Online mobilization against election fraud in Russia. Facebook agrees to strengthen privacy rules for customers in the US. And Arabic is the fasting growing language on Twitter.
Online mobilization against election fraud in Russia
A Russian mayor caught red handed. This video was filmed at the end of October in Izhvesk, a small town in central Russia. The mayor is addressing a veterans group and offers them government cash if they vote for Vladimir Putin’s “United Russia” party in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The video was uploaded onto the Internet, and has sparked an outcry among local web users.
With the elections scheduled for Sunday, and with just a few months to go before the Presidential election on the 4th of March, web users, armed with their mobile phones, have been reporting on the dodgy campaigning practices of the ruling party.
A college student from Siberia secretly filmed this conversation with his principle. She threatens him with expulsion for vandalizing “United Russia” posters in the corridors. The teenager defends his actions saying election propaganda has no place in schools.
The NGO Golos has set up this interactive map to catalogue all these violations of the electoral code. Web users can report any suspected cases of electoral fraud and can even upload photos or videos to back them up. Vote buying, intimidation, illegal campaign operations; thousands of complaints have already been logged.
The people running the site say they are facing growing outside pressure. Certain media outlets have accused them of working for the United States. In this video clip, the NGO’s President accuses journalists from the NTV network, which has close ties to the authorities, of spreading propaganda on behalf of the Kremlin. His comments have been widely relayed on social networks.
USA : FTC and Facebook reach agreement on privacy protection
On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission, the FTC, and Facebook announced they had reached an agreement on privacy protections, with the social network agreeing to strengthen privacy rules for users in the US. The site, which was co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg, has been under intense scrutiny for its privacy policies and this settlement should put an end to the legal proceedings brought by the FTC.
The Federal Trade Commission has published a statement on its website outlining the seven allegations against Facebook. The FTC claims the social network shares users’ personal information without their consent, and photos and videos from deleted or deactivated accounts have not been rendered inaccessible as Facebook said they would. The social network must now better respect users’ privacy and be more transparent in the way it handles data, the Palo Alto firm has promised it will obtain consumer’s consent before making changes that override privacy settings.
Mark Zuckerberg has posted a statement on Facebook in which he admits to making mistakes regarding handling users’ privacy. He reminds readers that his site has always been committed to protecting this personal and confidential information and that there are numerous online tools available to help web users feel more secure when using the social network.
And although Facebook’s promises appear to have satisfied the American regulatory authority, some social networkers have openly voiced their concerns over the site’s willingness to honour their commitments.
Arabic is the fastest growing language on Twitter
With recent events in the Arab World, it’s not surprising that between October 2010 and October 2011, the volume of tweets in Arabic has multiplied by 22, and now represents 1.2 % of Twitter traffic, making it the eighth most popular language on the social network. The analysis was released by French based company Semiocast, and also informs us that the five most prevalent languages on Twitter are English, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Malay.
Now trending on social networks
Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel, has been trending heavily on social networks ever since rumours emerged online on Wednesday purporting he had escaped from a Jamaican prison. The authorities were quick to deny the reports, saying the singer was still behind bars awaiting trial on several charges of murder. But this did nothing to stop the rumour spreading like wildfire, sparking an avalanche of comments from web users, questioning his chances as a fugitive and affirming this jail break spells the end of his musical career.
Video of the day
The Telethon is organized in France every year to raise money to help fund research on rare genetic diseases. And some of France’s most prominent bloggers have literally jumped in at the deep end for this year’s 25th edition. As we can see in this video which is doing the rounds on sharing sites, a group of web experts were given a swimming lesson by trainer Philippe Lucas. Web users can also do their part by visiting the official website, afm-telethon.fr.