Israel’s military launches a social media offensive in parallel to the one launched on Gaza. The people of Rio de Janeiro campaigning online for better sanitation. And the UK aims to showcase all of Britain’s public paintings in a virtual museum.
Israel’s military launches social media offensive
Shortly after killing the top military commander of Hamas, Ahmad Al Jabbari in an aerial attack on Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces took to social networks, celebrating the assassination of this leading figure of the Islamist movement.
Yes, in parallel to the attack launched on the Palestinian enclave, the IDF is also running an extensive online communication campaign describing its missions and justifying the airstrikes and bombing with Israeli soldiers claiming they are mainly targeting Hamas rocket launchers.
Countless messages, illustrated with images, likes these ones, explain the danger the rocket launchers pose to civilians in Israel. Web users are encouraged to share the posts on Twitter and Facebook, if they agree that Israel has the right to defend itself.
Hamas has also joined the online battle to win over public opinion. Its military branch has posted to Twitter, condemning the impact Israel’s attacks have on the civilian population, detailing its own military operations and even responding to some of the tweets posted by the Israeli army.
So with both sides embroiled in a war of words and pictures on social media, web users are describing how the situation is affecting them. Israeli bloggers talk about how terror reigns in the south of the country, and Palestinian netizens relate the IDF’s intensive air strikes on the Gaza Strip.
Brazil: online campaigns for better sanitation in Rio
The organization Meu Rio recently published a report claiming around 3 million people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are without mains water and sewerage, so they are obliged to drink dirty water and throw sewage into the rivers, lakes and beaches. A dramatic situation, which the organization has decided to tackle by launched an online campaign called “sanitation is basic”.
Inhabitants from Rio de Janeiro are asked to sign the petition on the organization’s website, demanding better living conditions in the city. They can also use the hashtag "sanitation for Rio" to help raise awareness and spread the word.
But Meu Rio is not alone in the online campaigning to improve sanitation in Rio. A citizen initiative has also been launched on the web, highlighting the situation at Sao Conrado beach and calling upon the local authorities to modernize, amongst other things, the particularly out of date sewage system. Members have been posting photos and videos on their blogs, or to Facebook, in a bid to raise public awareness of the urgency of the situation and the pressing need to deal with the problem.
And this is not an isolated case, far from it, as we can see in this footage filmed around Guanabara bay. We see waste water dumped directly into the ocean. It’s an unacceptable situation for locals who also say it’s one of the sites chosen to host some of the Olympic events when Brazil hosts the games in 2016 and they hope the authorities will have tackled the problem by then.
Now trending on social networks
One month on from the scandal involving a flood of anti-Semitic tweets under the hashtag #unbonjuif, meaning "a good jew", a new controversial key word started trending on Twitter’s French interface at the beginning of the week: “#antinoir” meaning "anti-black"… but contrary to what one might think, this is not down to a wave of racist posts on Twitter. A social networker posted a joke in very bad taste under this hashtag and countless outraged web users have since been using the same key words to slam the comments, calling for tolerance and an end to racist content on the micro blogging platform.
Online museum showcases Britain’s public paintings
Over 170,000 paintings are currently on display in this virtual museum. The ambitious project was launched by the Public Catalogue Foundation, in partnership with the BBC, and has been ten years in the making… the goal in the long run is to photograph and catalogue all the paintings in public ownership in the UK. Most of these works have been hidden away… until now. Painstaking work, and one of the ways web users can get involved is by helping identify the artists as well as the often mysterious subjects.
Video of the day
The European Space Agency has just posted this video online filmed by its Proba 2 satellite during Wednesday’s full solar eclipse in Australia. A rare show which lasted just two minutes, but you can see the amazing images for yourself in this online video.