Why do people think this 'manspreading' video is a Kremlin hoax?

  • 20 October 2018
A picture of Anna Dovgalyuk Image copyright Anna Dovgalyuk
Image caption A still from Anna Dovgalyuk's anti-manspreading video

Millions of people around the world have watched a viral video that appears to show a woman taking direct action against "manspreading". So why do some think it is actually Kremlin-backed disinformation?

A woman creeps up to unsuspecting men on the St Petersburg Metro. The men are taking up lots of space, with their legs wide open. Before they can react, the woman dumps a bottle of diluted bleach onto their trousers. It's enough to make a stain, although not strong enough to cause serious injury.

The video was made by Anna Dovgalyuk, a Russian activist, student and social media star. And it racked up millions of views before being removed from YouTube.

The story was picked up by numerous news websites and caused a huge online uproar. Comments heaped praise, scorn, and more extreme threats of violence on Anna and others involved with the video.

But along with the video's viral spread came questions. Was it staged? And also was it - as some believe - a crafted piece of propaganda, sponsored and spread by the Russian government? And if it was, what was the aim?

YouTube activism

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Media captionWATCH: Scenes from Anna Dovgalyuk's manspreading video

Read full article Why do people think this 'manspreading' video is a Kremlin hoax?

Khashoggi: Bots feed Saudi support after disappearance

  • 18 October 2018
Turkish crime scene investigator Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Turkish crime scene investigators inspected the Saudi consulate on Wednesday

Suspected bot accounts are attempting to shape the social media narrative following the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Arabic hashtags expressing support for de facto Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, condemning news organisation Al Jazeera and urging users to "unfollow enemies of the nation" were among those amplified by the involvement of bot networks alongside genuine users.

Read full article Khashoggi: Bots feed Saudi support after disappearance

Why has Twitter banned 1500 accounts and what are NPCs?

  • 17 October 2018
NPC Wojak meme Image copyright Unknown

The Trump-supporting right has a new favourite meme and it's being shared far and wide to troll their political opponents.

Twitter has suspended hundreds of accounts after users on pro-Trump Reddit forum r/The_Donald coordinated efforts to set up 'non-player character' profiles mocking liberals on the social networking site.

Read full article Why has Twitter banned 1500 accounts and what are NPCs?

Russian censor offers 24-hour online bans for anniversary

  • 16 October 2018
Protesters decry internet censorship in Moscow Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Protesters in Moscow demand internet freedom in May

To celebrate the fourth year of its presence on Russia's most popular social media platform, controversial Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor offered users day-long bans.

Posting on VKontakte, Russia's media regulator made light of its role in web censorship, which has included banning access to Wikipedia and instant messaging service Telegram.

Read full article Russian censor offers 24-hour online bans for anniversary

Painting of Trump among past presidents seen at White House

  • 15 October 2018
The Republican Club, by Andy Thomas Image copyright Andy Thomas Artist
Image caption The Republican Club, by Andy Thomas

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

And as millions tuned in to behold President Trump's wide-ranging interview with CBS News on Sunday, a brief glimpse of the artwork on a White House wall caught the eye of many.

Read full article Painting of Trump among past presidents seen at White House

Russians joke Soyuz rocket 'still heavier than air'

  • 12 October 2018
Russian Orthodox priest blessing the Russian Soyuz rocket capsule Image copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption A Russian Orthodox priest blessing the Russian MS-10 Soyuz rocket capsule

An Orthodox priest who blessed the Russian Soyuz rocket before lift-off has become the main source of mockery on social media after the launch ended in an emergency landing.

The Russian capsule experienced a booster problem which meant the two-man crew's six-month mission to the International Space Station has had to be delayed.

Read full article Russians joke Soyuz rocket 'still heavier than air'

HimToo: How Pieter Hanson's mother made him internet famous

  • 9 October 2018
Pieter Hanson Image copyright Pieter Hanson
Image caption Pieter poses, mimicking the meme

If you've seen some weird posts about sons on social media with the hashtag #HimToo, you might be justified in feeling a bit confused.

"This is MY son", begin the majority of tweets, before listing the achievements of everyone from horror villain Norman Bates to Back to the Future's Marty McFly.

Read full article HimToo: How Pieter Hanson's mother made him internet famous

Can social networks help you lose weight?

  • 7 October 2018
Image copyright Getty Images

Reddit groups might help, while Instagram influencers could set unrealistic expectations. So is it ever useful to turn to social media for diet advice?

There are a dizzying number of people, companies and accounts hawking diet advice online. To take just one example, a quick search for the hashtag #fitspiration on Instagram brings up millions of images - close-ups of ultra-defined abs, huge biceps, "transformation" before/after pictures and people in workout gear lifting weights.

Read full article Can social networks help you lose weight?

Russian journalist ridiculed on Reddit

  • 4 October 2018
Muscovites reading the latest news of the Soyuz 11 mission. Moscow, USSR. June 10, 1971. Image copyright Sovfoto
Image caption Muscovites reading the Soviet newspaper Pravda in 1971

On Wednesday, Dmitry Sudakov posted on Reddit he was the editor of "Russia's leading newspaper Pravda" and invited people to ask him anything.

As with many high-profile, audience-question interviews on the Ask Me Anything (AMA) section of the site, it was an attempt to promote his work in front of a largely Western audience.

Read full article Russian journalist ridiculed on Reddit

Dunkin' Donuts workers sacked after homeless man drenched

  • 2 October 2018
Screengrabs from the video showing a man doused with water in a Dunkin' Donuts restaurant

Dunkin' Donuts has fired employees after a video emerged on social media showing one worker pouring water over a homeless man inside a New York branch of the fast-food chain.

"How many times have I got to tell you to stop sleeping in here?" asks the worker before using an offensive term and threatening to call the police.

Read full article Dunkin' Donuts workers sacked after homeless man drenched