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

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Latest update : 2011-08-29

Chinese crack down on Internet rumors

Today on the net, China cracks down on Internet rumours. Fashion magazine Vogue Italia at the center of online controversy. And a Spanish skateboarder who’s revolutionizing the sport.

Chinese crack down on Internet rumors

On Friday, China’s version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, notified its 200 million users that several Chinese web users deemed to have spread false rumours, would have their micro blog accounts blocked for one month. The site explained that one of the sanctioned micro bloggers had said the Red Cross Society of China was selling blood to hospitals for profit.

These measures have been met with widespread criticism online. Some feel that suspending accounts only serves to magnify the rumours, whilst others see it as part of the government’s strategy to intensify web censorship.

Last week, Liu Qi, a highly placed official from China’s communist party, visited the Sina headquarters. He asked the company to do everything in its power to stop fake and misleading information being spread on the Internet.

Government concern appears to have grown after two recent episodes demonstrated the potential power of social media platforms to mobilize social protest.

Last month, millions of web users accused government railways officials of corruption and incompetence after a fatal collision between two trains, near Wenzhou in south-east China.

And just two weeks ago, micro blogs played a highly active role in a mass protest against a local chemical plant in Dalian, in north eastern China. Protesters took to the streets en masse on the 14th August, their demands were met and the factory was immediately closed down to be relocated at a later date.


Fashion magazine Vogue Italia sparks online outrage

Famous fashion magazine Vogue Italia is at the center of online controversy after running a story on its web site on what it labeled ‘slave earrings’, describing them as, quote ‘decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern United States’. Shocked by these words, American blogger, Dawnavette alerted her readers, who went on to share the information which then spread across the web like wildfire.

Web users have been venting their anger and outrage on the micro blogging platform Twitter. Many condemning the racist nature of the so called “slave earrings” and demanding Vogue issue a specific apology to black women. Some suggest that the magazine had already set a precedent with ads like this one from 1946 which used the same “slave earrings” tagline.

Faced with this wave of criticism, Franca Sozzani, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, ended up apologizing, blaming a bad translation from Italian to English… All references to the slave trade have been removed from the Italian website, and the headline has been changed to “ethnic earrings”.

Despite Vogue’s attempts to defuse the row, comments from outraged web users continue to pour in. They believe the harm has already been done, that slave earrings will never be in fashion and changing the words does not make it all alright. For blogger David Walters, it’s ironic that a fashion magazine which is meant to be about good taste, could make such a tasteless and offensive statement

 

Seasteading project

Paypal founder Peter Thiel has donated over one million dollars to help fund a colossal project – floating, autonomous colonies at sea. The man made islands in the so called “seasteading project” would have their own government and would initially accommodate 270 people. The people behind the project hope to have the first city state on the ocean by 2015.


Once upon a time photo series

Artists Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle came up with the original idea of recreating scenes from classic children’s stories using balloon sculptures. The “airigami” series, as they have called it, which was inspired by the phrase “Once upon a time”, includes tributes to “Little Red Riding Hood” and also “The Three Little Pigs”.

 

Video of the day

Kilian Martin is no ordinary skater … as we can see in this video, which is currently doing the rounds on sharing sites; the young Spaniard has a range of breathtaking moves, where he and his skateboard become one. The street skateboarder has combined freestyle tricks and gymnastics to develop his own unique style which sets him apart and puts him in a class of his own.

 

By Electron Libre

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