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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 : 2013-07-18

Trayvon Martin case: web users against facial discrimination

Today on the net: the US web denounces racial profiling in the country; South African net users deem a TV ad racist; and a blind photographer publicises pictures on Instagram.

Trayvon Martin case: web users against facial discrimination

Indignation remains acute on the US web following the acquittal on Saturday of George Zimmerman. Using the key-words, “I am Trayvon Martin”, many net users, mainly from the African American community, appeared on social networks wearing hoods, like Trayvon Martin on the day he died. A way of denouncing facial discrimination in the United States and of showing that they could have suffered the same fate as the teenager who was shot dead in 2012 by Zimmerman.

White Americans also debate the issue on this Tumblr blog, entitled “We are not Trayvon Martin”. A site on which outraged net users can publish their testimonies and feelings about racial discrimination in the States. This mother of two writes that she will never have to worry about her sons being killed in the street due to their skin colour. She is concerned however, about them growing up in a country where it is clearly possible to get away with killing a young black person.

Others recall personal experiences, demonstrating how advantaged they feel within American society. This man, for example, recounts that after being arrested for being drunk and disorderly, police officers drove him home instead of taking him to the station, which he feels would not have happened if he had been black. 

South African TV ad stirs online controversy

This TV ad by the South African advertising agency, Lowe, boasting the freshness of fish sold at Cape Town market, is currently at the centre of considerable controversy on the local net. Some of the country’s net users accuse the ad, made up of several supposedly humorous short scenes, of using racist stereotypes. The cause is this extract in which we see a white shopper whose face has been roughly painted black in order to look like an African dictator, spending public money for personal uses. 

A scene which quickly generated outrage among users of social networks, who expressed their anger online. Most of these net users feel the ad to be in very bad taste, reminiscent of a very dark period in the country’s past; while others do not understand why the advertising agency chose a black dictator to illustrate corruption when other meaningful examples exist.

A point of view shared by blogger, T.O Molefe who recalls here that corruption and dictatorships do not exist only in Africa and who explains that, in his eyes, the link made by the advertising agency in the controversial advert suggests that the continent was better managed under colonial rule.

A major volley of criticism which eventually led Cape Town market and the agency behind the ad to publish announcements online. They apologise to those who may have been shocked by the advert, while recalling that stereotypes had been used deliberately to accentuate the humour. So far their explanations have not been enough to end the controversy.

Now trending on social networks

To detect earthquakes, the US Geological Survey, the USGS, no longer only relies on its seismic sensors dotted around the world. Its scientists have now developed a warning system which collects messages from net users in real-time, announcing earthquakes on Twitter. And although around twenty minutes are needed to detect an earthquake with the sensors, it takes just two minutes using this algorithm which, cannot however, offer information about the magnitude of the quake experienced by users.

Tommy Edison, the blind Instagram photographer

Tommy Edison was born blind yet he owns an Instagram account called “Blind Film Critic” on which he regularly publishes the photos he takes with his mobile phone. Something he achieves thanks to the sounds around him and a version of the application compatible with his disability. As a result, he has become extremely popular on the photo share site with over 32,000 followers. And although his snaps are not always beyond reproach, and are sometimes out of focus, some are nevertheless particularly good and are sure to impress net users. 

Video of the day

A goat named Jemima wearing a shirt and a dickey-bow and digging into a meal at the dining table while reading a newspaper… This is the very strange scene net users can discover in this video recently posted online. A totally wacky video which should not be missed.

By Electron Libre

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