David Cameron's 'thug life'
- 2 April 2015
A parody video of David Cameron making a witty put down during Prime Minister's Questions has gone viral in the UK over the past few days.
During the exchange in March of last year, Labour's Stephen Pound asks the Prime Minister if he would be willing to disassociate himself from the "snobbish and disdainful" bingo and beer advertisement tweeted by the Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps (the ad said cuts in duty to beer and bingo would "help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy" and was widely parodied at the time) . Cameron replies at length, ending with the phrase: "I am sure that you enjoy a game of bingo - it's the only time you will ever get close to Number 10".
In the video, a hip hop track ("Breathe" by Sean Paul) then cuts into PMQs as the words "THUG LIFE" appear on the screen. In other words, the video wryly celebrates Cameron's put down. It was first uploaded to YouTube by a young Conservative supporter called Harrison Harvey Hale at the beginning of February, but really started getting attention on social platforms when it was picked up on Tuesday by Lad Bible, a social media platform which targets men between the ages of 16-30, on their Facebook page. It was watched 3.6 million times in 24 hours, with around 100,000 'likes'.
Lad Bible told BBC Trending that they "do not support any political party and are not accepting any money from any political party to promote content". Politics is "a crucial part of their content mix," they say. Since they posted it, Conservative party supporters too have retweeted the film, as well as sharing other older "thug life" videos of David Cameron which have appeared on YouTube over the past few months. Comments on these videos often reference how pleased viewers are that politicians can engage in "witty banter". Those commenting seem to be mostly male and many of they young.
More generally, "thug life" parodies of politicians are a thing on the internet. They come as videos, vines and memes are shared by millions in the US. They started trending in the UK in big numbers earlier this year. Usually they glorify politicians by highlighting a key speech or phrase with hip hop music. David Cameron is not the only one to have the "thug life" treatment; a put down by Labour's Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls to the former Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove has been viewed more than 16,000 times since it was posted last November, and Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson's description of the London Assembly as "great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies" has been viewed more than 36,000 times over the past two months . In the US where #thuglife is a popular hashtag on Twitter, a "thug life" video of Barak Obama's ad lib in his State of the Union Address has more than 430,000 views.
Is politics on Twitter a man's world?
- 1 April 2015
As the UK election approaches, why aren't women tweeting their political views as often as men are?
When Harriet Harman launched Labour's Pink Battle Bus to much ridicule on social media, she told the BBC that over nine million women didn't vote at the last General Election in 2010 "because they just don't think that politicians have any interest in their lives". This time around, all the political parties say they want to reach out to women. But analysis of Twitter activity by BBC Trending appears to show that women are still very much a minority in the political chatter there.
Trevor Noah: Fans rally after backlash over old jokes
- 1 April 2015
Within 24 hours, as writer Dave Weigel noted, new Daily Show host Trevor Noah went from "progressive icon to villain".
The cause? A social media record that showed Noah cracking jokes that many found in poor taste - and worse, unfunny.
#BBCtrending: The UKIP canvasser's royal resemblance
- 31 March 2015
On the first day of campaigning, a photograph of a woman, who looks like Queen Elizabeth II, handing out flyers in support of the UK Independence Party, has been re-tweeted more than 5,000 times. As the constitutional monarch the Queen is politically neutral, so many people were surprised when a lookalike seemed to be handing out leaflets in Bromley, London.
BBC Trending tracked down the mystery 'royal'.
The secret world of animated doll videos
- 31 March 2015
On YouTube young women are using the age-old technique of stop motion animation to bring their dolls to life. The American Girl brand of dolls is the most popular with AGSM (American Girl Stop Motion) videos clocking up a total of 33 million views on YouTube last year.
The animations cover familiar topics like the high school prom or the first day of school but also explore serious issues like online bullying and drink driving. For Alexis, who runs the AGsmiless channel, the videos are a potential route into a career in filmmaking. For others the pastime is less career-oriented, but no less obsessive. As photographer Ilona Szwarc's portraits show, the dolls are often customised to look like their owners, and many of the girls continue making animations well into adulthood.
The photographer who broke the internet's heart
- 31 March 2015
Thousands online have shared an image of a Syrian child with her hands raised in surrender - but what is the story behind it?
Those sharing it were moved by the fear in the child's eyes, as she seems to staring into the barrel of a gun. It wasn't a gun, of course, but a camera, and the moment was captured for all to see. But who took the picture and what is the story behind it? BBC Trending have tracked down the original photographer - Osman Sağırlı - and asked him how the image came to be.
The perils of speaking out against Islamic law in Malaysia
- 29 March 2015
A satirical video has exposed the sensitivity over Islamic law in Malaysia - as well as the limits of online speech in the country.
It was supposed to be a light-hearted poke at proposals to expand Islamic law in one state in Malaysia. But a video starring journalist Aisyah Tajuddin resulted in death and rape threats along with a police investigation.
Who is behind the 'perfect boyfriend'?
- 28 March 2015
Pesky colleagues always asking about your love life? Nosy parents want to know how they'll become grandparents if you're not on the dating scene?
Or are your loved-up friends determined to set you up because you can't possibly be happy and single?
Election 2015: Who won the interview contest on social media?
- 27 March 2015
The first big set piece of the general election campaign generated tens of thousands of tweets under just one hashtag - but what do the numbers mean?
#BattleForNumber10 shot to the top of Twitter's list of UK and worldwide trends just as Thursday's duelling interview session began, and by the time the broadcast ended more than 260,000 points, zingers, hastily Photoshopped memes and wry observations had been posted - with similarly big numbers under related hashtags.
Thousands defend Top Gear producer punched by Clarkson
- 26 March 2015
After a few Twitter users threw abuse at the producer punched by Jeremy Clarkson, thousands wrote in support of Oisin Tymon.
It was a shocking story picked up by media all over the world - after the decision to sack Jeremy Clarkson as the presenter of Top Gear, the producer on the wrong end of Clarkson's fist got more abuse directed at him by strangers on Twitter.