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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 : 2012-01-30

Twitter accused of selective censorship

Twitter users accuse the micro blogging site of giving in to censorship. Fast food chain McDonald’s incurs the wrath of web users with its latest social media campaign. And it will soon be possible to download 3 dimensional objects…

Twitter accused of selective censorship

A 24 hour Twitter blackout; web users from all over the world took part in a boycott of the social network on Saturday, to protest the micro blogging site’s recent announcement of plans to allow country-specific censorship of tweets that might break local laws.

The company has cited the example of French and German legislation on its blog; laws that prohibit the publication of pro-Nazi content. So any such posts will supposedly be removed in these two countries but not in the rest of the world. Twitter has promised that these measures will be implemented with utmost transparency, and every tweet removed will be catalogued and detailed on an independent website run by several universities and a civil liberties organization.

But many of the millions of registered Twitter users remain concerned about this type of censorship, particularly those living in Arab countries where the micro blogging site has played a crucial role in the popular uprisings across the region. Yemeni activist Noon Arabia fears the blue bird, which is the Twitter logo, will end up caged.

NGO Reporters without Borders is expressing a similar sentiment, and worries the decision has been partly influenced by the company’s desire to conquer countries like China, where Twitter is blocked.

Twitter users meanwhile are already looking for ways to bypass these restrictions. Anna Heim from the website The Next Web, says you don’t have to be an IT expert, and says to access a tweet that is blocked in your country, you just have to go to your account settings and change the name of the country you are in.


McDonald’s social media campaign fails

The famous American fast food chain McDonald’s has delivered a perfect example of a failed social media campaign. It launched a Twitter campaign mid-January in a bid to promote its reputation in the US which has been seriously dented by a series of scandals over lack of hygiene in its restaurants. The fast food giant’s PR campaign has well and truly back fired.

It all began on the 18th January when McDonald’s posted a series of tweets, accompanied by videos like these ones, showing, for example, the farmers that supply the fast food brand, to try and convey the company’s commitment to using quality products. The Twitter posts also encouraged web users to share their happy hamburger experiences, under the hashtag #McDStories.

But the campaign has not had the desired effect – far from it. Because Twitter users have used the hashtag to share horror stories and poke fun at McDonald’s. Hundreds of web users have flooded the micro blogging site with tweets about their terrible experiences at the fast food restaurants, denouncing the health risks of “junk food”.

The failed campaign did not stop McDonald’s launching a second viral campaign a few days later, again on Twitter. This time the company asked its customers to describe the little things in life that make them happy, under the hashtag #littlethings. The new hashtag campaign received the same welcome from web users who used this as a fresh opportunity to criticize the fast food chain.


Indian website works without Internet connection

A rather unusual website has been created to honour Indian actor Rajinikanth, for his 61st birthday. To visit the site you have to disconnect your computer from the Internet in order to access the content, which includes all sorts of information about the Bollywood superstar who is revered as a god in his native region in south India.


The Pirate Bay offers 3D object downloads

A miniature robot, a whistle, a model of a pirate boat … these are just some of the objects you can now download from « The Pirate Bay ». The famous file sharing site is now offering downloadable files that can be used to print 3D objects. These so called “physibles” already exist but are highly expensive, and are out of most people’s price range. “The Pirate Bay” is focused on making this technology accessible to all in years to come, and has even claimed that in the next twenty years or so it will be possible to download a pair of new shoes.

Video of the day

In this video, street artist “Red” paints a portrait of former Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, her technique is unique, she doesn’t use paint brushes, all she needs is a basketball, and the end result is pretty stunning…




By Electron Libre



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