Warning over fake celebrity accounts targeting children

  • 24 April 2017
Child looking at computer screen Image copyright Getty Images

Law enforcement officers have been warning BBC Trending radio about a growing number of social media accounts wrongly purporting to be teen idols like Harry Styles and Justin Bieber, speaking inappropriately to young children.

The growing world of social media apps with big teenage audiences has made the situation even more difficult to police, they say.

"Identity assumption by child sex offenders is increasing quite steadily," Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, who runs task force Argos, a specialist branch responsible for tackling online child exploitation in Queensland, Australia, told us.

Detective Inspector Rouse led a recent investigation that led to a 42-year-old man, who allegedly posed as Canadian singer Justin Bieber on a number of social media platforms in order to gain indecent images of children, being charged with more than 900 child sex offences.

"The fact that so many children across the world could believe that they were talking to Justin Bieber, and that Justin Bieber would make them do the things that they did, is really quite concerning," he says, "I think a re-evaluation of the way we educate children about safe online behaviour is really needed."

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Hollywood star trolled in Lapland

  • 21 April 2017
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Media captionHow online trolls pursued an outspoken Hollywood star to Finland

Outspoken Hollywood actor Shia LaBeouf has been the target of trolls - congregating on anonymous websites - ever since his anti-Trump performance art project began in January.

For his latest art installation, he's alone in a cabin in Lapland, with only one line of communication to the outside world - the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki.

Read full article Hollywood star trolled in Lapland

Jeff Sessions 'reminded' Hawaii is a state, and #AskTheresaMay criticises premier

  • 21 April 2017
Jeff Sessions at a White House briefing on 27 March, 2017. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been subject to social media anger after he referred to Hawaii as an "island in the Pacific"

Comments made by Jeff Sessions regarding Hawaii have spurred internet anger, and opponents of Prime Minister Theresa May are tweeting #AskTheresaMay.

'Island in the Pacific'

Hawaiians aren't taking kindly to comments made by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions about their home state earlier this week.

Read full article Jeff Sessions 'reminded' Hawaii is a state, and #AskTheresaMay criticises premier

Wigs and parting gifts for O'Reilly, and Islamabad airport scuffle

  • 20 April 2017
Screen grab of tweet by Tariq Nasheed Image copyright Twitter/@tariqnasheed
Image caption One Twitter user gave former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly an online makeover as a "parting gift on behalf of the black community"

Some social media users react to Bill O'Reilly's firing with joy while others come to his defence and Pakistanis comment on videos showing a fight between a female constable and two passengers at Islamabad airport.

Bill O'Reilly's parting gifts

Some Twitter users are celebrating online following Fox News' decision to drop presenter Bill O'Reilly over sexual harassment claims.

Read full article Wigs and parting gifts for O'Reilly, and Islamabad airport scuffle

Patrick the wombat dies, and Zara criticised for 'Pepe' skirt

  • 19 April 2017
Screengrab of Facebook post by Patrick the Wombat Image copyright Facebook/Patrick the Wombat
Image caption Patrick was the world's oldest and biggest bare-nosed captive wombat

Social media users mourn the loss of celebrity wombat Patrick, and Zara is criticised for marketing a denim skirt featuring a lookalike of the "hateful" Pepe the Frog meme.

"Bucky-toothed heaven"

The death of Australian "celebrity wombat" Patrick, said to be the oldest bare-nosed wombat in captivity, has sparked tributes online.

Read full article Patrick the wombat dies, and Zara criticised for 'Pepe' skirt

Muslim teen reveals father's response to removing hijab

  • 18 April 2017
Screen grab of tweet by @lxmyaa Image copyright Twitter/@lxmyaa

A Muslim father's unwavering support for his teenage daughter if she chose to not wear a hijab has grabbed online attention.

Lamyaa, 17, in Pennsylvania, US tweeted a screengrab of a conversation with her father in Saudi Arabia who said he would support her "no matter what" after she told him she was considering removing her hijab.

Read full article Muslim teen reveals father's response to removing hijab

General election 2017: No! 'Larry the cat is not dead'

  • 18 April 2017
Screen grab of tweet by @FakeNewsGen Image copyright Twitter/@FakeNewsGen

Social media users in the UK are reacting to Prime Minister Theresa May's surprise announcement of a snap general election with memes - naturally.

The election was scheduled to be held in 2020 but has now been called for 8 June, pending a parliamentary vote.

Read full article General election 2017: No! 'Larry the cat is not dead'

Trump Jr's "very fake news" T-shirt, and Bernie Sanders in a giant ice cream tub

  • 17 April 2017
Screen grab of tweet by @DonaldJTrumpJr Image copyright Twitter/@DonaldJTrumpJr

A T-shirt worn by the US president's son disparaging the mass media has awoken conspiracy theories online, while social media users have stirred up elements of Bernie Sanders' campaign following an image of the US politician addressing employees from a giant tub of ice cream.

"Very Fake News"

Donald Trump Jr had tweeted a photo of himself donning a green T-shirt featuring the words "Very Fake News", captioned: "I'm going to have to buy 5-10,000 of these to pass around to our buddies in the #MSM [mainstream media]. In the meantime, I'll model it for them."

Read full article Trump Jr's "very fake news" T-shirt, and Bernie Sanders in a giant ice cream tub

The rise of left-wing, anti-Trump fake news

  • 15 April 2017
fake news image Image copyright Nora Carol Photography

Since the US election presidential race, fact checking websites report what seems like an increase in anti-Trump, 'liberal fake news'.

The fact-checking site Snopes told BBC Trending radio that in the past week, for example, they have debunked many more anti-Republican party stories than pro-Republican ones.

Read full article The rise of left-wing, anti-Trump fake news

Easter pop star 'Egg Sheeran' a hit

  • 14 April 2017
Screen grab of tweet by @curryc39 Image copyright @curryc39

Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran appears to have some competition on his hands, by none other than his alter egg-o "Egg Sheeran".

The chart-topper has become a favourite in both school and workplace Easter-egg decorating competitions.

Read full article Easter pop star 'Egg Sheeran' a hit