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19 September 2014 Last updated at 11:42

The minute Scotland knew

At 6:11am Scotland found out the results of its independence referendum.

The result triggered an outpouring of elation and despair on social media.

Video journalist: Neil Meads

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'The dream is over' for #YesScotland

An Instagram picture reading "When I wake up, well I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who wakes up next to you" A play on the Proclaimers' famous song was shared on Instagram

Scotland's "Yes" campaign had led the conversation on social media for months, so defeat saw disappointment trend throughout the night - as did jokes about Alex Salmond.

"Let's not dwell on the distance we've fallen short - let us dwell on the distance we have travelled," Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond posted on Twitter just before 7am today, his message now shared more than 3,000 times. Some of his supporters put more succinctly: "That's it... the dream is over," said one, as the official result was called just after 6am.

In the last 24 hours there has been a deluge of social media activity around the election. On Twitter, more than 2 million messages were posted about the referendum, as well as tens of thousands of public Facebook status updates, many in a final bid to influence voters going to the polls. Almost 85% of the electorate filled polling booths across Scotland, and this picture from Edinburgh was retweeted more than 1,300 times.

A sign reading 'vote' and 'pray' outside polling booth in a church

The loss comes despite the "Yes" campaign dominating the conversation across multiple platforms. In the past two days hashtags relating the pro-independence campaign were mentioned 378,000 times, as against just 138,000 for Better Together. Data released by Facebook this week also showed that independence campaigners had generated more discussion, though the gap was less pronounced.

More than 32,000 images have been uploaded to Instagram using the hashtag #indyref - many coming on the night itself - and providing a steady stream of humour to coincide with the results.

Shortly after the polls closed Irn Bru began trending on Twitter, and was still popular hours later as bleary eyed voters tried to stay awake. "I'm double-handing coffee & Irn-Bru!" said one. The soft drink, which is popular in Scotland, has been mentioned more than 6,500 times on Twitter in the last day.

Graph showing tweets about Irn Bru soaring Tweets about Irn Bru soared as the night went on

At around 4am this image of Alex Salmond emerged showing the SNP leader looking folorn, as early results did not go in his favour. "Sad Salmond", many tweeted, along with the picture.

Alex Salmond in the back of a car Many tweeted this image of the SNP leader along with the phrase 'Sad Salmond'

"Smoked Salmond" declared hundreds more in the hour following the result. Lord Sugar tweeted the phrase to more than 3.5 million followers, adding: "Cameron will be gloating today".

The parody account Angry Salmond, which has played affectionately with the referendum's biggest personality throughout the campaign, simply showed the leader in tears and said: "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."

A tweet reading "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to" showing a picture of Alex Salmond in tears

Throughout the night, the referendum trended around the world - featuring in the Twitter top ten in Australia, the USA, France and Russia. In both Kuwait and the UAE, a misspelt hashtag has been used by thousands - seemingly unaware of the error. #FreeScoltand has appeared more than 3,500 times in the last day from those two countries alone. "The dream of #FreeScoltand has been DASHED!," said one.

Map of the world showing where people talking about the referendum

The BBC has produced an interactive map showing global discussion around the #indyref hashtag, available here.

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NFL sponsors face online pressure

Will fan pressure on sponsors force the NFL to change its domestic violence policies?

This summer, a video showed American football star Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancée out of a lift. He received a two-game suspension.

But a second video released earlier this month showed Rice throwing the punch that rendered the woman, who is now his wife, unconscious.

People have taken to social media to protest the way the The National Football League (NFL) handled this case specifically and domestic abuse in general. After initially appealing directly to the league, many have targeted the league's sponsors, which account for over $1bn (£611m) of the NFL's $10bn annual revenue.

One of them was journalist and activist Adele Stan, who altered an advertisement for cosmetics company CoverGirl to make the model appear to have a black eye.

The image was posted with the hashtag #GoodellMustGo, referring to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The concept went viral, getting a Photoshop upgrade in the process.

CoverGirl responded on its Facebook page, saying "domestic violence is completely unacceptable" and urging the NFL "to take swift action".

Other sponsors, including beer giant Anheuser-Busch, have released statements expressing their concerns to the league.

The Radisson hotel chain suspended its support of the Minnesota Vikings team after one of the its players was charged with child abuse.

The NFL has hired three female advisers to review how the league deals with domestic violence and sexual assault.

This week, another player was arrested on domestic abuse charges.

Produced by Ashley Semler, Kate Dailey and Markus Zeffler

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Ireland's 'beyond cringey' soccer pundits

John Giles and Eamon Dunphy Pundits John Giles and Eamon Dunphy in latest Cadbury's ad.

Here at BBC Trending we are always on the lookout for stories trending on social media around the world. Here's a selection of three social media conversations that have caught our eye.

Ireland's footie pundits #FreeTheJoy with "beyond cringey" dancing

In the Republic of Ireland, two of the country's most well-known soccer pundits have become YouTube hits after taking part in an advertisement for Cadbury's chocolate. Eamon Dunphy and John Giles appear in the ad discussing football and soon get carried away dancing with joy to the song "Yes sir, I can boogie" by Baccara. The video has been watched over 250,000 times since Tuesday and uses the hashtag #FreeTheJoy. It's received a wide range of feedback online from "beyond cringey" to "the best thing ever".

Young British woman takes on China's "worst" job

A woman from the UK is being widely discussed on Chinese social networks after taking on one of the country's most unpopular and controversial jobs. The 21-year-old volunteered to become a local level Urban Management Officer, known in Chinese as Chengguan. "The woman has generated heated debate online as many Chinese view it as the most unlikely match up," says Zhuang Chen of the BBC's Chinese Service. "Every time Chengguan end up in the news, Chinese people fear the worst. They are associated with thuggish city management officials who are supposed to keep order on the streets but often end up abusing citizens." Chengguan's role is quite broad. They're inspectors who crack down on low level crime. But they're widely disliked in China after a number of controversies. It's reported the woman is trying to learn Mandarin so that she can succeed at her new job of telling pedestrians to keep the rules when crossing the street.

Miley Cyrus Miley Cyrus is currently on the South American leg of her Bangerz Tour.
Miley Cyrus gets a red flag in Mexico

The US singer Miley Cyrus is being investigated by Mexico's Interior Ministry over the possible misuse of the Mexican flag. During a concert in Monterrey in Nuevo Leon, one of Cyrus's backing dancers waved the national flag over her rear end. The incident caused uproar on social media. Cyrus could face detention or a fine. BBC Mundo has more about it in Spanish here.

Compiled by Anne-Marie Tomchak

Do you know more about the above stories? What's trending where you are? Get in touch with us on Twitter @BBCtrending or email

Passengers rise up against Pakistan's 'VIP culture'

Why did the passengers of one Pakistani flight rise up en masse against politicians for arriving late and holding their flight up?

Videos of the remarkable incident have been trending in Pakistan for two days, prompting a debate about 'VIP culture'. #BBCtrending has interviewed passengers who were on board and one of the politicians who was mobbed.

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Did Twitter 'detectives' help solve a hate crime?

A video still of suspects in a Philadelphia police investigation. Philadelphia police release images of suspects in a 11 September hate crime, assault and robbery

Thanks to social media, a violent crime may be closer to being solved.

Last week, two men in Philadelphia were approached by a group of "10-12 white male and females all in their early 20s 'clean cut' and well dressed," according to a police statement.

Members of the group "made disparaging remarks" about the sexual orientation of the men and assaulted them, fracturing one's face.

After police posted surveillance video of individuals matching the description of the attackers to YouTube, Twitter worked its magic.

Greg Bennett, a former reality television programme participant with a lot of followers, tweeted a Facebook photograph he said was provided by "a friend of a friend of a friend" showing individuals that appeared to match those in the video.

A tweet from Greg Bennett

Twitter user FanSince09, a Philadelphia-area sports fanatic, retweeted the photo with the exhortation: "C'mon YOU KNOW THESE PEOPLE. If you don't wanna tell the cops, tell me."

Others identified the restaurant, and FanSince09 searched Facebook for people who tagged themselves as having eaten there that night. He discovered images - with names - matching the photos and video.

He gave the information to the police and was thanked by one of the investigators.

"This is what makes my job easy," tweeted detective Joseph Murray. "Sure, it's up to me to make the arrest but we are all in this together."

A tweet from detective Joseph Murray.

According to Lauri Stevens, a social media consultant to law enforcement, this is a "beautiful" example of modern policing.

"With police losing officers as the result of budget cuts, they have to rely on social media for help," she says.

The Philadelphia police says no arrests have been made yet, but the Associated Press quotes a lawyer who says that some of the suspects will be questioned by police on Wednesday.

A tweet from FanSince09.

"There's still a lot of work to be done," says Sergeant Eric Gripp, social and digital media manager for the Philadelphia police. "But we're immensely grateful."

He adds that his department makes an effort to use social media to forge closer ties with the community: "A lot of times folks have a difficult time calling 911 and talking to a faceless entity. If you're not comfortable coming up to officers on the street, you can find one on Twitter."

Reporting by Anthony Zurcher

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Mexicans defend Ronaldinho on Twitter


Twitter users have hit back at a Mexican politician who called Ronaldinho an "ape" on Facebook. Tens of thousands responded using a hashtag which translates as "we are all apes".

Fans of Queretaro FC were delighted to discover their team had signed the Brazilian footballer, and many flocked to see him for the first time at their stadium in central Mexico on Friday.

One resident of the city wasn't pleased by his arrival, however. A local politician called Carlos Trevino found himself caught in a traffic jam caused by the the star's arrival, and took to Facebook to voice his annoyance. ""I try to be tolerant but I HATE FOOTBALL and the dumbing down it produces. I hate it even more because people block up the streets, making me spend two hours to get home," he wrote. The post soon took an unusual turn, as Trevino launched into a racist outburst: "And all this just to watch an APE. A Brazilian, but an ape nonetheless."

It was quickly deleted, but not before coming to the attention of social media users who were outraged by his comments. "What an idiot, hasn't he heard of Darwin?" posted a Mexican tweeter, who included the hashtag #TodosSomosSimios, which translates as "We are all apes".

The phrase, intended to show solidarity with the footballer, electrified the social network, and by Monday Trevino issued an apology via Twitter. "A sincere apology to @Club_Queretaro for my regrettable remarks... As a person and as a player, @10Ronaldinho has my respect," he wrote. It was not enough to prevent the hashtag being used almost 50,000 times, more than half of those coming in the last two days alone. "Trevino is such a fool. I'd rather be an ape than stupid and racist. An ape has more more brains than this guy," said another tweeter using the hashtag. The politician's twitter account is no longer available to view online.

Queretaro FC has urged the authorities to take action against Trevino, and the right-wing National Action Party, to which Trevino belongs, has said it will launch an inquiry into the matter.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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Chile's Gay Kiss

The on-screen gay kiss remains controversial in many countries. In Chile, a clothing company showed same sex couples kissing in an online advert, though then appeared to suddenly remove it.

The episode has inspired gay rights activists to create a parody ad - which has been viewed over a quarter of a million times, more than the original, and inspired debate on social media.

Video journalist: Greg Brosnan

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How useful is Facebook's #indyref data?

A laptop showing the Facebook website

Data released by Facebook yesterday showed a lead for Scotland's Yes campaign in terms of "interactions" on the network. But does this kind of social media data really tell us anything useful about how people will vote?

Facebook's press release was picked up by most major news organisations and timed to give publicity to their "I'm a Voter" button ahead of Thursday's referendum. It revealed there had been more than 10 million interactions concerning the referendum in a five week period. Of those, 2.05 million related to the Yes campaign and 1.96 million related to the No campaign. The release said there was a "slight lead" for the former in terms of discussion. "Overall 'yes' and 'no' conversation volumes are neck and neck, but momentum is shifting towards the Yes Campaign," it said.

To produce the report, Facebook chose a basket of phrases that represented the Yes campaign, and another set that represented Better Together. Each mention of these phrases, by anybody using Facebook, counted towards their respective totals. Every time someone liked, commented on, or shared those posts, the total number of interactions ticked up.

Facebook stresses it has only measured the volume of posts, and has not applied any analysis to their meaning. Sentiment analysis is fraught with difficulties - computers can't detect sarcasm, for example - so it is unsurprising that the company has decided to ignore it.

But looking at volume alone poses its own set of problems. The data makes no distinction between posts in favour of a particular phrase, and those which denigrate it. If someone posted "Let's get behind 'Yes Scotland'", a friend liked it, another shared it, and a third commented "I agree, I'm voting Yes", four interactions were added to Facebook's Yes tally. Equally, a user who posted "I can't bear 'Yes Scotland'" - with friends who liked, shared and commented in agreement - had exactly the same impact on the statistics.

Facebook also reports that "in personality politics, Salmond has a decisive victory over Darling". The leader of the Yes campaign has prompted 700,000 interactions, whereas the leader of Better Together has prompted 250,000. Here, the firm compiled the figures in a similar way, counting the number of times Alex Salmond was mentioned, and the number of times those mentions were liked, shared, or commented on - in any context - against the same figure for Alistair Darling. The data doesn't really tell us which leader is more popular, then, but rather which provoked a more vocal reaction, whether favourable or not.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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'Deadbeat' shaming on Facebook

A screengrab of the Dead Beat Kenya Facebook page showing an adult bird feeding its young

A Facebook group that names and shames parents who are not supporting their children, according to its founder, has gone viral in Kenya.

The social network may not seem like an obvious place to resolve paternity disputes, or accusations of missing childcare payments. But last week a Kenyan called Jackson Njeru set up a Facebook group to do just that.

Dead Beat Kenya allows parents who believe their child's mother or father has acted irresponsibly to post their name, photograph and phone number, along with a description of the grievance online. The closed group has attracted 155,000 members in little more than a week, most of them eager to comment on the cases rather than create new posts.

Of course, Njeru's plan is fraught with difficulties. How does he establish whether the claims genuine? And even if they are, is public humiliation really the best course of action?

Before the posts appear for others to see, Njeru says his team run a few checks. "We first call the person who is accusing, then we call the accused. From there if the person is not willing to take care of his or her own responsibility, that's when we approve the post," he tells the BBC's Focus on Africa programme. Since its launch, Dead Beat Kenya has been approached by lawyers willing to work on a pro-bono basis, and in six cases couples have reached a settlement as a result of the group, Njeru claims.

Not everybody thinks his actions are fair, however. BBC Trending spoke to one of the men accused of abandoning his child. "What she is saying is not true, and she is damaging my reputation," he says, referring to a woman who created the post. He denies he is the child's father, and is now considering legal action. "It is just a forum that is made to destroy relationships and put people on the line," he says.

Njeru argues that those making the accusations do not currently have sufficient recourse through the legal system. "Whatever we're doing, it's all because of the justice system," he says. "People are complaining the system is corrupt. They've tried taking their deadbeats there, but they are told to get a lawyer they can't afford."

Whilst adamant that the group is serving a public purpose, he does not anticipate acting with impunity for long. "I haven't had any court summons, but the group is still young."

Reporting by Sam Judah

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Outrage over actress in handcuffs

Actress Daniele Watts Actress Daniele Watts was put in handcuffs after refusing to giver officers identification

On 11 September actress Daniele Watts wrote on Facebook she was detained by police officers in Los Angeles. She had been kissing her boyfriend, Brian James Lucas, in a car.

They were sitting in a Mercedes parked on Ventura Boulevard. Watts, who appeared in Django Unchained, is black. Lucas, a celebrity chef who specialises in raw food, is white.

Those facts are not in dispute. Other parts of the story, however, are controversial.

"Studio City police mistook the couple for a prostitute and john," according to Variety. "Watts refused to show her ID to the cops, and was therefore handcuffed".

Watts with a police officer Watts was handcuffed before being released

In a photo she posted on Facebook, she is standing on a sidewalk, crying.

Afterwards she was placed in a police car. She wrote: "I was sitting in that back of this cop car, filled with adrenaline, my wrist bleeding in pain".

More than 6,500 people have liked the post, and it has been shared almost 4,000 times.

The incident strikes a chord for many people, particularly in the aftermath of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri

"I take my video camera everywhere," Bridge Golde commented on Facebook, "I'm thinking of have a T-shirt made that reads, 'I'm Black so I'm armed with a video camera.'"

Also on Facebook Richard Caroll wrote: "I am so sorry this happened to you. This was racial profiling."

Facebook trending page In the US, the incident was trending on Facebook

In a statement, the Los Angeles Police Department say they were responding to a call about "indecent exposure".

"Upon further investigation it was determined that no crime had been committed," the statement reads. "An internal complaint investigation has been initiated."

Charlton McIlwain, an associate professor of media at New York University, told BBC Trending the image of Ms Watts in handcuffs is deeply divisive.

"There are many who will look at it and say, 'The police are reasonable.,'" he said.

"For others it's tragic. For the past several decades, or even century, this image of African-Americans and crime has been the predominant one in the US landscape."

"It means we haven't come as far as we think we have," he said.

Reporting by Tara McKelvey

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Slum comedy a hit on Turkish YouTube

It's a story being repeated around the world. An old slum community is demolished and the residents moved to tower blocks.

But in one part of Ankara, local actors are turning this experience into a dark YouTube comedy.

#BBCtrending went on location to Çinçin, and met those responsible for the viral hit comedy "Yolunda A.S."

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending. All our stories are at

Trends of the week - in 60 seconds

BBC Trending 60 seconds

What's been trending on social media around the world this week?

From victims of domestic abuse sharing their stories on Twitter to the viral video in China of a young man being beaten up by several elderly passengers, BBC Trending brings you some of the week's top trends - in 60 seconds.

Produced by Ravin Sampat & Anna Meisel

Images courtesy of Getty, AFP, Ronald Martinez, Jessica Penney, Heather Milton

You can hear more from the BBC Trending team on BBC World Service every Saturday at 10:30 GMT, and you can subscribe to the free podcast here. Want to watch more Trending videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

‘Spider-dog’ prankster wants Poles to smile


YouTube trends don't get much bigger than "Spider-dog". Within just over a week, about 80 million people watched a dog in a spider costume scaring passers-by.

But the Polish YouTuber who made it is still relatively unknown. #BBCtrending caught up with him in Warsaw, where he told us about his mission to change Polish culture, his obsession with taunting the Polish police and just how far he will go for an adrenaline rush.

Produced by: Greg Brosnan, Anna Meisel

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Listen to BBC Trending

Chica the dog dressed as a giant spider

Listen to, or download, the latest BBC Trending.

Spider Dog is a global YouTube sensation, but who is behind it? BBC Trending goes to Poland to meet the man, and his dog, who have terrified over 7 million viewers. He claims he just wants to makes Poles smile more. So why's he so unpopular with the local police?

And a recent flag-burning campaign has raised questions over how to challenge the image of Islamic State radicals. We hear from one of those who started the campaign in Lebanon.

Listen to #BBCtrending

Presented by Mukul Devichand and produced by Anna Meisel.

We are on BBC World Service radio at 10:30 GMT on Saturdays and you can put us in your pocket and listen anytime by downloading our free podcast.

'There is no Empire left now'

A map showing discussion topics across the world

All over the world, the possibility of Scottish independence is being discussed on social media, throwing up some interesting insights into how the UK is perceived elsewhere.

If the debate over Scottish independence feels like a local story in the United Kingdom, think again. On the Russian social network Vkontake (VK) there have been over half a million status updates about Scotland in the last month. More than 40,000 people tweeted about Scotland in Arabic. "Escocia" - the Spanish word for Scotland - has appeared used more than 140,000 times in the last 30 days. The mandarin phrase for "Scotland referendum" has been used 210,000 times on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging service similar to Twitter.

What do these parts of the world make of the debate, and of recent polls which show the "Yes" campaign for independence making significant gains? It's hard to discern clear patterns, and many of those posting are simply sharing the latest news. But there are common themes that emerge.

In Russia, the Arab World and India, there are several references to Scottish independence in terms of the end of the British Empire. "Great Britain, which has lived off its colonies all over the world for centuries, should get a worthy retaliation," posted a member of the Russian Vkontake (VK) network - where 8,500 posts used the word "Empire" in relation to Scotland. "This is good news for us - the break-up of Great Britain, just like the British Empire in the past," said a fellow VK user. Others in Russia felt the potential for Scottish independence was similar to the decline of Russian power when the USSR broke up after 1989. Around 9,000 VK users used the terms "USSR" and "Soviet Union" alongside "Scotland". "This has made me smile. The energy that London put into the break-up of the USSR in the 1980s has backfired on them. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the next to come," said one tweeter.

The theme of Empire emerged in social media posts from India, too. "#India threw England out. Now #Scotland is doing the same. There is no Empire left now," wrote one. Similar sentiment was on display in the Arab world: "The old empire is scared of its future," one user tweeted.

A tweet reading "The British union, cemented with wealth looted from India, is past its use-by date" Many made reference to the British Empire on Twitter

Back in Russia, others posting on VK drew parallels between Ukraine's recent history and Scottish independence. Russians, who have long complained about the pro-Ukrainian slogan that "those who don't dance are from Moscow", adapted the saying with an image saying "those who don't dance are British".

Two people dancing in kilts

Of course, many of those posting used the forthcoming referendum to make a political point about their own country. "China is a control freak, it never likes seeing countries separate so it wants to control everything. I suspect that it will feel the same way with Scotland," read a message from WeChat user yiyang267.

The parallel with local politics was strongest in the Spanish language - and especially in Spain itself - where many in Catalonia want to break away from the rest of the country. "All my Catalan guts and heart goes to #Scotland #yes for the chance of deciding a better and fair future. Diada2014," said a Spanish tweeter. The hashtag is a reference to the annual Catalan National Day on Thursday, when hundreds of thousands of Catalans are expected to take to the streets to demand a referendum on their own future.

Reporting by Mukul Devichand, Gennadiy Kot (BBC Monitoring), Ravin Sampat and Sam Judah

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First Nations women ask 'Am I next'?

Woman holds "Am I next" sign? Holly Jarrett posted the first image to her Facebook page

Approximately 1,200 aboriginal Canadian women have been murdered or gone missing since 1980.

In February, an Inuit woman who was passionate about ending this violence went missing herself, her body found two weeks later in New Brunswick. Her former roommates have been charged in her death.

The death of Loretta Saunders has led to calls for a wider public inquiry into the high rate of murdered First Nations women.

So far the government has resisted these pleas, but pressure has stepped up on social media thanks to a new hashtag campaign.

The #AmINext campaign asks which woman will be the next to go missing or murdered.

Saunders's cousin, Holly Jarrett, originated the phrase.

"I wanted to spearhead a movement after Loretta's death," Jarrett told the BBC. "I didn't want to let her go."

Woman holds "Am I next" sign?

Jarrett began a petition in support of a public inquiry and started the hasthag after seeing the initials AIN online. She said it reminded her both of "ain", an Inuit term of endearment, and "Am I Next" - her feelings after the death of her cousin and 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, a First Nations woman who was found in a Winnipeg river early in August.

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report in May found aboriginal women account for 16% of female homicides and 11% of missing women despite only making up 4.3% of the county's population.

There have been more than 2,600 tweets since Friday, and almost 3,000 people have joined Jarett's Facebook group dedicated to the hashtag.

Women are posting photos of themselves with a piece of paper in front of them saying "#AMINext" and "#MMIW" - missing and murdered indigenous women.

Many use the tag to call for action from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He has said the deaths should be viewed as individual crimes and not as a "sociological phenomenon".

Jarrett says she will continue calling for a Canada-wide inquiry.

"There's been tons of independent research, but an inquiry is the most thorough process." she says. "[The government] knows an inquiry will hold them responsible."

Reporting by Taylor Kate Brown

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The row over a bus seat in China

A man attacks a younger man on a Chinese bus

Chinese people are sharing a video in which a young man refuses to give up his seat on the bus, and is beaten by several elderly passengers.

On buses in Wuhan, yellow seats have special meaning. Passengers using them are expected to offer them to pregnant women, the elderly or the infirm. The custom is frequently overlooked, however, and younger passengers routinely flout the rules.

But one young man occupying a yellow seat on a bus in the city in central China did not go unchallenged. In the video - captured on a mobile phone - an older man begins shouting at him, telling him to vacate the seat for another man standing right next to him. The young man refuses and begins shouting back, before being pushed and hit several times.

Three men attack a younger man on a Chinese bus The footage shows the young man being hit and pushed by elderly passengers

The video was uploaded to NetEase, a popular Chinese web portal, by an unknown user. The original has been viewed more than 160,000 times, and copies on other social networks have been viewed many more. The reaction on both NetEase and Weibo - a microblogging website similar to Twitter - has been fierce, and the vast majority of those commenting appear to be angry with the older people.

"If they have the strength to beat people up, why did they need seats?" said one. "The young man was wrong not to give up his seat to the elderly. However, those elderly people were even worse... Giving up your seat on public transport is a voluntary act. How can anybody use violent means to force others to give up their seats?" said another.

Incidents like this one are not uncommon in China, where tension between generations appears to be on the rise. The country's one-child policy - which has existed in a variety of forms since 1979 - has contributed to a skewed demographic shift. According to some estimates, a third of the population will be over the age of 60 by the middle of this century, and there are increasing fears that the population of working age may struggle to support them.

Pan Tianshu, an anthropologist at Fudan University, told BBC Trending that the problem is really about economics, not about age itself. "Instead of seeing this as just a generational war, we should see it as [the result of] increasingly limited public resources for a rapidly transforming society," he says.

The China News Service reports that no arrests were made by the police, and the young man was not seriously injured.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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Goodluck Jonathan reacts to controversial slogan

A campaign advert for Goodluck Jonathan The hashtag is being used by supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has asked his supporters to stop using an adapted version of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag to campaign for his re-election.

In one sense you can understand what the president's supporters were thinking. The #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, calling for 200 school girls abducted by Boko Haram militants in April, became one of the world's biggest ever social media campaigns. So why not borrow the slogan for the president's re-election campaign?

The hashtag #BringBackGoodluck2015 seems to have first been used on Twitter by a group campaigning on behalf of the president. On 30th August, they tweeted: "There is no vacancy in Aso rock [the president's residence] we want Goodluck Jonathan again #NigeriansDemand #BringBackJonathan2015."

It was never an officially endorsed slogan, despite appearing on signs and banners around the capital city of Abuja, but now the president has reacted to try and quash it. A press release issued by the president's office this morning says the campaign is "offensive and repugnant", and that signs and banners carrying the slogan should be removed immediately.

The slogan was widely criticised because it seemed to dramatically misread the public mood in the country. The abducted school girls are still held captive, despite repeated promises by the government - and President Jonathan himself - to secure their release. So far, the government has not taken military steps to rescue the girls, arguing that if force is used, they may end up being killed by the militants.

A major backlash against the hashtag soon emerged, as people took to Twitter to label it as insensitive. It has appeared more than 2,800 times in the last 24 hours, and the vast majority been used to criticise the slogan.

"That hashtag is not only inappropriate but it is insultingly silly. And it is bereft of any political tact," said one. Another said the slogan's inventor "has the combined IQ of 500 frogs. Why not coin another hashtag?". "I didn't realize Boko Haram had kidnapped the President!" said a third.

Japheth Omojuwa, a columnist at Nigerian newspaper Punch, told BBC Trending that he felt the decision to use the slogan was "absurd".

"They are using variation of our hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to campaign for the president," he said. "These are people that failed to secure the release of these girls over 150 days since their kidnap."

Terrorist attacks carried out by Boko Haram are still rife in the country. Research by Amnesty International suggests at least 2,000 people have been killed as a result of the conflict this year.

Reporting by Nasidi Yahaya and Sam Judah

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Ray Rice video sparks domestic abuse debate

Janay Palmer

They're not unusual questions to hear asked whenever talk turns to an incident of domestic abuse. Why did she stay? Why didn't she leave him?

Usually questions like these are said under the breath or behind closed doors.

For Janay Palmer, however, they have become the stuff of social media banter, thanks to Monday's publication of a security video in which she was knocked unconscious by her then-boyfriend, now-husband, American football star Ray Rice. (Rice was released from his contract with the Baltimore Ravens after the video went public).

The questions are misdirected, says Beverly Gooden, who spent a year in an abusive relationship.

"Why did I stay?" the Charlotte, North Carolina woman asks on her website. "Leaving was a process, not an event. And sometimes it takes a while to navigate through the process."

Hearing the question asked over and over again regarding Palmer prompted Ms Gooden to create the hashtag #WhyIStayed and post a series of tweets explaining her situation:

Tweet from Beverly Gooden

In less than a day, #WhyIStayed was used more than 71,000 times, as women and men tweeted stories and examples of why they couldn't break away from abusive relationships.

Sometimes, they wrote, it was out of fear - of their abuser, of the future, of the unknown. Sometimes it was because they thought they couldn't do any better or because it was what they deserved.

Tweet from @AndreaBerthot

Every explanation was unique and uniquely painful - providing a face and a name to a crime that often remains unrevealed.

According to a 2000 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.3 million women in the US are the victims of domestic abuse each year and only 25% of physical assaults are reported.

Another sobering statistic, often cited in this discussion, is that women are at greatest risk of death only after they leave or try to leave an abusive partner.

#WhyIStayed also sparked a companion hashtag, #WhyILeft, in which victims recounted what it took for them to finally walk out the door. Since it started Monday night it's had more than 18,000 Twitter mentions.


"I hope the women tweeting in #WhyIStayed feel powerful and heard," Ms Gooden tweeted after the hashtag had caught fire. "So thankful that you are here to tweet your voice."

Reporting by Anthony Zurcher

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Does Somebody deliver?

Miranda July debuted a new app that puts the social back into social networking. But will it work?

Filmmaker and performance artist Miranda July's new app, Somebody, is designed to put human contact back into social networking.

Sponsored by the fashion line Miu Miu, Somebody is a message-delivery system that relies on total strangers to intercept and deliver your words, in person, to the intended recipient.

"The most high-tech part of the app is not in the programming, it's in the users who dare to deliver a message to a stranger," the app promises.

"In this sense Somebody is a far-reaching public art project, inciting performance and twisting our love of avatars and outsourcing."

Those who have connected via Somebody are posting photos of their encounters with strangers using the hashtags #Somebody #Selfie - but others find that it's harder to connect in person than it seems.

Two women hugging A #Somebody #Selfie

Can such an ambitious project really work? The BBC took to the busy streets of Los Angeles and New York City to see if the Somebody app was living up to its promise, and if users were getting the message.

Video journalist: Anna Bressanin

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Ray Rice video sheds light on abuse

Ray Rice and his wife Janay at a press conference on May 23 Ray Rice was suspended for two games after striking then-fiancee Janay Palmer in February

The Baltimore Ravens have cut team member Ray Rice following the release of a video showing the running back striking his then-fiancee in February.

Earlier on Monday, the footage caused a firestorm on social media, with many calling for stricter sanctions against the National Football League (NFL) star.

A version of the video released earlier this year showed Rice dragging his unconscious girlfriend, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator in Atlantic City.

Both he and Palmer were charged with assault stemming from this event.

Her charge was dropped and he entered into a pretrial intervention programme. If completed successfully, the charges against him will also be dropped.

Rice initially received a two-game suspension, a move NFL commissioner Roger Goodell later labelled too lenient. Goodell subsequently announced new sanctions against players who commit domestic violence.

But a new video of the altercation emerged on celebrity site early on Monday, showing a much more graphic depiction of events. The black-and-white security footage shows Rice punching Palmer in the elevator with such force that she falls to the ground, knocking her head on the handrail.

Tweet from Ms. Rise Up expressing sympathy for Janay Palmer

It has sparked a far-ranging conversation on social media to about the league's initial response and the lack of legal consequences for Rice.

Many have expressed concern for Palmer, who recently married Rice, and questioned the value of sharing the video.

Tweet arguing that those upset about JLaw nudity shots should also be upset about thsi video.

But the video has been an eye-opener for many people who excuse violent behaviour against women, says Ruth Glenn, interim executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

A tweet from PrestonMitchum arguing people should stop blaming Janay Palmer, now Janay Rice, for a violence incident against her

"Those of us who have been working in this field for a very long time understand that this is not uncommon, this happens every day," she says. "I think social media has changed it a lot where we have an eye on it now, we can see it."

According to Glenn, such events can spur public discourse and potentially lead to change.

Tweet by Princess Chelsea condemning an earlier Baltimore Ravens tweet

Indeed, the new video has cast the initial reaction to the incident in a new light, with the initial response by the league, the police and the team all being scrutinised anew.

Mere hours after the video's release, the Ravens announced they had terminated Rice's contract.

Faith Jenkins tweets about Ray Rice's dismissal from the Baltimore Ravens

Following the news, fresh speculation arose online as to whether the team had cut the football star from their line-up for the violence incident, or for the negative public relations that followed.

Reporting by Debbie Siegelbaum and Ashley Semler

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Trends of the week - in 60 seconds

What's been trending on social media around the world this week?

From nude celebrity photo leaks online to the Indonesian woman arrested for offending an entire city on social media, BBC Trending brings you some of the week's top trends - in 60 seconds.

Produced by Ravin Sampat & Anna Meisel

Images courtesy of AFP, Getty, PA, Naveed King, Reddit, ThinkStock

When the Ice Bucket Challenge spread to Iran

The Ice Bucket Challenge - where people soak themselves in icy water to raise money for ALS - has spread worldwide.

But when Iranians tried to give money to the Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Association - the main US charity people to donate to - sanctions on the country meant they couldn't.

That, plus other levels of confusion and a water shortage in Iran, mean those doing the challenge in Iran have had to adapt, as #BBCtrending reports.

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Justice for AvaLynn draws questions

AvaLynn A photo from the Justice For AvaLynn Facebook page

The "Justice for AvaLynn" campaign has attracted attention on Twitter, Facebook and the crowdfunding website GoFundMe, with thousands outraged about the alleged assault of a Mississippi five-year-old. But as one local reporter tells the BBC, the story is not as simple as it seems.

In late August, Lacey Harris, the mother of AvaLynn Harris, posted a picture on Facebook of her five-year-old daughter with black eyes and large bruises. She wrote that, while at school, her daughter had been repeatedly kicked in the face by another child until she fell off of a slide.

Those who saw the images online were outraged by what they saw as the school's failure to act. The picture received thousands of likes and shares across Facebook and Twitter, and inspired the hashtag #JustiveForAvaLynn.

AvaLynn tweet

At the same time, Harris also created a GoFundMe campaign seeking $10,000 (£6,125) for medical needs, travel expenses, legal fees and lost wages. In eight days, it has received over $10,500 and been shared on Facebook more than 4,800 times.

But despite increased pressure from social media, the school maintains that the bruises were caused by an accident that didn't involve any other children.

A subsequent investigation by the police did not turn up any evidence of criminal activity.

"Essentially, that investigation is closed unless new information comes to light," April Havens, a reporter for told the BBC's Trending radio programme.

While Ms Harris still has many supporters, some are now sceptical about her motives - especially since copycat GoFundMe pages supposedly for Avalynn were shown to be hoaxes.

@GeneDemby tweet

"There are some who support the cause wholeheartedly and they've looked at these sort of heartbreaking pictures they've given and they support the family," Ms Havens said.

"There are others who say there are red flags. They question why a fundraiser was set up so early and what sort of costs would really would be associated with an injury like this."

The "Justice for AvaLynn" Facebook page posted a message this week saying that they are not behind any of the accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and Tumblr.

Reporting by Kierran Petersen

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Mocking women on Tinder

Tully Smyth and Tindafella

Meet Tindafella. The bearded Aussie recreating women's Tinder profile pictures with "hilarious" results. But is he taking things a step too far?

A profile picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of dating apps like Tinder, that's even more true. People can approve or reject an image within seconds. It's understandable that many upload distinctive photos onto their Tinder profile to stand out from the crowd, but is it acceptable to make fun of people for doing this?

This week a number of women on Tinder were trending after their images were reinterpreted. Tindafella - aka Jarrod Allen, an electrician in Sydney - began making the Tinder spoofs a few months ago. "The idea purely came from being bored waiting for a mate to finish work one day. I was sitting in his truck trying to entertain myself," says Allen. "So I started copying a few of the girls and sending them to mates. I later put them on Facebook and they were a bit of a hit. Been going ever since."

Instagram image of Elle_Mizzi

The images have been compiled on Tindafella's Tumblr and Instagram pages and they're being shared widely across social media. Many people have found them amusing, including the women featured. "I think it's hilarious and well done" says Tully Smyth, a TV personality and blogger in Sydney. "I actually met Tinderfella earlier this year and we recreated the photo together. He's a funny guy." Another woman Lorraine Mizzi exclaimed "I'm officially a Tindafella beach babe" after her avatar was recreated and shared on Instagram. But not everyone is impressed. "I find that Tindafella Tumbler at best mildly amusing and at worst just another in a long line of puerile internet rubbish that ridicules women" says Marie Berry of the women's blog Knockback. "It perpetuates the 'point and laugh' mentality that is rife online."

Despite a vocal contingent of feminists on social media, there hasn't been a strong backlash against Tindafella. His recreations have been hailed as "genius," "epic" and "spot on" and he has escaped accusations of "trolling" women on Tinder. "People seem to be seeing the funny side, which is the intention," he says. "There is no malice behind any of it. I'm just trying to make people laugh. Of course there are going to be people who take things way to seriously and kick up a stink... but hey, haters gonna hate." In the past few days Tindafella has received marriage proposals and has been described as the internet's biggest timewaster with far too much time on his hands. "People think they take a lot of my time but I'm rolling with the motto they have to be so bad they're good."

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak.

Arrested for calling Indonesian city 'idiotic'

Florence Sihombing post on Path

Sometimes there is nothing more infuriating than being stuck in a queue for petrol. But an angry complaint posted by a woman in the queue in Indonesia turned her into a hate figure and ended in her arrest.

Pulling up to refuel her motorbike in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesian student Florence Sihombing decided to skip the long queue for subsidised fuel for motorbikes and joined the shorter queue for more expensive fuel and cars, where she demanded to be served. When the attendants at the petrol station insisted she get back in the motorbike queue, she drove home and unleashed her frustration on social networking site Path by criticising the city, also known as Jogja.

"Jogja is poor, idiotic, uncivilized. Friends from Jakarta and Bandung, don't live in Jogja" she said.

Her post was screen-grabbed and shared on Twitter and Facebook, where thousands of people took offence at her comments about the people of Yogyakarta. Ms Sihombing, a masters degree student studying law at Gadjah Mada University, has been mentioned on Twitter more than 55,000 times since she posted her original comment last Wednesday. Hashtags such as #florencje and #UsirFlorenceDariJogja ("get rid of Florence from the city") began to circulate, demanding that she be evicted from the city. The campaign against her has been very personal: images of her bike's registration plate and a video of her complaining have also been posted online and thousands have commented under the video.

Then, the police got involved - but not to defend Ms Sihombing. Instead, after residents complained about her in numbers to the police, she was summoned for questioning on Saturday 30 August, and charged under the 2008 Electronic Transactions and Information Law for defamation and "inciting hatred". Yogyakarta has a conservative reputation, and public manners are valued highly.

Although unusual, this the not the first police action of this kind. There have been three or four high-profile cases since the new law was introduced. Ms Sihombing's lawyers said that the arrest was unlawful, while professors at the university, Twitter users and NGOs called for her release and criticised the reaction of the police to her online comments.

"The case highlights the importance for all of the social media users to be careful when posting any messages," Wicaksono, a social media analyst in Indonesia, told the BBC. "They also have to be careful in spreading somebody's else comments or messages. The case spun out of control because social media users in Indonesia tend to exaggerate things. They are also nosey. They want to know other people's business. And when the story was picked up by the traditional media, it went viral," he said.

For now, Ms Sihombing has now been released but the case is ongoing and her trial is pending. Voices on social media continue to call for her prosecution.

Reporting by India Rakusen, Mukul Devichand, Ravin Sampat & Mohamad Susilo

How the internet mourns Joan Rivers

Comedian Joan Rivers appeared in Park City, Utah, on 25 January 2010

Famed comedian and television host Joan Rivers has died following a cardiac arrest in New York last week. She was 81.

Fans of Rivers - known for her razor-sharp wit and put-downs of celebrity fashion - took to social media to remember the actress and activist following her nearly 50-year career. Here are some of the top things they're talking about.

1. Her philosophy on life

Rivers had an acerbic wit and refused to shy away from controversial topics, including the Holocaust and the widely-covered rescue of three kidnapping victims in Ohio. But just as her humour was blunt, so was her take on life - and in death, comments she made in public about hard work and success have been memorialised as inspirational quotes.

Cosmo tweet

2. Her political views

Rivers worked with the Human Rights Campaign in support of marriage equality and was a long-time supporter of Gods Love We Deliver, which brought meals to the homebound and those affected by HIV and Aids. As such, she was viewed by many as an icon in the gay community, and she was mourned by many gay fans online.

At the same time, her pro-Israeli views, especially the recent comments that the 2,000 Palestinians who died this summer deserved their fate - have not been forgiven after her passing.

Tweet from

3. The timing of her death.

They say deaths come in threes, and many fans are already pairing Rivers' passing with that of Robin Williams, who died in August. E!Online tweeted a photo of the pair, both seen smiling widely for the camera. The photo has been retweeted thousands of times and reposted often.

E!Online tweet

4. Her jokes about death

Whenever a celebrity dies, their statements about death take on a certain profound air. The Twitter account Letters of Note posted an image of some jokes she once wrote about death, which was retweeted more than two thousand times. "Is there anything worse than a boring death? (Other than a Charlie Rose marathon on PBS?) Other jokes that she made, such as "I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag", resurfaced online after news of her death.

mashable tweet

5. Her 2010 documentary

Once ridiculed for her plastic surgery and job selling jewellery on a television shopping network, the film 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work' showed how hard working, determined, and yes, funny, she could be. It lead to a career renaissance. The film is now streaming on Netflix, and many recommended that those who hadn't seen it watch in her memory.

A fan of Joan Rivers posted on Twitter on 4 September, calling her a "pioneer" and asking that people watch her documentary

Reporting by Debbie Siegelbaum, Kate Dailey and Ashley Semler

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Stripping to make a point about 'racism' in Brazil

Man strips in shopping mall in Brazil

A video showing a man stripping in a shopping centre in Brazil to prove he hasn't been shoplifting has been watched over half a million times and ignited another debate about racism in the country.

In the footage, a man has an outburst in the middle of a shopping mall in Salvador, the capital of Bahia state in northeast Brazil. He repeatedly removes his trousers and t-shirt, exclaiming "I'm not a thief. Look, I'm going to prove it," while opening his backpack and emptying the contents, and then gesticulating towards a private security guard. The incident happened after the man went into Centauro, a well-known sportswear chain. It was caught on camera by a bystander who can be heard saying, "He's right, just because he's black." The man, who hasn't been identified, receives a round of applause from onlookers. His exchange with the security guard continues outside, "Following me just because I'm black...."

The identity of the man is still unknown. The company that manages Centauro, SBF Group, denies allegations of racism. In a statement, the groups says it values diversity in the workforce and doesn't support any kind of prejudice. Irrespective, the incident has been interpreted as racism by many YouTube users. There have been hundreds of comments on various versions of the video online. "Let's follow this man's example. Starting today, every time we get chased unfairly in shopping centres let's take our clothes off," said one comment. Another wrote, "A person who says racism doesn't exist in Brazil lives in a parallel universe" and used the hashtag #ProudToBeBlack. Others disagreed, however. "This dude goes into an elite place dressed like a thief and he expects to be treated well?" said one.

This is not the first time the issue of race and class in shopping malls has been raised in Brazil. As we reported on this blog, earlier this year large groups of teenagers - many of them black - took part in flash mob style gatherings in shopping malls, with some saying they were establishing their right to be there. The groups, known as rolezinhos, organised themselves on Facebook. Last week the subject of racism resurfaced in Brazil after football supporters shouted "monkey" and other racist jibes at the Santos FC goalkeeper Mário Lúcio Costa Duarte, known as Aranha.

"There are lots of different ways that social media is being used to highlight racism," says Rafael Barifouse, a journalist with BBC Brasil in São Paulo. "For example, the Tumblr page I'm not racist gathers racist comments and publishes them in the one place. When an incident like this happens in a shopping mall and goes viral it brings the issue of race into focus."

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak.

Ashya King brother's YouTube savvy

Naveed King was a video blogger posting antics with his friends on YouTube, like many other 20-year olds.

But after his little brother Ashya fell ill and was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and his family fled to seek treatment abroad, his YouTube channel became a highly effective one-man PR operation giving their side of the story.

Video journalist: Greg Brosnan

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Armagayddon: Gay marriage in Ireland

A parody video about gay marriage has sparked a debate about the issue in the Republic of Ireland.

Armagayddon pokes fun at how Ireland will change if same sex marriage is introduced. It was made by the gay rights group LGBT Noise and has been viewed over 200,000 times on YouTube.

Civil partnerships have been available in the Republic of Ireland since 2011. The country is due to vote on same sex marriage in a referendum next year.

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending. All our stories are at

Produced by Anne-Marie Tomchak and Neil Meads.


Listen to BBC Trending radio

Two chilies

Listen to or download the latest BBC Trending radio show.

In this week's show we find out how a national chilli dish in Mexico sparked debate when a maid was filmed apparently taking more than her share of dinner. Her employer filmed the moment the maid was confronted and the video was posted to social media. Anne-Marie Tomchak finds out why thousands have been angrily tweeting #LadyChiles .

Also on the show a satirical video, Armagayddon has been trending in Ireland as the countdown to the referendum on same-sex marriages begins, and we find out why social media restrictions on journalists in India have ignited the trend #TwitterPasswords.

Listen to BBC Trending radio

The programme was produced by India Rakusen.

We are on BBC World Service radio at 10:30 GMT on Saturdays and you can put us in your pocket and listen anytime by downloading our free podcast.

Trends of the week - in 60 seconds

Trends in 60 secs - BBC Trending

What's been trending on social media around the world this week?

From the Washington dog who is a legend on Instagram and Twitter to the bra protest in Valladolid, BBC Trending brings you some of the week's top trends - in 60 seconds.

Produced by India Rakusen & Ravin Sampat

Images courtesy of AFP, Getty, @GanarValladolid, Cesar Manso

You can hear more from the BBC Trending team on BBC World Service every Saturday at 10:30 GMT, and you can subscribe to the free podcast here. Want more Trending videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Disowned gay teen speaks out

Daniel Pierce

When college student Daniel Pierce first came out to his family last October, they seemed to be supportive. His stepmother responded positively, even if his father said nothing.

He never expected that nine months later, they would kick him out of the house.

When he arrived at his Kennesaw, Georgia, home after finishing work on Tuesday, 26 August, Mr Pierce says that his family was waiting for him. Sensing that something was amiss, he took out his phone and began to film.

"I recorded the video because I knew something was going to happen and I wanted to protect myself in case I was harmed in any way," he told the BBC.

The five-minute video does not reveal his family's faces, but their message can clearly be heard.

"You can deny it all you want to but I believe in the word of God," says a female voice. "And God creates nobody in that way. It's a path that you have chosen."

Within minutes, the tense conversation escalates. A woman appears to strike him.

"Get off me!" he says, as the camera shakes violently. "What's wrong with you people?"


"No, what's wrong with you?" his family members yell back. Someone also says he is a "disgrace."

Immediately following the incident, Mr Pierce's aunt came to get him and took him in. He hasn't been home since. (His aunt supported this story when speaking to The Advocate.)

Mr Pierce, a 20-year-old who works at The Good Dog Co, a holistic and organic pet store, says: "If they would have just said 'Get your stuff and get out,' I would have said OK. I'm not the person who wants to get in a fight."

Tweet from @jgreenedragon

Later that night, Mr Pierce posted the video on YouTube.

"I wanted to prevent this from happening to as many people as possible," he says.

"If one family saw it and then changed the way they approached their child and it saved one child from what I went through that night, it was worth it," he says.

Within two days, the video received more than 2 million views. Mr Pierce's name has become a hashtag, with people showing support across the internet.

Scared my son by watching it (earbuds, check). He heard my shocked sobs & ran to me. I hugged him and wished I could hug #DanielPierce, too. @ahullum

One of his supporters created an online donation fund on, which has raised more than $78,000 (£46,993).

His boss, Regina Ryan, says Mr Pierce teared up when he learned about the fund.

"[His story] has gone viral because it has touched every genre of people--old people, young people, gay people, straight people," she says. "This doesn't just happen in the movies--it's for real. When it's in your face, you can't walk away from it."

Daniel Pierce post

Mr Pierce, who is studying business administration at Georgia Highlands College, says he would like to give some of the money to youth facing similar situations.

Reporting by Annie Waldman

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The Kuwaiti arrested for his tweet

Abo Asam Abo Asam is a well known in Kuwait for his satirical tweets

A charismatic human rights activist in Kuwait has been detained by police because his tweet was deemed to be "in contempt of religion".

Abo Asam is a big star on Twitter in the country. His scathing brand of satire has attracted more than 115,000 followers on the network, but often landed him in trouble with the authorities too.

About two weeks ago, he posted a lengthy tweet in Arabic. The wording is complicated and doesn't translate easily. In simple terms, It accuses a particular group - the Jamiya, from the Islamic Salafi sect - of blindly following their religious leader, Hamad al-Uthman.

The authorities considered the tweet offensive enough to warrant his arrest, and now Abo Asam has been detained for ten days, pending an investigation.

A tweet in Arabic, paraphrased in the article

The arrest shocked many on Twitter, and the hashtag #الحرية_لبوعسم, which translates as "freedom for Abo Asam" has been used almost 8,000 times. He "always stands by the truth," said one. "Is it possible that someone like Abo Asam could be imprisoned for a tweet? This is not Kuwait at all," said another.

Kuwaiti citizens have traditionally enjoyed greater freedom of expression than those in more conservative neighbouring countries. But in recent months a wave of arrests has alarmed many social media users, who are used to being able to openly criticise their leaders. Abo Asam himself was arrested in April for a series of tweets which appeared to make fun of the Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah.

Reporting by Sumaya Bakhsh

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Russia's rebel rockers

An amateur rock group claiming to be pro-Russian rebels based in Ukraine have become YouTube sensations.

With more than 1.6 million views for one of their parody videos alone, is this a spontaneous social media phenomenon or an online propaganda coup?

BBC Trending tracked them down for an exclusive interview.

Reporting by Greg Brosnan

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Canada, Russia in Twitter map fight

Russia responds to a Canadian jab on Twitter Russia posted this map in response to Canada's Twitter jab

This is Russia. This is "not Russia".

That's the message the Canadian Nato delegation tweeted, in map form, to Russian soldiers "who keep getting lost and 'accidentally' entering Ukraine".

"Geography can be tough," it notes snarkily.

On Tuesday Ukraine released video of Russian paratroopers it says it captured within its eastern border. In response, Russian military sources said the men had crossed an unmarked portion of the border "by accident".

Canadian officials, it seems, aren't buying the story. Since the tweet went live, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has alleged that Russian troops have been "deployed" in eastern Ukraine

The map, which was sent out on Wednesday morning, has been retweeted more than 16,000 times. Users took to social media to offer their own commentary on geographically misguided Russians and Canadian "cheekiness".

A Twitter response to the Canadian map tweet.

"This is probably the most aggressive Canadian act since like 1812," tweets Kelsey D Atherton.

Of course, Americans could also probably use a little remedial geography instruction, if a poll conducted by the Washington Post in April is any indication.

A Twitter response to the Canadian map tweet.

Only 16% of respondents correctly located Ukraine on a map, and more than a hundred of the 2,066 participants seemed to think the Eastern European country was somewhere near Greenland or, ironically enough, Canada.

As the Toronto Globe and Mail reports, the tweet - which notably includes the contested Crimean region as part of "not Russia" - isn't an isolated instance of Canadian criticism of alleged Russian incursions into Ukraine.

A map of "not Russia" tweeted by the Canadian Nato delegation.

"Russia's acts of aggression and intimidation toward Ukraine call for collective action," said Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on Tuesday. "Canada, together with its like-minded allies, must clearly speak out."

An illustration did not accompany that statement.

UPDATE: A little more than 24 hours after the Canadian Nato delegation sent out its now-viral map, the Russian Nato delegation returned fire with a tweet from its official account.

"Helping our Canadian colleagues to catch up with contemporary geography of #Europe," was the message attached to a map of the area around the Black Sea.

Most notably, the Crimean Peninsula is labelled "Russia" and Abkhazia and South Ossetia - which have declared their independence from Georgia but have not been internationally recognised - are shaded.

Russia and Georgia fought a battle in 2008 over the territories, which still contain Russian forces.

Conveniently left unillustrated is the portion of Eastern Ukraine that is currently home to most of the fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatist rebels, where Ukraine says the Russian paratroopers were captured.

We anxiously await a Russian-produced map of Canada that shows an independent Quebec. It seems to be the way diplomacy is being conducted these days.

Reporting by Anthony Zurcher

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The Indian journalists' #TwitterPasswords

Indian newspapers

In India, jokes about passwords have been trending online. They come in response to a report that journalists might be asked to share access to their Twitter and Facebook accounts with their bosses.

Most would balk at the idea that their tweets and Facebook posts could be written by their employers. But that's exactly what journalists at the Times of India have been left pondering, after sections of what appears to be a new contract were published by another news organisation.

A clause in the draft contract states that journalists will need to hand over passwords to their social media accounts - or create new ones - allowing their employers to make supplementary posts in the journalists' names. The move would give the paper an incredible degree of control over what its employees could say, and provide access to their personal information on Facebook.

The controversy played out on Twitter. Editor of news website Quartz India, Sruthijith KK, posted: "The Times of India just instituted a bizarre Twitter and Facebook policy," linking to his article which made the claims. A senior manager at the Times, Satyan Gajwani, hit back. "The piece by @qzindia is inaccurate. I told @sruthijith that but he wanted to run anyways," he said, later tweeting that the documents Quartz had obtained were "old".

So were the paper's plans genuine? Besides Gajwani's response on Twitter, the Times hasn't issued an official statement, and some have suggested the paper would have sued if the claims lacked substance. Madhu Trehan, editor of media news website Newslaundry, tells BBC Trending that Gajwani's comments were very vague. " 'How old?' is the question to ask them. Is the contract two days old or a year old?" she says. On Twitter Gajwani said a new version - with major changes - has been created, but not shared publicly.

Many responded on Twitter with a sense of resigned cynicism. "ToI is just being polite when it is asking for passwords. In reality they can just track every keystroke and click and conversation," said one tweeter. The hashtag #TwitterPasswords emerged, and soon span out into comedy. It has appeared more than 7,000 times to date. Many used it to mock Alia Bhatt, the Indian film star who famously failed to name the country's president during a TV quiz. Her password should be "incorrect", one joked, so that if she ever gets it wrong Twitter would remind her by saying "your password is incorrect".

An office manager asking his staff to hand over their social media passwords This scene from the film Office Space was used to mock the idea

Trehan says that if the paper does implement the policy, it will pose a dilemma for many journalists, particularly younger ones who may have less choice in the matter. "It's very difficult for someone being hired to take the decision 'Oh I'm not going to sign the contract'," she says. Neither Satyan Gajwani, the Times of India, nor Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd. - the paper's parent company that apparently created the draft contract - were unavailable for comment.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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Row over polish to detect 'rape drug'

woman painting nails

Four male college students at the North Carolina State University are developing a new kind of nail polish that changes colour in the presence of date-rape drugs, like GHB and Rohypnol.

The goal of their company, Undercover Colors, is "to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves," specifically against sexual assault, they said on their Facebook Page.

"With our nail polish, any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger," they said. "If her nail polish changes colour, she'll know that something is wrong."

Undercover Colors initially garnered praise, with hundreds of thousands of likes and shares across Facebook and Twitter.

"There are already bulky devices that can be used to test drinks for date rape drugs," writes Adam Clark Estes for Gizmodo .

"But it's not necessarily easy to carry these things around on a night out and whip them out at bars."

However, the inevitable internet backlash came from a surprising source - anti-rape advocates.

Tweet: Rape prevention nail polish sounds like a great idea but I'm not sure how you're going to get men to wear it.  (@andreagrimes)

"I'm appreciative that young men like want to curb sexual assault, but anything that puts the onus on women to 'discreetly' keep from being raped misses the point," writes Jessica Valenti for the Guardian.

"We should be trying to stop rape, not just individually avoid it."

Valenti argues that promoting products like Undercover Colors is not only ineffective, but also can lead to "victim-blaming," if women don't take all the suggested precautions.

Tweet: How about women don't have to wear a special nail polish and dunk thier fingers in every cocktail not to get raped (@lindywest)

"Women are already expected to work hard to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of sexual assault," writes Tara Culp-Ressler for Think Progress.

"Now, remembering to put on anti-rape nail polish and discreetly slip a finger into each drink might be added to that ever-growing checklist-something that actually reinforces a pervasive rape culture in our society."

Additionally, date-rape drugs are not necessarily a factor in the majority of sexual assaults as much as alcohol.

Tweet: This new nail polish that can detect the date rape drug is great if you think women aren't trying hard enough not to get raped.  (@kellyoxford)

Writing for Jezebel, Erin Gloria Ryan says that improving education around sexual assault could prove more beneficial than colour-changing manicures.

"Teach men that having sex with women too incapacitated to consent is rape," she writes.

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Listen to BBC Trending radio

American Journalist James Foley American Journalist James Foley

Listen to or download the latest BBC Trending radio show.

On this week's programme, we find out why people have responded to sharing of the video of the beheading of American journalist James Foley, with the call for an #ISISmediablackout. Presenter James Fletcher speaks to Joseph Carter, research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, about who was sharing the video and why.

The filmmaker Jon Novick tells us how he used a secret camera to expose attitudes to dwarfism in New York. And what are 'Cyber-Hindus' trying to achieve with their recent spate of pro-Hindu hashtags?

Listen to BBC Trending radio

Produced by Anna Meisel.

We are on BBC World Service radio at 10:30 GMT on Saturdays and you can put us in your pocket and listen anytime by downloading our free podcast.

Why are strangers photographing this dog?

Walking along a busy street in the Washington DC neighbourhood of Adams Morgan one can't help but notice a big face looking down onto the street from its window perch.

It is Romo, the "King of Adams Morgan" as he has been called, and a social media rock star in the US capital.

Ever since his owners Tiffany Bacon and Peter Scourby put a nameplate under the window, the 150-pound animal has seen his mentions on Instagram and Twitter skyrocket.

Now the couple is moving to the suburbs and neighbours are voicing their opinion on social media about Romo's departure.

Video by Annie Waldman and Franz Strasser

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The Spanish mayor and the bra protest

Residents of Valladolid tie a chain of bras around the entrance to the town hall

More than 500 protesters have tied a chain of bras across the entrance of a town hall in the Spanish city of Valladolid.

The idea began on Twitter, and is one of two anti-rape campaigns now trending in the country.

The demonstrators were calling for the resignation of León de la Riva, the mayor of Valladolid, following his comments in a recent radio interview.

Mr de la Riva, who has a history of making sexist comments, told the presenter he had qualms about being alone with a woman in case she falsely accused him of rape.

"Imagine you get into a lift and there's a girl trying to get it on with you. She gets in the lift with you, takes off her bra and skirt, and then runs out screaming that you've tried to assault her," he said.

His remarks caused outrage, and soon the hashtag #EscracheDeSujetadores began trending on Twitter. It has now been used more than 10,000 times.

Translating roughly as "bra protest", the hashtag has prompted exactly that.

It was created by Ada Colau, a well known social activist from Barcelona, who didn't know it would translate into Monday's real world protest when she first used it.

"It was a good way to sum up the indignation of women and of decent men in this country, but also it's a way of showing machistas like this mayor that they're not going to take away our dignity or our sense of humour," Colau tells BBC Trending.

Residents of Valladolid tie a chain of bras around the entrance to the town hall The chain of bras stretched around the entrance to the town hall

The mayor's interview followed a string of controversial events in Spain, which have also generated a big response online.

When a Spanish judge dropped a rape case against five young men in Malaga last week, anger at the decision flared up on social media, and spilled over into live demonstrations across the country.

The hashtag #NoEstasSola, which translates as "You are not alone", has been used more than 40,000 times since Wednesday, and 5,500 times in the last 24 hours.

It is meant as a message of support for the woman who made the initial accusations.

"For all women who have felt fear, insecurity, or sexual assault at the hands of a man #noestasola," said one tweet.

"No aggression should go unanswered," said another, calling protesters to join a demonstration outside Madrid's Ministry of Justice.

A female protester Protests took place outside Madrid's Ministry of Justice on Monday

The backlash was not simply in response to the case itself, but it was also fuelled by a number of unusual statements from Spanish officials.

The Mayor of Malaga asked locals not to draw attention to the case because there were more than 1,000 rapes in the country each year. The city should not be singled out as a dangerous place, he said.

Just weeks earlier, the Spanish government issued a controversial set of guidelines aimed at reducing the incidence of sexual assault in the country.

They advised citizens to keep their curtains closed and remove their first names from their letterboxes.

Critics were appalled by the approach, saying the guidelines shifted responsibility onto potential victims, rather than focussing on perpetrators.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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Trends of the week - in 60 seconds

What's been trending on social media around the world this week?

From a backlash against the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, to the Egyptians criticising their government by tweeting ironic crowd control tips to police in Ferguson, BBC Trending brings you some of the week's top trends - in 60 seconds.

Produced by India Rakusen & Ravin Sampat

Images courtesy of Getty, AFP, Reuters, Scott Barbou, Joshua Lott

You can hear more from the BBC Trending team on BBC World Service every Saturday at 10:30 GMT, and you can subscribe to the free podcast here.

Anti-abortion ice bucket ire

Man is doused with water

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been spreading across social media, raising over $50m (£30.16m) for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

But while everyone from Bill Gates to Justin Bieber has participated in the project, some are contentiously sitting out.

Abortion opponents in the US, including leaders of the Roman Catholic clergy, have discouraging participation in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

That's because the ALS Association, where participants are asked to send their donations, supports embryonic stem-cell research.

Since those cells are harvested from an embryo that is then discarded, pro-life groups say the process destroys human life.

Tweet from Whitney Eversole

"[Y]our money may end up supporting clinical trials that use aborted foetal cells," writes Rebecca Taylor for anti-abortion media organization Life News.

"Even if the money is not directly going to facilitate such research, it will be going to organisations that see no problem in using aborted innocents as biological material for medical use."

Some anti-abortion supporters are still doing the Ice Bucket Challenge, but with modifications.

Facebook post

Many begin their videos speaking out against embryonic stem-cell research and donate their funds to research organisations that are more in line with their values.

At the same time, pro-choice advocates have created a new challenge that raises funds for abortion-access charities instead of ALS research.

Tweet from Andrea Grimes

Pro-choice activist Andrea Grimes started the #TacoOrBeerChallenge as a joke after she grew tired of seeing so many Ice Bucket Challenge videos.

Tweet by Andrea Grimes

Many complied with her request to donate money to pro-choice charities, though neither drinking a beer or eating a taco is actually required.

"The Taco or Beer Challenge is about doing what's right for your own taco and beverage needs, just like having an abortion-or not-is about doing what's right for yourself and your family," Ms Grimes wrote on the pro-choice website RHRealityCheck, where she is a senior political reporter.

Taco or Beer Tweet

After taking the challenge, participants can submit videos and images, along with proof of their donation, to the official Taco or Beer Challenge tumblr.

Reporting by Annie Waldman

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Jaycee Chan and the viral video game

NATIONAL SEARCH FOR JAYCEE Can you spot Jaycee? The HTML game featuring the troubled star has gone viral

Troubled Hong Kong actor Jaycee Chan, more famously known as the son of martial arts legend Jackie Chan, has starred in a new video game after being arrested on drug-related charges.

The game called "The National Search for Jaycee" spread like wildfire on popular Chinese messaging app WeChat. The game is available to play online, and has been accessed more than 60 million times since being released on Tuesday.

The aim is to spot Jaycee amongst a sea of pictures of Kai Ko, a Taiwanese movie star who was arrested as part of the same operation.

"It's a great shame about his career but I had fun playing the game; it seemed pointless but proved to be very addictive," one WeChat user said. "Spot Jaycee? It's harder than finding Wally," said another.

Jackie Chan and his son Jaycee  attend a commercial advertisement taping on 21 January, 2009 in Shanghai, China Could the scandal help mend alleged strains between Jackie and Jaycee?

Last week's arrests come amid an ongoing crackdown - or "people's war" - on narcotics, which has already led to the arrest of several Chinese celebrities. Artist management agencies across Beijing have signed an agreement with local police, pledging not to recruit celebrities with reported drug use problems. Illegal drug use has been on the rise in China since the 1980s, and drugs are now bought and sold on social networks.

The operation is just one strand of Chinese President Xi Jinping's aim to solve what he sees as four key problems facing the country - formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance. Public displays of decadence, particularly amongst a newly rich elite, is reportedly a source of increasing discontent in the country.

While the fate of Jaycee's career remains unclear, Jackie Chan made a public apology on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, saying he felt "ashamed" and "sad" about his son's actions.

Reporting by Heather Chen

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Egypt's message to US police backfires

A tweet showing a man on a camel riding into a crowd and reading "For a memorable entrance, why not make use of local animals?"

Earlier this week an Egyptian official called for police in the US town of Ferguson to "exercise restraint". Many Egyptians have been twisting his barbed comment around, however, using it to level criticism back at their own government.

The statement from Cairo was directed at the heavily armed police response to rioting in Ferguson, which broke out when an unarmed black teenager was shot by police. But to some Egyptians, it seemed deeply hypocritical. Just a week earlier, a report accusing Egypt's police force of murdering 800 protesters near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque was published by Human Rights Watch.

Now, Egyptian Twitter users have been calling their government out on the issue, taking the statement as a joke, and running with it. Using the hashtag #EgyPoliceTipsToUS, they have been sending satirical tips to police in Ferguson, advising them to mirror the tactics police in Rabaa al-Adawiya were alleged to have used.

"Don't fire rubber bullets, it's a waste of time and money. Fire real bullets instead," one user posted. "Hire state sponsored thugs to infiltrate the crowd and sexually assault women to deter them from protesting," said another.

"For a memorable entrance, why not make use of local animals?" said a third, posting a picture of a man on a camel beating back protesters. Speaking to BBC Trending the user, known as Buthaynah, says "I think it's comical that a government with an abysmal human rights record - such as Egypt's should have anything to say about restraint."

A tweet showing a group of police beating a man and reading "Remember: teamwork is the key"

The hashtag, which has now been used more than 2,000 times, was started by an Egyptian known as Galal. He tells us he designed it "as a troll against Egypt's police" who are in no position to set standards on how to deal with protests. He says he wants the trend to act as an informal "record sheet" detailing their "past assaults".

There was by no means a consensus on the matter, though. An Arabic hashtag #مصر_تطالب_أمريكا_بضبط_النفس, which roughly translates as "Egypt asks America to show restraint", has appeared more than 6,000 times, and used to express support for the Egyptian government's remarks. "That's the Egypt that us Arabs are proud of," said one, and "Obama, you should try to be as wise as Sisi is," said another.

Egypt joins a host of countries in accusing the US of double standards - passing judgement on policing methods around the world, while appearing to take a heavy hand in presiding over civil unrest at home. Senior figures from Iran and Russia have commented on the matter as well.

Whilst not comparable to the Egyptian response to protests in terms of severity, organisation Amnesty International has accused Ferguson police of human rights abuses in recent days.

Reporting by Sam Judah and Nader Ibrahim

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Can social media save the Union?

In less than a month Scotland will vote on whether to leave the UK, in a referendum on independence.

Leading the official campaigns for each side are Yes Scotland and Better Together. But there are also large grass roots movements on both sides of volunteers on the ground and online.

Anne-Marie Tomchak from BBC Trending went to the Scottish Highlands, Edinburgh and Glasgow to find out how Better Together supporters are using social media to reach the electorate.

This is one of two BBC Trending reports featuring voices from each side of the referendum debate. Watch our video about Lady Alba, a Yes supporter using a cover version of Lady Gaga to satirise No voters.

Saying no to graphic images of Foley

A tweet reading "Instead of spreading the image and video of that horrible act, here's James Wright Foley. Remember him and his work."

Images and videos of James Foley's killing have been circulating on social media, distressing many who see them. A range of voices have emerged calling for positive images and memories to be shared instead.

A video released by the Islamic State jihadist group shows the beheading of the US journalist who went missing in Syria in 2012. The footage has been uploaded to Youtube and Facebook, and screenshots are also being posted on Twitter.

The hashtag #ISISMediaBlackout has been used more than 11,000 times on Twitter, by those denouncing the act of sharing the macabre images. In addition, many are now calling for more positive images and memories to be shared instead.

"Instead of spreading the image and video of that horrible act, here's James Wright Foley. Remember him and his work," said one, sharing the image at the top of this article. The tweet has been shared more than 2,000 times. "Point well made. It's chilling that a beheading can be turned into a spectator sport," read one response. Not everybody agreed with the calls not to share footage of the killing. "The world needs to see the barbarians we are dealing with, I think James would want us to, if not he died in vain!" replied another. Viewed as a whole, however, response to the messages has been overwhelmingly supportive.

A tweet reading "Dear Media, Please avoid sharing any images or videos of journalist James Foley's death- instead lets share this"

Pranaav Jadhav, a journalist based in the US, posted a similar message, with the picture above. "Dear Media, Please avoid sharing any images or videos of journalist James Foley's death- instead lets share this," it read. Speaking to BBC Trending Jadhav says "an argument may surface that it is important to show the real face of ISIS," but that since the group wants to "cause harm by spreading these videos, it is important to take a stand against them."

A tweet reading "Don't let ISIS win.  Remember James Foley in a positive way.  Celebrate his life! "

"Instead of seeking out the beheading video of James Foley, seek out his work, he died in the service of telling stories from dark places," said a fellow journalist. "Share this instead," said another, citing this article that he wrote for the Global Post in the month prior to his capture. Others called for people to watch a talk he gave at Medill University, or a BBC interview, both filmed in 2011.

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Going Gaga for Scottish independence

After over 300 years together, is Scotland in a 'Bad Romance' with the rest of the UK?

That's what Lady Alba thinks. She's become popular on social media after her spoof video about Scotland's independence referendum went viral.

The video re-interprets Lady Gaga's song 'Bad Romance' to poke fun at supporters of a 'No' vote, who want Scotland to remain part of the UK. It has been viewed over 83 thousand times on YouTube.

Anne-Marie Tomchak caught up with Lady Alba during the making of her next video to find out how she's using social media to campaign for a Yes vote.

Produced by Neil Meads.

This is one of a series of BBC Trending reports featuring voices from each side of Scotland's independence referendum debate. Later in the week you can watch how Better Together supporters are using social media.

To hear how the debate is playing out on both sides, listen to the #BBCtrending radio show here.

The 'viral' weapons in Syria's conflict

Image of a text file showing password information Youtube videos explain how to install programmes containing malicious code

Groups of pro-Assad hackers are using social media and the lure of disturbing online videos to hack into the computers of rival groups in Syria.

Last year, the Syrian Electronic Army rose to prominence when they hacked into news websites and Twitter accounts run by the BBC, CBS, and other high profile media organisations.

Now the group appears to be using "social engineering tricks" - offering content that typically goes viral on social media - to install spyware on computers belonging to those who oppose the Assad regime. And they appear to be working. Internet security firm Kaspersky estimates the malicious software has been downloaded around 10,000 times.

One of the tricks involves promoting videos claiming to be of victims injured in recent attacks by the Assad regime. When attempting to download the clips from file sharing sites, rogue software is downloaded as well, which could give hackers access to the computer. If successful, they can record keystrokes, obtain passwords, and record online phone calls. Another piece of bait used is a letter which purports to be between Syrian military units detailing forthcoming chemical attacks.

Part of the letter circulating on social media

Other methods include posting messages on Facebook encouraging users to protect themselves from government attacks by installing "Ammazon Internet Security" software - a fake anti-virus programme designed to compromise the user's machine.

David Emm works for Kaspersky Lab, an internet security firm that produced a report about the attacks. "It's social engineering. It's aimed at people who would be shocked or angered by what's been posted," he tells BBC Trending. Although it is impossible to be certain they are the work of the Syrian Electronic Army, there are clues that suggest they are involved. As well as the nature of the content itself, the spyware is passing information back to a server with an IP address provided by the TARASSUL, as ISP associated with the Syrian government.

Once infiltrated, the machines can be used to collect intelligence, and disrupt opposition networks. Emm says the attacks are likely to become both more prolific and more sophisticated as the conflict continues.

Social networks have played a huge role in the Syrian conflict to date. Government regulated news broadcasts have pushed many people online in a search for more information. Social media has been used for everything from breaking news, to documenting battles, and fundraising for opposition forces.

Reporting by Sam Judah

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About BBC Trending

A hand-picked selection of stories trending on social media around the world. Includes posts on the Magazine's Trending blog, twice weekly videos via @BBCWorld and a weekly radio programme on Saturday on BBC World Service.

Follow @BBCtrending on Twitter and tweet using #BBCtrending


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