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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 : 2014-07-22

Online scammers exploit MH17 crash

In this edition: online scammers exploit the Malaysian Airlines crash; Australian web users protest the abolition of the controversial carbon tax; and a Walter White doll floats into space.

ONLINE SCAMMERS EXPLOIT MH17 CRASH

“Beware of online scammers taking advantage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy. If you want to find out more about this catastrophe, only use reliable new sources and be particularly wary of links posted on social networking sites”. This warning was issued to web users by the Australian government via the site Scamwatch. It aims to raise awareness about unscrupulous web users who are exploiting Thursday’s tragedy in the Ukrainian skies for financial gain. 

As recalled by the Canberra Times website, since Thursday, at least six fake accounts in the names of crash victims have been set up on Facebook. Before being closed by the social network, these accounts redirected net users towards sites filled with pop-up ads, thus generating traffic and revenue for their creators.

Another scam on Facebook concerning the MH17 crash encourages net users to click on a link claiming to show images of a missile hitting the Malaysia Airlines plane. The site Cyberwarzone warns that this link contains a virus, and urges net users not to fall into the trap.

Finally, credit cards of passengers have purportedly been stolen by thieves who may be trying to use them online. This was asserted on Friday by Ukrainian minister, Anton Gerashchenko in a press release published on his Facebook page. He calls on victims’ families to quickly block the cards of their lost loved ones to stop fraudsters using them.

AUSTRALIA: WEB USERS PROTEST CARBON TAX REPEAL

“The government promised to abolish the Carbon Tax and today we have delivered on our promise”. This was the announcement made last week on Twitter by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, heralding the scrapping of a Carbon Tax brought in in 2012. The decision led to a significant wave of online opposition.

On social networks, many Australians claim to be shocked by this abolition, deeming it to be bad news for the planet and for the environment. These web users are quick to criticise with irony what they consider to be a step backwards for their country, which they feel will quickly become the laughing stock of the international community.

Some net users expressed this feeling via drawings and photomontages, denouncing a measure which they describe as irresponsible. This image of several government members celebrating the scrapping of the Carbon Tax for example has been revisited many times online to criticise the decision, which they think could have serious consequences for the future of Australia.

This opinion is called into question by advocates of the abolition, who argue that apart from being expensive, the Carbon Tax was not an efficient way of combatting climate change. This point of view is shared by British columnist, Tom Switzer, who considers the Abbott government’s decision proof of real political courage and who hopes that Britain will soon follow suit.

STATS OF THE DAY

Net users can view these animated info-graphics, created by the site Buddy Loans, to find out what is happening on Google in real time. The tool is a clear indication of the American giant’s online influence as in just sixty seconds, 272,694 searches are made using the search engine, transmitting one million 434,810 gigabytes of data. This traffic is highly lucrative for Google, which earns 129,441 dollars per minute, mainly thanks to advertising revenue.

NOW TRENDING ON SOCIAL NETWORKS

“Will it beard” is the name of the Instagram account belonging to American artist, Pierce Thiot on which he regularly publishes pictures of his bushy beard decorated with unusual objects such as Lego bricks, pencils and scissors. This zany idea has been copied online, with dozens of net users imitating Pierce Thiot and sharing photos of their beards decorated with flowers in particular. 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A NEW YORK TAXI DRIVER

US town-planner and map maker, Chris Whong has created a map enabling net users to experience a day in the life of a New York taxi driver from the comfort of their living rooms. This interactive tool was developed after collecting information of the 170 million taxi trips recorded in 2013 from the GPS located in the famous yellow vehicles which can transport up to fifty passengers per day all over the Big Apple.

VIDEO OF THE DAY

Teams at social networking site, TV Tag came up with the rather surprising idea of sending a bobble-head version of Walter White, the main character from US TV series, Breaking Bad into space. They attached the Walter White doll to a weather balloon so that it could float into the stratosphere. The video can be viewed on the TV Tag YouTube page.

By Electron Libre

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