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30 October 2014 Last updated at 11:37 ET

Africans reject Jamie's Jollof recipe

Jamie's Jollof rice recipe and chef Jamie Oliver

If there's one thing West Africans don't want you messing with, it's their Jollof rice. Or at least that's how it seems from the online reaction to Jamie Oliver's recipe for the dish.

Here's how to think about Jollof rice: it means to Africans what paella means to the Spanish, what fish and chips means to Brits or what burritos mean to Mexicans. The traditional dish is made with tomatoes and spices and it's widely considered part of the heart and soul of the region. So when British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver published his own "interpretation" of the dish on his website, there was always the potential for controversy.

Traditional Jollof Rice Traditional Ghanaian Jollof Rice

His recipe was posted in June and went largely unnoticed for months - until this week. The reaction from Africans began with dozens of comments posted on the chef's website in the past week. The conversation then moved on to social media where it escalated. The Oliver recipe has attracted 4,500 comments, a large number of them seemingly from Africans - and many outraged at what they say are changes Oliver has made to the traditional recipe. In the past 24 hours Twitter joined the debate using hashtags like #jollofgate and #jollof.

Oliver is known for his quick, simple dishes, but it seems that with his Jollof rice recipe his sin was trying too hard. He uses coriander, parsley and a lemon wedge, ingredients that users online say are not usually associated with the recipe. But what really offended them was the 600 grams of cherry tomatoes "on the vine". Jollof rice is popularly made from using a mix of blended, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and scotch bonnet. "This is the base," says Lohi, a Nigerian food blogger. "Jamie's recipe called for whole vegetables!"

Comment on Twitter

"People were surprised that this recipe was so much different from the original," says the author of the Motley Musings blog, which writes about how Africa is represented in popular culture. She warns that people in Africa take their traditional food very seriously, although Oliver does stress in his recipe that he's aware of and has considered the many traditional variations of the dish and has "come up with his own kind of rice".

By creating this recipe Oliver has increased the exposure of the dish. Vera Kwakofi, from BBC Africa, says that's part of the problem. "The danger is that in five years his version will become the official one," says Vera Kwakofi, from BBC Africa. The blogger behind Motley Musing agrees: "We have to ask ourselves who actually benefits from Jamie Oliver's 'appreciation' of Jollof rice. This doesn't necessarily translate into value for Africans. For so long, different African cultures have been appropriated without any direct benefit to Africans themselves, and people are particularly sensitive to this."

Comments on Facebook

This is not the first time social media users have targeted a Jollof recipe. Last June the supermarket chain Tesco removed its Jollof rice recipe from its website after complaints on Twitter said it had nothing to do with the real thing. A spokesperson for Jamie Oliver told BBC Trending: "Obviously there was no intention to offend anyone which is why the recipe printed on the Jamie Magazine website is described as 'Jamie's twist' on jollof rice."

Reporting by Gabriela Torres

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


Arab Spring rapper says Tunisia now worse off

Tunisia's 2011 revolution kicked off the Arab Spring. Three years later, however, many young Tunisians feel that nothing has changed.

Millions went to the polls last week in Tunisia's latest free elections, but at the same time, a rap critical of the system has been trending on YouTube, as young hip-hop artist Klay BBJ tunes in to the post-revolution blues blighting many of his peers.

Reporter: Mai Noman

Video journalist: Greg Brosnan

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


What really happened to Jerome Jarre?

Jerome Jarre at Miami airport Jerome Jarre apparently celebrating his freedom

One of the internet's biggest video stars has become a top trend on US Twitter with claims he was being "arrested" on a flight. But according to the airline, that wasn't what happened.

Jerome Jarre is a superstar of online video. The Frenchman's 6-second-long prank videos are sometimes controversial but have made him the fourth most popular account on Vine, with over 7.5 million followers. He's also big on Snapchat, and has 871,000 Twitter followers. It was to this last group that he turned when his latest prank - which unfolded high in the air on an American Airlines flight - seemingly turned sour.

Jarre claims he was "arrested" after landing at Miami-Dade airport after things went wrong while he filmed a new prank video. He appealed for sympathy and for people to use the hashtag #AmericanAirlinesCHILLOUT. It has now been tweeted more than 91,000 times and quickly became the top trend in the US.

Jerome Jarre's tweet

Here is what happened according to Jarre's own Twitter feed: he begins by tweeting that he's on a flight to Miami, during which he was making a video where he "comes out of the bathroom wearing a speedo & an inflatable duck". Tweeting a screenshot of his notes, he claims that everyone on the plane "loved it", all except one of the American Airlines cabin crew. "For some reason he hated the joke. He made calls and promised I would be arrested once I land." That tweet was shared more than 11,000 times.

Once Jarre's plane had landed, he then claimed that he was "about to be arrested". This tweet was accompanied by a picture of himself being photo-bombed by the inflatable duck (which looks suspiciously like a turtle), and again asking his followers to tweet #AmericanAirlinesCHILLOUT. That was retweeted 14,000 times and Jarre's message was quickly trending in America. In subsequent tweets, Jarre claims he spent "3 hours with the FBI".

Jerome Jarre with his 'duck' Jerome Jarre with his 'duck'

BBC Trending has contacted the police at Miami-Dade airport, who confirm that Jarre was detained - but supplied no further details. The FBI have not responded to our queries.

American Airlines version of events is different to Jerome Jarre's. Although they tweeted him offering their assistance as events unfolded, they have since told BBC Trending that while Jarre was detained he was not, in fact, arrested and no charges were pursued against him. In a statement, they said "Speedos may look good at the beach, but no one wants to see them dancing in the aisle at 35,000 feet."

Online, several users have expressed doubt about Jerome Jarre's story, saying that he is a serial self-promoter. A few hours after his initial flurry of tweets, Jarre tweeted a picture of himself in the airport terminal, on his knees, claiming to be celebrating his freedom. He then thanked his followers for "saving him from a life changing ordeal". What is certain is that Jerome Jarre proved how quickly a trend can pick up pace. All you've got to do is ask.

Reporting by Chris Hemmings

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


The faces of Mexico's missing students

#IlustradoresConAyotzinapa

With 43 young Mexicans still missing, the country's illustrators are using art to call for answers.

On 26 September, a coach of male students from Ayotzinapa teacher training college in southern Mexico were on their way to protest over school hiring practices. They were stopped by police who shot at their buses; three were killed. But there is a mystery around 43 others, who have not been heard from since - with speculation police may have handed them over to local militia or a drug cartel.

Valeria Gallo's portrait Valeria Gallo's portrait

The story has moved the Mexican public, with protest marches by thousands, desperate to know the truth. Now, more than 200 artists from across the country have added their voices, and their talents, to those calling for answers. Using the hashtag #IlustradoresConAyotzinapa (#IllustratorsForAyotzinapa), they are painting portraits of the missing individuals. Many of these images are going viral, and the hashtag has now been used over 14,000 times.

Bef's portrait Bef's portrait

Valeria Gallo is one of those artists disillusioned by her government's handling of the incident. She has a son, and told BBC Trending she does not want him growing up in a Mexico where kidnappings and murder are accepted by society. At random she chose one of the missing students, Benjamin Ascencio, drew him and posted it on a Tumblr page. She then called on her peers to follow suit . "I think when you paint someone´s portrait, he´s no longer an unknown," she says. "He has a name, a face. He becomes a person." In a country where reprisals are common, she says getting so many people to sit down and draw was not easy. "Some people were afraid," she says, "but now we can go out and shout, and demand answers".

Güerogüero's portrait Güerogüero's portrait

Another illustrator, known by the name Bef, is one of those that heeded the call. He chose to draw 21-year-old Bernardo Alcaraz - and above the image he wrote: "I, Bef, want to know what happened to Bernardo Flores Alcaraz". He told BBC Trending it is his "obligation" to get involved because "government-run media outlets are helping to hide the truth". He says social media protests are now the "only option" and each drawing is making a "powerful statement".

Güerogüero, another artist who got involved, says his "anger and sadness" meant, once he had learned of the campaign, he felt a "necessity" to get involved. He says people in his country are tired of the "violence, corruption and all the mud and dirt Mexico is buried in". He chose 19-year-old Carlos Lorenzo Hernandez Munoz as his muse, again demanding to "know what happened".

None of those involved have met the families of their subjects, but they say that is not necessary. Bef says he's helping his subject Bernardo's relatives by "making more people aware", while Güerogüero says that he wants Carlos' family to know that "thousands want justice".

Valeria's message is clear: "Benjamin Asencio is now a part of me and every student is now a part of every illustrator that's been working on this project." She says the best way to help is by doing what they have been doing for years: "drawing".

The Mexican government has ordered an inquiry into what happened. The governor of Guerrero, the state where the students disappeared, has resigned and the local mayor and local police chief are both on the run.

Reporting by Chris Hemmings

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


The President's Umbrella

Over a month since demonstrations started on the streets of Hong Kong calling for full democracy, images of umbrellas are still trending online - but protestors have focussed in on one umbrella in particular.

It belongs to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The meme developed after a photo of him holding an umbrella won China's top photojournalism prize. Edited images of Mr Xi in various scenarios holding the umbrella have been widely shared.

Xi Jinping holding a yellow umbrella Artist Kacey Wong was among those to share memes of President Xi.

Hong Kong artist Kacey Wong was one of the first to use the umbrella as a protest symbol, and he has continued his drive to get people to share umbrella artwork on social media. Wong recently shared a pro-democracy video on his Facebook page which has been viewed over 200,000 times. It starts off in black and white and features a selection of young people walking backwards. The second part of the video features the same words, but is in colour and the participants are walking forwards. So what message that can be interpreted from this video? "They're saying the government are trying to twist the facts and they are using the video to issue a reminder to people why they're on the streets." says Kris Cheng, a Hong Kong based journalist and political columnist.

The hashtag #UmbrellaRevolution has been used 393,000 times on Twitter and Instagram over the past month. #UmbrellaMovement has been used over 105,000 times over the same period. The peak of the conversation happened in the first week of October. On the streets, umbrellas are still being brandished. On Tuesday, thousands of people rallied outside the city's government headquarters clutching them.

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak.

Video journalist: Ravin Sampat.

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


Hidden camera captures street harassment

Shoshana Roberts talked to the BBC about her experiment

A video showing a young woman being pestered by catcallers has gone viral, re-igniting the debate about street harassment.

A woman walks along the streets of New York City, minding her own business. Men call out at her: "What's up beautiful?", "Nice!", "Hey baby!". When she ignores them, she is admonished ("Smile!", "You should say thank you more"). At one point a man walks alongside her in silence for over five minutes, despite her obvious discomfort. In total she encounters over 100 comments in 10 hours - not including many more non-verbal signals like winks and whistles.

For many women this experience may sound unremarkable, if depressing. But on this occasion Shoshana B Roberts, 24, was filmed by a hidden camera. A two-minute video, titled 10 Hours of Walking In NYC as a Woman, attracted hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube within hours. It was produced for Hollaback!, which campaigns against street harassment. "This is a typical day in my life," says Roberts. "People need to be aware that this is going on."

The aim of the video is twofold, says Emily May, founder and executive director of Hollaback!. It's intended to show victims of harassment that they aren't alone, and to demonstrate to those who have never experienced such treatment how intimidating it can be. Rob Bliss, who shot the hidden camera footage, said that as a man he was "really surprised" by the sheer volume of approaches Roberts received. He says many men like him simply don't realise how common this kind of behaviour is and the impact it can have. "I don't have an expectation of changing anyone's behaviour, but I wanted a guy to see what it's like from a neutral, third-person perspective what it's like to experience street harassment," he says.

The video has been widely circulated on social networking sites, adding further impetus to a long-standing debate. Roberts hopes it will make harassers consider their actions. She says: "I don't know what needs to happen, but clearly something does."

As a further demonstration of her point, Hollaback! today asked its Twitter followers to help report rape threats against Roberts which appeared in the video's comments section.

Reporting by Jon Kelly

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Murdered for tweeting?

In Tamaulipas, one of Mexico's most violent states, people use social media to get basic information. The drug cartels have silenced traditional news media.

But the cartels are now turning their attention to prominent social media users too. #BBCtrending reports on an apparent kidnapping, not just of a person, but of their Twitter account - which seems to have later been used to tweet her murder.

Video journalist: Greg Brosnan

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


'We are human after all'

Ali Chebli 'Not in my name' - Ali Chebli holds up his message of peace

"Not in my name" is one of social media's simplest and often most powerful messages. It trended recently on Twitter in Europe, as Muslims distanced themselves from Islamic State (IS), and it's now being used on Facebook in Canada in direct response to last week's killings of two soldiers in two separate attacks.

Those actions, by recent converts to Islam, have threatened to polarise Canada. In a week that shocked the country, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed in a targeted hit-and-run, then, just two days later, Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot dead during an attack on the National War Memorial. Police have taken steps to assure Muslim communities of their safety from reprisal attacks but, in Quebec, two teenagers took to the internet to spread their own message.

It's no coincidence that Muslims in Quebec feel compelled to speak out; both perpetrators are from the French-speaking region of the country. After a discussion about the incidents with her family, 15-year-old Nour Zirat set up the group "Not in my name Canada". She told BBC Trending she was inspired by the movement in Europe and "had to show solidarity with the rest of the world, to say this isn't acceptable." She also feels prejudice against Muslims in Canada has been present for a long time, but in her view those within the community have been too quiet. "I did this to break the silence and encourage people to express their beliefs," she says.

Ali Chebli is also from Quebec, and he set up "Pas en mon nom", a French-language version of the group. A picture of him holding up his message has since been shared more than 6,000 times, prompting many other young Muslims to follow suit. He says that prejudice towards Muslims has worsened since last week, and says it's his "duty" to show Canadians "the difference between a simple Muslim and a terrorist". He told Trending that "nobody should be associated with this type of violence". Beneath his image, Chebli said he wants to "fight against hate speech and the actions of jihadists". He then encourages others who "adhere to the religion of Islam" to "explain why they dissociate with terrorist groups", and make those with a distrust of Muslims understand that "we are human after all".

Both groups are gaining increased interest but Ali Chebli's image has had the biggest impact. It's now been 'liked' nearly 20,000 times and has led to more and more people proclaiming "Not in my name".

Reporting by Chris Hemmings.


Outpouring after radio host sacking

Jian Ghomeshi Ghomeshi hosted the CBC programme Q

Over the course of 24 hours, the court of public opinion stood behind Canada's beloved - and as of Sunday, former - radio host Jian Ghomeshi, and then turned on him almost as quickly.

It was the day Ghomeshi was sacked from the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC), the day he released a 1,590-word defence on Facebook and indicated he plans to sue the CBC for $50m Canadian ($45m; £27.5m), and finally, the day The Toronto Star released an investigation with allegations from several women who claim Ghomeshi violently attacked them during sex.

On that day, 20,000 Twitter users voiced disappointment of some form or another. Ever since the story has been a national fascination.

Ghomeshi has said that the allegations against him are untrue. No charges have been filed.

Adina Goldman, a social media expert in Toronto, watched the story evolve via the #jianghomeshi hashtag.

"I did see general outrage at the CBC , because there had been so many cuts to CBC, and was this about ratings, was it a Harper conspiracy," says Goldman. But as new information was revealed, "it became, 'Wait a second,' and people started coming forward, and then it became 'This is really fishy.' And then I guess he tried to get ahead of that story by publishing his version."

An excerpt of Ghomeshi's facebook letter An excerpt from Ghomeshi's Facebook letter

The situation unfolded differently than it would have a few years ago, says Goldman.

"It used to happen that there would be a trickle of rumours and then there would be a story, but now... there's almost something compulsive or propulsive about it. It happens all at once."

On social media, she watched several narratives play out: discussions of rape culture, the audience attacking the credibility of both Ghomeshi and the women who came forward, and debate over the 50 Shades of Grey effect - Ghomeshi compared his behaviour it to the actions in the sexual bondage/submission novel by EL James.

Tweet

"We see an allegation that really ignites something, but I think it's really important to breathe between that information, because it flows so fast and so hard and we can sort of become this social media lynch mob."

"It can become so toxic and so angry," says Goldman.

"Let's wait and see what's vetted and true."

Reported by Micah Luxen

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


The #BBCtrending podcast

Young girl dressed as princess The 'F-bombs for Feminism' viral video

Listen to or download the Trending podcast

A bad word for a good cause or a cynical attempt to make cash? On this weeks BBC Trending, we take a look at what's really behind controversial viral video 'F-Bombs for Feminism'. The feminist campaign video shows young girls dressed as princesses whilst swearing. But it's not just a campaign as the T-shirt company who made it are openly for profit.

Also, why a woman in one of the most dangerous states in Mexico, Tamaulipas, was kidnapped and apparently murdered because of her Twitter account. She used to anonymously share information about local violence and crime but this time her profile published a sombre warning to similar accounts and finally an image of the woman apparently dead.

You can catch it all on our latest free podcast. Download and subscribe here or catch us on the BBC World Service Saturdays at 10.30 GMT.

The programme is presented by Mukul Devichand and produced by India Rakusen

The latest #BBCTrending show


Clowns behaving badly

Evil clown smiling

French police have arrested several young people behaving violently dressed as clowns, amid concerns that a disturbing subculture of "scary clowns" is spreading on social media.

Social networks have been awash with chatter about "evil clowns" after a number of recent incidents in France. The subject is among the top trending topics on the social platform Reddit. On Saturday, police in Agde arrested 14 teenagers who were dressed as clowns wielding pistols, knives and baseballs bats. In Montpellier, a man in a clown costume was arrested after beating another man with an iron bar. And in Bethune, in the north of France, a 19-year-old was sentenced to a suspended jail term for threatening passers-by while dressed as a clown.

Why are people dressing as clowns and behaving this way? Police in France believe the internet has played a pivotal role. "Since mid-October, there's been a rumour inspired by videos shared on the internet, which is worrying people about the presence of threatening and aggressive clowns in France" said a police statement.

In fact, the use of frightening clown imagery online is an international trend. Earlier this month in the US, there were several reports of scary clowns in California, Florida and New Mexico. Photos of clowns were shared on social media accounts using the name "Wasco Clown".

The Wasco Clown was was originally an art project featuring photos of an anonymous clown in the town of the same name. It inspired copycats, with some sharing disturbing images of clowns in intimidating scenarios. Social media accounts using the Wasco Clown name built up a following on Twitter and Instagram. There was also on a tribute Facebook page. There is no confirmation that these accounts are connected to incidents reported to police, and some are no longer accessible online.

Countless videos of scary pranks involving clowns are also being shared on YouTube - one of which has been viewed over 29 million times. This video shows a staged but violent attack by a clown in front of unsuspecting passers-by.

Social media is also being used as part of a counter movement. In France, police say groups are organising online to track down the clowns and they're taking the matter very seriously. "Anyone, aggressive clowns or clown hunters, found in possession of a weapon in a public place will be arrested and can be held in police custody," said a police statement. They've urged the public to stop spreading rumours online and have issued information on how to send an alert about an aggressive clown.

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak. .


Swearing for feminism

A video which gets girls as young as six to swear has been watched over 12 million times online with the space of a few days.

The makers of the film - a for-profit company - say they put the girls in pink princess costumes and got them to use "a bad word for a good cause" to start a conversation about feminism.

But controversially, they're also selling a product as Anne-Marie Tomchak reports.

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


Camel abuse sparks outcry in China

PIC VIA WEIBO

Pictures showing a mutilated camel being forced to beg on the streets of China's south-eastern Fuzhou city, have prompted an outcry on Chinese social media.

The images were reported to have originated on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, and were soon picked up and widely circulated across various other social media sites. They drew fierce debate about whether the beggars had deliberately mutilated the animals to trigger public sympathy. The pictures seemed to show a camel whose limbs had been lost, tethered to two men who were begging for money. "These people have to be such soulless creatures to be able to do that to the poor beast and parade it around like that. What kind of society have we become, exploiting animals for profit and greed?" commented one Weibo user. "Their plan to buy sympathy has clearly failed: anyone would look at their act with disgust," another said.

Wild camels are protected by law in China, but the unfortunate ones in the photographs have been identified as domestic Bactrian camels. These are commonly used across the country for transport and do not come under protection laws, activist John Hare tells BBC Trending. His charity, the Wild Camel Protection Foundation, aims to protect the animals in China and Mongolia, and has since circulated the images to the authorities. He has advice for concerned Chinese citizens: "If the public does not want any confrontation with the beggars, they should inform the authorities. But unfortunately as the pictures show, people tend to walk by, say nothing and do nothing."

Several online petitions were also set up, demanding the perpetrators be punished. One petition, which was posted on Change.org, called for a street vendor caught abusing his camel to be prosecuted. Another petition, which drew close to 15,000 signatures, called for 'urgent action' from the Chinese government to create legislation against animal abuse.

Reporting by Heather Chen

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Toilets and free speech in Texas

Houston Mayor Annise Parker Mayor Parker is at the centre of the debate in Houston

A legal battle over who can use men's and women's public toilets in Houston, Texas, has spiralled into a social media war about basic American freedoms, and is still gathering speed.

The story begins in May, when the city passed an ruling intended to strengthen the rights of minority groups. One detail was that transgender people were given the right to use male or female public toilets based on their own choice. The ruling was widely promoted by Houston's mayor, Annise Parker, and dubbed the "Bathroom Bill" by her conservative opponents. A group of Christian pastors gathered 50,000 signatures demanding the law be repealed.

The pastors had hoped to trigger a legal mechanism to repeal the law, but the city struck this down. So the pastors filed a lawsuit. The city's lawyers then sent subpoena orders to to see the sermons and speeches of five pastors in particular. The city wanted to see what they had been saying on the topics of homosexuality, gender identity and Mayor Parker herself, who is lesbian.

When the news was reported earlier this month, social media users were outraged. They saw demands for the pastors' information as an attack on the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and religious expression. On Twitter, a hashtag promoted by Christian campaigners - #HoustonWeHaveAProblem - sprung to life, and has appeared more than 5,000 times in the last ten days. "I guess Houston's mayor's next move is to collect all bibles and redact the verses pertaining to homosexuality," tweeted one. The campaigners are calling on the city to "cease and desist all bullying and other offensive actions" against the pastors. Their online petition has had more than 11,000 signatures.

A campaign poster This Facebook image, from a legal organisation defending the pastors' case, has been liked more than 22,000 times

Actor Chuck Norris has now weighed in on the debate in his column on a news website. "I'm a Texan and it chaps my hide when some homegrown kibosh of the U.S. Constitution originates in the Lone Star State," he wrote.

Mayor Parker has not remained silent on the issue. Earlier this month she tweeted: "If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game," but later deleted the message. And now public pressure has forced the city council to row back on its demands to see sermons and emails - saying it only wants to see the pastor's speeches. "Never intended to interfere w/ pastors & their sermons or an intrusion on religion," Parker tweeted, when the announcement was made.

The controversy shows no sign of dying down. On Monday Mike Huckabee, former Republican governor for Arkansas and Fox News commentator, called his followers to sign yet another petition supporting the pastors. The number of signatories do not appear on the site, but later that day he claimed it had already received more than 85,000 signatures.

Reporting by Samiha Nettikkara

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


The truth about teens and 'sexting'

Teenagers view sexting as the new 'safe sex' says Hanna Rosin

Only 30% of teenagers in the US "sext" - that is, send risque photographs over social media. But the practice has permeated the culture and lead to concerns among parents and lawmakers.

In her cover story for the Atlantic Magazine, author Hanna Rosin says these photos are a modern reflection of teenaged sexuality.

But they are not without problems. Photos can be posted on social media sites without consent. Teenagers can feel pressured to send these photos to get attention from a potential partner. And the current laws regarding the distribution and possession of these images don't fully address the nuances involved.

Rosin spoke to the BBC about why teenagers send these messages and what parents can do about it.

Reported by Micah Luxen; edited by Bill McKenna

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


'I am not a virus'

An image suggesting calling people not to stigmatise those from countries facing an Ebola outbreak

The rallying cry of "I am not a virus" - used to fight being stigmatised as having Ebola - is now gaining traction on private chat apps in West Africa.

As we've reported before on BBC Trending, people in Ebola-hit West Africa are taking their conversations "off-grid" by using private chat apps, such as WhatsApp, instead of social media networks. They do this because they fear being punished by the authorities, with official restrictions on how information about the disease can be disseminated. We have been keeping an eye on several Ebola-related chat groups in West Africa. As well as information updates, they are now being used to share a more political message: "isolate Ebola, not the country".

The movement against stigmatisation started on conventional social media networks, when four Liberian women began the "I am a Liberian, Not a Virus" campaign this month. More than 1,500 users have used the hashtag #IAmALiberianNotAVirus on Twitter, with their YouTube video having been viewed more than 17,000 times in the last week. The campaign is intended to highlight what its supporters say are instances of discrimination against Africans, for example at US airports. The social media trend has now been taken up by users of WhatsApp, the most popular chat app in Africa. Users in Sierra Leone, for example, are asking their friends to share the message against discrimination with "one foreign friend".

An image suggesting calling people not to stigmatise those from countries facing an Ebola outbreak

One widely-shared post in Sierra Leone says: "Reject me if u like; accept me if u like; return me if u like; allow me entry if u like; isolate me if u like; be there for me if u like; abandon me if u like; support me if u like; whatever u choose is your decision but don't forget this, i am a PROUD SIERRA LEONEAN with dignity and not a virus. Please share this to one foreign 'friend'." The video below, from the BBC's Focus on Africa team, features one of the most vocal voices in Sierra Leone, blogger Hannah Foullah.

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Sgt-at-arms hailed as Canadian hero

Parliamentary Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who shot dead the gunman, was given a standing ovation on Thursday

On Wednesday afternoon, after Canadian House of Commons Sgt-at-arms Kevin Vickers reportedly shot a gunman in a parliament building in Ottawa, he was hailed on Twitter as Canada's hero.

Before his name was announced on news outlets like the BBC, he was trending on social media. By the end of the day more than 15,000 people had tweeted about his actions.

Vickers is reported to have killed Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who officials say opened fire in Canada's parliament minutes after a soldier was shot dead at an Ottawa war memorial.

As sergeant-at-arms, Vickers is in charge of security at parliament, though that rarely means resorting to gunfire.

Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, seen in Ottawa on 22 October 2014 Kevin Vickers has been credited with halting the attack

Canadians showed their appreciation online, with Twitter user @KristiColleen even declaring he should be made "King or something".

She's since changed her Twitter background to a 2005 McSweeny's list of "Reasons to Fear Canada" ("Never had a 'disco phase,'" for one).

"Didn't know who Kevin Vickers was a couple hours ago. Now I feel like every Canadian town should have a school named after him," one man wrote.

Canada's capital buildings were locked down during the incident, and many politicians took a moment to thank Vickers for his service.

Peter McKay, Canada's minister of justice tweeted, "To all in Ottawa, stay safe & strong. Thank God for Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers & our Cdn security forces. True heroes #cndpoli."

Vickers's previous claim to viral fame was June 2011, when he escorted a former page-turned-protestor out of the Senate.

Senate page Brigette DePape, holding a sign reading "Stop Harper" is led from the room by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers (R) in the Senate chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in this file photo from June 3, 2011.

He remains ever committed to his duties. More than nine hours after the first reports of the shooting, Toronto Star reporter Tonda MacCharles reported from the scene:

"Kevin Vickers is still overseeing the security operation up at Centre Block where lockdown is still on,"

Reported by Micah Luxen

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Hong Kong's political haircut

Emily Lau

As pro-democracy protests continue on the streets of Hong Kong, even the hairdressers has become a place for political confrontation - as one senior politician found out.

Emily Lau Wai-hing is a legislator with the Democratic Party who openly supports the protestors. She's been trending on social media after being filmed getting a telling off by another customer while at the hair salon. "I just had my hair done last Saturday," Lau told BBC Trending. "When I tried to leave, a lady, a customer like me, stood at the doorway to block my exit. She was upset with the Occupy protesters and wanted me to have a taste of being blocked. She also asked me why I had time to do my hair."

A video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube and has so far been watched over 70,000 times. It's not confirmed who took the video, but Lau says the woman who confronted her kept pointing at her mobile phone. "When other people tried to enter or leave the salon, she moved aside, but wouldn't let me go" she said.

Emily Lau Wai-hing is a former journalist and now a senior politician and legislator in Hong Kong. She's received awards for her human rights work and is known for speaking her mind. However in this video, she says nothing. The only voice that can be heard is the one coming from behind the camera.

"It's the irony that's making people share this video" says Kris Cheng a journalist and political columnist in Hong Kong. "Emily Lau is known for criticism without restraint. But this time she's scolded and seemingly can't fight back. The woman in the salon is against the protests and is asking Lau why students have to sleep on streets, while she takes care of her hair."

"I appreciate some people are upset with the occupiers, so I didn't argue with her," Lau says. BBC Trending has been unable to contact the woman who approached Lau in the salon.

Lau may have remained silent in the hair salon, but she tells us her views are unchanged. "It's very sad to see the row over political reform and the Occupy movement have split Hong Kong asunder!" she says. "I just wish Beijing would come to its senses and allow Hong Kong to have democratic elections." Officials in Hong Kong have just held the first round of talks with protest leaders.

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak


Organic genderless gingerbread debated

A gingerbread figure, labelled as genderless and vegan

The traditional gingerbread "man" has been re-imagined by a Melbourne bakery, leading to a surge of irritation on web forums. But what does the debate tell us about the politics of the internet?

Ethically aware, health-conscious liberals rejoice. The patriarchal stranglehold on baked treats has been broken at last. But not everyone is celebrating.

This picture - of a row of emasculated gingerbread men - was shared on the web forum Reddit on Tuesday. As the sign makes clear, they're organic, they're gender-neutral and, of course, they're vegan. The post, titled "So this is what the world is coming to...," attracted more than 2,000 comments in just a few hours. The picture was also widely shared on Facebook, and the internet discussion prompted one British newspaper to declare, sarcastically, that "genderless gingerbread figures are a thing now".

The picture itself appears to have been taken at a delicatessen in Melbourne, Australia. We've been unable to contact the owners, but - from the use of the word "genderless" alone - it seems fair to assume the message is tongue-in-cheek. That didn't stop Redditors, and others, taking umbrage at the idea. Comments like "That's so politically correct it makes my brain hurt," and "just wait, next they wont have ginger so as not to offend," sum up the tenor of the conversation. Though some appeared to find it funny, the overwhelming emotion was one of annoyance.

The debate over "political correctness", and polarised views on what's good to eat, are hardly new, But the debate did highlight the way different social media platforms tend to take different sides on cultural debates. Anger over the healthy gingerbread "person" was driven by Reddit users, who are regularly criticised by feminists for their attitudes. Sure enough, one Reddit user said these were "feminist cookies," and another said "I blame Tumblr for this" - a reference to a perceived rivalry between users of Reddit and Tumblr, a popular blogging platform.

Of course, both Reddit and Tumblr have users with a broad spectrum of political views, but common stereotypes are that Tumblr bloggers are over-sensitive, female, social justice campaigners (or "Tumblrinas"), whereas Redditors are aggressive, sexist, and male. A number of people in the conversation posted links to "TumblrInAction", a section of the Reddit website that pokes fun at Tumblr blogs that supposedly fit the stereotype. And to counter them, others posted "I blame ****RedditSays" - a self-parodying section of the Reddit website, where Redditors themselves pick out quotes that play up to their own negative image.

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Rapper: Australian flag linked with racism

360

Australian hip-hop artist 360 provoked a fierce debate when he said he associated his country's national flag with bigotry.

Asked how the nation was perceived abroad, the platinum-selling performer - real name Matt Colwell - told the ABC discussion programme Q&A:

"The Australian flag to me has now become... I identify it with racism."

The audience applauded when asked if they agreed.

The rapper described seeing drunks with the flag around their neck racially abusing taxi drivers. "I've seen it so much, growing up and still today. It's pathetic."

He also tweeted: "I think those who fought under the flag for this country would be ashamed of the racism under the guise of patriotism in Australia."

There was an angry online response. "You lost another fan today. Our flag is racist? Uneducated fool," posted Michael Ockhertz on 360's Facebook page.

"I love being australian @3ree6ixty that doesn't make me a racist," tweeted @frozenuptwice. Others said it was unfair to smear the vast majority of Australians who proudly fly the flag with the behaviour of a small group of bigots.

But there were also plenty of supporters of 360. Many pointed out that he had not said the flag was racist - simply that it had been hijacked by racists.

"@3ree6ixty Great appearance on Q&A. The only people you've upset seem to be aggressive racists," tweeted @tonyslats.

"Our servicemen died for what the piece of cloth represents, not its fabric, and that is exactly what he was lamenting," posted Claye Middleton on Facebook.

"The flag has been hijacked by people who have little respect for others views, beliefs, or nationality of origin."

In the wake of the furore, 360 said he had been threatened with violence. But he stood firm, insisting: "I'm not anti-Australia, I'm anti-racist Australian."

On his Facebook page, he reiterated his view that the symbols of patriotism were being used to mask racism.

Facebook post by 360

Reporting by Jon Kelly

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Man vs. Subway

The craze for racing trains and uploading the results on YouTube - kickstarted in London a couple of months ago - has now gone global.

The practice has become known as #racethetube after a video made in London was watched more than 5 million times on YouTube. It involves getting off a train and running to the next stop to catch the same train.

Recently the trend went global, but there are earlier examples. In 2005, a student in Scotland tried to beat the train in Glasgow. And a similar video filmed on the metro in Paris trended in 2012.

Anne-Marie Tomchak reports

Video journalist: Neil Meads

Want more? You can watch the full interview with the man behind Race The Tube on the BBC Trending YouTube channel.

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Pumpkin riot shows US divisions

Students on a upturned car in Keene, New Hampshire

When a New England pumpkin festival was the unlikely setting for disorder, comparisons were drawn with protests elsewhere.

Who knew a winter squash plant could provoke such mayhem?

Keene Pumpkin Festival, held annually at a New Hampshire liberal arts college, descended into chaos, with drunken students throwing bottles, overturning vehicles, lighting fires and fighting with police.

Officers responded by firing tear gas. Swat equipment, dog units and pepper spray were all deployed, according to reports.

The event is normally a source of pride for New Englanders. The previous year's festival saw a world record set when 30,581 jack-o'-lanterns were carved and lighted. Political candidates such as Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Howard Dean have visited the event, which took place near Keene State College.

On social media, many users were struck by the incongruity of street violence breaking out in such a setting.

"Never thought I'd c the words pumpkin and riot in the same sentence," tweeted @yldrose. @DrewHampshire added: "First New England punk band to change its name to Pumpkin Riot wins October."

But others noted the contrast between the rioters in Keene - who appeared mostly to be white, well-off college students - and the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager two months ago.

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Many compared the manner in which the media covered Keene and Ferguson. The former, one widely-circulated image complained, was typically described using phrases such as "rowdy", "mischief" and "booze-filled revellers". But the latter, according to mainstream discourse, had been the result of "thugs" and "animals" who were "destroying their community".

Others archly deployed the language of commentators who have weighed in over Ferguson. "Where are the leaders in the white community? They need to speak out," tweeted @BrFleurantin.. @WesleyLowery added: "Don't these people have jobs? Where are the white fathers? What will end this corrosive culture of violence?!"

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For some, however, the scenes in Keene presaged the threat of even more devastating social breakdown. Wrote @thejamesriking, "There was a riot at a New Hampshire pumpkin fest last night, in case you were wondering how we'd handle a real Ebola outbreak."

Reporting by Jon Kelly

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Where is Rahul Gandhi?

Rahul Gandhi

Indians have taken to Twitter to ask: "Where is Rahul Gandhi?"

The Indian National Congress suffered election defeat in two states this weekend - Maharashtra and Haryana. Before the elections, Congress was the biggest party in both.

As it became clear they were no longer going to be able to form a government in those states, social media users turned their attention to senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. It's not the first time there's been a "where is Rahul Gandhi?" moment on social media. It happened last May, when Mr Gandhi missed a state function, in the period just before the BJP's Narendra Modi won elections and became prime minister, and also in June 2013, during floods in mountainous Uttarrakhand state.

This time, there have been nearly 7,000 tweets asking "Where is Rahul Gandhi?" with many online sharing memes, and providing comical answers to the whereabouts of the 44-year-old Congress vice president.

Rahul Gandhi meme
Star India
Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi meme

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The mock Islamic State slave auction

The group acts out a 'slave auction' in London's Leicester Square

The savvy social media campaign against Islamic State by Kurdish activists continues - with a video of a mock "Islamic State sex slave market" in the heart of London watched more than quarter of a million times on YouTube.

The video shows the group's supposed ringleader bellowing into a microphone. Behind him stand a group of women - all of them actors - fully covered and chained together. "We have four women for you here today," the man announces, "and we are here to sell them courtesy of the Islamic State."

Shot on 14 October, the stunt was organised by Compassion 4 Kurdistan, a group of Kurdish diaspora trying to raise awareness if IS's alleged actions in Iraq. It has now been viewed more than 250,000 times on YouTube. On the same night, the group performed the scene outside Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament as well.

Earlier this month the United Nations said 150 women and girls were reportedly transported from Iraq to Syria by IS, to be given to fighters or sold as sex slaves. IS has committed a litany of further offences that may amount to systematic war crimes, according to the report.

Ari Murad, who works with the Kurdish campaign group, tells BBC Trending he thinks there is a lack of awareness about what is happening in the country. "Some of the stories were so horrific, we had to do something about it," he says. "I'm pretty sure the public are sympathetic, but they don't know what's going on." Murad says his campaign group is not directly linked to the Kurdish PKK rebels in Turkey or other Kurdish militias, but that they support them. "I believe the PKK and all other Kurdish political parties have been wronged," he says.

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The #BBCtrending podcast

Sisters Faiayo and Rihan in "To Our Countries"

Listen to or download the Trending podcast

This week we speak to two Syrian sisters living in Sweden about their poetic video "To Our Countries" which has captured widespread attention in the Arab world. In it they call for the people of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine to unite.

We also look into the way Nigerians shared pictures of a badly injured woman with rumours of witchcraft. The YouTube footage from Lagos, Nigeria showed an unidentified woman sprawled on the ground covered in blood with her skin burnt and peeling were being widely circulated. Rumours were spreading on twitter that a bird hit an electrical wire and fell to ground as a woman - she apparently confessed to being a witch. We take a closer look at the incident and how the internet reacted.

The latest #BBCtrending show

Also, how one of the world's biggest hashtags of the week - about the battle of #Kobane in Syria - was pushed in part by the online campaigners of the #TwitterKurds movement.

You can catch it all on our latest free podcast. Download and subscribe here or catch us on the BBC World Service at 10.30 GMT on Saturdays.

The programme was produced by Anna Meisel.


The tragic case of Nigeria's 'bird' woman

A man beating a crowd back with a branch The woman is concealed from view behind an official, who beats back the Lagos crowd with a branch

Footage of a badly burnt woman being berated by a crowd in Nigeria has been watched hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube.

The film begins in a blur. An angry mob and a policewoman can just be made out, gathered in a circle on the dusty ground. As the camera finds its focus, the grim reality becomes clear. In the middle of the circle sits a woman, almost naked, her body bloodied and burnt.

The title of the video, "Flying Bird turn into old woman in Oshodi", doesn't appear to explain the disturbing scene, but its description, and a local news article, combine to create an unusual narrative. Eyewitnesses quoted by the newspaper say a black bird had been flying in the sky over Oshodi, in Lagos, before striking an electrical cable, falling to earth and transforming into a woman. The same eyewitnesses say she confessed to being a witch.

The video, uploaded to YouTube on October 10, has been watched more than 215,000 times, and the figure is still growing fast. Similar videos of the distressed woman, shot by other members of the crowd, have also gained tens of thousands of views. Much of the reaction online suggests many believe the theory, and the film has even been the subject of comedy spin-offs on YouTube. But many express anger and concern as well: "This is truly barbaric," reads one, and "it is a cover up [for] murder," says another. The woman in the video died shortly after it was shot, as police took her to hospital.

Banke Idowu was one of those who filmed a video of the woman. She tells BBC Trending that as she arrived, she was told about the metamorphosis by others in the crowd. She herself believes the explanation of witchcraft. "I've never seen it in real life, but I've heard about it and seen it in films, so when they said it happened, I believed it." Asked if she failed in her duty to protect the woman, Idowu says that in stepping in, she would have been putting her own life at risk. "Some people may think you belong to the same cult, and they may end up attacking you."

Adeola Fayehun, Idowu's friend who is based in New York, heard what was happening on Twitter - showing how quickly news of the incident spread on social media. She later uploaded Idowu's footage to YouTube.

Kenneth Nwosu, a police spokesperson, is unable to shed light on the events preceding the video. "We got a call that the mob was surrounding a woman at a bus stop. The priority was to save her life," he says. In the film an official can be seen beating the crowd back with a branch. The police took the woman to hospital, but say she died on route. Nwosu says an autopsy will be performed to establish the cause of death. As yet, she remains unidentified, and no arrests have been made.

Accusations of witchcraft remain common in this part of the world says Hermione Harris, a social anthropologist at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. "In a secular society like ours it's very hard to grasp a belief in supernatural forces." But the notion of witches and wizards is embedded in a form of Pentecostal Christianity that is popular in Nigeria, she explains.

In New York, Fayehun is hopeful that the exposure the film has received on social media will start to change the way people behave in future. Whatever the crowd believed had happened to the woman, they still had a responsibility to help her, she says. "Now the video is out there, the people who were involved will start to rethink their decisions in situations like this."

Reporting by Charlotte McDonald, Mukul Devichand and Sam Judah

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Lawyer brings baby to court, gets 'humiliated'

gavel

When a lawyer asked a Georgia judge to postpone a hearing because she'd just had a baby, he refused. When she brought the baby to court, he berated her for poor parenting.

Social media have responded with overwhelming support for the lawyer, sharing - almost 7,000 times in one day - her formal complaint filed against the judge, as well as an article from the website Jezebel.

Stacy M Ehrisman-Mickle had asked the Atlanta court to delay an immigration hearing while she was on maternity leave. "But that excuse just wasn't good enough for Judge J Dan Pelletier Sr, who shot down her request (with just a week's notice, no less)," writes Jezebel's Kelly Faircloth. "THAT'LL TEACH YOU TO REPRODUCE WHILE TRYING TO DRAW A SALARY."

According to Ms Ehrisman-Mickle's complaint, she had no choice but to bring her infant to court, where Mr Pelletier "humiliated" her.

"When the [immigration judge] saw me with my daughter, he was outraged," she writes. "He then questioned my mothering skills, as he commented how my paediatrician must be appalled that I am exposing my daughter to so many germs in court."

The judge became the focus of online outrage, including from several attorneys who said sexism is still common in the courtroom

One Jezebel commenter says she recently heard a judge call a female colleague a "brat".

"While I haven't been practising long, comments like that are made to female attorneys unacceptably frequently," she writes.

Another says the US court system has no legal requirement to grant "any kind" of leave. "Can someone explain why I should feel that this is horrible?"

"Motions to continue are very, very routine," said Prof Jason A Cade of the University of Georgia.

"You have to show good cause and only ask for a reasonable amount of time in extension… I made this exact request at the time that my first son was born, and it was granted."

Mr Case says bearing children is generally something judges recognise as a reasonable cause.

Reporting by Micah Luxen

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What do people really look for on Tinder?

Tinder is a dating app based on first impressions. Ever since it arrived, users have tried to figure out the secret to what makes someone swipe right when they see a photo (signifying a desire to know more) versus swiping left (a quick rejection).

In New York, some romantic hopefuls have turned to a photographer who specialises in Tinder head shots. A professional photo, they say, will catch the eye of potential partners.

But one writer found that it's not the quality of the photo but the signifiers it includes - messages about race, class and educational background - that is most likely to influence swipes.

Colm O'Molloy talked to both camps to discover the secret of love at first sight.

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Pakistani cleric accused of being 'drunk'

A television news discussion

A leading Islamic scholar in Pakistan who appeared to slur his words on live TV has become the subject of ridicule on social media.

When it comes to Islamic clerics in Pakistan, few are more senior than Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi. His opinion on Islamic scripture is sought by the nation's lawmakers. But this is a country where it is illegal for Muslims to drink alcohol, so it's unsurprising that his bizarre appearance on a late night talk show has caused controversy. He made a seemingly slurred speech criticizing the moral conduct of Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan. As he spoke, one of the TV hosts visibly tried to hide his amusement.

The accusation that he was "drunk" came the next day, on social media. In Pakistan, where YouTube is officially banned, footage of the TV show soon appeared on Dailymotion, another video sharing website. One clip alone has been viewed more than 290,000 times, and been shared more than 3,500 times on Facebook. There was outrage on social media. "Drunk mullah on live TV and he gets away with it. The society is a joke," said one tweet. Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid wrote: "What an interesting clip feat Maulana Ashrafi worth watching 2 understand #maulvis in #pakistan double standards."

But there are signs the social media criticism of Ashrafi may have been orchestrated. Several Twitter users commenting on the video identified themselves as supporters of Imran Khan's political party, the PTI, and others said they were members of the PAT, led by Sufi cleric Tahir ul-Qadri's. BBC Trending spoke to Dr Awab Alvi who is part of the PTI party's social media team. He admitted the party had made a deliberate social media effort to criticise Ashrafi. "The cleric used his mixed political and Islamic agenda to defame Imran Khan's character," he says, "he picked a raw nerve and we rubbed it in."

Ashrafi himself is now exploring legal action against those who accused him of being drunk. In an interview with BBC Trending, he denied having consumed alcohol and instead said he had been chewing paan, a traditional mixture of tobacco leaves. He says he is being deliberately targeted because the PUC, a body of religious scholars that he chairs, opposes recent street protests by Khan and Qadri's parties. "I see political and religious propaganda behind the social media uproar," he says. The incident continues to trend on social media, with internet memes showing paan-flavoured alcohol and film posters mocking his appearance.

Reporting by Samiha Nettikkara

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Who is the 'Clipboard Man'?

A man with a clipboard watches Ebola patient Amber Vinson being loaded onto a plane.

A man standing without a protective suit near a US Ebola patient sent social media users into a panicked frenzy yesterday.

He was dubbed the "Clipboard Man" after news media showed a man wearing a shirt and trousers, and carrying a clipboard. He was interacting with four medical workers wearing white protective hazmat suits as they boarded a plane transporting nurse Amber Vinson, the second person infected with Ebola in the US, from Dallas, Texas, to Atlanta, Georgia.

More than 3,000 people on Twitter together tried to find the identity of the "Clipboard Man". Users first linked him to the US's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin tweeted: "Dear @cdcgov Who is unprotected clipboard dude ... so we can all stay the hell away from him!"

Another user tweeted: "That man just gives me chills whenever I see this image. No protective gear! Unbelievable! #Ebola#clipboardman"

The mystery of the Clipboard Man was solved after a spokesperson for Phoenix Air, the airline on which Vinson flew, told ABC News he was their medical protocol supervisor. "Our medical professionals in the biohazard suits have limited vision and mobility, and it is the protocol supervisor's job to watch each person carefully and give them verbal directions to ensure no close contact protocols are violated. There is absolutely no problem with this and in fact ensures an even higher level of safety for all involved."

The #Clipboardman conversation is proof that the media is doing an "awful job" explaining Ebola, according to The Verge website. Ebola is spread by direct contact with contaminated body fluids like blood, vomit, saliva and faeces.

Reporting by Samiha Nettikara

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The Chilean priests who defend gay rights

A screenshot of an online petition

A solidarity movement in support of three liberal Catholic priests has trended on social media in Chile this week.

It started with a message to the Pope that was meant to be private. On Sunday, the La Tercera newspaper reported that a Chilean archbishop and cardinal, Ricardo Ezzati, sent a secret complaint to the Vatican against three priests - Felipe Berríos, Mariano Puga and José Aldunate. All three are well-known in the country for regularly criticising the leaders of the Chilean Catholic Church, and for speaking out in favour of gay rights and abortion rights. The priests actions are being examined by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to reports.

The word "Ezzati" started trending on Twitter on Sunday, when the newspaper report was published, and was used more than 10,000 times that day on the platform. Others got involved using Facebook. The majority of the social media comments seem to be from Chileans speaking in support of the three priests. "Ezzati defends the doctrine. His antagonists defend humanity", tweeted. "If Ezzati dares to complain about Berríos, Puga and Aldunate to the Vatican, sensible Catholics should complain about Ezzati," tweeted Pablo Simonetti, a novelist and prominent campaigner in the gay rights movement in Chile.

On Tuesday, a statement from the Archdioceses of Santiago tried to clarify the situation. Archbishop Ezzati didn't make a complaint to the Vatican, it said, but was simply responding to a request for more information. Regardless, supporters of the three priests created an online petition calling for "a transparent process", and demanding "open dialogue" with Church leaders.

Luis Larrain, head of Chilean gay rights campaign group Iguales, who had jokingly called for one of the priests to be appointed archbishop, spoke to BBC Trending. He says Arhcbishop Ezzati's intervention was "annoying, because we were trying to open channels for discussion with the Church". He fears that these events could undermine that dialogue, he says. Many have now called for a demonstration against Ezzati's decision in front of Santiago Cathedral today. Chile is a predominantly Catholic country, and is socially conservative - for example it forbids, and penalises, any kind of abortion. A 2011 study reported that 52% of Chileans supported same sex unions.

Reporting by Constanza Hola Chamy

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The morality of Ebola costumes

On BBC Trending, we recently blogged about a controversial Ebola Halloween costume that has gone on sale in America - prompting a flurry of responses to our Twitter handle, @BBCtrending.

We reported that nearly 30,000 people have taken to social media this month to debate whether Ebola-themed Halloween costumes are a great idea, or yet another indication of society's moral decay. On Twitter, we asked whether these outfits were a question of humour or horror.

Here are some of your responses:

Twitter response
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Twitter response

What do you think? You can continue the conversation online by tweeting us @BBCtrending or commenting below.

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Ebola Halloween costume: humour or horror?

A website selling an "Ebola containment suit costume" for $79.99

Almost 30,000 people have taken to social media this month to debate whether Ebola-themed Halloween costumes, be they home-made or store-bought, are a great idea or yet another indication of society's moral decay.

Brands on Sale is advertising the "Ebola containment suit costume, a kit that includes a protective bodysuit, goggles and breathing mask. Johnathon Weeks, the company's vice president, says they sold about two dozen on Wednesday and expect to move well over a thousand by the end of the month.

"This is an Ebola containment healthcare worker costume; it's not the Ebola disease costume; it's not an Ebola victim costume," says Mr Weeks. "It's no different in my eyes than what a firefighter costume would be, or doctors and nurses costume. Those people save lives every day, just like these people are."

Making light of tragedy is a common way people cope with their greatest fears, according to Penn State Altoona Prof Jerry Zolten, who teaches a class in stand-up comedy. It's also an easy way to get a big reaction.

Twitter

"Some people delight in shocking their friends and are among the first to tell jokes about things that are putting fear in everybody's minds," Zolten says.

He says a joke like this can be a way to deal with stress.

"It's well known that people who are in high-risk jobs - ambulance workers, people who see horrible things all the time - will joke about it amongst themselves right there on the job, as needed."

He cautions, however, that this doesn't always extend to the general public.

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Indeed, for many online, donning an Ebola-themed Halloween costume seems like a callous way to approach a serious situation.

Chances are that the appearance of trick-or-treater or Halloween partygoer dressed in a bio-hazard suit will cause more unease than laughter, as similarly-clad healthcare workers scramble to deal with a disease that has left thousands dead in Western Africa.

Reporting by Micah Luxen

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Syria's nine-year-old YouTube storyteller

Like many children in Syria's conflict, nine-year-old Rasha's life has been changed forever by the civil war. She has witnessed the destruction of her part of Aleppo by shelling, and can no longer attend school because of the danger.

But unlike others her age, she has a different life on YouTube. She has become the star of "Umm Abduh", a YouTube series satirising the war which was uploaded during Ramadan, and is now about to be broadcast on TV.

Mukul Devichand of #BBCtrending reports.

Video journalist: Greg Brosnan

Additional production: Mamdouh Akbiek

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Will a Bolivian politician eat his watch?

Jorge "Tuto" Quiroga about to eat a clock Photoshopped images of Quiroga soon appeared online

Be careful what you promise, or you could end up eating your watch. That seems to be the moral for a presidential candidate in Bolivia after the elections last Sunday.

Former president Jorge "Tuto" Quiroga, one of those challenging incumbent President Evo Morales in a national vote this week, made an election promise that may, in retrospect, have been unwise. He promised to eat his watch if "six out of 10 Bolivians" voted for Morales.

He was so confident that Morales wouldn't make it that he also promised to eat his tie in another interview days later. And now, social media users want to hold him to his word. It has taken several days to count and announce the full results, but early signs suggest that Morales is hovering right around the 60% mark. And so of course, people have taken to Twitter and Facebook to demand that Quiroga keeps his promise.

"When will Tuto Quiroga eat his watch?" asked one. Tuffi Aré, a journalist and prominent Twitter user who interviewed Quiroga before the ballots, tweeted: "Tuto says he will wait for the official figures came out before he eats his watch. He promised me he would eat his tie as well and it is on record."

Humorous memes spread over Facebook and Twitter too. "People were calling him to account and asking him to honour his word," says Priscilla Quiroga, producer and presenter of "Levántate Bolivia" (Get Up, Bolivia), a breakfast television presenter, and a Twitter celebrity in Bolivia.

Quiroga accuses Morales' government of falsifying the election results. Although many Bolivians have commented or shared watch jokes on Facebook and Twitter, the conversation has the partisan tone you might expect. Many of the accounts encouraging Mr Quiroga to eat his watch were linked to president Morales supporters.

In an interview with BBC Trending, Quiroga didn't want to talk about the social media taunts. "The important thing is not the watch. The serious thing is that Morales doesn't have enough votes," he says.

With 90.94% of the votes now counted, Morales has 60.06% of the vote, according to figures published by the Bolivian electoral commission. The final results are expected to be announced today.

Reporting by Constanza Hola Chamy

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Was HK protester's 'beating' played down?

A YouTube video showing an injured man

Did a Hong Kong TV station play down police brutality towards a pro-democracy protester?

The video has shocked people around the world. It shows a group of Hong Kong police officers leading protester Ken Tsang down a dark street and throwing him to the ground. Some kick him and strike him with batons while others stand guard. The incident was caught on camera and broadcast on TVB, a Hong Kong television channel.

After initially posting it to their website as well, the powers that be at TVB removed the footage, but not before it was copied and uploaded to YouTube multiple times. One copy alone has been viewed more than 250,000 times, and other versions have tens of thousands of views each.

Today, several TVB journalists wrote an open letter, apologising to viewers for the way their station's management presented the story. In early morning broadcasts, the script accompanying the video stated that the police "placed him on the ground, and then punched and kicked" at Tsang. Between 7:00 and 12:00 local time, the phrase was removed altogether by the station's senior managers. And after 12:00, a different phrase - "the police are suspected of having used violence against him" - was inserted.

The journalists say that the crucial phrase "拳打腳踢" (punched and kicked) was a "reflection of the facts", and the management's decision to remove it made them "extremely uncomfortable". Posted five hours ago, the letter has received more than 32,000 likes, and been shared more than 10,000 times. It has drawn the support of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), and several trade unions.

Keith Yuen, TVB's news director, has defended the stations' decision to remove the footage from their website, because the incident was subject to a police investigation. The HKJA says that since the report was factual, there was no need to remove it. Yuen is seen by many as opposing the demonstrations, and supporting the Chinese governement. He was reportedly one of the first journalists to shake hands with the Chinese leader Li Peng in the wake of the massacre at Tiananmen Square.

Reporting by Sam Judah and Samiha Nettikkara

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Ebola: How panic is spreading faster than the virus

A woman covering her nose at a hospital.

Besides a small number of cases in the US and Spain, the Ebola outbreak remains confined to West Africa. But that hasn't stopped the spread of rumours and false alarms, spurred on by on social media.

On Sunday afternoon at one of Chile's busiest hospitals, an announcement blurted out over the loudspeakers. "Can I have your attention, please. We have a patient who is suspected to have Ebola. Please leave the room and go to another hospital," it said. Covering their mouths, the patients began to flee, but not before one recorded the announcement on a camera phone. She posted it to YouTube under the name "Possible Ebola case in Chile" and, of course, it went viral. In less than 24 hours, the video was seen more than 120,000 times.

From YouTube, the rumour spread to Twitter. The hashtag #EbolaenChile (Ebola in Chile) started trending soon after, and was used almost 20,0000 times over the following day. Mainstream media outlets who saw the tweets started reporting that there was an Ebola case. But the initial announcement in the hospital had said there was a "suspected" case, and it was never in fact confirmed. A few hours later, Chile's ministry of health revealed what had actually happened: the patient in question had travelled to Equatorial Guinea, where have been no confirmed cases of Ebola. But many in Chile were confusing it with Guinea, one of countries actually hit by the outbreak, which is thousands of miles away.

"The case blew up very quickly and the government failed to react to what was happening on social media," explains Eduardo Arriagada, a prominent Chilean Social Media analyst and columnist. "They took too long to say that the patient came from a country free of Ebola." The ministry eventually confirmed that that patient had malaria, not Ebola.

False Ebola rumours have spread in other countries, too. After a Spanish nurse became the first person known to have contracted the virus outside West Africa, conspiracy theories began to spread there as well. Many received a message which said there were secret government-controlled isolation areas in parts of Madrid, and that two other medical staff were showing symptoms. Images of fake news headlines were sent via Whatsapp, and posted on Facebook. "New case of Ebola found in Burger King," read one. None of the claims turned out to be true.

And when Brazil's ministry of health announced a suspected Ebola case last week - which turned out to be a false alarm - it triggered pandemonium online. The word "Ebola" was used 120,000 times on Twitter in Portuguese in less than a day. BBC Brasil's social media editor, Bruno Garcez, says racist associations soon began to emerge. "People started associating the deadly virus with the skin colour of the man from Guinea thought to have it," he says. "Ebola is a black people's thing," tweeted one. "Could someone tell me why these black people from Africa with this bacteria have to live here (sic)," another wrote. Both tweets now appear to be deleted. "Black" was the term most used in association with "Ebola" on public Facebook profiles.

Reporting by Constanza Hola Chamy

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Israel's unwelcome 'infiltrators'

The behaviour of Israelis demonstrating against undocumented African migrants has caused intense debate on social media.

A video showing a group of Tel Aviv residents chanting slogans against African asylum seekers has been widely shared.

Anne-Marie Tomchak of BBC Trending reports on the debate around African migrants and Israeli attitudes towards them.

Video journalist: Greg Brosnan

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


Worker seeks pay rise in mass email

A Wells Fargo bank branch in Oakland, California.

A Wells Fargo employee in Portland, Oregon, thinks he and his co-workers deserve a raise - and he wants everyone to know.

Tyrel Oates, who works in the bank's collections department, spent two weeks gathering more than 200,000 email addresses of fellow employees. He then cc-ed them in a message asking Wells Fargo head John Stumpf to help address income inequality in the US.

"My proposal is take $3bn [£1.88bn], just a small fraction of what Wells Fargo pulls in annually, and raise every employee's annual salary by $10,000," he writes in his email, which was subsequently posted on the social media site Reddit.

Mr Oates also has a message for his fellow workers: "[I]t is time that we demand to be rightfully compensated for the hard work that we accomplish, and for the great part we all have played in the success of this company."

The story was tweeted thousands of times and shot to the top of "most popular" lists on sites like The Washington Post.

Molly Young, a reporter for the Oregonian, tells BBC Trending that Mr Oates put a human face on wage stagnation, an issue that is gaining momentum in the US.

"He is at the level of worker that is actually bringing in money and creating profits, and who are not seeing this reflected in their own raises," she says.

Wells Fargo netted $5.7bn in profits in the second quarter. Last year CEO Stumpf was paid about $19m, which Oates notes is more than most Wells Fargo employees will make in their lifetime.

At a Wells Fargo branch in Washington DC, one worker says she found the email "unprofessional, but well written" - and says that she could use a raise. She wonders how much longer Mr Oates will keep his job - a concern echoed by many of the commenters on the Reddit post.

"Now, whenever a hiring manager willing to pay $20/hr Googles the name from his resume, this will come up," writes one Reddit user.

Stumpf hasn't replied, although a bank spokesperson says Wells Fargo's compensation is "market competitive".

For now Oates is still on the Wells Fargo payroll - and his existing salary hasn't budged.

Reporting by Max Matza

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Dropped for supporting #MyCleanIndia?

Earlier this week BBC Trending reported on the Indian prime minister's attempt to clean up India with an online campaign. Now an opposition MP has been sacked from his role as party spokesman, after showing support for the project.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's version of the "Ice Bucket Challenge" was launched with great gusto earlier this month. The online challenge called people to clean up a small patch of India, and nominate others to do the same - tagging their posts with the #MyCleanIndia hashtag.

Shashi Tharoor - MP and spokesman for the opposition Indian National Congress party - was delighted to be nominated by Modi himself. "Honoured to accept the invitation," he tweeted. Congress party members complained that Tharoor shouldn't be supporting the prime minister's campaign. Shortly afterwards the party announced he would be removed from the post, and Tharoor said he accepted the decision.

Now thousands have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #TharoorSacked to criticize the decision of the party. The term has appeared more than 5,000 times in the last 24 hours.

Our earlier report looked at whether the #MyCleanIndia viral challenge was really going viral - click to watch it below.

BBC Trending's original report on the #MyCleanIndia campaign

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Social network defies Seoul government

The Kakao Talk Logo

After a mass exodus of users, one of South Korea's biggest social networks says it will now defy government requests to hand over its users data.

On Friday, BBC Trending reported on the South Koreans fleeing the country's most popular chat app - Kakao Talk. The authorities had threatened to prosecute people using the app to spread rumours about the president, Park Geun-hye. The company behind the app, Daum Kakao, had originally said it would have to comply with government requests to pry into its users conversations. As a result, more than 1.5 million South Koreans signed up to a more secure German chat app called Telegram Messenger.

But yesterday Daum Kakao reversed its position, saying it will no longer respond to government requests for access to private information. Sirgoo Lee, co-CEO of the company, reportedly said he would take full responsibility for the decision, and was prepared to face the legal consequences. "We stopped accepting prosecution warrants to monitor our users' private conversions from 7 October, and hereby announce that we will continue to do so," the Korea Times reports Lee as saying.

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The police officers fired for a kiss

Two Tanzanian police officers kissing

When is it OK to kiss a colleague? Two Tanzanian police officers, whose kiss was widely shared on social media, have prompted a discussion about just that - and both have also lost their jobs.

A relationship with a colleague can throw up any number of complications, but the two young police officers in the picture may not have thought it would end their careers. The photograph - taken in Kagera, north west Tanzania - shows the pair kissing whilst dressed in their work uniforms, and was considered grounds for dismissal. Residents of the country have taken to social media to voice their dismay.

The image was uploaded to the internet by a third officer, who also took the photo, and drawn to the attention of the authorities at the Kagera police force. Henry Mwaibambe, the regional police commander, spoke to the BBC about the steps taken, and defends his department's decision. "We followed all disciplinary procedures to make sure that they were given a chance to defend themselves," he says. "The officer looking at the case was convinced there was compelling evidence against them, and that they had breached police code of conduct. That's why they lost their jobs." In this case it wasn't the kiss itself that led to their dismissal, but the fact that that it happened in public, whilst in uniform, and was subsequently posted online. Indeed, the officer behind the camera also lost his job over the incident.

The story was picked up by the local press last week, and news of the punishment has surprised many on social media. Most believed the response was disproportionate. "They should have been reprimanded, sacking them is extreme, huuh!" posted one on Facebook. "I once saw a pic of former US President the late Reagan kissing his wife in the Oval Office... and nobody called for his impeachment," said another. "Police couple kissing taken more serious than bribery," wrote a third on Twitter.

Masoud George, a lawyer at the Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Center says that as severe as the punishment seems, the decision is unlikely to be illegal. "It is according to their code of conduct, so from a legal point of view we can't say their dismissal was unfair."

Reporting by Sam Judah

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Ebola chat online goes private

The Ebola virus The Ebola virus

Listen to or download the Trending podcast

This week, we report on how social media users in Sierra Leone are talking about Ebola. Conversations about the virus have moved away from public platforms like Facebook and Twitter, onto private groups on WhatsApp. Presenter Mukul Devichand gains access to several of these groups.

The latest BBC Trending

We also ask whether Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign to clean up the country will work. When he launched "Clean India" he nominated nine high profile people to take up the challenge. But are they on board?

You can download and subscribe to our free weekly podcast here and we are on the BBC World Service at 10.30 GMT on Saturdays.

The programme was produced by Anna Meisel.


Is #MyCleanIndia really going viral?

There was huge fanfare last week when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his version of the "Ice Bucket Challenge".

Rather than fundraising for ALS, he wanted Indians to clean up their country. His video of himself cleaning a Delhi street was widely shared.

But has the #MyCleanIndia challenge really been taken up by Indians? A week on, Mukul Devichand of #BBCtrending asks whether it has really gone viral.

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


Talking privately about Ebola

A computer generated image of the Ebola virus A computer generated image of the virus

Social media users in Sierra Leone are turning to chat apps to have private conversations about Ebola

"There are certain things that the authorities don't want the public to know" says Emerson Fowai, who works with a public health NGO in Kailahun in eastern Sierra Leone. Over 4,000 West Africans have died from Ebola and the town of Kailahun has been badly hit. There are good public health reasons to monitor the flow of information in the midst of an epidemic - to prevent panic and misinformation. But Fowai is concerned about the restrictions. He claims the government has been downplaying the situation and is reprimanding unofficial voices. "I spoke [publicly] about people who have been quarantined and the authorities asked for my arrest," he says. "So people are afraid to divulge second hand pieces of information."

This pressured environment has had an impact on how people share information. In the early days of the Ebola crisis, social networks like Facebook played an important role. But Facebook isn't completely private. As a result, private groups are being set up on WhatsApp, a smartphone instant messaging service, so that information about Ebola can be shared in a space where conversations can take place more freely.

Fowai says he is part of 32 different closed groups on WhatsApp. BBC Trending has joined four such groups, to get an insight into what is being shared. The groups were initially set up to share news and information about Ebola when little was known about it. Quotes from press releases and news briefings populate the conversations, with updates on aid facilities throughout the country. But people also share more sensitive information. "An ambulance with 8 Ebola patients has fallen into a bridge," one member of a group reports - a claim we can't independently verify. Others share pictures of recent Ebola victims, alive and dead. The groups have also become a forum for people to report their own experiences. One message reads "this is me with surviving Ebola patients in Koindu. They live on the border with Liberia and Guinea. Some of them are orphans, widows and widowers. Their story was rather pathetic." The user uploads an accompanying photograph featuring the survivors in question.

Other WhatsApp posts are of people reminding each other to remain hopeful. One post is entitled "The A-Z of Ebola" and the first for letters are: "A - accept that Ebola is real; B - be careful not to get infected; C - cancel traditional practices that promote the spread of Ebola" and "D - don't touch".

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak,Mukul Devichandand Anna Meisel.

For more on this story listen to BBC Trending radio on BBC World Service.You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Rich kids v poor kids in Tehran

A luxury watch and car, and a cheap watch and car Many pictures on the new account juxtaposed luxury items with cheaper variants

On Tuesday BBC Trending reported on the Rich Kids of Tehran Instagram account, dedicated to the glamorous lives of wealthy young Iranians. Now the account has a satirical rival.

The world of the Rich Kids of Tehran is one of designer jewellery, plush houses and smoking shisha pipes by the pool. The Instagram account attracted thousands of followers in just a few weeks, and received widespread media attention, including from the Iranian press. The newly created Poor Kids of Tehran account - as the name suggests - shows a different side of life in the country.

Many of the photos mimic their rich counterparts in their framing and content. The image at the top of this article contrasts someone at the wheel of an Audi with a man behind the dusty wheel of a locally-made Zamyad car. In another, homeless children are seen asleep on newspapers in the city's Azadi Square.

Homeless children This image appears to have been taken in Tehran's Azadi Square

It is not clear who created the account, and not everyone finds its satirical edge appropriate. "Why make this page? The whole point of the Rich Kids of Tehran was to show the western countries that Iran isn't how it is portrayed in their media, and now you've made a page showing everyone the exact opposite," read one comment, later deleted.

Meanwhile, the original Rich Kids of Tehran account has been all but deleted by its administrator. The page, with almost 100,000 followers, says this was due to the "high amount of false publicity". Another page, with fewer followers but many of the same photos, has since been set up. BBC Persian debated the page with their viewers on a television news programme. One man told them the rich can spend their money "in whatever way they wish". His wife then grabbed the phone and called them "bloodsuckers".

Reporting by Thom Poole

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South Korea's chat-app crackdown

South Korean president Park Geun-Hye

The president of South Korea has pledged to prosecute people spreading rumours about her on the Kakao Talk chat app. Now users are fleeing the social network, and seeking refuge in a German alternative.

The story begins at sea. Back in April, 304 people died when the South Korean Sewol ferry capsized just off the country's southern coast - one of the worst maritime disasters in the country's history.

The government of President Park Geun-hye has been widely criticised for its handling of the incident. Protests have broken out in the capital city, and some of the victims' families claim the authorities botched the search and rescue. A recent painting by a prominent artist depicted the president as simply continuing in the footsteps of her father, who had led the country under military rule. And a Japanese newspaper reported that Geun-hye - who is not married - was not in her office on the day of the sinking, but instead meeting with a recently divorced former aide. Seoul has strongly denied the report, calling it "baseless" and "malicious".

Insults and rumours continued to spread, however, and in late September the president announced she was cracking down on the citizens responsible for circulating them. Kakao Talk - a smartphone messaging app used by 35 million of the country's 50 million people - has been one of the her primary targets. The firm is headquartered in South Korea, and some Kakao Talk users have reportedly received notices that their accounts have been searched by investigators.

Participants of a candle-lit rally clash with police following vigil for victims of the Sewol ferry during which they also denounced the government response to the disaster The government's handing of the ferry led to protests in Seoul in May

Now, some 400,000 users have deserted the service, according to Rankey.com, a site which tracks app usage. HwanBong Jung, a journalist in the country, tells BBC Trending that "people feel uncomfortable." The firm has said it cannot deny the government's requests for information, he explains.

The exodus has proved a boon for another chat app - Telegram Messenger - an encrypted messaging service based in Germany, with no servers in South Korea. The company behind the app, founded by the same people that created Vkontakte, Russia's largest social network, says 1.5 million new South Korean users have signed up for the service in the last seven days.

Unlike Kakao Talk, Telegram Messenger offers a "secret chat" option, using end-to-end encryption. The technology means the company is unable to decrypt any of the messages itself, so couldn't hand over information about its users, even if requested.

One South Korean newspaper reports that Kakao defectors have developed a wry greeting when finding each other on Telegram, saying simply: "Welcome to exile."

Reporting by Sam Judah and Thom Poole

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The students spammed by their president

A copy of the Yellow Pages, with the word 'Yellow' changed to 'Bello'

When students at a leading London university were sent a mysterious email from a senior official, the #Bellogate meme was born.

Students at University College London were sent an email last night, purportedly from the university president, Michael Arthur. It simply contained a one word greeting - "bello". By the morning, the message had generated a gigantic email thread, with some students waking up to almost 3,000 unread messages.

The hashtag was the top trend on Twitter overnight in the UK, with more than 5,000 tweets using the term since the "Bello" email appeared. Many shared emails generated in the thread - in which students continued spamming each other with jokes and puns. "Bello? Is it me you're looking for", read one - a play on a Lionel Ritchie song. Others sent invites to cyber security courses, and appealed for missing items of stationery. Some reported they had been signed up to porn sites, dating companies, Alcoholics Anonymous and Sarah Palin's website. A parody account soon emerged.

Most seemed to see the funny side. "Ooo we all just got signed up to the Miley Cyrus mailing list. #Bellogate #BelloCameInLikeAWreckingBall", the UCL Cheesegrater magazine tweeted. One PhD student wrote: "The funniest thing happened to UCL in years, can't stop laughing." While some have questioned UCL's security policies, and expressed frustration about having to delete hundreds of unwanted messages, the sharpest criticism was directed at students who kept posting to the thread, by hitting "reply all" to the original email.

UCL has apologised for "multiple emails" received by students, and shut down the mailing list concerned. It is not known yet who was responsible, although some have jokingly pointed the finger at UCL's rival, King's College. President Arthur has so far remained silent on the matter.

Reporting by Thom Poole

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Far right on Facebook

A far right political group in the UK has half a million followers on Facebook , despite having no democratically elected representatives.

Britain First was set up in 2011 by former members of the British National Party.

In the UK, groups like Britain First and the BNP have failed at the ballot box, but could their social media success lead to real support?

Anne-Marie Tomchak reports.

Video journalist: Greg Brosnan

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


Twin Peaks and Gif culture

The internet will be ready for Laura Palmer

Twin Peaks, a murder mystery set in the Pacific North-West, is director David Lynch's seminal TV drama. Originally aired in 1991, the show has become one of the US's biggest cult hits.

Since Lynch announced that a new season of Twin Peaks would be released in 2016 on the US cable network Showtime, phrases associated with the show have spiked on Twitter - #damngoodcoffee (42,000 mentions), David Lynch (24,000) and TwinPeaks (145,000). Tumblr, always a reliable source for Twin Peaks Gifs, is reacting with Log Lady levels of delight.

Despite entering the popular culture in a time before the internet and digital video recording, the show has developed a strong following online.

The Washington Post's pop culture blogger Alyssa Rosenberg says the show is returning to a changed television landscape, but one for which it is well suited.

"It's coming back into a totally different media environment," said Rosenberg. "It's also coming back at a time when the audience of Twin Peaks has grown. It's a show that has had two and a half decades to accumulate a following - people who didn't watch it at the time, as well as people who tuned into every episode and were obsessed, can finally be on the same page."

But will the show go out of its way to cater to a live-tweeting generation?

"The original was built beautifully for remix culture. Whether the second iteration of it has the same moments, I'd be curious to see," said Rosenberg. "Is Lynch as a filmmaker aware of how social media works today? I think it'll be a fascinating experiment."

Lynch's penchant for the strange and off-putting will keep online viewers busy, she predicts.

"Watching new Twin Peaks episodes will give social media users an opportunity to hit the button on Twitter, or whatever medium they're using, to process their experience, not just when something new and surprising happens, but when they see call-backs to the original series," she says.

Reporting by Micah Luxen. Video produced by Micah Luxen and Colm O'Molloy. Filmed and edited by Colm O'Molloy.

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Viral shark snap shows trending technique

Twitter photo of giant shark

With new user-friendly cameras and editing software, the barriers to creating content are almost non-existent. But, as we all remember from high school, the barriers to popularity will always be a challenge.

This summer, New Jersey elementary school teacher Amanda Brewer captured an image of a great white shark, jaws wide and dangerously close, off the coast of South Africa. She uploaded the photo to Instagram last week, where it received over 5,000 likes. Speaking to to TIME Lightbox, the art teacher said she shot the picture "off the cuff" with a GoPro camera, during a volunteer data-collecting mission for conservation organization White Shark Africa.

"I knew immediately that that photo was going to do something," she told TIME. "And even though some people may see the image and think it's terrifying, if 350,000 people can talk about it in one day, at least people are talking and having conversations about these beautiful animals."

While sharks are the object of fascination in our society - resulting in the Discovery Channel's Shark Week and film Sharknado - not every shot of jaws goes viral.

"There are certain themes that are consistent when people are sharing content. Does it resonate on a personal level?" says Mark W Schaefer, Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions and a marketing faculty member at Rutgers University. "Research shows that people don't normally share content. Whether they're too busy, too lazy, not interested, so there's got to be some special spark on an emotional level to get people to share."

Scott Talan, a professor of communications at American University, explains Brewer's shark picture has all the right ingredients to trend. "When you match and marry the words to the image, in this case, the caption - a New Jersey teacher - with a picture of a Great White Shark, that itself has large potential to attract attention," he says.

"And then once you see the picture, it looks gripping and vivid and different than a lot of other Great White pictures we've seen. You put all those elements together and you have the possibility for something to take off."

Reporting by Micah Luxen

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The 500-year-old poem captivating Reddit

A parrot crossing a zebra crossing

A complex political satire written almost 500 years ago doesn't seem like an obvious candidate for viral success, but its unusual pronunciation has struck a chord online.

The poem, called Speke, Parrot, was written in the sixteenth century by an Englishman named John Skelton. A group of students at a Dutch university set the poem to pictures and asked their professor to read it aloud, pronouncing the words as closely as possible as to the original Middle English. It's almost unintelligible to the untrained ear, but that seems to have been the key to its popularity.

The students uploaded the video to YouTube on Tuesday. Their friend posted a link to the history sub-forum on Reddit - a popular online discussion board - where it took on a life of its own. It has quickly become one of the highest rated posts of all time in that category, with more than 2,000 "upvotes". The video has now been viewed more than 110,000 views on YouTube.

"I was quite surprised myself," says Sebastian Sobecki, professor of Medieval English at the University of Groningen, who voiced the short film. He tells BBC Trending that in the poem Skelton - tutor to English King Henry VIII - satirises a new breed of courtiers, eager to impress King Henry and his policy makers with their fashionable opinions, and language skills newly acquired overseas. That's why he refers to them as "parrots"; you could call them the hipsters of their day.

The conversation on Reddit homes in on the way the poem is pronounced, rather than its political meaning. "It sounds like a medley of Scottish, Dutch, German and English to me," wrote one. "To me it sounds like the Spanish Ambassador from Blackadder," said another.

"They're exclusively focused on how we know what Middle English sounded like," notes Sobecki, who says a huge body of research makes it possible to recreate the sounds with relative accuracy. "It seems that there are a lot of people outside academia who take an interest in that, and that's big news to me."

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Saudi outrage over a female football fan

Saudi female football fans taking a selfie Saudi female football fans at the AFC Champions League semi-final match

A female spectator cheering for a Saudi football team has angered men on social media in the country.

Her team lost, so it's no wonder she was frustrated. Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal were defeated 2-1 by the UAE's Al Ain in the Asian Champions League semi-finals last week. A clip of the match has been viewed almost 400,000 times on YouTube, but it's not the scything tackle on a player from Al Hilal that angered fans commenting on it. Following the tackle, the camera picks out an angry fan of the Saudi team - a woman fully covered in a black abaya and niqab. In Saudi Arabia itself, women are banned from attending football matches, but since the game was taking place in the UAE, this spectator - together with several other women cheering for Saudi, like those pictured above - were able to join their fellow male supporters in the stadium.

Over 900 people have commented on the clip, most of them angry men, critical of the unidentified woman for being in a stadium filled with thousands of men. "Women aren't interested in football, so why go to a stadium to watch a live match?" wrote one. "Does this woman not have a man? Her place is in the house," said another. Many who oppose women being allowed into stadia say it encourages immoral and sinful behaviour. Others say it puts women at risk of being harassed.

Lina Al Maena, a former athlete and advocate for girls' sports in Saudi Arabia, takes issue with the idea that women should stay away to save themselves from harassment. "Women are harassed whether in malls or on the streets, so I don't understand why stadia would be any different," she says, adding "why should I be punished for a man's actions?" She thinks that attitudes may be changing, however. "There's a lot more acceptance of women's involvement in sports today than there used to be a decade ago," she says. Local newspaper reports in Saudi Arabia suggest the government is considering building separate sections in stadia for female spectators.

Reporting by Mai Noman

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The Texan with a big IS Twitter following

Tweet by Jennifer Williams

"You know you're dealing with some serious Islamic hardliners when they blur out your face to protect Islamic modesty… [but] chose to make it blurry rather than to black it out entirely - I suppose they did that so you could still tell that I was a blonde, white American girl. The holy grail of Muslim converts - so to speak."

The blonde white American girl in question - Jennifer Williams, a researcher for the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy - joined a tongue-in-cheek hashtag movement called #MuslimApologies, and found herself at the centre of attention among members of the Islamic extremist community.

"Last Monday, I had 60 followers on Twitter. Today, I have more than 4,300," Williams wrote in a blog post on Brookings publication Lawfare. "But here's the problem: A healthy number of them are Islamic extremists, including no small number of supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria."

On 24 September, Williams tweeted her #MuslimApology that very briefly shared her own Muslim conversion story.

While Williams says she detests "the twisted interpretations of Islam" espoused by the likes of al-Qaeda and IS ("Can't believe I even have to say that," she tweeted at those who question her motives), many (including some non-Muslim Americans) misunderstood her message.

"Then things took an unexpected turn. My tweet went viral - at last check, it had been retweeted more than 11,300 times - and I soon began to notice a disturbing trend: of the thousands of people who were retweeting and following me, many of them had the black flag of Isis as their Twitter profile photos. Others had pictures of themselves holding swords, standing in front of the black Isis flag. Uh-oh."

Williams points out that many ignore her many tweets that go against the ideology of extremists, including actively try to get the "#No2ISIS" hashtag trending.

Reporting by Micah Luxen

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The 'rich kids of Tehran'

A collage of photos showing young Tehranians

An Instagram account which appears to show Tehran's wealthy young elite living like their counterparts in the West has become a sensation in Iran.

If it wasn't for the Farsi number plates, you'd be forgiven for thinking the account belonged to a rich American living in sun-drenched Los Angeles. But this - apparently - is Tehran, the Iranian capital, where women are forbidden from going uncovered in public places, and alcohol is strictly forbidden.

Rich Kids of Tehran - a play on Rich Kids of Instagram - is a collection of photographs that appears to show the decadent lives of the city's gilded youth. Young women in bikinis lounge by deep blue swimming pools, while the men recline in supercars or slouch in front of tables stacked with liquor. The women seem to be in their private homes and gardens - where going uncovered is not prohibited - and some of the photos are taken in different countries. Many are clearly taken in and around Tehran, however. And while it is impossible to confirm where the alcohol has been photographed, it has been widely reported that drink is available to Iranians with deep pockets.

A hand holding a shot of what appears to be rum, with an expensive looking bracelet on their wrist

The page has been live for a little over three weeks. In that time it has amassed 45,000 followers, and the figure is quickly gathering pace. Although the administrators of the page list an email address, they have not yet responded to our request for an interview. It may well be that the pictures have been lifted from private accounts, and posted against the will of those who took them.

The front page of an Iranian newspaper running the story Iran's Seven O'Clock newspaper showed images from the site

The images have alarmed many in the country, and yesterday one Iranian newspaper ran pictures from the site under the headline: "The hidden lives of the rich." Most of the images are publicly available on what look like genuine Instagram accounts of the individuals in the photos.

It seems they do not fear repercussions from the Iranian authorities, who have been known to pursue other young people for engaging in subversive activities. Seven Iranians were recently issued with suspended sentences for uploading their own version of Pharrell Williams' music video Happy to YouTube.

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Pastor caught with his pants down

Man with jeans down

Listen to or download our podcast.

In the latest show, Anne-Marie Tomchak investigates the trend of shaming clergymen in Kenya after a pastor is caught on camera with his #PantsDown with a woman who isn't his wife. A video of the incident has been watched over 250,000 times on YouTube.

We also find out how the daughter of Hong Kong's Chief Executive enraged people by allegedly writing provocative messages on Facebook about her luxury lifestyle. And we visit a kosher butchers in London to discuss the dangers of online gossip.

The show was produced by India Rakusen.

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.


Stopping online gossip

A video warning about the dangers of gossiping online in the Jewish community is being shared widely on social media.

The video highlights the consequences of lashon hara, which means 'evil tongue' in Hebrew. It says: "lashon hara is a gun that can wound a person, lashon hara online is a weapon of mass destruction".

The message is timely, as Jews around the world reflect during Yom Kippur - the festival of atonement.

India Rakusen of BBC Trending reports.

Video journalist: Neil Meads

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Hong Kong's 'Vain Princess' speaks out

Chai Yan Leung, daughter of Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung

After reporting on the rise of Firechat earlier in the week, BBC Trending have been keeping an eye on what's trending in Hong Kong. Here are a handful of the more unusual stories from around the web.

'Vain Princess'

The daughter of Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung has apparently posted a badly-timed rant on her Facebook page. The profile picture - on an account that appears to belong to Chai Yan Leung - attracted some unkind comments about the necklace she was wearing. "This is actually a beautiful necklace bought at Lane Crawford (yes- funded by all you HK taxpayers!! So are all my beautiful shoes and dresses and clutches!! Thank you so much," she said, before suggesting that most of her detractors were "probably unemployed". The account has now been deleted.

The compassionate policeman

A photograph of a member of Hong Kong's riot police washing pepper spray from a protester's eyes has been widely shared on Facebook and Twitter. After being sprayed with the chemical, the demonstrator reportedly asked: "We are unarmed. How can you attack us like that?" Feeling guilty, the policeman apparently took out his water bottle and began rinsing the young man's eyes. According to the Epoch Times, some police officers have resigned because of the way protesters have been treated.

The British academic

It's not surprising that one of the most popular posts on Sina Weibo - China's answer to Twitter - spoke out in favour of the Chinese government. The authorities in Beijing have stepped up their censorship of the platform in recent days. More unusual was that it appears to have been written by a British academic working at a Chinese university. "Western media reports on the Hong Kong issue have been too hypocritical," wrote John Ross. "In 150 years of colonial rule over Hong Kong, the UK never permitted its people to elect the Governor, and the United States didn't protest against the UK about it," he said.

Dissident voices

Despite its wide ranging attempts to censor opposing voices online, some criticism of the Chinese government has slipped through the net. BBC journalist Yuwen Wu has been monitoring the conversation on Sina Weibo, and found a comment string attached to a newspaper article. Tired of the blanket coverage in support of the authorities, one user posted: "Go Hong Kong go! Support the strike action!". "You don't understand what the Hong Kong people are fighting for. You don't understand the feeling of being ignored by the government," said another. The comments still appear to be live.

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The Kenyan pastors being exposed online

A man and woman putting their clothes on. Footage from the news broadcast was posted to YouTube

Footage of a pastor caught with a young woman in a hotel room has caused controversy in Kenya. But who was behind the video, and many others just like it?

The film looks like an episode of Cheaters, the American TV programme in which a television crew tracks down unfaithful partners and catches them red-handed - with the cameras rolling of course.

It was broadcast on a news programme in Kenya, and appears to show Anglican pastor Charles Githinji half dressed in a hotel room with a pretty young woman. Another man, claiming to be the woman's husband, bursts into the room with a television crew in tow. The sheepish pastor scrambles for his clothes, but not before being quizzed by the people behind the camera. A version uploaded to YouTube has been watched 250,000 times, and Kenyans began tweeting about the story using the hashtag #PantsDown. The phrase has appeared more than 2,500 times in the last few days, though not every instance was related to the pastor's story.

It was not an isolated incident. Similar videos on YouTube - all of which appear to expose Kenyan pastors in similar situations - have racked up hundreds of thousands of views.

In Githinji's case, some are convinced that a team of people colluded in an attempt to entrap the pastor, and make money from the footage. "It was stage managed," says Jackson Njeru, a prominent Kenyan blogger who created the controversial Facebook page Deadbeat Kenya. "When I watched the video, something was not adding up. The lady was smiling. She was laughing," he tells BBC Trending. He believes the woman, her "husband" and the television crew were working in collaboration - one of a number of groups that deliberately target pastors and other powerful individuals.

Ruth Nesoba, a BBC journalist based in Kenya, says "apparently what is emerging is a clique of freelance cameramen who are going round looking for these kind of stories." News outlets pay good money for the footage, she adds, as the stories attract wide audiences.

It isn't yet clear whether Githinji's encounter with the woman arose organically, or he was targeted in a sting operation. Either way, Nesoba thinks that for many Kenyans, it isn't the most important question. "People are asking: 'Whether he was lured or not, what is a pastor doing in bed with his pants down with a woman who is not his wife?' "

The Anglican Church in Kenya has now launched an official investigation.

You can hear more on this story, and lots more from the BBC Trending team, by downloading our free podcast.

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Hulk actor's foray into Brazilian politics

The incredible hulk attacking a plane in which Marina Silva is the pilot Images which joked about the incident began circulating on social media

Mark Ruffalo - the Hollywood actor best known for playing the Hulk - has waded into Brazilian politics to endorse a presidential candidate, only to reverse his position the following day.

The Hulk actor isn't a regular pundit on South American electoral races. But on Sunday he chose to join the debate in Brazil, kick-starting an unusual chain of events that played out over social media.

"Marina Silva is probably one of the most interesting and exciting politicians on the world stage today," he said in a YouTube video, endorsing the presidential candidate.

The video touched a nerve with legions of gay rights campaigners in Brazil. They started tweeting Ruffalo urging him not to back a candidate they said did not support gay marriage. "I hope you're just misinformed. Read more about it please," asked one.

Ruffalo soon replied. "Thank you, I am looking into it. I can not support a homophobic," he said, and asked Silva directly on Twitter: "Are you pro marriage equality?"

An aide tweeted back from her account to say that she was, posting a link to her manifesto which pledges support for they gay community. But many of her political opponents chose to keep the conversation going. "Nope," and "NÃO," they tweeted back. Some claimed that they doubted the manifesto reflected her true intentions. The actor's name began trending in Brazil, and has appeared some 20,000 times in the last two days.

Eventually, Ruffalo declared his position. "It has come to my attention that the Brazilian Candidate for President, Marina Silva, may be against gay marriage... It is a little bit murky and unclear presently," he said on his Tumblr blog. "I have to apologise for not doing a better job of vetting this decision." Until Silva clarified her views, he wrote, "my support is null and void."

Silva is one of three leading candidates for the presidency in Sunday's election. Born into a poverty in a small village, she worked on a rubber tree plantation and as a housemaid before making her way into politics. She hopes to usurp the country's current president - Dilma Rousseff - whose incumbent left-wing Workers Party has held power for almost 12 years, but has recently been beset by a string of corruption scandals. Along with Aecio Neves - who leads the centrist PSDB party - all the candidates have signalled their support for gay rights, though doubts remain about whether they will prioritise the issue after the election.

Reporting by Sam Judah and Bruno Garcez

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The debate over 'speaking white'

Nefertiti Menoe

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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All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


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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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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