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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.



Latest update : 2011-03-30

Ethical quandary for social networks

Cyber activism forces social networks into an ethical quandary. Protesters are using satire to poke fun at leaders in the Arab World. And a French web documentary focuses on the problem of substandard housing.

Ethical quandary for social networks

These photos of police officers from Egypt’s state security force were posted online by cyber activist Hossam el-Hamalawy who acquired the photos when activists took over the headquarters of this former Interior Ministry service. Flickr removed these shots from their platform explaining the blogger had not taken the photographs himself, and this conflicted with Flickr’s terms of service.

This affair illustrates the quandary facing social networks: they are becoming increasingly popular with political activists the world over, and want to remain neutral. YouTube was one of the first networks to have been confronted with this problem. In 2007, it was obliged to remove certain videos posted by human rights advocate Wael Abbas. Some of the videos on his account, denouncing police violence in Egypt, contained what some considered disturbing content. 

And although Facebook appeared to be keeping a low profile concerning its role in the revolutions across the Arab world, the famous social network is now finding itself taking sides in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The state of Israel asked for a group of over 300 000 members to be removed. The group was calling for a “Third Palestinian Intifada” in May. The page is still online as Facebook does not believe it is advocating violence. [The page has since been removed.]

And although Washington is singing Twitter’s praises, hailing it as a tool for freedom of speech, the micro blogging site is trying to distance itself from the US authorities. It has been ruled that the company must hand over account information of certain Wikileaks members if requested by prosecutors. Twitter made a stand and was given the right to warn the people concerned beforehand.


Protesters use satire to mock Arab world leaders

A leader clings to power… using glue. This video is being broadcast online by a satirical web site based in Jordan. The wave of protests currently sweeping through the Arab World has loosened tongues and web users are now often using comedy to criticize the different ruling parties.

« Hosni Mubarak and the forty thieves » as well as Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s musical declaration of love for his people: animation studio Kharabeesh has been having a field day, ever since the fall of Ben Ali in Tunisia.

This site is poking fun at Muammar Gaddafi by stressing, with irony, that his name can be written in a thousand and one different ways, with each spelling corresponding to a different extravagant outfit worn by the colonel. The site reminds us however, that there is only one way to spell the word dictator.

And on Iyad Elbaghdadi’s initiative, Twitter users are putting together a tongue in cheek “Arab Tyrant manual” containing a whole host of excuses used by the regions leaders, who often use the same methods when repressing opponents to try and hold on to power.

And finally a comical video on the same theme is also circulating on social networks. This animation was created by Marc Fiore, and offers marketing lessons for dictators and protest movements and makes other suggestions including: reassure the people and deliver a speech blaming other countries…


French web documentary focuses on substandard housing

The Abbé Pierre foundation, a French organization for the homeless is using web documentary to raise awareness on the ongoing problem of substandard housing. Made by Samuel Bollendorff and Mehdi Ahoudig, “À l’abri de rien” blends conversation recordings, photos and videos to help paint a picture of what goes on in the lives of near to 3 million 600 000 people in France currently living in substandard housing.


Famous objects from classic movies

Match different objects to Hollywood blockbusters. Web users can try out this quiz on the size “Famous objects from classic movies” where you can find out which film hides behind each picture. The quiz is only available in English for the moment but should be a massive hit with film goers the world over.

Vidéo of the day

Artist Alex Profit who is already known online for his “around the world in 80 seconds” is now inviting web users to travel the world in 2 000 photos, via Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, St Petersburg, Shanghai, Tokyo, New York and London. This project is part of a viral campaign for a famous perfume house.



By Electron Libre



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