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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 : 2014-07-24

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

In this edition: the online battle between Israel and Hamas; the "coal rolling" craze goes viral in the US; and Pyongyang demands the removal of an online video mocking Kim Jong-Un


As fighting continues in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas have also taken their conflict to the web. The IDF and the Islamist group are employing all online means available to win over public opinion and convey their take on the current situation. 

The Israeli army is highly active on social networks and is using Twitter to share real time updates on the operations underway in Gaza. The messages are written in various languages, including English and French, and include debriefing reports, the names of soldiers killed in action and also posts denouncing terrorist acts committed by Hamas.

And as pictures can speak louder than words, the IDF has also been posting to Instagram, Flickr and of course YouTube, with images and videos of soldiers in action. The documents bear witness to the army`s ground offensive and also monitoring operations and targeted air strikes. The footage often comes with short commentaries describing the conditions under which it was filmed and hailing the bravery of Israeli soldiers. 

And Hamas is also busy online, in addition to its official website, the Islamist movement`s political wing also has a Twitter account, which is being used to boast about its military action against the Israeli army in Gaza, trying to intimidate the enemy, and also condemning the high death toll among Palestinian civilians. 


The car we see here isn’t about to give up the ghost … its owner is “coal rolling”, deliberately revving a modified engine to full power in order to spew thick, black smoke from the exhaust. Coal rollers say they are protesting against environmental measures introduced by the Obama administration, and their exploits have gone viral. 

But a growing number of owners of these tampered with trucks are blowing their smoke at other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians and posting the video to YouTube… much to the outrage of countless social networkers. 

Coal rolling victims have been sharing accounts online, and while the majority of web users condemn the practice, describing it as extremely stupid, others say it is not a new craze and unfortunately has been around in the Southern US for quite some years… 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has posted a message to its website reminding citizens it is in fact illegal to tamper with or remove emission control devices from vehicles. But as journalist Dylan Baddour points out, not every state respects this law, singling out Texas in particular which doesn’t require emissions testing for diesel engines, and where there are a lot of coal rollers…


Nigerian web users have been posting under the #SomeoneTellLevick Twitter hashtag, slamming American public relations firm Levick hired to represent Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been criticized as not doing enough to find the schoolgirls kidnapped in his country by the extremist group Boko Haram. There has been a furious backlash online with web users accusing the company of profiting from the abductions, and saying they do not need a PR firm to tell them if president is doing a good job … 


Has the storyline for the upcoming Star Wars film been leaked online despite the precautions taken but the director J.J. Abrams? Speculation is rife after American blog “Badass Digest” published an article this week apparently revealing some super spoilers for Episode 7. A lot of web users are extremely excited by the rumours, although some didn’t want to know about the plot and would have rather waited for the surprise. 


With a spot of paint and a vivid imagination French artist Gilbert Legrand turns everyday objects into playful characters … he transforms a knife into a rhino … a bottle opener into an opera singer, and a hammer into a utility vehicle… web users can check out these wacky and extremely lifelike creations on the artist`s website… 


In this satirical video we see Kim Jong-Un strutting his stuff, on his own and also with the likes of Barack Obama … it was posted online on July 11th by a Chinese student has been proving massively popular online. It hasn’t gone so well with Pyongyang however and an official request has been issued to China, asking for the video to be removed as it compromises the authority and dignity of the North Korean leader… Beijing has yet to respond…

By Electron Libre



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