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Latest update : 2013-08-29

Cyber attacks hit New York Times and Twitter

Today on the net: pro-Assad hackers launch cyber attacks on Twitter and the New York Times. Also, the photo of a soccer player kissing his male friend sparks fierce debate in Brazil. Finally, Nelson Mandela now has his own social network.

Cyber attacks hit New York Times and Twitter

The New York Times website was hit by a cyber-attack on Tuesday, and was inaccessible for some American web users for several hours. The daily had no choice but to offer readers an alternative way to reach the site so that they could continue to access stories.

Micro blogging site Twitter also suffered a similar outage, with technical problems affecting its image hosting service. According to the San Francisco-based firm, however none of its user’s data was compromised.

The UK version of the Huffington Post was also targeted in this series of cyber-attacks, with the Syrian Electronic Army, the SEA, claiming responsibility. The pro-Bashar al-Assad hacker group has been boasting of the sabotage online, saying they have taken control of the website addresses which are all managed by the same Australian company.

The SEA hackers have pulled off a number of attacks on Western media, including CNN and France 24 since the start of the Syrian conflict. They are also said to assist the intelligence services in tracking down government opponents and run propaganda campaigns for the Damascus regime on social networks.

And as the international community prepares for possible military intervention, the past few days have seen Assad sympathizers bombard Barack Obama’s Facebook page with hundreds of threats of retaliation and warnings of counter attack. 

Brazilian soccer player sparks controversy with online photo

When Brazilian soccer player Emerson Sheik posted this photo to Instagram last week, little did he know he was to spark such fierce debate in Brazil. We see the Sao Paulo Corinthians player kissing a male friend as he celebrates his team’s recent victory. The image was widely and soon shared on the local web, prompting lively reaction on social networks.

Indeed, criticism and homophobic slurs began pouring in online not long after the photo was uploaded. Web users, most of whom appear to be Corinthians supporters, like the fan club Camisa 12, are saying the player has tarnished the team’s reputation with the kiss. Unacceptable behaviour they say, and as we can see here, a handful of outraged fans even staged a demonstration in front of the team’s training ground holding banners bearing homophobic insults and demanding an apology from Emerson Sheik.

But although the image of two men sharing a kiss has sparked an onslaught of hateful commentary online, other Brazilian web users have voiced support towards the footballer at the centre of the controversy. An online movement in solidarity with Sheik is now underway, started by two brothers who posted a photo of themselves wearing the Corinthians strip and posing for a kiss, other web users soon followed suit, posting under the hashtag #Sheiktamojunto, which means “Sheik we are one”, and urging football fans to show greater tolerance and end their verbal attacks on the sportsman.

Nelson Mandela has his own social network

95-year-old former South African President Nelson Mandela, who remains in a critical condition in hospital, now has his own social network. Mandela.is was set up by two of his grandchildren and is place where users can connect, post photos, and share inspirational thoughts and articles with a view to emulating the apartheid icon’s positive impact on the world. The platform is proving popular, and already has several thousand active members.

Now trending on social networks

American singer Miley Cyrus remains a hot topic of conversation following her highly suggestive "twerking" at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday. Her performance set Twitter abuzz with over 306,000 tweets a minute on the social network, meaning the pop star almost beats President Barack Obama whose re-election last year generated an average of 327,000 tweets per minute.

Video of the day

French three-time freestyle football world champion, Gautier Fayolle, aka Gautivity, can do all sorts of stunning tricks. And in this video he showcases his amazing technique and talent, it’s a must see for soccer fans everywhere…

By Electron Libre

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