China tightens its grip on web users
Today on the net: China tightens its grip on social networkers. Ben Affleck is cast as Batman, and Bat-fans are not happy. And Céline Dion makes her Twitter debut.
China tightens its grip on web users
The news has been let with widespread commentary on social media platforms in China. The Beijing Police Department posted a message online on Sunday saying businessman, and one of the country’s most prominent bloggers Charles Xue, had been arrested on suspicion of soliciting prostitution.
With over 12 million followers on China’s Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo, the billionaire, who lives in China but is a naturalized American citizen, is known for speaking his mind on social issues, including child trafficking. Many web users are wondering if the 60-year-old has been set up by the government in a bid to stifle his online commentary.
The Chinese authorities are indeed in the midst of stepping up their control over the Internet and in particular curbing online rumours, a crackdown that has seen the arrests of several bloggers and journalists in recent days.
Reporter Liu Hu was detained last Friday, after calling for an investigation into the former vice-mayor of Chongqing, the city ran by Bo Xilai, the ex-Communist Party chief whose much publicized trial has just ended.
Blogger Zhou Lubao was arrested for what the authorities described as "spreading online rumours". The cyber activist helped expose a Chinese official for corruption last year by posting photos of his array of luxury watches online; a scandal that led to an official enquiry.
Internet loses it over Ben Affleck as Batman
It’s official. Warner Bros has chosen American actor and director Ben Affleck to take over from Christian Bale and take on the role of Batman in the upcoming film due to hit cinema screens in 2015. The news has been met with widespread reaction online and it would seem fans of the superhero are far from happy.
Indeed, they couldn’t get to social networks fast enough to voice their surprise, saying Ben Affleck as Batman is a casting error. Over 50,000 web users have openly expressed their opposition to the choice in this e-petition started on the site change.org urging Warner Bros to rethink the decision.
Some web users have been posting under the hashtag #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck with tongue in cheek suggestions for other well-known faces that would have made a better choice for the role. Yes, Batman fans have been submitting all sorts of equally wacky suggestions, saying a cat for example, the pope, or actress Meryl Streep would do a better job…
Others are trying to imagine what Ben Affleck will look like when he slips into the Batman costume… and they’ve been posting short videos and other offbeat photomontages of the new Bruce Wayne online. Not the most flattering of images, some of which have included Affleck’s childhood friend, Matt Damon, as Batman’s famous sidekick, Robin.
Google Street View visits zoos around the world
With Google Street View you can now check out the panda bears at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, discover France’s crocodile farm, or pay a visit to the elephants at Taronga zoo in Australia… the search giant has added imagery from some twenty wildlife parks from across the globe to its mapping service. The images are however frozen and if you want to see live action then you’ll have to go to the zoos in person or visit their websites and observe the animals on live web cam feeds.
Now trending on social networks
Céline Dion’s fans have cause for celebration; because the superstar singer from Quebec made her Twitter debut last Thursday, with her official account @celinedion.
She has posted just two tweets so far, in English, saying hi to her legions of fans, and she’s also published a video message announcing the release of her upcoming album. Her page is proving hugely popular so far, and in less than a week she has already drawn around 50,000 followers.
Video of the day
American filmmaker Devin Graham, better known online as Devin Supertramp, has released a new video which shows people trying out a human catapult. Inspired by bungee jumping, this human slingshot video is something else indeed: check it out on all good video sharing platforms…