Today's Tech: Facebook gets depressing, Snapchat gets catty and the FBI watches users through peeping Tom webcam malware

Sad Facebook

Facebook is toying with the idea of adding a "sympathise" button to the social network, for when "like" doesn't quite apply. As reported by the Huffington Post, a developer came up with the "sympathise" option at a recent hackathon event. It would only appear if your friend labelled their Facebook post with a negative emotion, the blog said. Facebook has no plans to add the sympathise option to the site yet; like any tech firm, it experiments with features all the time. But the topic came up during a presentation from Facebook engineer Dan Muriello at Facebook's Compassion Research Day.

Snapchat's Spiegel slashes Brown

Snapchat has asked a federal court for a temporary gag order against ousted founder Reggie Brown, who claims he came up with the idea for the "disappearing messages" app while attending college with co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy. Brown is currently suing Snapchat and its two co-founders for a third of the company, which reportedly has been tendered acquisition offers of as high as $4 billion (£2.4 billion). Brown claims he was squeezed out of any stake in Snapchat by Spiegel and Murphy when they allegedly went behind his back and created a company without giving him any equity in it. The startup's lawyers filed the motion last week with the California's Central District Court, alleging that Brown had divulged to the media confidential information pertaining to the lawsuit protected under court order.

Snowden and the NSA from the beginning

On 20 May 2013, a diminutive and bespectacled computer specialist employed as a contractor by the American National Security Agency boarded a plane to Hong Kong. He'd taken a leave of absence from work on the pretext of receiving treatment for his newly-diagnosed epilepsy, and bought a last-minute plane ticket at the airport, with no advance booking. The man was Edward Snowden, and he was about to blow his old employer's secrets wide open. The whirwind of surveillance revelations that gave followed since the summer have quite frankly been hard to keep track of, so you can be thankful our time-lined digest, making sense of the whole NSA saga, has now landed. Check out Part I here.

FBI peeping Tom malware

Continuing with the all-too-common theme of state spying, today we learned that the FBI has been watching suspects undetected "for years" through custom-built malware designed to hack into webcams. The FBI first started using what it refers to as "network investigative techniques" when it began to track a suspect known as "Mo". A series of anonymous bomb threats had been made across the US by Mo, though no location data could be identified. The software the FBI team developed to find Mo was capable of entering his computer when he signed into his email account, a technique known as spear-phishing. Follow the link for the full story.