The Twitter bot that 'corrects' people who say 'illegal immigrant'

  • 3 August 2015
Pro-immigration protestors in Washington, DC
Pro-immigration protestors in Washington DC

Two American journalists have created a Twitter bot that "corrects" people who tweet the term "illegal immigrant", and offers alternatives. But not everyone appreciates the suggestion.

The "I" word has been called into question in recent years. Defining any human being as "illegal" is considered offensive by some, who think the term should be reconsidered.

That's why Patrick Hogan and Jorge Rivas, journalists at Fusion.net, created a Twitter bot - a computer programme to compose and publish tweets automatically - to "correct" people who use the term on the social network.

Twitter users who include the phrase in any context may receive a message from the bot reading: "People aren't illegal. Try saying "undocumented immigrant" or "unauthorized immigrant" instead."

'Drop the I' Bot is primed to publish the same @message, over and over again

As you might expect, many people weren't happy about being asked to rethink their use of the phrase, and were infuriated that the suggestion was generated by a piece of computer code. Without realising they were now debating a computer, some retaliated. "I don't recall asking for your opinion", and "They broke the law entering here illegally, that makes them illegals", two users replied.

Read full article The Twitter bot that 'corrects' people who say 'illegal immigrant'

Famous writers on what NOT to say

  • 1 August 2015
A frustrated writer

Across the internet writers are venting their frustrations using the hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter. Writer Simon Van Booy picks out his favourites, and reflects on the trend.

A recent Twitter hashtag is proving that writers across a plethora of genres are not only a tortured bunch, but rather an indignant one too. For authors at various stages of commercial or literary success, #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter is the chance they've been waiting for, to throw it all back in the public's face, in 140 characters or fewer.

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Lt Clay Higgins: 'Cajun John Wayne' calls out criminals

  • 31 July 2015

A Louisiana police officer has found fame for videos in which he identifies the area's criminals and calls on them to turn themselves in.

The videos are shown on local news but draw a wider audience thanks to YouTube.

Read full article Lt Clay Higgins: 'Cajun John Wayne' calls out criminals

'Nazis secretly eat falafel': German town's pro-refugee posters

  • 30 July 2015
A poster reading 'Nazis secretly eat falael'
The poster reads "Nazis secretly eat falafel"

In response to a wave of recent anti-refugee protests across Germany, a political activist placed pro-refugee posters at bus stops in the small town of Freital, sparking a debate online.

The messages were a mixture of serious and tongue-in-cheek, written in both English and German: "Refugees welcome", "Nobody is illegal" and "Nazis secretly eat falafel". They were posted by an anti-racist campaigner who runs a Facebook page called Dies Irae, which translates as Day of Wrath.

Read full article 'Nazis secretly eat falafel': German town's pro-refugee posters

How the internet descended on the man who killed Cecil the lion

  • 29 July 2015
A parody Twitter account for Walter Palmer's dental practice has been set up to mock the dentist
A parody Twitter account has been set up to mock Mr Palmer

Social-media users have gone into overdrive in an attempt to shame the man who has admitted to killing Cecil the lion.

There was a global outcry when Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, admitted to killing Zimbabwe's most famous lion on a hunting trip. He has now been swamped with abuse and dark humour from web users around the world.

Read full article How the internet descended on the man who killed Cecil the lion

'You stink': The fight to get rubbish off Beirut's streets

  • 28 July 2015

The stench rising from rubbish piled up on the streets of Beirut, the Lebanese capital, has become so bad that an online campaign telling the government "You Stink" is now trending online.

Imagine the stench of 20,000 tonnes of rubbish on the streets during the hottest time of the year. That's exactly what the residents of Beirut have been living with for more than a week.

Read full article 'You stink': The fight to get rubbish off Beirut's streets

#TheEmptyChair moves discussion beyond Cosby

  • 28 July 2015
Bottom half of New York Magazine cover

New York Magazine's latest cover features 35 of Bill Cosby's 46 accusers - women, each seated, who say the comedian drugged, assaulted and in many cases raped them.

It is a stark visual representation of a "sorrowful sisterhood," as one of the accusers called it.

Read full article #TheEmptyChair moves discussion beyond Cosby

Why are some jokes being hidden on Twitter?

  • 27 July 2015
A tweet by @runologan reading 'Saw someone spill their high end juice cleanse all over the sidewalk and now I know god is on my side'

Joke thieves beware. Twitter has removed several humorous tweets that appear to plagiarise other people's work, on copyright grounds.

Comedians have long been frustrated at hearing their jokes retold, without attribution. But now Twitter appears to be offering them a way of fighting back - and claiming their words as their own.

Read full article Why are some jokes being hidden on Twitter?

Fat and fit: The plus-size model and the running magazine

  • 27 July 2015
Women's Running August cover

Women's Running magazine featured plus-size model Erica Schenk running on its August cover. The shot started a conversation about what it means to be athletic.

The image marked a departure for the athletic US magazine genre, which usually portrays ultra-fit models who represent an "aspirational" ideal.

Read full article Fat and fit: The plus-size model and the running magazine

Japanese comics that are too racy for Chinese censors... but still popular online

  • 27 July 2015
Despite a ban, Chinese Weibo users are continuing to share images and ways to read and watch the popular "Death Note" series
Despite a ban, Chinese Weibo users are continuing to share images and ways to read and watch the popular "Death Note" series

A Japanese comic is one of the biggest topics on social media in China - despite a government ban on the series.

The series Death Note follows the story of a young student named Light Yagami who discovers a notebook with a sinister power. If a name is written on the pages of this notebook, that person will die.

Read full article Japanese comics that are too racy for Chinese censors... but still popular online