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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 : 2014-07-31

Fake Twitter accounts spread Chinese propaganda

In this edition: Chinese propagandists use fake Twitter accounts to promote Beijing's policies; Turkish women posting selfies to protest comments made by the Deputy PM; and a stunning display of barefoot skiing.

FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNTS SPREAD CHINESE PROPAGANDA

They have names like Tom Hugo, Felix James, Alayna Newark, they are highly active online, good looking, and seem to know China pretty well. But these web users don`t actually exist, they are fake and operated by Beijing to, amongst other things, promote China`s policies in Tibet. The revelations have prompted strong condemnation online.

The fake Twitter accounts were exposed by non-governmental organisation "Free Tibet", working closely with US daily the New York Times. The investigation revealed around one hundred sham Twitter profiles were being operated, using photos of models or actors gleaned from the Internet as profile pics. The revelations led to a complaint being lodged with Twitter and the accounts have since been taken down. 

But "Free Tibet" continues to urge web users to be wary, saying other fake accounts may still be active: feeds that often provide links to YouTube videos intending to show successful integration of Tibetan culture into modern China. The accounts also steer followers towards the showchina.us blog, which mainly consists of criticizing the Dalai Lama. 

And as Reporters without Borders has been pointing out for some months now, there`s nothing new about China using the web for propaganda purposes. Not only does Beijing censor bloggers that criticize the authorities, it is also looking to improve its online image, and on Twitter in particular, even though the social network, as the NGO reminds us, is actually blocked in China. 

TURKEY: SELFIES TO PROTEST DEPUTY PM’S LAUGHTER COMMENTS

Women across Turkey are posting photos of themselves laughing and smiling on social media … it`s in response to recent comments made by Turkey`s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinç. In a speech on Monday about “moral corruption”, he said women should not laugh in public. And his words have prompted a big backlash from Turkish web users. 

Woman began sharing these selfies on Monday, denouncing what they describe as sexist and unacceptable remarks. They often post along with the #Kahkaha hashtag, the Turkish word for laughter, or #Direnkahkaha which would translate as “resist laughter”. Male social networkers have also been using the keywords, adding their support to the protest movement. 

This social media campaign brings to mind another online movement provoked by the Prime Minister Recep Erdogan in 2012 when he likened abortion to murder. Thousands of Turkish women took to the web back then also to defend their right to choose. They sent a very clear message to the authorities by sharing pictures with the words “my body, my choice” written on their stomachs, hands and other parts of the body.

NOW TRENDING ON SOCIAL NETWORKS

Luis Morales Fukutake and his girlfriend wanted to take a souvenir snap on their holiday not far from Cancun, Mexico. Nothing too exciting about that. But as we can see in this video, when the young couple went to pose for their selfie, a bolt of lightning hit the trees just a few meters away from where they were standing. The footage has set the web abuzz, with many sharing their astonishment over such a scene. The clip has already racked up some 3 million 300,000 hits on YouTube…

STATS OF THE DAY

Am I pregnant? How to become famous? What is the meaning of life? This infographic illustrates some of the strange search terms tens of thousands of people are putting into Google every month. It’s a lighthearted look at the bizarre questions asked by web users the world over, and is available to view on the site “Search Factory” …

CELEBRITIES WITH HUGE NOSES AND NO MOUTH

Well known faces, the likes of Barack Obama, members of the British royal family, Rihanna and also Eminem with huge noses and no mouth… this crazy collection ,called “Nosemouth” was created by Phil Pastore. The somewhat unnerving photomontages were produced using image editing software and are available to view on the artist`s Tumblr blog and Facebook page. 

VIDEO OF THE DAY

Pulled along by a speed boat or an aircraft, this is a pretty impressive display of barefoot skiing. Head to the YouTube channel of the man behind the video Devin Supertramp and you can see the athletes pull off one stunning move after another …

By Electron Libre

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