emoji is placing the cheese underneath the burger, while Apple puts it on top," Baekdal tweeted.Google’s take on the hamburger emoji shows the cheese at the bottom of the American favorite, sparking controversy over the social media platform on how people assemble their burgers.Other media companies like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter also have designed their emojis with the cheese on top of the patty, according to Emojipedia.Google is the odd emoji out.Twitter users have spoken out and made puns along the way.After Pichai tweeted, one user wrote, "If Sundar says they'll do it, consider it bun."Another user wrote, "Personally I relish this sort of discussion," in response to a user that wrote, "People, PLEASE lettuce quit while we're ahead."Google did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
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