Today on the net, China launches a platform to tackle online rumours. Web users campaigning for the release of a jailed Bahraini blogger. And fans of boy band One Direction leap to the defense of one of its members.
China launches platform to tackle online rumors
The Chinese government has teamed up with six of the country’s leading web companies, like search engine Baidu, and micro-blogging site, Sina Weibo, to launch what is being billed as China’s first “rumour control” platform which according to the authorities will help control the spread of rumours that threaten what they describe as “social harmony”.
The site which has already published and corrected over 100 000 entries of rumours thought to contain false information is also looking to detect photomontages or other cases of image manipulation. It refutes for example a rumour that a famous Japanese adult film actress took part in an online campaign launched back in June to denounce the multiple child abuse scandals that shocked China.
And with a growing number of corruption scandals being exposed on social networks, the site is also there to protect political officials embroiled in them. The platform stood up for this official for example who web users accused of owning a dozen or so luxury cars.
It’s a way of guiding public opinion in a country which now has some 600 million web users. Netizens that are encouraged to contact the cyber police directly if they deem it necessary, whilst the local authorities also continue to censor the web and block any content they don’t like, as was recently the case with the Chinese version of the Wall Street Journal website which you can no longer access from within China.
Activists mobilise to free jailed blogger in Bahrain
Over the past few days, activists have been campaigning for the immediate release of jailed Bahraini blogger Mohammed Hassan, better known under his online pseudonym Safy. He was arrested at his home on August 1st, has been in prison ever since and denied all contact with his family.
Countless web users took to social networks upon hearing the news of his arrest, denouncing the repression and violations on freedom of expression of bloggers in the kingdom. Social networkers have been applauding Mohammed Hassan’s bravery and have been posting under the hashtag « #Free Safy » urging the Bahraini government to release the activist at the earliest possible opportunity.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has issued the same appeal on its website and via an online petition which slams the conditions surrounding Mohammed Hassan’s arrest and demanding his fundamental rights are respected during his time in prison, starting with his right to a lawyer.
And with many campaigning for Safy’s release, some are also questioning the government’s real motives behind the arrest. This Twitter user for example says there has been no online activity from the blogger since April, so he does not think the arrest has anything to do with comments made online, and has to be linked to something else, although he cannot put his finger on what.
Now trending on social networks
Web users have been posting under the hashtag #Zayn is not a terrorist in support of Zayn Malik from British boy band One Direction, who has been the victim of racist slurs on the web and at concerts due to his Pakistani background. One person was seen holding a sign reading “die terrorist” at one of the group’s gigs, prompting Zayn’s fans to jump to his defense on social networks voicing their outrage and urging the people behind these sickening attacks to stop immediately.
Webcams show how Chengdu pandas live
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu in southwestern China has launched the site ipanda.com via which you can observe the pandas 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 28 webcams, feeding six channels, have been set up around the enclosures meaning you can watch the endangered animals go about their daily business, which is a pretty laid back affair … the pandas spend most of their time sleeping and eating kilos of bamboo.
Video of the day
The team at American website Soulpancake set up a giant camera in the street and asked passersby to stop and smile … so it could snap their joy! They’ve put together this heartwarming video and released it online, a clip that gives web users a nice and cheery start to the week...