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1 October 2014 Last updated at 11:36 ET

The debate over 'speaking white'

Woman with hands over her mouth

Earlier this month Nefertiti Menoe had had enough of the phrase "You're speaking white." After she saw a meme on Facebook that ridiculed minorities who use proper English, she posted a short video to her own page.

"I don't know why we've gotten to a place where, as a culture, as a race, if you sound as though you have more than a fifth grade education, it's a bad thing," she said. "That really gets under my skin."

Menoe refers to the practice by some minorities of using slang to communicate, and the idea that members of each community, in her case African American, should identify with those same speech patterns.

In an interview with the BBC, Menoe said that when she moved to Long Island, NY, from Kenya, when she was 12, her classmates told her she spoke funny.

"I thought, 'How do I speak funny? Is this not English?' In middle school, I started hearing from my black and minority friends, 'You sound white.' I thought, does that mean black people in America don't speak this way?" Talking it out with her mother, Menoe says she gained the clarity to understand her skin colour wasn't a reason to alter her language.

Nefertiti Menoe Facebook post

"Ridicule of any kind is wrong - including making someone feel bad because they speak properly."

When she posted the video, she says she was amazed when within a day, 70 friends "liked" it and 15 shared it. To date, almost 15,000 have shared her original post, and almost 33,000 have watched the video, on several sites that shared the link.

The reaction is varied. Many, she says, feel she aired her community's "dirty laundry".

@cjadream7 commented on the YouTube video: "For Black kids especially, it might come NATURALLY to say 'dey' instead of 'they'… I still say it myself sometimes, and I have a Masters. That doesn't make me stupid… Does everyone who only speaks English need to speak like news reporters? No."

Facebook screengrab

But many others agreed with Menoe.

On her original Facebook post, Lorenzo Johnson wrote: "English is the only language most of us speak and a lot of us do not do a very good job of it.....and to poke fun or belittle those who take the time to do it correctly shows stupidity and a lack of education......nuff said."

Facebook screengrab

"We're the human race," Menoe told the BBC. "No one is better than another. It's either you speak properly or you don't. Proper speech doesn't belong to the Caucasian race."

Reported by Micah Luxen

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Ebola: The hour America knew

The first Ebola case on US soil was confirmed in Texas on Tuesday night.

BBC Trending looks at what happened on social media in the hour after the news broke.

Produced by Ravin Sampat

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The Iraqis who laugh at Islamic State

Don't be afraid of Islamic State (IS), laugh at them instead - that is the message of an Iraqi sitcom that has aired on TV and been widely shared online.

This is a jihadist online video like no other. A group of crazed IS fighters sits in a circle, while the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi conducts them in song, waving leather whips wildly. The young men have beards and wave around weapons. "We banned smoking cigarettes and displaced all Christians," they sing. "We banned all extra-marital sex, except with jihadist fighters". Each chorus ends with a call for the "executioner" to come and join them.

Of course, this isn't a real scene, and it certainly isn't from one of the disturbing videos posted online by Islamic State itself. It's is the theme music from Dawlat al-Khurafa (Mythical State), a comedy series in Iraq that satirises the jihadist group. The series depicts a dysfunctional country ruled by IS militants. The first episode aired on Saturday on al-Iraqiyya, one of Iraq's main TV channels. Meanwhile, the theme song has become an online hit in Iraq, viewed over 200,000 times on YouTube.

The series, of which there are 30 episodes, was written by Thaer al-Hasnawi, who lives in Baghdad. He says that IS, which is very active on social media, is winning the information war and that Iraqi people are terrified by the significant territorial gains they have made in Iraq since June. So he decided to use humour to reduce the fear that now grips his country. "We are doing this so that children don't go to bed scared of Islamic State," he says. The team behind the comedy series say they are also trying to challenge the jihadists' extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam.

Hundreds of people have commented on the videos online, many of them laughing along with the jokes. But some Sunnis have perceived the series as an attack on them by Iraq's majority Shia community. "Is laughing and goofing around all that Shia can do? Go learn how to be a Muslim first," wrote one YouTube user. But Hasnawi insists they tried not to offend Sunnis. He says they included a moderate Sunni figure in the series to whom other characters come for guidance. He says this was to emphasise that IS did not represent most Sunnis.

In fact, this is not the first Iraqi parody to poke fun of IS. "Dashawi" - a slang term for an IS militant, based on the Arabic acronym for the group, Da'ish - is the name of a very recent TV cartoon series making fun at the group's interpretation of Islam. As US-led airstrikes continue against IS, its social media activity has also been reduced. Twitter has shut down accounts that are thought to be affiliated to the group and fighters have been asked to stop publicising their activities, lest it give away their positions during battles.

Reporting by Mai Noman

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The NFL player penalised for praying

Husain Abdullah kneels in prayer Abdullah missed the entire 2012 NFL season to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca

A Muslim NFL player was penalised after celebrating a touchdown by dropping to his knees in prayer. Many on social media were not at all happy with the call.

After scoring for the Kansas City Chiefs, Husain Abdullah slid on his knees and touched his forehead on the field as a gesture of his Muslim faith. The action drew a flag from an official for breaching the game's "excessive celebration" rule.

The referee's decision quickly prompted a negative reaction from social media users.

"I'm pretty sure the Husain Abdullah just got flagged 15 yards for praying... I don't consider that to be unsportsmanlike," said one Twitter user. "So Husain Abdullah literally just got a 15 yard penalty for being Muslim?" tweeted another.

It was not apparent whether the penalty had been given for bowing in prayer or for sliding when he scored. Officials did not speak to him about it after the game. Abdullah, 29, told the Kansas City Star newspaper that his coach had informed him he had been penalised for sliding. "For me, I just got a little too excited," he said.

The following morning, NFL VP of Football Communications Michael Signora acknowledged the decision had been a mistake, tweeting that Abdullah should not have been penalised.

Tweet

By that time, however, it was too late to quell the rising outrage. Much was made of Abdullah's devotion to his faith. The player had skipped the entire 2012 season to go on a Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca with his brother, another NFL player. Many tweeters drew a contrast with Tim Tebow, the Christian quarterback noted for kneeling in prayer so often that the practice has become known as "Tebowing".

Tweet
Tweet
Tweet

And indeed Christians who had championed Tebow did the same for Abdullah.

"Fellow Christian #NFL fans, I'm gonna be real disappointed if I don't see you defending Husain Abdullah's right to pray like we did Tebow's," one tweeted.

Others were more facetious. John Fugelsang said: "I'd like to thank Husain Abdullah for proving Muslims think God really cares about football as much as Christians think it."

Reported by Jon Kelly

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The fat debate online

Debating the online Fat Acceptance Movement Debating the online Fat Acceptance Movement

Listen to or download our podcast.

In the latest show, Anne-Marie Tomchak takes a look at the rise of the Fat Acceptance Movement online. She's joined by blogger Jes Baker, who describes herself as "pretty damn fat", and anti obesity activist Meme Roth of the National Campaign Against Obesity.

The programme takes a look at tensions between old and young in China over a bus seat. Also, the reaction online to the UAE's first female fighter pilot joining the battle against Islamic State.

You can put us in your pocket and listen anytime by downloading our free podcast and we are on BBC World Service radio at 10:30 GMT on Saturdays.

The show is presented this week by Anne-Marie Tomchak and produced by India Rakusen.


Hong Kong's 'off-grid' protesters

Images of Hong Kong's protests are being suppressed on the internet in mainland China, and 100,000 people in Hong Kong have joined a new social network that operates "off-the-grid".

In Hong Kong, pro-democracy demonstrators are looking for new ways to communicate.

News about the protests in Hong Kong have been suppressed in mainland China, where the picture sharing site Instagram has been blocked. Messages posted to Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site similar to Twitter, are being blocked in far greater numbers than normal. And on Sunday, rumours reportedly circulated that the authorities in Hong Kong might shut down the city's cellular networks.

In response, a different type of social network has come to the fore. The Firechat app allows smartphone users to talk to one another "off-the-grid", in the absence of a mobile signal or access to the internet. By making use of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, messages are spread in a daisy chain fashion, jumping from one user to the next. The system is particularly effective when large numbers of people are congregated together - like at a music festival, or a political protest.

Micha Benoliel, CEO of Open Garden, the firm that makes the app, tells BBC Trending there has been a huge surge in downloads from Hong Kong, as more than 100,000 new accounts have been created in less than 24 hours. Usage spiked during protests in Taiwan and Iran earlier this year, but never before on this scale, says Benoliel.

A screenshot of the Firechat app Firechat users can post messages anonymously

Inside the app discussions are arranged either according to theme, or how close you are to other users. At one point on Sunday 33,000 people in Hong Kong were using the app at the same time.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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The risk in cheque-shaming bad tippers

Paying by credit card can leave a paper trail

When restaurant patrons pay with credit cards, their names are printed on their receipts.

And when those patrons behave badly - if they are sexist, rude, or leave a too-small gratuity - wait staff looking for retribution have been known to post those receipts online.

There's the African-American Red Lobster waitress who posted a receipt with a racial slur scrawled across it and the bartender who used a receipt to identify a man she says groped her.

One waitress posted to Reddit the receipt of a pastor who declined to leave a customary 18% tip because, "I only give God 10% - why should you get 18[?]"

It's called "cheque shaming" and it's become increasingly common in the age of smart phones and photo sharing.

The practice often results in big clicks - and big consequences.

Post like these tend to trend quickly because they play on some of the best and worst impulses of the online community. People want justice for the wronged servers, but aren't interested in finding out the whole story.

"We definitely have a mob mentality, and that mob mentality online screams 'shoot first, ask questions later'," says Peter Shankman, a customer service consultant who specialises in social media.

But the "impulse decision" to post a receipt has long-lasting consequences, he says.

"It is probably a given that not only are you going to get fired but it's probably going to be pretty hard to get hired again," he says.

"It's very easy to Google your name. It's very easy to see what you posted. And these are the kind of things that, while it might feel great to get five million views shaming someone who didn't leave you a tip, on the flipside, that is going to come back to you."

Red Lobster is being sued by the man identified online as having written the slur - he denies it was him. The bartender has had to face angry accusations from the man she named. And the waitress who posted the pastor's receipt was fired.

The BBC spoke to the owner of a Philadelphia restaurant about why he decided to cheque-shame a customer and what happened once he did.

Filmed and edited by Ilya Shnitser

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Jeter's closing-act hit explodes on Twitter

Derek Jeter celebrates his game-winning hit.

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has had many memorable moments in his 20-year career, including five World Series championships. His last home game had an ending worthy of Hollywood.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, with the game tied and a man on base, the 14-time all-star drove in the winning run.

The crowd - many of whom had paid thousands of dollars for their tickets - erupted in jubilation, as did social media, with more than 1.3 million Jeter-related mentions on Twitter in the 24 hours to come.

Though Jeter will be on the roster as a designated hitter for his official last game in Boston, this was the shortstop's final appearance at Yankee Stadium.

According to Russell Scibetti, founding editor of TheBusinessofSports.com and a Yankees fan, the game illustrated how social media has transformed the way in which Americans experience major sporting events. He says that although he didn't see the play live, he could share in the joy via Twitter.

A tweet from the official New York Yankees handle.

"I was able very shortly afterward to see the video and see what my friends were experiencing," he says. "It made me part of the moment, even if I wasn't part of the immediate moment."

He says social media and sports are a "natural pairing".

"You can share experiences and be able to talk about them with your friends and family faster, in the moment, with a wider reach and better recordkeeping," he says.

Jeter's late-inning heroics also were a boon to Jeter-associated companies. A Nike-inspired hashtag, #Re2pect - a reference to Jeter's uniform number - was also a hit on Twitter Thursday, with more than 600,000 uses.

A tweet from singer Justin Timberlake.

Scibetti says that Nike executives must be quite pleased with how things went. "It would have been great even without that hit in his final game, but the game-winner really made it take off," he adds.

Although Nike enjoyed the hashtag boost, Jeter - often lauded as an old-fashioned player - didn't reap the benefits, as he doesn't even have an official Twitter account. While some athletes share their daily thoughts with hundreds of thousands of followers, even Jeter's retirement announcement - posted on Facebook - felt like a well-crafted press release.

"Jeter is still a fairly closed-door figure," Scibetti says.

That didn't make a difference Thursday night, however. Jeter may not be watching Twitter, but Twitter was definitely watching him.

A tweet from sports commentator Skip Bayless

Reporting by Anthony Zurcher

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The female pilot taking on IS

An Emirati woman has caused a storm on Twitter after joining the military fight against Islamic State (IS).

Mariam al-Mansouri is UAE's first female air force pilot. Her involvement in airstrikes against IS has sparked a contentious debate about the war against the group. It's also led to a discussion about the role of women in conflict. Mai Noman reports.

Produced by Dean Arnett.

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Bike robber finds fame online

The robber's face imposed onto a picture of Argentina's vice president. The robber imposed onto a picture of Argentina's vice president, who some dubbed 'the real thief'

The robber caught threatening a tourist in Argentina has found fame on social media, and is now the subject of a string of parodies.

Earlier this month, Gaston Aguirre was caught on camera trying to rob a Canadian tourist's bag. "The backpack, give me the backpack!", he is heard shouting, while riding a motorbike and brandishing a gun. Footage of the attempted robbery was posted online, turning him into a celebrity on television and social media, and one of the most notorious men in the country.

A Facebook page called "Inspector de mochilas", or "Bagpack inspector", featuring jokes about Aguirre has amassed more than 150,000 likes. And the hashtag #Motochorro, which translates as "thief on a motorbike", has appeared more than 24,000 times on Twitter. There is even an online video game in which the player takes control of a tourist trying to out-pedal a robber on a motorbike.

Many gave the meme a political twist, imposing the robber's face onto a picture of Argentina's vice president Amado Boudou. The politician, also a keen motorcyclist, is currently embroiled in a corruption scandal and has been dubbed "the real thief" by many online.

Some turned the robber into Snake Turley, the criminal from The Simpsons.

A cartoon thug from the Simpsons superimposed onto a photograph of the famous motorbike robbery Images from the robbery have quickly become memes in Argentina

And others swapped his pistol for a bunch of flowers.

The robber holding a bunch of flowers instead of a gun

Explaining his actions on national television, Aguirre said: "It was my son's birthday and I needed some money, that's why I went out to rob. I took my weapon but I wasn't planning on firing it, I just wanted to scare [him]." Reaction to the interview has been far from positive, however, and angered many on social media. "Should the media give the robber so much time on air, so he can present himself as the victim?" asked historian Diego Valenzuela on Twitter. Aguirre has now been arrested, and is facing charges.

Despite the high-profile crime, Argentina remains one of the safest counties in Latin America, with rates of homicide among the lowest in the region.

Reporting by Ignacio de los Reyes

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'Sorry for algebra' say Muslims

The Taj Mahal

Muslims around the world have been posting sarcastic messages on social media, in a bid to counter a wave of hostility towards Islam.

First came #NotInMyName, a hashtag popularised by moderate Muslims to denounce terrorist groups, and their actions. "Al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS and 9/11... do not represent me bec my religion doesn't teach hate & murder," read a typical message on Twitter. The hashtag has been used almost 50,000 times in the last week alone, and is still gaining momentum.

The earnest campaign didn't sit easily with everyone, however, and some felt it pandered unnecessarily to the Western media. "I'm tired of seeing Muslims rip themselves apart in apologies to prove their humanity to Islamophobes with campaigns like #notinmyname," said one.

Soon enough, the hashtag's satirical counterpart emerged. On Tuesday #MuslimApologies appeared, and quickly gathered pace. It has been used almost 30,000 times in the last 48 hours.

"Sorry for Algebra, cameras, universities, hospitals, oh and coffee too," wrote one. "I'm so sorry for coffee, cheques, parachutes, chemistry, inoculations, soap, shampoo, cameras," said another, and "I'm sorry it was a Muslim woman, Fatima Muhammad Al-Fihri, that established the world's first university," said a third. They soon spun out into the absurd. "I'm sorry he took his shoes off," and "Sorry for inventing /discovering everything you can't imagine living without," were both retweeted hundreds of times.

The conversation is now growing fastest in French speaking countries. An equivalent hashtag - #LesMusulmansSexcusentPour - has been used more than 5,000 in the last day. Some apologised for the footballer Zinedine Zidane, and others asked "has anyone asked the Christians to apologize for Hitler?"

Al-Khwarizmi An image of Muslim mathematician Al-Khwarizmi was shared by many

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Malkovich artist: Value over viral

John Malkovich as Marilyn Monroe - as painted by Andy Warhol

Sandro Miller's new series of photographs of celebrated actor John Malkovich recreating dozens of iconic images was intended in part as a critique of the vapid Instagram style of photo sharing.

Miller, a critically acclaimed photographer with several books and exhibitions to his name, hoped the project would push back against what he saw as social media's degradation of photography as an art form.

The photos in the series Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich were rendered with tremendous care and attention to detail, and the actor-cum-model immersed himself in the project.

But no sooner had they been released did they go viral, appearing on Buzzfeed and across Facebook and Twitter. Malkovich received more than 20,000 mentions on Twitter over the past three days.

Miller talked to the BBC's Anna Bressanin about why the ability to post photos online threatens his medium and about how he and Malkovich created the images that people couldn't help but share.

Miller's show Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich opens on 7 November at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago.

Photos copyright Sandro Miller, courtesy of the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago.

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Obama coffee salute criticised

Obama on instagram

Citing a lack of respect for the military, many Americans took to Twitter to condemn President Barack Obama after he appeared to salute Marine Corps guards outside his helicopter while holding a coffee cup in his right hand.

The uproar began after the White House posted a video on Instagram of the president disembarking from Marine One on Tuesday, as he arrived in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 2,740 followers had commented on the post.

On the surface, the debate centred on military etiquette. @Maddogritch pointed out that the president should have moved his coffee to his left hand while saluting with the right.

"These marines protect his life. The least he could do is switch hands."

Others pointed out that as a civilian, the president need not salute a uniformed military service member. Doing so is a recently-adopted practice that started with Ronald Reagan.

An unnamed Reddit contributor and military veteran wrote that while he was not a big fan of the president, he thought Obama was in the clear. "He's already saluting out of uniform. It's a pleasantry similar to saying 'Thanks dude,' that serves the sole purpose of letting the marine know he can cut his salute."

More importantly, as commander-in-chief of the US armed forces, "by military custom, he doesn't owe anybody a damn thing," the veteran wrote.

But beneath the protocol debate was a tired argument with new props, between those who support Obama versus those who don't.

Tweet from Mr Zonkers with photo of George Bush holding a dog while saluting

"These types of incidents tend to flare up and go away," says Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup poll. "I'm sure photos of Obama's salute with a Starbucks cup circulated among those who were already anti-Obama, but I can't believe, based on my experience, that it's going to have much impact overall on how people view him and indirectly, on the Democratic candidates."

And while a great many of the 17,000 participants in the Twitter debate were critical of the president, others found it to be a good excuse to post a picture of former President George W Bush awkwardly saluting while trying to keep his grip on his dog.

Reported by Micah Luxen

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Old versus young on China's buses

A man standing in front of a bus

An elderly Chinese man, who claims he was not offered a seat by younger passengers, stood in front of a bus for two hours to stop it moving.

The man was spotted standing in the road and waving his arms in front of the bus in Baoding, a city not far from the capital Beijing. "No-one leaves," he was heard shouting, as he blocked the bus from moving. Whether he had actually been offered a seat on the bus is disputed by eyewitnesses, but the issue appears to be the reason for his tirade. A woman who was travelling with him is reported to have shouted: "College students these days have no character, not a single one of them gave up their seats for us."

Pictures taken by a local resident and uploaded to an online bulletin board have gone viral on Chinese social media. It has been the top trending topic on the Baidu Baoding forum since appearing on Sunday, and the story has attracted more than 5,000 comments on the microblogging site Sina Weibo.

This was not an isolated event. Just two weeks ago, BBC Trending reported on a fight in which several older people attacked a young man on a bus in Wuhan for refusing to give up his seat. Days later, a man in his 70s died after a physical altercation with a youth over exactly the same issue on a bus in Zhengzhou. In response, a group of elderly men staged a demonstration telling their peers that they should be the ones giving up their seats for younger people.

In each case, the online reaction has been vociferous. Far from standing up for the older passengers, most people have voiced anger and irritation with them. "Elderly people have become a nuisance," said one typical comment. "Being polite is up to me. If I don't give you my seat it's because I'm not obliged to," said another.

Theories abound about the reasons for the tension. Many see it as a result of a rapidly ageing population. A third of Chinese will be over 60 by 2050. Others think that there is a specific cultural dimension, arguing that those in their 60s today feel disillusioned with the changes that have taken place in their lifetimes. "They were all Red Guards. Or, at any rate, most of them," says James Palmer, a newspaper editor in Beijing. "They were told that they were special, and the future of China... and then saw everything they believed in stripped away by the time they were in their late 20s or 30s. It's no wonder some of them are grumpy."

A crowd gathered around a bus The police were called, but did not make any arrests

Reporting by Sam Judah

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What happened to #BringBackOurGirls?

In April more than 200 girls were seized from a boarding school in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram fighters.

The incident sparked one of the biggest social media campaigns of the year - under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls - which called on the authorities to do more to free the girls.

Five months on, the hashtag is still trending, and has now been used more than five million times. BBC Trending looks at how the hashtag has developed over time.

Produced by Greg Brosnan and Ravin Sampat

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The battle to block social media in Iran

President Rouhani President Rouhani's government has clashed with Iran's judiciary over access to social media

Iran's judiciary has given the country's government 30 days to block a string of mobile messaging services, after they were used to publish "crimes" against "Islamic modesty and morals".

The move comes as a blow to Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, who has so far taken a more liberal stance towards the use of social media in the country. "#Cyberspace should be seen as opportunity," he tweeted in May. And in August he surprised many by tweeting a picture of a female mathematician without a hijab.

His attitude is not shared by everyone in the country, however. Earlier this month 11 people were arrested for sending messages seen as insulting towards, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Local media reports said similar messages had also been sent about current officials in the Iranian government.

The messages appear to have been the final straw for Iran's hardline judiciary. On the weekend Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei - the first deputy of the judiciary - wrote an open letter to Mahmoud Vaezi - Iran's communications minister.

The letter named messaging apps Whatsapp, Viber and Tango as responsible for spreading the messages, and said "a one-month maximum has been provided… for closing and controlling information on the aforementioned social networks".

Mr Mohseni-Ejei wrote that the government's communications ministry had agreed to close the networks three months ago, but had so far refused to take action - hence the new 30 day ultimatum. If the messaging services are not censored within that time, the judiciary would "take the appropriate measures" itself, he wrote. The ministry responded to say it agreed illegal content should be removed, but that closing the networks altogether was another matter.

Iran has a history of monitoring and blocking social media. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are all blocked in the country, but millions of people use proxy servers to bypass the restrictions.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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Will quitting on TV pay off?

Old and new media came to a head in Alaska this week: a local news reporter presented an edited package on the evening news about the campaign to legalise marijuana, then revealed her identity as the owner of a medical marijuana business.

Then, with the cameras rolling, she quit her job, uttered a profanity, and walked off the set, leaving the anchor stunned and fumbling before a commercial break.

Ethical issues aside, Greene's sign off is having a bigger impact on social media than any local news spot could. More than two million people have seen the video on YouTube. Twenty thousand people have tweeted about it, and it's made headlines across the globe.

But one business consultant wonders if it will have lasting impact.

"Just because something is viral doesn't mean it's paying the bills, and that's a really important point," says Peter Shankman, author of Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work.

"She might have seven million Facebook views tomorrow, but guess what? No one's buying her stuff, because they're all outside of Alaska," he says.

While Greene's stunt was being discussed on CNN, her Indiegogo fund to raise $5,000 to campaign for Alaska's marijuana legalisation act had barely made it past the halfway mark. She had yet to raise the full amount by the end of the business day on the East Coast.

While the stunt will be the first thing that pops up when someone searches for her online, the Twitter feed for her business, Alaska Cannabis Club, has fewer than 700 followers and its Facebook page has less than 6,000 - that's more than two-thirds fewer than the Facebook page of KTVA, the news station she quit in spectacular fashion.

Charlo Greene twitter feed Despite a day of publicity Greene's Twitter feed stayed below 1000 followers

In the meantime, her immediate community - and her client base - may have questions about credibility.

"I don't think she was thinking long term," Shankman says. "This was a very short term play."

Comments online indicate that the renegade spirit she showed in quitting is appreciated by fans of marijuana culture. Whether that translates to more customers or more votes for pro-pot legislation remains to be seen.

Reported by Kate Dailey

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The abused dog and the online manhunt

A dog being dragged behind a car

Pictures of a dog chained to the back of a car as it is dragged along a road have prompted an outcry on Chinese social media. They triggered a "human flesh search" for the driver, who has now confessed on local television.

The photos were uploaded to Sina Weibo - a microblogging site similar to Twitter - over the weekend. They show a dog tied by a chain to the back of a car which seems to be in motion, on a busy road in Shantou, a city in southern China. Unable to keep pace with the car, the dog is being dragged behind it, and its hind legs appear to be bleeding.

The images provoked a mixture of shock and disgust from many using the site. "This is simply unbelievable. Just what did the dog do wrong that it had to be treated this way?" said one. Others were alarmed that nobody seemed to be helping the animal. "What were those who took pictures videos thinking about? If everyone got out of their cars to stop him, would the dog be abused to death?" said another.

The incident has spawned a "human flesh search" for the person driving the car - an attempt by the online community to track down and expose whoever is responsible. And in this case the controversial practice appears to have been successful. A man's name, address and telephone number have been shared on Sina Weibo, along with calls for people to track him down in real life. It is believed the details were found in conjunction with the car's license plate - information which should only be visible to the authorities, but appears to have been leaked online.

On Monday the driver, identified only as Mr Zheng, appeared on local television to admit responsibility for the incident. He said he wanted to be rid of the dog because it kept biting people. He apologised for his actions and pleaded asked Sina Weibo users not to share any more of his personal information.

An animal rights group that cares for cats and dogs in the Guangdong province has organised a campaign to find the missing dog. Ms Chen, a spokesperson for the group, tells BBC Trending the driver claimed the dog did not die, and was left at the side of the road. "Our volunteers ran to the scene, but found nothing," she says.

Reporting by Sam Judah and Vincent Ni

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Drag queens, Facebook and 'VIP culture'

Drag queen

Listen to, or download, the latest BBC Trending show.

Why are drag queens in America and the UK making noise about Facebook's name policy? It's become an ethical question about identity on social media. We go to Soho to meet some of London's drag queens.

Also in the programme, the air passengers in Pakistan who are fed up with VIP's causing flight delays. A video showing passengers ordering politicians off a flight has trended globally and sparked a debate about 'VIP culture'. We speak to a passenger who was on board as well as one of the politicians who was mobbed.

And, the minute Scotland voted 'No' to independence.

Listen to #BBCtrending radio

Presented by Mukul Devichand and produced by India Rakusen.

We are on BBC World Service radio at 10:30 GMT on Saturdays and you can put us in your pocket and listen anytime by downloading our free podcast.


How to go viral at Fashion Week

A 9 September Tweet from Calvin Klein A Tweet sent from by Calvin Klein was the most reposted during Fashion Week

The clothes may have been the main draw, but it was an undressed Justin Bieber who helped catapult Calvin Klein to the top of the social media heap at New York Fashion Week.

The veteran fashion label's Twitter post on Bieber wearing only his Calvin Klein skivvies during the Fashion Rocks show saw the most retweets, at more than 7,000.

Later at the Calvin Klein runway show, nearly 90 bloggers wrote 494 posts and generated 9.7 million impressions, according to data tracked by fashion blogger directory Fohr Card.

"Calvin had a great fashion week," says Fohr Card co-founder James Nord. "They're having a moment."

According to Nord, influential fashion bloggers responded well to the chunky heels seen on the Calvin Klein runway.

"Everyone's loving that right now," he says. "People are talking about that."

But cool shoes and partially dressed celebrities aren't the only things that can impact a fashion house's status on social media.

Location can play a big part, as shows inside the picturesque Spring Studios saw significantly higher engagement impressions than those of the same calibre in Lincoln Center.

The studio's open feel lent itself to Instagram-ready images, Nord says, which can generate even more online buzz.

Photo of a note; Mummy: Good Luck, We are Very proud, Love David, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper This shot by Victoria Beckham was the most liked Instagram photo of #NYFW

Marc Jacobs also had a strong social media showing at fashion week, drawing more than 13 million online impressions.

Perhaps more importantly, "Marc Jacobs did the best within the fashion influencer community", says Nord, referring to those his company has determined are most responsible for creating future trends.

Other designers drawing a lot of attention on social media over fashion week included Michael Kors, Alexander Wang, Diane Von Furstenburg, Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren.

But, notes Nord, fashion can be notoriously fickle from season to season.

Last year's second-highest social media draw at Fashion Week, Kate Spade, fell nearly two dozen spots in 2014.

Reporting by Debbie Siegelbaum

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

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The minute Scotland knew

At 6:11am Scotland found out the results of its independence referendum.

The result triggered an outpouring of elation and despair on social media.

Video journalist: Neil Meads

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending. All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


'The dream is over' for #YesScotland

An Instagram picture reading "When I wake up, well I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who wakes up next to you" A play on the Proclaimers' famous song was shared on Instagram

Scotland's "Yes" campaign had led the conversation on social media for months, so defeat saw disappointment trend throughout the night - as did jokes about Alex Salmond.

"Let's not dwell on the distance we've fallen short - let us dwell on the distance we have travelled," Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond posted on Twitter just before 7am today, his message now shared more than 3,000 times. Some of his supporters put more succinctly: "That's it... the dream is over," said one, as the official result was called just after 6am.

In the last 24 hours there has been a deluge of social media activity around the election. On Twitter, more than 2 million messages were posted about the referendum, as well as tens of thousands of public Facebook status updates, many in a final bid to influence voters going to the polls. Almost 85% of the electorate filled polling booths across Scotland, and this picture from Edinburgh was retweeted more than 1,300 times.

A sign reading 'vote' and 'pray' outside polling booth in a church

The loss comes despite the "Yes" campaign dominating the conversation across multiple platforms. In the past two days hashtags relating the pro-independence campaign were mentioned 378,000 times, as against just 138,000 for Better Together. Data released by Facebook this week also showed that independence campaigners had generated more discussion, though the gap was less pronounced.

More than 32,000 images have been uploaded to Instagram using the hashtag #indyref - many coming on the night itself - and providing a steady stream of humour to coincide with the results.

Shortly after the polls closed Irn Bru began trending on Twitter, and was still popular hours later as bleary eyed voters tried to stay awake. "I'm double-handing coffee & Irn-Bru!" said one. The soft drink, which is popular in Scotland, has been mentioned more than 6,500 times on Twitter in the last day.

Graph showing tweets about Irn Bru soaring Tweets about Irn Bru soared as the night went on

At around 4am this image of Alex Salmond emerged showing the SNP leader looking folorn, as early results did not go in his favour. "Sad Salmond", many tweeted, along with the picture.

Alex Salmond in the back of a car Many tweeted this image of the SNP leader along with the phrase 'Sad Salmond'

"Smoked Salmond" declared hundreds more in the hour following the result. Lord Sugar tweeted the phrase to more than 3.5 million followers, adding: "Cameron will be gloating today".

The parody account Angry Salmond, which has played affectionately with the referendum's biggest personality throughout the campaign, simply showed the leader in tears and said: "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."

A tweet reading "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to" showing a picture of Alex Salmond in tears

Throughout the night, the referendum trended around the world - featuring in the Twitter top ten in Australia, the USA, France and Russia. In both Kuwait and the UAE, a misspelt hashtag has been used by thousands - seemingly unaware of the error. #FreeScoltand has appeared more than 3,500 times in the last day from those two countries alone. "The dream of #FreeScoltand has been DASHED!," said one.

Map of the world showing where people talking about the referendum

The BBC has produced an interactive map showing global discussion around the #indyref hashtag, available here.

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

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NFL sponsors face online pressure

Will fan pressure on sponsors force the NFL to change its domestic violence policies?

This summer, a video showed American football star Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancée out of a lift. He received a two-game suspension.

But a second video released earlier this month showed Rice throwing the punch that rendered the woman, who is now his wife, unconscious.

People have taken to social media to protest the way the The National Football League (NFL) handled this case specifically and domestic abuse in general. After initially appealing directly to the league, many have targeted the league's sponsors, which account for over $1bn (£611m) of the NFL's $10bn annual revenue.

One of them was journalist and activist Adele Stan, who altered an advertisement for cosmetics company CoverGirl to make the model appear to have a black eye.

The image was posted with the hashtag #GoodellMustGo, referring to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The concept went viral, getting a Photoshop upgrade in the process.

CoverGirl responded on its Facebook page, saying "domestic violence is completely unacceptable" and urging the NFL "to take swift action".

Other sponsors, including beer giant Anheuser-Busch, have released statements expressing their concerns to the league.

The Radisson hotel chain suspended its support of the Minnesota Vikings team after one of the its players was charged with child abuse.

The NFL has hired three female advisers to review how the league deals with domestic violence and sexual assault.

This week, another player was arrested on domestic abuse charges.

Produced by Ashley Semler, Kate Dailey and Markus Zeffler

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Ireland's 'beyond cringey' soccer pundits

John Giles and Eamon Dunphy Pundits John Giles and Eamon Dunphy in latest Cadbury's ad.

Here at BBC Trending we are always on the lookout for stories trending on social media around the world. Here's a selection of three social media conversations that have caught our eye.

Ireland's footie pundits #FreeTheJoy with "beyond cringey" dancing

In the Republic of Ireland, two of the country's most well-known soccer pundits have become YouTube hits after taking part in an advertisement for Cadbury's chocolate. Eamon Dunphy and John Giles appear in the ad discussing football and soon get carried away dancing with joy to the song "Yes sir, I can boogie" by Baccara. The video has been watched over 250,000 times since Tuesday and uses the hashtag #FreeTheJoy. It's received a wide range of feedback online from "beyond cringey" to "the best thing ever".

Young British woman takes on China's "worst" job

A woman from the UK is being widely discussed on Chinese social networks after taking on one of the country's most unpopular and controversial jobs. The 21-year-old volunteered to become a local level Urban Management Officer, known in Chinese as Chengguan. "The woman has generated heated debate online as many Chinese view it as the most unlikely match up," says Zhuang Chen of the BBC's Chinese Service. "Every time Chengguan end up in the news, Chinese people fear the worst. They are associated with thuggish city management officials who are supposed to keep order on the streets but often end up abusing citizens." Chengguan's role is quite broad. They're inspectors who crack down on low level crime. But they're widely disliked in China after a number of controversies. It's reported the woman is trying to learn Mandarin so that she can succeed at her new job of telling pedestrians to keep the rules when crossing the street.

Miley Cyrus Miley Cyrus is currently on the South American leg of her Bangerz Tour.
Miley Cyrus gets a red flag in Mexico

The US singer Miley Cyrus is being investigated by Mexico's Interior Ministry over the possible misuse of the Mexican flag. During a concert in Monterrey in Nuevo Leon, one of Cyrus's backing dancers waved the national flag over her rear end. The incident caused uproar on social media. Cyrus could face detention or a fine. BBC Mundo has more about it in Spanish here.

Compiled by Anne-Marie Tomchak

Do you know more about the above stories? What's trending where you are? Get in touch with us on Twitter @BBCtrending or email trending@bbc.co.uk


Passengers rise up against Pakistan's 'VIP culture'

Why did the passengers of one Pakistani flight rise up en masse against politicians for arriving late and holding their flight up?

Videos of the remarkable incident have been trending in Pakistan for two days, prompting a debate about 'VIP culture'. #BBCtrending has interviewed passengers who were on board and one of the politicians who was mobbed.

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending. All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Did Twitter 'detectives' help solve a hate crime?

A video still of suspects in a Philadelphia police investigation. Philadelphia police release images of suspects in a 11 September hate crime, assault and robbery

Thanks to social media, a violent crime may be closer to being solved.

Last week, two men in Philadelphia were approached by a group of "10-12 white male and females all in their early 20s 'clean cut' and well dressed," according to a police statement.

Members of the group "made disparaging remarks" about the sexual orientation of the men and assaulted them, fracturing one's face.

After police posted surveillance video of individuals matching the description of the attackers to YouTube, Twitter worked its magic.

Greg Bennett, a former reality television programme participant with a lot of followers, tweeted a Facebook photograph he said was provided by "a friend of a friend of a friend" showing individuals that appeared to match those in the video.

A tweet from Greg Bennett

Twitter user FanSince09, a Philadelphia-area sports fanatic, retweeted the photo with the exhortation: "C'mon YOU KNOW THESE PEOPLE. If you don't wanna tell the cops, tell me."

Others identified the restaurant, and FanSince09 searched Facebook for people who tagged themselves as having eaten there that night. He discovered images - with names - matching the photos and video.

He gave the information to the police and was thanked by one of the investigators.

"This is what makes my job easy," tweeted detective Joseph Murray. "Sure, it's up to me to make the arrest but we are all in this together."

A tweet from detective Joseph Murray.

According to Lauri Stevens, a social media consultant to law enforcement, this is a "beautiful" example of modern policing.

"With police losing officers as the result of budget cuts, they have to rely on social media for help," she says.

The Philadelphia police says no arrests have been made yet, but the Associated Press quotes a lawyer who says that some of the suspects will be questioned by police on Wednesday.

A tweet from FanSince09.

"There's still a lot of work to be done," says Sergeant Eric Gripp, social and digital media manager for the Philadelphia police. "But we're immensely grateful."

He adds that his department makes an effort to use social media to forge closer ties with the community: "A lot of times folks have a difficult time calling 911 and talking to a faceless entity. If you're not comfortable coming up to officers on the street, you can find one on Twitter."

Reporting by Anthony Zurcher

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Mexicans defend Ronaldinho on Twitter

Ronaldinho

Twitter users have hit back at a Mexican politician who called Ronaldinho an "ape" on Facebook. Tens of thousands responded using a hashtag which translates as "we are all apes".

Fans of Queretaro FC were delighted to discover their team had signed the Brazilian footballer, and many flocked to see him for the first time at their stadium in central Mexico on Friday.

One resident of the city wasn't pleased by his arrival, however. A local politician called Carlos Trevino found himself caught in a traffic jam caused by the the star's arrival, and took to Facebook to voice his annoyance. ""I try to be tolerant but I HATE FOOTBALL and the dumbing down it produces. I hate it even more because people block up the streets, making me spend two hours to get home," he wrote. The post soon took an unusual turn, as Trevino launched into a racist outburst: "And all this just to watch an APE. A Brazilian, but an ape nonetheless."

It was quickly deleted, but not before coming to the attention of social media users who were outraged by his comments. "What an idiot, hasn't he heard of Darwin?" posted a Mexican tweeter, who included the hashtag #TodosSomosSimios, which translates as "We are all apes".

The phrase, intended to show solidarity with the footballer, electrified the social network, and by Monday Trevino issued an apology via Twitter. "A sincere apology to @Club_Queretaro for my regrettable remarks... As a person and as a player, @10Ronaldinho has my respect," he wrote. It was not enough to prevent the hashtag being used almost 50,000 times, more than half of those coming in the last two days alone. "Trevino is such a fool. I'd rather be an ape than stupid and racist. An ape has more more brains than this guy," said another tweeter using the hashtag. The politician's twitter account is no longer available to view online.

Queretaro FC has urged the authorities to take action against Trevino, and the right-wing National Action Party, to which Trevino belongs, has said it will launch an inquiry into the matter.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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Chile's Gay Kiss

The on-screen gay kiss remains controversial in many countries. In Chile, a clothing company showed same sex couples kissing in an online advert, though then appeared to suddenly remove it.

The episode has inspired gay rights activists to create a parody ad - which has been viewed over a quarter of a million times, more than the original, and inspired debate on social media.

Video journalist: Greg Brosnan

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending. All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


How useful is Facebook's #indyref data?

A laptop showing the Facebook website

Data released by Facebook yesterday showed a lead for Scotland's Yes campaign in terms of "interactions" on the network. But does this kind of social media data really tell us anything useful about how people will vote?

Facebook's press release was picked up by most major news organisations and timed to give publicity to their "I'm a Voter" button ahead of Thursday's referendum. It revealed there had been more than 10 million interactions concerning the referendum in a five week period. Of those, 2.05 million related to the Yes campaign and 1.96 million related to the No campaign. The release said there was a "slight lead" for the former in terms of discussion. "Overall 'yes' and 'no' conversation volumes are neck and neck, but momentum is shifting towards the Yes Campaign," it said.

To produce the report, Facebook chose a basket of phrases that represented the Yes campaign, and another set that represented Better Together. Each mention of these phrases, by anybody using Facebook, counted towards their respective totals. Every time someone liked, commented on, or shared those posts, the total number of interactions ticked up.

Facebook stresses it has only measured the volume of posts, and has not applied any analysis to their meaning. Sentiment analysis is fraught with difficulties - computers can't detect sarcasm, for example - so it is unsurprising that the company has decided to ignore it.

But looking at volume alone poses its own set of problems. The data makes no distinction between posts in favour of a particular phrase, and those which denigrate it. If someone posted "Let's get behind 'Yes Scotland'", a friend liked it, another shared it, and a third commented "I agree, I'm voting Yes", four interactions were added to Facebook's Yes tally. Equally, a user who posted "I can't bear 'Yes Scotland'" - with friends who liked, shared and commented in agreement - had exactly the same impact on the statistics.

Facebook also reports that "in personality politics, Salmond has a decisive victory over Darling". The leader of the Yes campaign has prompted 700,000 interactions, whereas the leader of Better Together has prompted 250,000. Here, the firm compiled the figures in a similar way, counting the number of times Alex Salmond was mentioned, and the number of times those mentions were liked, shared, or commented on - in any context - against the same figure for Alistair Darling. The data doesn't really tell us which leader is more popular, then, but rather which provoked a more vocal reaction, whether favourable or not.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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'Deadbeat' shaming on Facebook

A screengrab of the Dead Beat Kenya Facebook page showing an adult bird feeding its young

A Facebook group that names and shames parents who are not supporting their children, according to its founder, has gone viral in Kenya.

The social network may not seem like an obvious place to resolve paternity disputes, or accusations of missing childcare payments. But last week a Kenyan called Jackson Njeru set up a Facebook group to do just that.

Dead Beat Kenya allows parents who believe their child's mother or father has acted irresponsibly to post their name, photograph and phone number, along with a description of the grievance online. The closed group has attracted 155,000 members in little more than a week, most of them eager to comment on the cases rather than create new posts.

Of course, Njeru's plan is fraught with difficulties. How does he establish whether the claims genuine? And even if they are, is public humiliation really the best course of action?

Before the posts appear for others to see, Njeru says his team run a few checks. "We first call the person who is accusing, then we call the accused. From there if the person is not willing to take care of his or her own responsibility, that's when we approve the post," he tells the BBC's Focus on Africa programme. Since its launch, Dead Beat Kenya has been approached by lawyers willing to work on a pro-bono basis, and in six cases couples have reached a settlement as a result of the group, Njeru claims.

Not everybody thinks his actions are fair, however. BBC Trending spoke to one of the men accused of abandoning his child. "What she is saying is not true, and she is damaging my reputation," he says, referring to a woman who created the post. He denies he is the child's father, and is now considering legal action. "It is just a forum that is made to destroy relationships and put people on the line," he says.

Njeru argues that those making the accusations do not currently have sufficient recourse through the legal system. "Whatever we're doing, it's all because of the justice system," he says. "People are complaining the system is corrupt. They've tried taking their deadbeats there, but they are told to get a lawyer they can't afford."

Whilst adamant that the group is serving a public purpose, he does not anticipate acting with impunity for long. "I haven't had any court summons, but the group is still young."

Reporting by Sam Judah

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Outrage over actress in handcuffs

Actress Daniele Watts Actress Daniele Watts was put in handcuffs after refusing to giver officers identification

On 11 September actress Daniele Watts wrote on Facebook she was detained by police officers in Los Angeles. She had been kissing her boyfriend, Brian James Lucas, in a car.

They were sitting in a Mercedes parked on Ventura Boulevard. Watts, who appeared in Django Unchained, is black. Lucas, a celebrity chef who specialises in raw food, is white.

Those facts are not in dispute. Other parts of the story, however, are controversial.

"Studio City police mistook the couple for a prostitute and john," according to Variety. "Watts refused to show her ID to the cops, and was therefore handcuffed".

Watts with a police officer Watts was handcuffed before being released

In a photo she posted on Facebook, she is standing on a sidewalk, crying.

Afterwards she was placed in a police car. She wrote: "I was sitting in that back of this cop car, filled with adrenaline, my wrist bleeding in pain".

More than 6,500 people have liked the post, and it has been shared almost 4,000 times.

The incident strikes a chord for many people, particularly in the aftermath of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri

"I take my video camera everywhere," Bridge Golde commented on Facebook, "I'm thinking of have a T-shirt made that reads, 'I'm Black so I'm armed with a video camera.'"

Also on Facebook Richard Caroll wrote: "I am so sorry this happened to you. This was racial profiling."

Facebook trending page In the US, the incident was trending on Facebook

In a statement, the Los Angeles Police Department say they were responding to a call about "indecent exposure".

"Upon further investigation it was determined that no crime had been committed," the statement reads. "An internal complaint investigation has been initiated."

Charlton McIlwain, an associate professor of media at New York University, told BBC Trending the image of Ms Watts in handcuffs is deeply divisive.

"There are many who will look at it and say, 'The police are reasonable.,'" he said.

"For others it's tragic. For the past several decades, or even century, this image of African-Americans and crime has been the predominant one in the US landscape."

"It means we haven't come as far as we think we have," he said.

Reporting by Tara McKelvey

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Slum comedy a hit on Turkish YouTube

It's a story being repeated around the world. An old slum community is demolished and the residents moved to tower blocks.

But in one part of Ankara, local actors are turning this experience into a dark YouTube comedy.

#BBCtrending went on location to Çinçin, and met those responsible for the viral hit comedy "Yolunda A.S."

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending. All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Trends of the week - in 60 seconds

BBC Trending 60 seconds

What's been trending on social media around the world this week?

From victims of domestic abuse sharing their stories on Twitter to the viral video in China of a young man being beaten up by several elderly passengers, BBC Trending brings you some of the week's top trends - in 60 seconds.

Produced by Ravin Sampat & Anna Meisel

Images courtesy of Getty, AFP, Ronald Martinez, Jessica Penney, Heather Milton

You can hear more from the BBC Trending team on BBC World Service every Saturday at 10:30 GMT, and you can subscribe to the free podcast here. Want to watch more Trending videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.


‘Spider-dog’ prankster wants Poles to smile

Spider-Dog

YouTube trends don't get much bigger than "Spider-dog". Within just over a week, about 80 million people watched a dog in a spider costume scaring passers-by.

But the Polish YouTuber who made it is still relatively unknown. #BBCtrending caught up with him in Warsaw, where he told us about his mission to change Polish culture, his obsession with taunting the Polish police and just how far he will go for an adrenaline rush.

Produced by: Greg Brosnan, Anna Meisel

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending. All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Listen to BBC Trending

Chica the dog dressed as a giant spider

Listen to, or download, the latest BBC Trending.

Spider Dog is a global YouTube sensation, but who is behind it? BBC Trending goes to Poland to meet the man, and his dog, who have terrified over 7 million viewers. He claims he just wants to makes Poles smile more. So why's he so unpopular with the local police?

And a recent flag-burning campaign has raised questions over how to challenge the image of Islamic State radicals. We hear from one of those who started the campaign in Lebanon.

Listen to #BBCtrending

Presented by Mukul Devichand and produced by Anna Meisel.

We are on BBC World Service radio at 10:30 GMT on Saturdays and you can put us in your pocket and listen anytime by downloading our free podcast.


'There is no Empire left now'

A map showing discussion topics across the world

All over the world, the possibility of Scottish independence is being discussed on social media, throwing up some interesting insights into how the UK is perceived elsewhere.

If the debate over Scottish independence feels like a local story in the United Kingdom, think again. On the Russian social network Vkontake (VK) there have been over half a million status updates about Scotland in the last month. More than 40,000 people tweeted about Scotland in Arabic. "Escocia" - the Spanish word for Scotland - has appeared used more than 140,000 times in the last 30 days. The mandarin phrase for "Scotland referendum" has been used 210,000 times on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging service similar to Twitter.

What do these parts of the world make of the debate, and of recent polls which show the "Yes" campaign for independence making significant gains? It's hard to discern clear patterns, and many of those posting are simply sharing the latest news. But there are common themes that emerge.

In Russia, the Arab World and India, there are several references to Scottish independence in terms of the end of the British Empire. "Great Britain, which has lived off its colonies all over the world for centuries, should get a worthy retaliation," posted a member of the Russian Vkontake (VK) network - where 8,500 posts used the word "Empire" in relation to Scotland. "This is good news for us - the break-up of Great Britain, just like the British Empire in the past," said a fellow VK user. Others in Russia felt the potential for Scottish independence was similar to the decline of Russian power when the USSR broke up after 1989. Around 9,000 VK users used the terms "USSR" and "Soviet Union" alongside "Scotland". "This has made me smile. The energy that London put into the break-up of the USSR in the 1980s has backfired on them. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the next to come," said one tweeter.

The theme of Empire emerged in social media posts from India, too. "#India threw England out. Now #Scotland is doing the same. There is no Empire left now," wrote one. Similar sentiment was on display in the Arab world: "The old empire is scared of its future," one user tweeted.

A tweet reading "The British union, cemented with wealth looted from India, is past its use-by date" Many made reference to the British Empire on Twitter

Back in Russia, others posting on VK drew parallels between Ukraine's recent history and Scottish independence. Russians, who have long complained about the pro-Ukrainian slogan that "those who don't dance are from Moscow", adapted the saying with an image saying "those who don't dance are British".

Two people dancing in kilts

Of course, many of those posting used the forthcoming referendum to make a political point about their own country. "China is a control freak, it never likes seeing countries separate so it wants to control everything. I suspect that it will feel the same way with Scotland," read a message from WeChat user yiyang267.

The parallel with local politics was strongest in the Spanish language - and especially in Spain itself - where many in Catalonia want to break away from the rest of the country. "All my Catalan guts and heart goes to #Scotland #yes for the chance of deciding a better and fair future. Diada2014," said a Spanish tweeter. The hashtag is a reference to the annual Catalan National Day on Thursday, when hundreds of thousands of Catalans are expected to take to the streets to demand a referendum on their own future.

Reporting by Mukul Devichand, Gennadiy Kot (BBC Monitoring), Ravin Sampat and Sam Judah

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All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


First Nations women ask 'Am I next'?

Woman holds "Am I next" sign? Holly Jarrett posted the first image to her Facebook page

Approximately 1,200 aboriginal Canadian women have been murdered or gone missing since 1980.

In February, an Inuit woman who was passionate about ending this violence went missing herself, her body found two weeks later in New Brunswick. Her former roommates have been charged in her death.

The death of Loretta Saunders has led to calls for a wider public inquiry into the high rate of murdered First Nations women.

So far the government has resisted these pleas, but pressure has stepped up on social media thanks to a new hashtag campaign.

The #AmINext campaign asks which woman will be the next to go missing or murdered.

Saunders's cousin, Holly Jarrett, originated the phrase.

"I wanted to spearhead a movement after Loretta's death," Jarrett told the BBC. "I didn't want to let her go."

Woman holds "Am I next" sign?

Jarrett began a petition in support of a public inquiry and started the hasthag after seeing the initials AIN online. She said it reminded her both of "ain", an Inuit term of endearment, and "Am I Next" - her feelings after the death of her cousin and 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, a First Nations woman who was found in a Winnipeg river early in August.

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report in May found aboriginal women account for 16% of female homicides and 11% of missing women despite only making up 4.3% of the county's female population.

There have been more than 2,600 tweets since Friday, and almost 3,000 people have joined Jarett's Facebook group dedicated to the hashtag.

Women are posting photos of themselves with a piece of paper in front of them saying "#AMINext" and "#MMIW" - missing and murdered indigenous women.

Many use the tag to call for action from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He has said the deaths should be viewed as individual crimes and not as a "sociological phenomenon".

Jarrett says she will continue calling for a Canada-wide inquiry.

"There's been tons of independent research, but an inquiry is the most thorough process." she says. "[The government] knows an inquiry will hold them responsible."

Reporting by Taylor Kate Brown

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All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


The row over a bus seat in China

A man attacks a younger man on a Chinese bus

Chinese people are sharing a video in which a young man refuses to give up his seat on the bus, and is beaten by several elderly passengers.

On buses in Wuhan, yellow seats have special meaning. Passengers using them are expected to offer them to pregnant women, the elderly or the infirm. The custom is frequently overlooked, however, and younger passengers routinely flout the rules.

But one young man occupying a yellow seat on a bus in the city in central China did not go unchallenged. In the video - captured on a mobile phone - an older man begins shouting at him, telling him to vacate the seat for another man standing right next to him. The young man refuses and begins shouting back, before being pushed and hit several times.

Three men attack a younger man on a Chinese bus The footage shows the young man being hit and pushed by elderly passengers

The video was uploaded to NetEase, a popular Chinese web portal, by an unknown user. The original has been viewed more than 160,000 times, and copies on other social networks have been viewed many more. The reaction on both NetEase and Weibo - a microblogging website similar to Twitter - has been fierce, and the vast majority of those commenting appear to be angry with the older people.

"If they have the strength to beat people up, why did they need seats?" said one. "The young man was wrong not to give up his seat to the elderly. However, those elderly people were even worse... Giving up your seat on public transport is a voluntary act. How can anybody use violent means to force others to give up their seats?" said another.

Incidents like this one are not uncommon in China, where tension between generations appears to be on the rise. The country's one-child policy - which has existed in a variety of forms since 1979 - has contributed to a skewed demographic shift. According to some estimates, a third of the population will be over the age of 60 by the middle of this century, and there are increasing fears that the population of working age may struggle to support them.

Pan Tianshu, an anthropologist at Fudan University, told BBC Trending that the problem is really about economics, not about age itself. "Instead of seeing this as just a generational war, we should see it as [the result of] increasingly limited public resources for a rapidly transforming society," he says.

The China News Service reports that no arrests were made by the police, and the young man was not seriously injured.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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Goodluck Jonathan reacts to controversial slogan

A campaign advert for Goodluck Jonathan The hashtag is being used by supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has asked his supporters to stop using an adapted version of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag to campaign for his re-election.

In one sense you can understand what the president's supporters were thinking. The #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, calling for 200 school girls abducted by Boko Haram militants in April, became one of the world's biggest ever social media campaigns. So why not borrow the slogan for the president's re-election campaign?

The hashtag #BringBackGoodluck2015 seems to have first been used on Twitter by a group campaigning on behalf of the president. On 30th August, they tweeted: "There is no vacancy in Aso rock [the president's residence] we want Goodluck Jonathan again #NigeriansDemand #BringBackJonathan2015."

It was never an officially endorsed slogan, despite appearing on signs and banners around the capital city of Abuja, but now the president has reacted to try and quash it. A press release issued by the president's office this morning says the campaign is "offensive and repugnant", and that signs and banners carrying the slogan should be removed immediately.

The slogan was widely criticised because it seemed to dramatically misread the public mood in the country. The abducted school girls are still held captive, despite repeated promises by the government - and President Jonathan himself - to secure their release. So far, the government has not taken military steps to rescue the girls, arguing that if force is used, they may end up being killed by the militants.

A major backlash against the hashtag soon emerged, as people took to Twitter to label it as insensitive. It has appeared more than 2,800 times in the last 24 hours, and the vast majority been used to criticise the slogan.

"That hashtag is not only inappropriate but it is insultingly silly. And it is bereft of any political tact," said one. Another said the slogan's inventor "has the combined IQ of 500 frogs. Why not coin another hashtag?". "I didn't realize Boko Haram had kidnapped the President!" said a third.

Japheth Omojuwa, a columnist at Nigerian newspaper Punch, told BBC Trending that he felt the decision to use the slogan was "absurd".

"They are using variation of our hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to campaign for the president," he said. "These are people that failed to secure the release of these girls over 150 days since their kidnap."

Terrorist attacks carried out by Boko Haram are still rife in the country. Research by Amnesty International suggests at least 2,000 people have been killed as a result of the conflict this year.

Reporting by Nasidi Yahaya and Sam Judah

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Ray Rice video sparks domestic abuse debate

Janay Palmer

They're not unusual questions to hear asked whenever talk turns to an incident of domestic abuse. Why did she stay? Why didn't she leave him?

Usually questions like these are said under the breath or behind closed doors.

For Janay Palmer, however, they have become the stuff of social media banter, thanks to Monday's publication of a security video in which she was knocked unconscious by her then-boyfriend, now-husband, American football star Ray Rice. (Rice was released from his contract with the Baltimore Ravens after the video went public).

The questions are misdirected, says Beverly Gooden, who spent a year in an abusive relationship.

"Why did I stay?" the Charlotte, North Carolina woman asks on her website. "Leaving was a process, not an event. And sometimes it takes a while to navigate through the process."

Hearing the question asked over and over again regarding Palmer prompted Ms Gooden to create the hashtag #WhyIStayed and post a series of tweets explaining her situation:

Tweet from Beverly Gooden

In less than a day, #WhyIStayed was used more than 71,000 times, as women and men tweeted stories and examples of why they couldn't break away from abusive relationships.

Sometimes, they wrote, it was out of fear - of their abuser, of the future, of the unknown. Sometimes it was because they thought they couldn't do any better or because it was what they deserved.

Tweet from @AndreaBerthot

Every explanation was unique and uniquely painful - providing a face and a name to a crime that often remains unrevealed.

According to a 2000 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.3 million women in the US are the victims of domestic abuse each year and only 25% of physical assaults are reported.

Another sobering statistic, often cited in this discussion, is that women are at greatest risk of death only after they leave or try to leave an abusive partner.

#WhyIStayed also sparked a companion hashtag, #WhyILeft, in which victims recounted what it took for them to finally walk out the door. Since it started Monday night it's had more than 18,000 Twitter mentions.

Tweet

"I hope the women tweeting in #WhyIStayed feel powerful and heard," Ms Gooden tweeted after the hashtag had caught fire. "So thankful that you are here to tweet your voice."

Reporting by Anthony Zurcher

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Does Somebody deliver?

Miranda July debuted a new app that puts the social back into social networking. But will it work?

Filmmaker and performance artist Miranda July's new app, Somebody, is designed to put human contact back into social networking.

Sponsored by the fashion line Miu Miu, Somebody is a message-delivery system that relies on total strangers to intercept and deliver your words, in person, to the intended recipient.

"The most high-tech part of the app is not in the programming, it's in the users who dare to deliver a message to a stranger," the app promises.

"In this sense Somebody is a far-reaching public art project, inciting performance and twisting our love of avatars and outsourcing."

Those who have connected via Somebody are posting photos of their encounters with strangers using the hashtags #Somebody #Selfie - but others find that it's harder to connect in person than it seems.

Two women hugging A #Somebody #Selfie

Can such an ambitious project really work? The BBC took to the busy streets of Los Angeles and New York City to see if the Somebody app was living up to its promise, and if users were getting the message.

Video journalist: Anna Bressanin

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

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Ray Rice video sheds light on abuse

Ray Rice and his wife Janay at a press conference on May 23 Ray Rice was suspended for two games after striking then-fiancee Janay Palmer in February

The Baltimore Ravens have cut team member Ray Rice following the release of a video showing the running back striking his then-fiancee in February.

Earlier on Monday, the footage caused a firestorm on social media, with many calling for stricter sanctions against the National Football League (NFL) star.

A version of the video released earlier this year showed Rice dragging his unconscious girlfriend, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator in Atlantic City.

Both he and Palmer were charged with assault stemming from this event.

Her charge was dropped and he entered into a pretrial intervention programme. If completed successfully, the charges against him will also be dropped.

Rice initially received a two-game suspension, a move NFL commissioner Roger Goodell later labelled too lenient. Goodell subsequently announced new sanctions against players who commit domestic violence.

But a new video of the altercation emerged on celebrity site TMZ.com early on Monday, showing a much more graphic depiction of events. The black-and-white security footage shows Rice punching Palmer in the elevator with such force that she falls to the ground, knocking her head on the handrail.

Tweet from Ms. Rise Up expressing sympathy for Janay Palmer

It has sparked a far-ranging conversation on social media to about the league's initial response and the lack of legal consequences for Rice.

Many have expressed concern for Palmer, who recently married Rice, and questioned the value of sharing the video.

Tweet arguing that those upset about JLaw nudity shots should also be upset about thsi video.

But the video has been an eye-opener for many people who excuse violent behaviour against women, says Ruth Glenn, interim executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

A tweet from PrestonMitchum arguing people should stop blaming Janay Palmer, now Janay Rice, for a violence incident against her

"Those of us who have been working in this field for a very long time understand that this is not uncommon, this happens every day," she says. "I think social media has changed it a lot where we have an eye on it now, we can see it."

According to Glenn, such events can spur public discourse and potentially lead to change.

Tweet by Princess Chelsea condemning an earlier Baltimore Ravens tweet

Indeed, the new video has cast the initial reaction to the incident in a new light, with the initial response by the league, the police and the team all being scrutinised anew.

Mere hours after the video's release, the Ravens announced they had terminated Rice's contract.

Faith Jenkins tweets about Ray Rice's dismissal from the Baltimore Ravens

Following the news, fresh speculation arose online as to whether the team had cut the football star from their line-up for the violence incident, or for the negative public relations that followed.

Reporting by Debbie Siegelbaum and Ashley Semler

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Trends of the week - in 60 seconds

What's been trending on social media around the world this week?

From nude celebrity photo leaks online to the Indonesian woman arrested for offending an entire city on social media, BBC Trending brings you some of the week's top trends - in 60 seconds.

Produced by Ravin Sampat & Anna Meisel

Images courtesy of AFP, Getty, PA, Naveed King, Reddit, ThinkStock


When the Ice Bucket Challenge spread to Iran

The Ice Bucket Challenge - where people soak themselves in icy water to raise money for ALS - has spread worldwide.

But when Iranians tried to give money to the Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Association - the main US charity people to donate to - sanctions on the country meant they couldn't.

That, plus other levels of confusion and a water shortage in Iran, mean those doing the challenge in Iran have had to adapt, as #BBCtrending reports.

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Justice for AvaLynn draws questions

AvaLynn A photo from the Justice For AvaLynn Facebook page

The "Justice for AvaLynn" campaign has attracted attention on Twitter, Facebook and the crowdfunding website GoFundMe, with thousands outraged about the alleged assault of a Mississippi five-year-old. But as one local reporter tells the BBC, the story is not as simple as it seems.

In late August, Lacey Harris, the mother of AvaLynn Harris, posted a picture on Facebook of her five-year-old daughter with black eyes and large bruises. She wrote that, while at school, her daughter had been repeatedly kicked in the face by another child until she fell off of a slide.

Those who saw the images online were outraged by what they saw as the school's failure to act. The picture received thousands of likes and shares across Facebook and Twitter, and inspired the hashtag #JustiveForAvaLynn.

AvaLynn tweet

At the same time, Harris also created a GoFundMe campaign seeking $10,000 (£6,125) for medical needs, travel expenses, legal fees and lost wages. In eight days, it has received over $10,500 and been shared on Facebook more than 4,800 times.

But despite increased pressure from social media, the school maintains that the bruises were caused by an accident that didn't involve any other children.

A subsequent investigation by the police did not turn up any evidence of criminal activity.

"Essentially, that investigation is closed unless new information comes to light," April Havens, a reporter for Gulflive.com told the BBC's Trending radio programme.

While Ms Harris still has many supporters, some are now sceptical about her motives - especially since copycat GoFundMe pages supposedly for Avalynn were shown to be hoaxes.

@GeneDemby tweet

"There are some who support the cause wholeheartedly and they've looked at these sort of heartbreaking pictures they've given and they support the family," Ms Havens said.

"There are others who say there are red flags. They question why a fundraiser was set up so early and what sort of costs would really would be associated with an injury like this."

The "Justice for AvaLynn" Facebook page posted a message this week saying that they are not behind any of the accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and Tumblr.

Reporting by Kierran Petersen

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Mocking women on Tinder

Tully Smyth and Tindafella

Meet Tindafella. The bearded Aussie recreating women's Tinder profile pictures with "hilarious" results. But is he taking things a step too far?

A profile picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of dating apps like Tinder, that's even more true. People can approve or reject an image within seconds. It's understandable that many upload distinctive photos onto their Tinder profile to stand out from the crowd, but is it acceptable to make fun of people for doing this?

This week a number of women on Tinder were trending after their images were reinterpreted. Tindafella - aka Jarrod Allen, an electrician in Sydney - began making the Tinder spoofs a few months ago. "The idea purely came from being bored waiting for a mate to finish work one day. I was sitting in his truck trying to entertain myself," says Allen. "So I started copying a few of the girls and sending them to mates. I later put them on Facebook and they were a bit of a hit. Been going ever since."

Instagram image of Elle_Mizzi

The images have been compiled on Tindafella's Tumblr and Instagram pages and they're being shared widely across social media. Many people have found them amusing, including the women featured. "I think it's hilarious and well done" says Tully Smyth, a TV personality and blogger in Sydney. "I actually met Tinderfella earlier this year and we recreated the photo together. He's a funny guy." Another woman Lorraine Mizzi exclaimed "I'm officially a Tindafella beach babe" after her avatar was recreated and shared on Instagram. But not everyone is impressed. "I find that Tindafella Tumbler at best mildly amusing and at worst just another in a long line of puerile internet rubbish that ridicules women" says Marie Berry of the women's blog Knockback. "It perpetuates the 'point and laugh' mentality that is rife online."

Despite a vocal contingent of feminists on social media, there hasn't been a strong backlash against Tindafella. His recreations have been hailed as "genius," "epic" and "spot on" and he has escaped accusations of "trolling" women on Tinder. "People seem to be seeing the funny side, which is the intention," he says. "There is no malice behind any of it. I'm just trying to make people laugh. Of course there are going to be people who take things way to seriously and kick up a stink... but hey, haters gonna hate." In the past few days Tindafella has received marriage proposals and has been described as the internet's biggest timewaster with far too much time on his hands. "People think they take a lot of my time but I'm rolling with the motto they have to be so bad they're good."

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak.


Arrested for calling Indonesian city 'idiotic'

Florence Sihombing post on Path

Sometimes there is nothing more infuriating than being stuck in a queue for petrol. But an angry complaint posted by a woman in the queue in Indonesia turned her into a hate figure and ended in her arrest.

Pulling up to refuel her motorbike in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesian student Florence Sihombing decided to skip the long queue for subsidised fuel for motorbikes and joined the shorter queue for more expensive fuel and cars, where she demanded to be served. When the attendants at the petrol station insisted she get back in the motorbike queue, she drove home and unleashed her frustration on social networking site Path by criticising the city, also known as Jogja.

"Jogja is poor, idiotic, uncivilized. Friends from Jakarta and Bandung, don't live in Jogja" she said.

Her post was screen-grabbed and shared on Twitter and Facebook, where thousands of people took offence at her comments about the people of Yogyakarta. Ms Sihombing, a masters degree student studying law at Gadjah Mada University, has been mentioned on Twitter more than 55,000 times since she posted her original comment last Wednesday. Hashtags such as #florencje and #UsirFlorenceDariJogja ("get rid of Florence from the city") began to circulate, demanding that she be evicted from the city. The campaign against her has been very personal: images of her bike's registration plate and a video of her complaining have also been posted online and thousands have commented under the video.

Then, the police got involved - but not to defend Ms Sihombing. Instead, after residents complained about her in numbers to the police, she was summoned for questioning on Saturday 30 August, and charged under the 2008 Electronic Transactions and Information Law for defamation and "inciting hatred". Yogyakarta has a conservative reputation, and public manners are valued highly.

Although unusual, this the not the first police action of this kind. There have been three or four high-profile cases since the new law was introduced. Ms Sihombing's lawyers said that the arrest was unlawful, while professors at the university, Twitter users and NGOs called for her release and criticised the reaction of the police to her online comments.

"The case highlights the importance for all of the social media users to be careful when posting any messages," Wicaksono, a social media analyst in Indonesia, told the BBC. "They also have to be careful in spreading somebody's else comments or messages. The case spun out of control because social media users in Indonesia tend to exaggerate things. They are also nosey. They want to know other people's business. And when the story was picked up by the traditional media, it went viral," he said.

For now, Ms Sihombing has now been released but the case is ongoing and her trial is pending. Voices on social media continue to call for her prosecution.

Reporting by India Rakusen, Mukul Devichand, Ravin Sampat & Mohamad Susilo


How the internet mourns Joan Rivers

Comedian Joan Rivers appeared in Park City, Utah, on 25 January 2010

Famed comedian and television host Joan Rivers has died following a cardiac arrest in New York last week. She was 81.

Fans of Rivers - known for her razor-sharp wit and put-downs of celebrity fashion - took to social media to remember the actress and activist following her nearly 50-year career. Here are some of the top things they're talking about.

1. Her philosophy on life

Rivers had an acerbic wit and refused to shy away from controversial topics, including the Holocaust and the widely-covered rescue of three kidnapping victims in Ohio. But just as her humour was blunt, so was her take on life - and in death, comments she made in public about hard work and success have been memorialised as inspirational quotes.

Cosmo tweet

2. Her political views

Rivers worked with the Human Rights Campaign in support of marriage equality and was a long-time supporter of Gods Love We Deliver, which brought meals to the homebound and those affected by HIV and Aids. As such, she was viewed by many as an icon in the gay community, and she was mourned by many gay fans online.

At the same time, her pro-Israeli views, especially the recent comments that the 2,000 Palestinians who died this summer deserved their fate - have not been forgiven after her passing.

Tweet from Haaretz.com

3. The timing of her death.

They say deaths come in threes, and many fans are already pairing Rivers' passing with that of Robin Williams, who died in August. E!Online tweeted a photo of the pair, both seen smiling widely for the camera. The photo has been retweeted thousands of times and reposted often.

E!Online tweet

4. Her jokes about death

Whenever a celebrity dies, their statements about death take on a certain profound air. The Twitter account Letters of Note posted an image of some jokes she once wrote about death, which was retweeted more than two thousand times. "Is there anything worse than a boring death? (Other than a Charlie Rose marathon on PBS?) Other jokes that she made, such as "I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag", resurfaced online after news of her death.

mashable tweet

5. Her 2010 documentary

Once ridiculed for her plastic surgery and job selling jewellery on a television shopping network, the film 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work' showed how hard working, determined, and yes, funny, she could be. It lead to a career renaissance. The film is now streaming on Netflix, and many recommended that those who hadn't seen it watch in her memory.

A fan of Joan Rivers posted on Twitter on 4 September, calling her a "pioneer" and asking that people watch her documentary

Reporting by Debbie Siegelbaum, Kate Dailey and Ashley Semler

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Stripping to make a point about 'racism' in Brazil

Man strips in shopping mall in Brazil

A video showing a man stripping in a shopping centre in Brazil to prove he hasn't been shoplifting has been watched over half a million times and ignited another debate about racism in the country.

In the footage, a man has an outburst in the middle of a shopping mall in Salvador, the capital of Bahia state in northeast Brazil. He repeatedly removes his trousers and t-shirt, exclaiming "I'm not a thief. Look, I'm going to prove it," while opening his backpack and emptying the contents, and then gesticulating towards a private security guard. The incident happened after the man went into Centauro, a well-known sportswear chain. It was caught on camera by a bystander who can be heard saying, "He's right, just because he's black." The man, who hasn't been identified, receives a round of applause from onlookers. His exchange with the security guard continues outside, "Following me just because I'm black...."

The identity of the man is still unknown. The company that manages Centauro, SBF Group, denies allegations of racism. In a statement, the groups says it values diversity in the workforce and doesn't support any kind of prejudice. Irrespective, the incident has been interpreted as racism by many YouTube users. There have been hundreds of comments on various versions of the video online. "Let's follow this man's example. Starting today, every time we get chased unfairly in shopping centres let's take our clothes off," said one comment. Another wrote, "A person who says racism doesn't exist in Brazil lives in a parallel universe" and used the hashtag #ProudToBeBlack. Others disagreed, however. "This dude goes into an elite place dressed like a thief and he expects to be treated well?" said one.

This is not the first time the issue of race and class in shopping malls has been raised in Brazil. As we reported on this blog, earlier this year large groups of teenagers - many of them black - took part in flash mob style gatherings in shopping malls, with some saying they were establishing their right to be there. The groups, known as rolezinhos, organised themselves on Facebook. Last week the subject of racism resurfaced in Brazil after football supporters shouted "monkey" and other racist jibes at the Santos FC goalkeeper Mário Lúcio Costa Duarte, known as Aranha.

"There are lots of different ways that social media is being used to highlight racism," says Rafael Barifouse, a journalist with BBC Brasil in São Paulo. "For example, the Tumblr page I'm not racist gathers racist comments and publishes them in the one place. When an incident like this happens in a shopping mall and goes viral it brings the issue of race into focus."

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak.


Ashya King brother's YouTube savvy

Naveed King was a video blogger posting antics with his friends on YouTube, like many other 20-year olds.

But after his little brother Ashya fell ill and was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and his family fled to seek treatment abroad, his YouTube channel became a highly effective one-man PR operation giving their side of the story.

Video journalist: Greg Brosnan

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Armagayddon: Gay marriage in Ireland

A parody video about gay marriage has sparked a debate about the issue in the Republic of Ireland.

Armagayddon pokes fun at how Ireland will change if same sex marriage is introduced. It was made by the gay rights group LGBT Noise and has been viewed over 200,000 times on YouTube.

Civil partnerships have been available in the Republic of Ireland since 2011. The country is due to vote on same sex marriage in a referendum next year.

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending. All our stories are at bbc.com/trending.

Produced by Anne-Marie Tomchak and Neil Meads.

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Listen to BBC Trending radio

Two chilies

Listen to or download the latest BBC Trending radio show.

In this week's show we find out how a national chilli dish in Mexico sparked debate when a maid was filmed apparently taking more than her share of dinner. Her employer filmed the moment the maid was confronted and the video was posted to social media. Anne-Marie Tomchak finds out why thousands have been angrily tweeting #LadyChiles .

Also on the show a satirical video, Armagayddon has been trending in Ireland as the countdown to the referendum on same-sex marriages begins, and we find out why social media restrictions on journalists in India have ignited the trend #TwitterPasswords.

Listen to BBC Trending radio

The programme was produced by India Rakusen.

We are on BBC World Service radio at 10:30 GMT on Saturdays and you can put us in your pocket and listen anytime by downloading our free podcast.


Trends of the week - in 60 seconds

Trends in 60 secs - BBC Trending

What's been trending on social media around the world this week?

From the Washington dog who is a legend on Instagram and Twitter to the bra protest in Valladolid, BBC Trending brings you some of the week's top trends - in 60 seconds.

Produced by India Rakusen & Ravin Sampat

Images courtesy of AFP, Getty, @GanarValladolid, Cesar Manso

You can hear more from the BBC Trending team on BBC World Service every Saturday at 10:30 GMT, and you can subscribe to the free podcast here. Want more Trending videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.


About BBC Trending

A hand-picked selection of stories trending on social media around the world. Includes posts on the Magazine's Trending blog, twice weekly videos via @BBCWorld and a weekly radio programme on Saturday on BBC World Service.

Follow @BBCtrending on Twitter and tweet using #BBCtrending

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