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The world this week - October 24 2014

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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 : 2012-11-29

Google launches campaign against taxes in Germany

Google launches an online campaign against taxes in Germany. Meanwhile, "milking" becomes the latest Internet fad. And British artist Anish Kapoor goes "Gangnam Style"!

Google launches campaign against taxes in Germany

Google has launched the “Defend Your Web” campaign in Germany in a bid to stop Berlin passing a law aimed at better protecting the intellectual property of online news publishers. The legislation will be debated in parliament on Thursday and if adopted will allow publishers in Germany to charge internet search engines for displaying links to newspaper articles on services like Google News. The Mountain View company staunchly opposes the proposed bill and is encouraging German web users to join the campaign against this “Google tax”, by signing an online petition and writing to their MPs.

The American giant is not fighting this battle alone. The IGEL group, made up of cyber activists, bloggers and also independent news sites, is concerned the rights won’t be distributed evenly, something which could handicap smaller publishers and therefore have a negative impact on the diversity of information available online.

Fears that have prompted the German association of newspaper publishers, which includes the country’s biggest media groups, to speak out online in favour of the legislation. In this video, the group says the tax project is a must if web users want ongoing access to quality journalism.

A debate closely followed in France where Google is also at loggerheads with the press, with Google threatening to stop referencing French media sites in search results. Google’s chairmen Eric Schmidt met for talks with the French president last month and the web giant has been urged to reach an advertising-revenue agreement with French news publishers before the end of the year. 

Milking is the latest Internet craze

Forget "planking" which involved lying face down in a public place, the stranger the better, and posting the photo to social networks, and "tebowing" which consisted of copying the pre-match pose adopted by American football player Tim Tebow, a new, equally crazy fad has hit the net : “milking”…

It was invented by a group of students from Newcastle in the UK, and as we can see here entails pouring a carton of milk directly over your head, preferably in a busy public place, and act natural, as passersby look on in bewilderment.

The phenomenon has spread across the web like wildfire, and appears to be catching on all over the world. Scores of social networkers have been uploading photos or videos of them engaging in a spot of milking.

And although this new trend is enjoying undeniable success on the web, it’s not to everybody’s taste. Some web users think “milking” is quite simply ridiculous and should be banned. Others have been slamming the wastefulness of throwing milk away, and feel participants need to grow up: whether or not the criticism is enough to convince fans to abandon this new craze… well that remains to be seen. 

Prankster replicates Facebook users’ profile photos

Getting a friend request on Facebook from someone who has the same name as you can be somewhat disturbing, but if that person has the same profile pic as well, that’s just plain creepy. One web user, known online as Roy Casino, searched for Facebook users with his name and then recreated their profile photos by imitating their wardrobe, facial expression and pose, before contacting them. His prank did not appear to go down too well, with just one person accepting his friend request. 

Now trending on social networks

Twitter users have been posting tributes to Amanda Todd under the hashtag "#Princess Snowflake". The Canadian teen who committed suicide in October after suffering months of abuse and bullying online would have been sixteen on the 27th November. Her mum, who affectionately nicknamed Amanda “Princess Snowflake” started the thread, as she wanted her daughter to be remembered. And remembered she is: a great many web users have posted messages, expressing support for the family and calling for tolerance and kindness on the web.

Video of the day

There have already been countless remakes and parodies, and now Anish Kapoor is delivering his version of "Gangnam Style", the global mega hit by Korean singer Psy. The Indian-born British artist has used the video clip to denounce infringements on freedom of expression across the globe, and pays particular tribute to his friend, the artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, who is being strictly monitored by the Chinese authorities.

By Electron Libre



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