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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 : 2014-07-17

Iran continues crackdown online

In this edition: Iran continues its online crackdown; outrage as web users` mock a teenage rape victim; and a flipbook of the best goals of the 2014 World Cup …


Iran`s official news agency IRNA has reported that 8 Iranian Facebook users have been handed out lengthy jail terms ranging from 8 to 21 years. The accused, whose identities have not been divulged, have been found guilty of actions counter to the country`s national security by spreading anti-government propaganda on the social network. Heavy sentences and part of Iran`s continued crackdown online. 

As NGO Reporters without Borders points out on its website, this recent court ruling is not an isolated case in Iran, far from it. 12 other web users were sentenced to a combined 135 years in prison late May over their activity on Facebook, which is officially banned in the country. 

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran says this wave of convictions illustrates the ongoing conflict between moderates led by president Rouhani who champions greater online freedoms, and hardliners pushing online censorship. The NGO also says that ordinary citizens are the victims of this power struggle. 

And as the site Mashable points out not all Iranians enjoy the same online privileges. Most citizens risk prison if they use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, yet Iran`s diplomats and officials have social media accounts and are pretty active on them. Iran`s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is a prime example; despite his fierce opposition to the democratization of the web in Iran, he has often turned to online tools to voice his views. 


16 year old Ohio high school student Jada who was reportedly drugged and gang raped back in June, and then had pictures of her limp body, stripped to the waist down, posted to social networks is now being trolled by a minority of web users who are mocking her pose, as she lay on the floor after her attack, and posting photos and videos to Twitter under the #jadapose hashtag. Images that have been met with outrage online.

Some web users have called on the microblogging site to put a stop to the cruel taunts, while others have claimed the #JadaPose hashtag as their own or used the #StandforJada keywords to throw support the teenage victim. These social networkers for example have posed flexing their biceps to show their solidarity and their strong support for the high school student. 

For blogger Laci Green, this case of web users mocking sexual assault illustrates the omnipresence of rape culture in American society. Determined to do something about this, she has created this poster reminding people that rape is never a laughing matter. Many have voiced similar sentiments online with messages pouring in calling for collective awareness on the issue. 


Researchers in Canada have come up with an interesting way of studying the relationship between humans and robots; they have developed "hitchBOT", a self-sufficient robot they hope will travel coast to coast across Canada, by hitch hiking. Many have taken to the web to wish the robot a safe trip, saying they will definitely offer a lift if their paths cross. HitchBOT is updating Twitter with news and thoughts on the upcoming trip, even posting a pic of the boots he`ll be wearing to cover the thousands of kilometers. 


After speaking to a number of animal shelters, photographer Fred Levy learnt that black dogs are adopted at a much lower rate than any other colour. And so he decided to create a collection of portraits to help these overlooked pets find a home. And the series is proving hugely popular online, over 10,000 web users are now following his “Black Dogs Project” on Tumblr. 


350 million people discussed the World Cup on Facebook during the tournament, generating 3 billion interactions on the social network. This infographic, put together by the site Lost Remote, also reveals that the 2014 World Cup was the largest Facebook conversation ever, and in the host nation Brazil, over 57 % of active Facebook users participated.


With this flipbook clip posted online by pen manufacturer Stabilo you can relive the best goals of the 2014 World Cup … it makes for brilliant viewing and you can watch the video in its entirety on YouTube.

By Electron Libre



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