Iceland's Facebook war over sex education

  • 25 April 2015
Gylfi Aegisson's folk tunes are popular in Iceland, but his recent comments about homosexuality attracted the anger of gay rights campaigners
Gylfi Aegisson's folk tunes are popular in Iceland, but his recent comments about homosexuality attracted the anger of gay rights campaigners

Iceland is one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to gay rights - but more conservative views are not unknown, and one prominent musician has started a social media storm by attacking a new sex education curriculum.

Gylfi Aegisson was once one of Iceland's most well-liked musicians, known for his folk songs about sailors. But he's now attracted the ire of gay rights groups after criticising authorities in one small town who decided instruction about homosexuality would be included in sex education.

Aegisson's Facebook page encouraged people to "protect the children" from "the indoctrination of our children by small but loud pressure groups in society." Those remarks might have remained in a small circle of Aegisson's Facebook friends. But people offended by his comments - led by gay rights advocacy groups - decided to make them an issue. They turned the remarks on their head and insisted that children should be protected - from Gylfi Aegisson.

"We could really sense the need ... to speak up against Gylfi and other people who share his views," says Arni Gretar Johannsson, the general manager of gay rights organisation Samtokin '78. "That's why we created this platform and hijacked some of the things he said." Over the past week several thousand people have used #verndumbornin ("let's protect children"), #hinseginleikinn ("queer reality") and related hashtags - fairly big numbers in a country of not much more than 300,000 people.

A smaller number of people online defended Aegisson and for them, this was a free speech issue. "Can't he have his own opinion? Is he using hate speech...or, is he a victim of hate speech?" asked one supporter on Twitter.

Read full article Iceland's Facebook war over sex education

China buzzing over president's first 'selfie'

  • 24 April 2015
Xi Jinping selfie

Chinese internet users are buzzing about their president's first "selfie" - even though it appears that like Xi Jinping didn't actually take the photo himself.

It seems an odd omission for someone who's been called China's "first social media president", but before this week Xi Jinping had never done what millions of smartphone users do every day: pointed a camera at his own face. So when an Indonesian politician grabbed Xi for a photo, Chinese social media users went crazy.

Read full article China buzzing over president's first 'selfie'

The other Cameron: Dallas v David

  • 23 April 2015
Cameron Dallas
Cameron Dallas has been more popular on Twitter than David Cameron until this week

The popularity of a social media star has overshadowed the British prime minister's election campaign on social media, but this week David Cameron started to make a comeback.

An easy way to find key tweets about the party leaders taking part in the UK general election is to type in their surnames. Searches for "Miliband", "Clegg", "Farage", "Sturgeon" and others are sufficient to bring up their Twitter accounts or hashtags being promoted by party supporters. But until recently searches for "Cameron" were more likely to throw up details about an American social media celebrity than the prime minister and Conservative party leader.

Read full article The other Cameron: Dallas v David

St George's Day gets political online

  • 23 April 2015
An image of St George
Many different groups and places have staked a claim on St George, who was born in what is now the city of Lod in Israel

In the run up to an election, pretty much everything can get political, and today's celebration of the patron saint of England is no exception.

It's St George's Day and #ProudToBeEnglish is one of the top UK trends on Twitter - that hashtag plus the more straightforward #StGeorgesDay were used a total of more than 50,000 times on Thursday morning.

Read full article St George's Day gets political online

The Saudi prince who offered Bentleys to bombers

  • 23 April 2015
SAUDI AIR FORCE
Pilots of Saudi planes like these were offered luxury cars by a wealthy prince

A wealthy Saudi royal attracted criticism on social media after he apparently offered luxury cars to fighter pilots participating in a bombing campaign in Yemen.

Earlier this week Saudi Arabia announced the end of the first phase of its military campaign in Yemen. And in a celebratory gesture Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the country's richest men and a member of the Saudi royal family, tweeted to his 3m followers on Twitter: "In appreciation of their role in this operation, I'm honoured to offer 100 Bentley cars to the 100 Saudi [fighter] pilots".

Read full article The Saudi prince who offered Bentleys to bombers

Rescue mission plea eclipses Katie Hopkins petition

  • 22 April 2015
Change.org screenshot

A campaign calling for a rescue mission for migrants crossing the Mediterranean has eclipsed the push to oust newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins on a popular online petition site.

On Tuesday, Trending reported on the petition calling for The Sun newspaper to sack columnist Katie Hopkins for her comments about migrants. More than 250,000 people had put their names to that cause, and we noted that another petition - this one calling for an emergency EU mission to the Mediterranean - was only receiving a fraction of the support.

Read full article Rescue mission plea eclipses Katie Hopkins petition

The small Kurdish girl pictured firing a huge machine gun

  • 22 April 2015
Various copies of a video of a Kurdish girl firing a gun has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube
Various copies of a video of a Kurdish girl firing a gun has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube

Does a video of a Kurdish girl firing a machine gun mean that those fighting Islamic State are now mimicking their propaganda techniques?

The girl looks about six or seven years old. She chats away with an off-camera adult, possibly her father, who asks her how many Islamic State fighters she has killed. "Four hundred!" she says, speaking in a Kurdish dialect local to Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq.

Read full article The small Kurdish girl pictured firing a huge machine gun

The migrant petition that's not about Katie Hopkins

  • 21 April 2015
Katie Hopkins petition

A petition calling for the sacking of a newspaper columnist for comments she made about migrants crossing the Mediterranean has attracted about 250,000 signatures - but one calling for a rescue mission has attracted less support.

Katie Hopkins' screed against migrants - in an article in the 17 April edition of The Sun she called them "cockroaches" and advocated using gunships to stop people crossing the Mediterranean - has earned her a quarter of a million detractors calling for her to be sacked on petition site Change.org.

Read full article The migrant petition that's not about Katie Hopkins

Nick Clegg accused of following 'gangsta' fashion

  • 21 April 2015
Nick Clegg's Twitter icon image
Nick Clegg's Twitter icon image

An innocent clothing choice has led some to accuse Nick Clegg of following "gangsta" fashion.

Nick Clegg's decision to wear an outdoorsy jacket on his Twitter profile is causing quite a stir on social media. It all began when a Twitter user who calls herself Ellie posted a blown-up version of Nick Clegg's profile pic with the comment: "Clegg you absolute roadman". She then added, somewhat more cryptically: "Nick Clegg, more like Yung Clegg, am i rite?" The comment was shared or favourited more than 2,500 times, and others joined in the joke.

Read full article Nick Clegg accused of following 'gangsta' fashion

Trends of the week - in 60 seconds

  • 20 April 2015

Trends of the week - in 60 seconds.

Does the Russian-language version of Apple's virtual assistant Siri have a problem with gay people? And how did the internet react when Cuba and the USA held formal talks for the first time in 50 years? Those, and more of the top trends of the week.

Read full article Trends of the week - in 60 seconds