Should politicians have the right to delete their own tweets ... forever?

  • 29 August 2015
The "Tweets MPs Delete" account, the UK version of Politwoops, was one of 31 accounts whose functionality was disabled by Twitter.
Image caption The "Tweets MPs Delete" account, the UK version of Politwoops, was one of 31 accounts whose functionality was disabled by Twitter.

One of the founders of a project to catalogue politicians' deleted tweets has hit back at Twitter for shutting down its accounts - even though he admits they were violating the network's rules.

It was a blow to a project designed to scrutinise public servants. Twitter has put a halt to the functionality of 31 "Politwoops" accounts. These were designed to highlight the behaviour of politicians who tried to delete things they'd posted on Twitter.

It worked by using a clever bit of software to consistently scrape the messages of politicians and discover when they tried to delete tweets. The Politwoops software would then automatically retweet those messages for posterity - making the "delete" button into something like its opposite, at least for politicians.

Twitter says the Politwoops accounts were violating its terms of use, and even being unfair to politicians.

"The ability to delete one's Tweets - for whatever reason - has been a long-standing feature of Twitter for all users," the company said in a statement.

Read full article Should politicians have the right to delete their own tweets ... forever?

Why has India blocked mobile internet messaging?

  • 27 August 2015

India's Gujarat state has reportedly shut down mobile internet messaging on WhatsApp after deadly riots - but people there continued to swap messages online.

A curfew has been imposed and the army has been called in - and now authorities have turned off mobile internet access in some parts of Gujarat. Reports differ on how extensive the block is and what exactly it covers, but it appears that mobile messaging has been cut off in the main city of Ahmedabad and other cities. Two days of violence has left eight people dead, although there was calm early Thursday in the ahead of funerals planned for those killed.

Read full article Why has India blocked mobile internet messaging?

Is it right to 'Facebook shame' alleged harassers?

  • 26 August 2015
A partial screenshot of Jasleen Kaur's Facebook post about an alleged harassment incident.
Image caption A Facebook post has triggered a debate in India about justice and online outrage

"No-one stood up for me," student Jasleen Kaur wrote on Facebook. "I decided to stand up for myself."

The Facebook post has sparked a heated debate in India about the "shaming" of alleged harassers on the internet. In her post earlier this week, Kaur said a man on a motorbike made obscene remarks to her at a traffic light in Delhi. She reported the incident to the police but also uploaded a picture of the man, which has since been shared more than 130,000 times.

Read full article Is it right to 'Facebook shame' alleged harassers?

Why are Syrians sending love letters to Angela Merkel?

  • 26 August 2015

Far-right protesters in Germany may be booing Chancellor Merkel, but Syrians are sending her loving notes on Facebook.

The message came in a tweet from Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees on Tuesday. Syrian citizens, the office said, would no longer be subject to the Dublin Regulation. The real meaning behind the rather dry edict? Germany won't send Syrian asylum seekers back to the EU country where they first landed - for instance, Greece or Italy. The move will potentially allow thousands to claim refugee status in Germany, and it seems to have been big news among Syrians.

Read full article Why are Syrians sending love letters to Angela Merkel?

Is it OK to dress up as Caitlyn Jenner?

  • 26 August 2015

Halloween is weeks away but some costumes are already causing controversy online.

An outfit inspired by Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover has been called "transphobic" and "deplorable."

Read full article Is it OK to dress up as Caitlyn Jenner?

When Moscow banned Fairy liquid, and other Western cleaning products

  • 26 August 2015
Images such as this circulated in Russia after the government announced it would move to take some foreign cleaning products off the market. The caption says: "Thank you Rospotrebnadzor (the Russian government consumer rights agency)"
Image caption Images such as this circulated in Russia after the government announced it would move to take some foreign cleaning products off the market. The caption says: "Thank you Rospotrebnadzor (the Russian government consumer rights agency)"

As Russian authorities took steps to remove foreign washing-up liquid and washing powder from shelves, Russians online reacted with both concern - and plenty of jokes.

The Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said it would take action against number of foreign washing products on Tuesday, including ones produced by Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, and other multinational companies. In a statement, the watchdog said tests had uncovered toxic ingredients.

Read full article When Moscow banned Fairy liquid, and other Western cleaning products

The foodie who hid an eating disorder

  • 25 August 2015

Blogger Gemma White didn't think she had the symptoms of anorexia or bulimia. But behind the pictures of luscious cakes and scrumptious meals on her blog, she was hiding a secret that was spiralling out of control.

If you're affected by the issues covered in this film, or would like any advice, you can contact eating disorder charity Beat or Anorexia and Bulimia Care.

Read full article The foodie who hid an eating disorder

Are video pranks really all that funny?

  • 24 August 2015
Dom Jolly says that for the comics themselves, pranking is all about adrenaline
Image caption Dom Joly says that for the comics themselves, pranking is all about adrenaline

Over the past year, several controversial pranks have been among YouTube's most-watched videos. They're often surprising, sometimes cruel - but are they really funny?

Some of the biggest online video stars rack up hits by playing tricks on strangers. On BBC Trending we've talked to a few of them - including comedians who aggressively invade your personal space and Yousef Saleh Erakat, aka FouseyTUBE, whose pranks often try to make serious points, but have also led to confrontations with strangers.

Read full article Are video pranks really all that funny?

Why are some Egyptians pining away for their long-gone king?

  • 23 August 2015
King Farouk I of Egypt (1920 - 1965)
Image caption King Farouk I of Egypt was overthrown in a 1952 revolution - but now some Egyptians are reminiscing about the days of the monarchy

Amid the turmoil and unrest of Egypt today, some are reminiscing about life under the country's last monarch - prompting an online debate about how good the "good old days" really were.

"I'm begging King Farouk not to leave Egypt to the army," an Egyptian tweeted recently - quite an odd plea, as Egypt hasn't had a monarch for more than 60 years. But that message, and thousands like it, were shared in a sort of mass historical role play that pushed the phrase "Tweet as if you're in the 1950s" to the top of Egypt's Twitter charts.

Read full article Why are some Egyptians pining away for their long-gone king?

Your top comments about... online comments

  • 22 August 2015
opinion buton

Are comments on news websites dead? Well, judging by reaction to a recent post about their possible demise - no way.

Earlier this week, BBC Trending looked at the debate about online comments in depth after news site The Daily Dot decided to close their comments section. The site's editor, Nicholas White, says he's now looking to social media for audience feedback, amid criticism of trolling and incivility on comments sections. But others, such Marie Lyn Bernard, aka Riese, of the LGBT website Autostraddle, says comments can serve a purpose, and that community interaction on a website can be a force for good, and give a tight-knit community a space to air their opinions.

Read full article Your top comments about... online comments