The FBI Understands Youth Internet Babble

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 18 2014 11:55 AM

The FBI Understands Youth Internet Babble

slang
Kids these days, amirite?

Image from Shutterstock/AR Images.

The Secret Service may have sarcasm-detecting software, but the FBI is hip to the haps, too. The agency has its own 3,000-term Internet slang dictionary. There's nothing better for staying current than going through an 83-page internal document to look up "n00b."

The document surfaced over the weekend thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the government transparency group, MuckRock, which posted a PDF of the FBI's “Twitter shorthand” document. But this isn't just Twitter talk. The FBI’s Intelligence Research Support Unit notes in its introduction to the document that it's exploring all sorts of Internet slang in the document from sources as diverse as “instant messages, Facebook and Myspace.” Honestly, all of us could probably use a refresher on Myspace lingo at this point. It's been awhile!

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The document is a serious compendium for serious FBI work, but also “for keeping up with your children and/or grandchildren.” If the FBI wasn't known for promoting work-life balance before, it should be now.

Entries include AYFKMWTS, “are you f—— kidding me with this s—?”, which has been tweeted 990 times, BOGSAT, “bunch of guys sitting around talking”, which has (inexplicably) been tweeted 144 times, BTDTGTTSAWIO, “been there, done that, got the T-shirt and wore it out,” which has been tweeted 47 times, and WAPCE, “women are pure concentrated evil,” which has been tweeted 233 times. Delightful! The verbal crutches of the young generation in a nutshell.

To be fair, it's a huge list and a lot of the terms, like "crunk" (crazy and drunk) and "LMAO" (laughing my ass off) are legit (legitimate). Get after it, FBI.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

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