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10 July 2014 Last updated at 17:21

The boy who smiled for Brazil

Photo of Tomaz smiling before the game

An image of a boy crying during Brazil's 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semi-final has captured the attention of the world - even prompting his father to respond with a picture of him smiling before the game.

As Germany was piling on the goals on Tuesday, cameras showed an inconsolable Brazilian boy in Mineirao stadium shedding tears into his drink, barely able to breathe and hiding his face behind his hands. The boy's copious weeping quickly went viral in Vine videos, GIFs and tweets, on a record breaking day for social media.

Tweet featuring photo of crying boy. Text reads "I hope the crying boy, whose picture is now around the world, can laugh about this one day."

"Seeing a weeping child broke my heart. I wonder if Brazil would've put more effort if they saw that boy's face," was one tweet. "Not a soccer fan but teared up when they showed that little boy hysterically sobbing after a goal... Brazil win for that weeping child," was another.

Stunned by the global reaction, the boy's father - Raphael Sardinha - has uploaded a picture on Facebook showing young Tomaz smiling before the game. "After seeing my son's crying in various national and international media outlets, I decided to post this photo," he wrote.

"I'll repeat what I told Tomaz, as he sobbed after Germany's fifth goal: this is just a game. It tears us apart, but it is only a game," he added. "It is sad, as a father, to see my son suffer like this. But certainly it is not the last time, and it won't be his last World Cup. With his good skills and left foot, maybe one day he will become a player and score seven goals against Germany."

He also raised concerns about the intense media coverage his son was getting, saying that the boy's weeping "belongs to himself only" - not to the world's media. "What remains is a reflection on how a child's sincere crying represents us all in an age of excess information, instantaneous emotions and artificial feelings."

Despite his concerns, Tomaz has featured in TV interviews in Brazil. "When I got to the stadium, I was quite positive that Brazil would win 1-0, but it would be hard, because the team is not good," he told Globo TV. "It took me a while to believe Brazil was losing 4-0, I thought it was a nightmare."

Reporting by Daniel Gallas

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Race at issue in first lady comparison

A widely shared image of Michelle Obama and Jacqueline Kennedy

On the left is a black-and-white photo of Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of President John F Kennedy. She sits at what appears to be a formal dinner table, wearing a dark dress and a pearl necklace. The lighting casts a shadow on her face, creating a mysterious allure.

The colour photo on the right is of First Lady Michelle Obama cheering at a basketball game. She leans to the left, eyes squeezed shut and mouth wide. Her right arm is raised, armpit exposed. She's in a blue tank top and a skirt that looks like a paint-splattered artist's smock.

Superimposed on the photos in stark white text: "What Happened America?"

The right-leaning website Human Events posted this image to its Facebook page on 18 June, and it has received more than 25,000 shares and 7,000 likes.

The picture reflects a consistent line of attack from conservatives who contend that Barack Obama has diminished the presidency. What happened? Nothing good, is the implied answer. The fact that Kennedy was a Democrat as well seems to make little difference.

In the more than 2,700 comments on the post, the conservative-liberal divide in US politics is set in sharp contrast.

"Jackie had a grace, elegance and humility that our current first lady doesn't have," writes Niki Tshibaka.

"No class, doesn't know how to dress even though we're paying someone to dress her, can't shave under her arms, thinks she's a TV star," writes Brenda Bennett.

A photo of Michelle Obama at a White House formal dinner Michelle Obama in more formal attire

"What I see here is FREEDOM (in many ways)," writes Kim Hunt. "Freedom to stand, be seen and heard, freedom to be herself."

"Mrs Obama is a real woman who tackles real issues like the health of children and education," writes Jean Reynolds.

Caustic political debates are nothing new in US politics, notes first lady historian Katherine Jellison, but Ms Kennedy was more insulated from the fray.

Jacqueline Kennedy swims with her daughter during an Italian vacation in 1962. During the Kennedy administration, government officials had greater control over candid photographs of the first lady

"The kind of image control that the Kennedy family was able to exercise just isn't possible anymore," the Ohio University professor says.

The irony is that Ms Obama is one of the more popular first ladies of modern times. While her two predecessors saw their favourability ratings decline during their husbands' terms in office, Ms Obama's approval has held steady around 68%.

Jellison adds that the real revelation from the Facebook image is how white and black women are portrayed in US society. Ms Kennedy is "demure and deferential", while Ms Obama is "boisterous".

"Ideas about African-American women being more assertive, speaking louder, all of those stereotypes are very much coming into play here," she says.

Reporting by Anthony Zurcher

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Why is Chuck Norris trending in Argentina?

Chuck Norris talking on the phone

Chuck Norris is trending in Argentina after the country's World Cup semi-final victory against Holland. So what has the US actor and martial artist got to do with football?

Famed for being the ultimate action man, Chuck Norris has inspired long lists of 'facts' about what a tough guy he is. The lists have been entertaining people for years.

Now Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano is getting the Chuck Norris treatment on social media after he played strongly despite sustaining a head injury early in the game. The hashtag #maschefacts is being used with posts to describe all of the awesome things Mascherano can do.

Chuck Norris and Mascherano

"Voldemort is afraid of Mascherano's name. #maschefacts" wrote Matty Benavides, referring to the evil character in the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling. Another by Pablo Nicolás said "If you try to draw blood, the needle bends #maschefacts."

Instagram image Mascherano even took on Morgan Freeman's role as God in Bruce Almighty

Chuck Norris is regularly spoken about on social media, especially in the US. But in the past day over half of the tweets about him have been from Argentina. There have been 44,000 #maschefacts posted on Twitter in the past day. Here's a selection:

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  • When Mascherano was in Liverpool he travelled back in time and taught the Beatles how to sing.
  • Mascherano opens an Oreo cookie and the cream stays on one side.
  • Mascherano takes the train in rush hour and always gets a seat.
  • Chuck Norris beats everyone. Except Mascherano.
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Concussion tweet

Not everyone on social media thought it was a sensible idea for Mascherano to continue playing after the head clash which left him visibly groggy. Thousands criticised the speed with which he was back on the pitch and questioned how effectively FIFA's protocol on concussion was enforced.

Taylor Twellman tweet

Many sports doctors, pundits and physiotherapists gave their opinion online including former US Major League Soccer player Taylor Twellman. He shared his personal experience of how an injury ended his sporting career and was critical of FIFA. Unsurprisingly, around one third of the conversation about Mascherano and concussion came from the US where it's a hot topic in the NFL.

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak

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Brazil thrashing breaks Twitter records

A Brazil fan holds her head in despair during the semi-final defeat to Germany

Brazil's 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semi-final has broken social media records.

The match was the most discussed sports game ever on Twitter, according to the company - with more than 35 million tweets. On Facebook it was a similar story. The match triggered the highest level of conversation on Facebook for any single World Cup game so far. More than 66 million people had over 200 million interactions and host nation Brazil dominated about a quarter of the global conversation.

Social media users almost couldn't keep up with with the rate at which Germany were scoring goals. Twitter Data shows there were a record number of tweets posted per minute - the peak being when Sami Khedira scored Germany's fifth goal of the match. At that point 580,166 tweets were posted per minute.

A tweet from @TwitterData which reads: "With 35.6 million Tweets, #BRA v #GER is the most-discussed single sports game ever on Twitter #WorldCup

Unsurprisingly people used social media to share their feelings about the game - be it shock, dismay, delight, elation, or hysteria. It was a rollercoaster of emotions for both sides. Images and videos showing Brazilian fans in tears were widely shared on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine. During the match parody pictures of well-known landmarks were doing the rounds and had become a meme by the final whistle.

A Trendsmap screengrab showing tweets around the world 70 minutes into the World Cup Brazil Germany semi-final This is how the Twitter chat around the world looked 70 minutes into the game

Along with heavy condemnation of their team's performance, Brazilians used Twitter to reflect on the situation and display national pride. #WeStillProudOfYouBrazil was trending after the game with more than 37,000 tweets. And it seems that the team's acting captain David Luis still has the unwavering support of Brazilian Twitter. The hashtag #DavidOBrasilTeAma (David Brazil loves you) was the top trend in Brazil, and has been tweeted more than 175,000 times.

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak

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'I'm single because of the bus'

Iacopo Melio holds up a sign saying "#VorreiPrendereilTreno", which means "I would like to take the train"

A student has sparked a trend calling for better access to public transport for people with disabilities in Italy. He - and many others - are using the hashtag #VorreiPrendereilTreno, or "I Would Like to Take the Train".

Italians across the country are sharing photos of themselves holding signs saying, "I Would Like to Take the Train". These include people with disabilities and without.

A photo posted from the Twitter handle @lorellaranconi showing a woman holding a #VorreiPrendereilTreno sign

"This is not my battle, but a battle for everyone," 22-year-old student Iacopo Melio told BBC Trending. Melio, who lives near Florence, started the trend a little over two weeks ago when he happened to see a tweet from Italy's former Education Minister Maria Chiara Carrozza.

In that tweet Carrozza wrote about the "magnificent" early morning train she was on, together with the hashtag #ITakeTheTrain. Melio replied, explaining how difficult it is for people with disabilities to take the train, because so few are accessible. He included the hashtag #VorreiPrendereilTreno, which translates as "I Would Like to Take the Train". It's been used almost 5,000 times since.

A photo posted by the Twitter handle @fabri_voice showing a man holding a #VorreiPrendereilTreno sign

Melio followed this up with a blog post, addressed to politicians, explaining how hard it is for someone in wheelchair - as he is - to take the bus and how this hampers his ability to socialise and live a full life. "I'm single because of the bus," he wrote. "Politicians help me!"

Melio says he needs to call the station a whole day in advance to find out if there will be a train that's accessible to him. Lots of people with disabilities have shared similar stories. And many without disabilities have joined in the discussion. "A world where we can land on the moon, but you're not able to take a train? We are fighting with you," was one of the many supportive tweets.

A tweet from @WoodyPhilosophy with a pair of glasses and the hashtag #VorreiPrendereilTreno

Melio says he never expected anything like the response he's had, but now he's got people's attention, he wants to keep the pressure on. "It's important that this battle does not end here," he says. "We need concrete results, we need solutions."

Reporting by Cordelia Hebblethwaite

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What price potato salad?

A screengrab of the potato salad on Kickstarter

One hungry man on a mission has now become an internet-wide obsession.

This week, Ohio man Zach Brown turned to crowdfunding to help fund a modest goal. He set up a Kickstarter page to help him make potato salad.

Not, let's be clear, an artisanal potato salad company. Not a new line of potato-salad flavourings influenced by his global travels, or a documentary about the history of potato salad. He just wanted to make a tasty side, but lacked the cash for basic ingredients.

He set a goal of $10 (£5.84). That's low considering that the majority of successful Kickstarter projects raise between $1,000 and $9,999, but steep for homemade potato salad. But the humble and slightly ridiculous request - Brown promised to say the name of each backer aloud as he made the salad - took off. Five days into his challenge, Brown has raised almost $60,000 (£35,000), with most donors giving $4 or less.

Some were inspired to start a fundraiser of their own. "A Kickstarter to line up every person who supported the potato salad Kickstarter for a sound slap," said writer Ed Yong. A UK-based Kickstarter stating that "potato salad is basically just a fallback for when people with taste have eaten all the coleslaw," has thus far raised only £33 ($56).

Others tried to piggyback off the trend for more worthy causes. "So Internet, we can crowdfund $22K some random potato salad, can I get $1500 to tech outfit a special ed classroom?" wrote one, linking to a request on the site GoFundMe,

Indeed, while more than 3,600 people were moved to donate to the potato salad cause, many following along online are less than impressed. "If you give money to some potato salad making hipster doofus instead of to say, cancer research, you should die in a fire," wrote one.

Brown himself admitted that the popularity had caught him by surprise. While participating in a Reddit Ask Me Anything, he wrote: "I never thought it would go this far. Ten dollars seemed like a good, conservative goal. I think the thing people are responding to is the opportunity to come together around something equal parts absurd and mundane."

Reporting by Kate Dailey

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The Smelly One meets Baggy Eyes

A composite image showing a woman holding her nose, meat on a fork, teeth with gaps and a man with grey hair

There are thousands of people tweeting using the hashtag #SomaliNicknames. What's all the fuss about?

Somalis love nicknames. And their nicknames are - to put it bluntly - pretty blunt.

White Hair, No Fingers, Chipped Tooth and Big Bottom, are all popular ones.

The hashtag #SomaliNicknames was first used on Twitter four years ago (the first tweet read: "Goatboy: Because he talks fast and sounds like a goat at times.")

It's been lying largely dormant since then, but has made a spectacular comeback in the last couple of days, with more than 6,000 tweets - from Somalia, the UK, the US and elsewhere.

Here is a selection of some of the nicknames doing the rounds on Twitter:

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Shiiraaye - The Smelly One

Ilka koronto - Electric teeth

Indho Buluc - Baggy eyes

Tima Cadde - Grey hair

Ayaan CNN - "because she talks too much"

Ali Fork - "because his front teeth are far apart"

Ayaan timaa riif riif - Ayaan kinky hair

Hafsa Caadey - Hafsa Fair One

Hassan Habeenimo - Hasan Night

Abdi Roast Meat - "beacuse he got caught eating the Christmas dinners"

Abdullahi BMW (Balaayo Madax Weyn) - Abdullahi Trouble with a Big Head

Leyla Lugooyo - Leyla "who cuts the legs from beneath you" (someone who is devious or unreliable)

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For more on the background to Somali nicknames, see Justin Marozzi's From Our Own Correspondent.

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Are #GazaUnderAttack images accurate?

Graphic images are being shared on social media to show how people have been affected by the renewed tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

Hamas has been firing rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, which has responded with airstrikes on Gaza. Several Palestinian militants have been killed and on Tuesday it was reported that at least 15 Palestinians had been injured.

Over the past week the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack has been used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects the airstrikes.

Some of the images are of the current situation in Gaza, but a #BBCtrending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Produced by Neil Meads

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What are #RamadanProblems?

A composite image showing two widely shared #RamadanProblems posts from Instagram. One reads "I'm sorry for what I said when I was hungry", the other "That feeling when you finally break your fast" and shows an image of a toddler eating spaghetti Two widely shared #RamadanProblems jokes from Instagram

You've probably heard of #FirstWorldProblems, but what about #RamadanProblems?

Ramadan started last weekend, and Muslims around the world are fasting from dawn to sunset. Thousands of people have been sharing their experience using the hashtag #RamadanProblems. It's a trend that runs right across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine and more.

Just like the commonly used #FirstWorldProblems, many of the tweets are jokey in tone. "It's about Muslims who are fasting who don't take themselves too seriously," says Uzma Atcha from Dubai, who has been using the hashtag, "It sort of shows the world that we're regular people - we go through the same struggles."

The hashtag has been around for a while but has "exploded on the Twittersphere" this year, she says. The US, the UK, Pakistan, Canada and the United Arab Emirates are the top countries using the hashtag.

Some are sharing tips and practical advice. Some of the discussion is aimed at helping non-Muslims get a better understanding of Ramadan. But perhaps unsurprisingly, a huge amount of the conversation is about hunger.

A tweet that says: "Saw this on Instagram and thought 'That looks delicious'. Then read the caption - 'Mixing Paint'"
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"These fasts are not very fast are they #RamadanProblems"

"I think I just watched my clock go from 2:54 to 2:53. I'm not joking #RamadanProblems"

"Staring at the fridge like it's your ex #Ramadanproblems"

"RamadanProblems when you walk around and see food instead of people"

"Had one of those 'really, not even water?!' conversations today #Ramadanproblems"

"RamadanProblems: the only time I have a date every night #Ramadanproblems"

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There are lots of big Ramadan trends this year. The term "Happy Fasting" has been used almost 200,000 times, for example.

Social media is building a sense of pride and community among Muslims around the world at Ramadan, says a journalist and cultural critic Laila Alawa who organised a discussion about the hashtag #RamadanProblems.

Countless Ramadan apps have been launched. There is a Twitter handle called Ramadan Tips and a Facebook page, Productive Muslim, with more than a million "likes". Many mosques and Muslim scholars are using social media extensively.

Twitter has got in on it too, introducing Ramadan "hashflags" - similar to those being used in the World Cup. If you use #Ramadan or #Eid in English or Arabic, a crescent moon icon or Arabic calligraphy appears beside the hashtag.

A tweet showing the Ramadan and Eid hashflags

More on #RamadanProblems on BBC Trending radio on BBC World Service at 10:30 GMT on Saturday. You can also subscribe to the BBC Trending podcast


Fighting for healthcare with social media

A composite image showing Yakubu Yusuf when he was well (l) and now (r)

Nigeria is renowned for online scams - but not so well known is how widely social media is used by friends and family to fundraise in genuine cases of medical need.

The hashtag #SaveYakubuYusuf has been used more than 6,000 times in Nigeria in the past week. People are calling for donations for 29-year-old Yakubu Yusuf, a psychology student at the University of Lagos, to pay for him to travel to India for treatment for throat cancer. They're looking for seven million naira ($43,000; £25,000) and are asking people to pay the money into his mother's bank account.

If you encounter a tweet or Facebook post that comes complete with a plea for help, an emotive image... and bank details, you could be forgiven for raising a sceptical eyebrow. Especially when the country in question is Nigeria, which has a well-deserved reputation for online scams.

But this case is 100% genuine. One of his friends has made a video showing Yusuf in hospital, and others have lobbied influential figures on Twitter to try to get support. "We can't beat this on our own - we are students," says Ishola Ebenezer, one of those coordinating the campaign. "Time is not on our side."

Yakubu Yusuf and Armstrong Aliche "Vibrant, intelligent, bright and kind": Armstrong Aliche (r) on his friend Yusuf (l)

One of those who's been contacted for help is Japheth Omojuwa, a well-known Nigerian blogger with almost 130,000 followers on Twitter. He's worked on many Twitter fundraising campaigns in the past. #SaveYakubuYusuf is the latest in a series of trends in the country, which have seen friends and family crowdsource funding for medical treatment, he says.

One of the most high-profile was #SaveOJB - to raise money to for a kidney transplant for music producer OJB Jezreel. #SaveBabyKenny was another - this time for a baby with a hole in her heart.

Though many of the social media campaigns have been successful, they shouldn't have to happen, says Omojuwa. "The underlying reality is of a failed society, of a failed system," he says.

"I come across this two or three times a week," says Ronnie Jacobs, founder of Cancel Cancer Africa, which aims to set up four "centres of excellence" on cancer in Africa. Many cases - like this - are genuine, but it pays to be vigilant. "It does happen - there are people who use other people's illnesses to raise money for themselves." He recommends anyone fundraising should team up with a recognised cancer charity to collect the money.

A tribute with lots of paper thumbs up to Stephen Sutton A tribute to teen fundraiser Stephen Sutton

In the UK, there have been some hugely successful cancer fundraising campaigns on social media - Stephen Sutton raised more than £3m ($5m) for the Teenage Cancer Trust before he died at the age of 19. And - as we reported on this blog - more than £1m ($1.7m) was raised as a result of the #NoMakeUpselfie trend.

Reporting by Cordelia Hebblethwaite

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The racist video that's shocked Australia

A screengrab from a YouTube video show shows a woman making a slitty eye gesture

Police in Australia have charged a woman after a video was uploaded to YouTube showing her hurling racist abuse at passengers on a train near Sydney.

Racially offensive gestures, mocking of accents, referring to a woman as a "gook". The three-and-a-half minute video is packed with racist abuse. It was uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday by one of the passengers who filmed it on the train. The video begins with the woman expressing her anger that some children have not given up their seats to let her sit down.

She then starts abusing a woman she calls an "Asian", and a man she assumes is the woman's boyfriend. "Look at this bogan here," she says, using an Australian slang term similar to "white trash". "He can only get a gook, he can't even get a regular girlfriend. It's so sad." "Gook" is a derogatory term which came to prominence when used by American soldiers in the Vietnam war.

The video has been watched more than 280,000 times and prompted more than 1,000 comments on YouTube - as well as discussion on Twitter and Facebook. "Good on those train passengers for filming that incident," tweeted Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane. "It's one way we can hold people accountable for racist abuse." In the video, several of the passengers are seen to challenge the woman directly for her behaviour.

Tweet which reads "Woman facing charges over racist Sydney train tirade, but outrage from so many decent Aussies is great to see."

Most commenting on Twitter were strong in their condemnation. "Wow, just wow #OnlyinAustralia #Disgracetothehumanrace," was one tweet for example. "I love it when technology brings transparency and accountability. This racist will rightly be shamed publically," was another.

Under Australia's Racial Discrimination Act, it is against the law to "offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate" someone because of their ethnicity or race. But the government is currently debating whether to repeal this section of the act. The plan is controversial, and some made reference to the proposal while discussing the video.

On YouTube, some defended the woman. "Can't blame her... migrants come here and think they own the place," was one comment. But many Australians apologised for her actions. "This woman does not represent the views of MOST Australians," wrote one. "Sorry for anyone offended, she is an entire nation's shame."

The Australian website ninemsns says it has tracked down the woman in the video. In an interview with them, she said she'd had a "really, really rotten day". She apologised for her actions and said she was "disgusted" at her behaviour. "No-one deserves to be spoken to like that," she said.

This is not the first time that racism in Australia has come to public attention. In June 2013 a woman was captured on video racially abusing an Asian schoolboy on a Sydney bus. Earlier that year, Malaysian-Australian newsreader Jeremy Fernandez tweeted about "15 minutes of racial abuse" he was subjected to on a bus.

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Teen hunter in Facebook showdown

Kendall Jones is a 19-year-old from Texas, a university student and a former cheerleader - but those characteristics of her life are not what she posts about on Facebook.

Instead Kendall's pictures mostly feature her posing next to large animals she has hunted and sometimes killed, legally, in Africa.

The page has attracted huge amounts of criticism in the past few days - with thousands of comments and online petitions calling for her to be stopped from hunting in Africa. But she is arguing back, comparing what she does to former US President Theodore Roosevelt, who started the country's national parks.

Video Journalist: Anna Bressanin

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Does #LikeAGirl challenge sexism?

Little girl in Always ad

A video for sanitary towels is trending on YouTube. But there isn't a direct mention of the product and only a subtle reference to the brand. It's a formula that has proven to be successful for companies. So what does it say about how advertisers are using social platforms to reach new audiences?

The video entitled #LikeAGirl was made for the brand Always, which sells feminine hygiene products. It presents itself in a candid documentary style and asks girls and boys of different ages about their understanding of what it means to be "like a girl". The filmmaker and director Lauren Greenfield says she teamed up with Always "to shed light on how this simple phrase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women."

It's a transparent attempt to debunk negative stereotyping associated with femininity. You only need to glance at the online conversation ignited by this video to understand why it's been so successful. "Moving", "amazing", "wonderful", and "inspiring" have been used to to describe it. #LikeAGirl is popular because it taps into an issue that resonates with people worldwide. Gender equality is one of the most prominent topics discussed on social media - look no further than the hashtag campaigns #NotYourAsianSidekick and #YesAllWomen.

Since Thursday the #LikeAGirl video has been watched more than 20 million times on YouTube and the hashtag has been used 75,000 times on Twitter. But does it do more than get clicks and start a conversation? Can it move the gender debate forward and sell products at the same time? "It's often difficult to quantify if a specific video sold more products as it will have been part of a much wider campaign. But there are examples where this has happened. The motherhood Fiat ad sold £500,000 worth of cars." says Christopher Quigley, co-founder of the Viral Ad Network (VAN).

Woman walking across zebra crossing

Advertising and simultaneous campaigning on social media is not new. Last year Pantene released an ad on YouTube using the hashtag #ShineStrong. It featured men and women in the same scenarios but using different words to describe them. The intention? To ignite a debate about how genders are perceived in the workplace. Perhaps the most ringing endorsement came from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who gave it the "'Lean In' prize of the day!" It only became apparent at the end of the video that it was an ad for Pantene. "As a fundamental principle, advertisers have to respect people's time and realise that they can click away at any point," says Christopher Quigley of VAN. "As long as you've enjoyed or engaged, there's no reason why you'd have a negative reaction to the brand."

So advertisers realise they can't just blatantly flog their products on social media. They're attempting to give people something extra and be part of a conversation. But there's a fine line between success and failure. This week's Twitter Q&A with the US singer Robin Thicke is a recent example of how things can go horribly wrong. Social media users are savvy and discerning which means companies have more exposure and are more exposed than ever before.

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak

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Americans scoff at Isis Twitter threats

A gun-toting Isis militant

When Americans were threatened with calamity on Twitter, many had a tart response - yeah, right.

The madness all started on Friday. Supporters of Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (Isis), the militant group that is leading a Sunni revolt in northern Syria and Iraq, used Twitter to take aim at the US public with the hashtag #CalamityWillBefallUS.

@ansaar999, a Twitter account that appears to have ties to Isis, tweeted a guideline for a "Warning to American People" campaign to its 23,400 followers, which included advice to send tweets in English and use images when possible, as well as where to find pre-written threats.

Among the recurring lines in the subsequent tweets: "If the United States bomb Iraq, every American citizen is a legitimate target for us" and "Every American doctor working in any country will be slaughtered if America attack Iraq".

A tweet by @ansaaar999 with guidelines for its "Warning to American People" Twitter campaign.

Included in the messages were graphic images of dead and grieving US soldiers, the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and black-clad Isis soldiers.

The tweets were sent to US politicians and media personalities, as well as celebrities with large social media followings such as Oprah Winfrey and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

So what was the motivation behind this social media onslaught?

The Investigative Project on Terrorism's John Rossomando and Ravi Kumar write that Isis's Twitter campaign "may be a combination of recruiting propaganda and an attempt to drive public support down for any future American strikes".

If it's the latter, however, the US response did not go quite according to plan. Twitter users in the US quickly adopted the calamity hashtag to rebuff the Isis threats and offer a few of their own.

Theresa Giarratano quoted a passage from the Bible, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay saith the Lord", along with a graphic containing the line: "Keep calm and death to Islam".

"We're YOUR nightmare," tweets @dernemax. "Every time you hear a plane or helicopter you will fear death from above." His message was accompanied by a photo of US soldiers with faces painted like skulls.

A tweet from the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications responding to a pro-Isis message.

When #BBCTrending asked @dernemax, an American who preferred to go only by his Twitter handle, why he took to Twitter to reply, he said he was angered by seeing photos of dead US soldiers.

"I got real frustrated with how many people were tweeting against America," he said.

Isis is "all talk and propaganda", he added. "They try to intimidate and scare people using social media. I wanted them to know it's not working."

The US government even got into the action, as the state department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) employed a Twitter handle it uses to engage US critics in the Middle East, @ThinkAgain_DOS.

When @Hzam_nesf tweeted: "We say to the US Government and swear to God that we will enter the White House and come to your cities", CSCC replied: "Like you haven't threatened us many times before! Btw, Osama officially retired from terrorism!"

As Americans might say: Oh, snap.

By Tuesday afternoon, there had been almost 100,000 mentions of the calamity hashtag, with 50% coming from Saudi Arabia - considered a hotbed of Isis support - and 23% from the US. It was not so much a globe debate as a shouting match between residents of two nations.

The #CalamityWillBefallUS had become a roiling sea of threats and counter-threats, graphic images and nonsensical links to Youtube music videos. It's the American way.

Reporting by Anthony Zurcher

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Police and guns on Tinder

Should Brazilian security forces be posing with their weapons on dating sites?

People posing in uniform are nothing new, but in Brazil one woman set up a blog to highlight the trend of police and army officers posting profile pictures on Tinder with their assault rifles.

Some people feel this isn't appropriate in a country where thousands of people die every year at the hands of the Brazilian security forces. #BBCtrending spoke to the woman behind the blog.

Video Journalist Paul Harris

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


The anti-Putin gay kiss

US singer Demi Lovato

Russian social media users are campaigning against the US singer Demi Lovato after her concert at New York's gay pride event on Sunday featured a controversial use of an image of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During a performance of Lovato's latest track Really Don't Care, two of her male backing dancers shared a kiss. One of them was naked except for a portrait of Vladimir Putin attached to his underwear. Shortly afterwards, hashtags about the event began trending in Russia.

A tweet showing the kiss at Demi Lovato's show. Tweet says 'So disrespectful'.

Thousands tweeted #DemiHurtsRussianLovatics ("Lovatics" is how the singer's fans refer to themselves) to show their anger over the incident. #StayStrongPutin has also been used as a way of demonstrating support for the president. "I used to be neutral towards her, but now I'm totally disappointed," wrote one Russian on Twitter. "Now I feel like our country is one big family! Putin unites people!" said another.

The event was also a big topic of conversation on the Russian social network Vkontakte. "She had no right to act this way. This has nothing to do with politics," wrote a VK user called Just Ann. "She should continue singing and leave politicians to deal with their countries laws on their own. What has she achieved?... If she's trying to protect gay rights, she'd better find another way. Offending the president of a foreign country is unacceptable."

And there was speculation about whether Lovato would be allowed to perform in Russia in the future. "Because of this the fans have turned their backs on her and she will very likely be banned from entering our country," wrote Anila Novikova. "And then they might ban all foreign artists. Bravo Demi."

Parody images were also shared online with some swapping the head of Vladimir Putin for an image of US President Barack Obama. Since the concert, there have been more than 28,000 #DemiHurtsRussianLovatics tweets and 19,000 saying #StayStrongPutin. It's not surprising that Lovato would make a statement about LGBT rights during this song. The music video for Really Don't Care features vibrant and colourful scenes from a gay pride event in California and opens with Lovato saying, "You don't have to hate because my Jesus loves all."

Stay strong putin image online

The vast majority of Russian social media reaction was strongly against the Putin "gay kiss". But many of Lovato's fans expressed support for the singer. "I'm sorry but she's just standing up for gay rights. Putin's horrible towards the gay community and it's SO wrong." wrote one fan.

The singer herself took to her Twitter page on Monday to respond robustly to the deluge of negative tweets. Lovato denied accusations she'd used offensive language to describe Vladimir Putin, but added "I did have Putin struttin in a rainbow thong. Get your facts straight bitchesss."

Reporting by Anne-Marie Tomchak

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

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Why Hugh Laurie is trending in Algeria

Two Algeria fans with their faces painted as the Algerian flag

The world rallied behind Algeria in the World Cup - from the British actor Hugh Laurie, to the trending hashtag "We are all Algerian".

They're out of the World Cup following their defeat by Germany on Monday night, but Algerians must be feeling the love, with many praising their classy performance.

In Algeria itself, all 10 of the top 10 Twitter trends on Tuesday morning were about the World Cup. The Twitter handle of Hugh Laurie, the British actor and star of the TV series House, was among them. He tweeted: "Algeria just plain bloody heroic," and Algerians clearly appreciated the attention. "Even Dr House congratulated us. We have all gained a family," was one tweet in response.

Hugh Laurie's Twitter profile

Throughout the tournament, a hashtag which translates as "We are all Algerian" (#كلنا_الجزائر) has also been trending on Twitter in the Arab world. It has been used in Algeria... but not as much as in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. To some extent this reflects just how popular Twitter is in these countries. And, given Algeria was the only Arab country to qualify for the World Cup, perhaps it's not such a surprise.

But the fact that people in Egypt have used it so widely is a little unexpected. In 2009, there were clashes between Egyptian and Algerian fans as they battled it out to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Flags were burnt and there were riots on the streets of Cairo after Algeria won.

That's all long forgotten it seems, as support for Algeria came in from across the Arab world. "Today, we are all Algerians. Best of luck to the Algerian team," tweeted Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf, as Algeria prepared to play their first game. After they were knocked out by Germany, the tweets still came streaming in. "For me, Algeria didn't lose, Algeria made us proud and has earned the respect of the world," tweeted Jordanian journalist Ola Alfares.

"Today, we are all Algerians. Best of luck to the Algerian team": a tweet from Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf, Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf is behind many of the most retweeted "We are all Algerian" tweets

Many across Africa also choose to cheer Algeria on. "Great effort by the Algerians. Africa is behind you," tweeted Steven Kabuoro in Kenya. A look at the hashtag #teamafrica shows lots of support for Algeria - particularly in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana (all big Twitter users).

Algeria may be out of the World Cup, but they're not feeling down about it. In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the country didn't score once. "We just wanted to score a goal," says BBC Arabic's Hana Chaich, who is Algerian. "And the way they played yesterday - everyone is celebrating like we won the World Cup itself!"

Reporting by Cordelia Hebblethwaite

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Robben's 'dive'... and other World Cup trends

What was trending around the World Cup this weekend?

#BBCtrending on a "diving" Arjen Robben, Howard Webb's "bravery" and support for Algeria from the Arab world.

Video journalist: Benjamin Zand


'I'm not a lab rat!'

A woman with the Facebook logo reflected on her sunglasses

It's emerged that Facebook "manipulated" the amount of positive and negative news in the feeds of almost 700,000 people as an experiment. Here's a taster of the reaction on social media.

"I am NOT a lab rat!"

"Creepy and disturbing"

"This is bad, even for Facebook."

As the tweets above show, many are clearly outraged on hearing news that Facebook - together with Cornell University and the University of California - carried out a study to see if people's moods were affected by reading a positive, or negative newsfeed. The answer appears to be "yes", although the effect isn't huge.

According to the study, which was published earlier this month, people reading more positive newsfeeds used very slightly more positive words themselves on Facebook, and vice-versa.

What has angered many Facebook users is that none of those taking part in the test were told they were being experimented on.

Facebook says this is perfectly legal under their terms of service. But, following the furore, Adam Kramer, one of the Facebook scientists involved, wrote in a Facebook post that he was "sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused".

That didn't stop the hashtag #Facebookexperiment being used on Facebook and Twitter. "Wait a second, maybe the Facebook study is itself an experiment to see if it will make me write angry things on Twitter," tweeted Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker.

A Facebook logo

Some commenting on the BBC World Facebook page didn't see what the fuss was about. "I think Facebook would be stupid not to do it," wrote Andrew Farley. "What an opportunity to learn about humanity."

But a few threatened to leave Facebook. "We should conduct a mood experiment on Facebook. 1. We all leave. 2. Someone asks them how they feel about it," was one tweet for example. Whether many will follow through on that threat is unclear. Back in 2010, a "Quit Facebook Day" was organised in protest at the company's privacy policies, but was widely regarded as a flop.

"We are reliant upon these technology platforms, and we cannot easily give them up," says Professor Ralph Schroeder at the Oxford Internet Institute. Schroeder calls the Facebook test "very troubling". "If this had been a study conducted within academia, I doubt very much it would have got ethical approval," he told BBC Trending.

Most importantly, he says, it shows how powerful "big data" is. It's not too much of a leap, he says, to imagine a "brave new world" where social platforms, governments or others, might try to condition our feelings and emotions - without us even knowing. Academics and regulatory bodies need to monitor this closely, he says.

Reporting by Cordelia Hebblethwaite

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Why is Tintin trending in Indonesia?

Jokowi as Tintin Images created in support of Joko Widodo and shared online

Get your ears around the latest global trends with BBC Trending radio.

Listen to BBC Trending radio

On this week's programme we find out why Tintin, zombies and a cover of Queen's "We Will Rock You" have all been trending in Indonesia. As the 9 July presidential elections draw closer, we look at some of the top memes and trends surrounding the campaigns.

Also, is it ever ok to paint your face black? Why #blackface has been trending around the World Cup.

Presented by Mukul Devichand

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


Is there a distinctive 'Indian English'?

An Indian flag and Union Jack together

Is there a distinctive "Indian English"? Yes, according to a hashtag that's been trending in the country - #IndianEnglish.

"Open the windows and let the atmosphere come in."

"Today is my Happy Birthday."

These are a couple of examples being shared on the hashtag #IndianEnglish. Since it took off early on Thursday, it's been used around 20,000 times in India.

It was started by 22-year-old Ojas Korde, a masters student in public relations from Mumbai. "On Twitter, we take things lightly," he told BBC Trending.

Indians often translate directly from Hindi when they speak English, he says. "It sounds really funny."

Other examples shared on the hashtag include:

"*Giving directions* Go straight you will get a circle. Take a round turn from that circle"

"Please revert back"

"I hate sound pollution due to traffic. It's very horny" [a reference to the sound of horns honking]

"I have to travel out of station" [away from home]

"I've invited our backside neighbour for dinner" [from the back of the building]

Many of the most-shared tweets are images of street signs, shops and the like, with dubious spelling and grammar (many have been collated here).

A tweet with an image of a toilet sign which says "Jents and Leadies" One of the images being shared on #IndianEnglish

"Indians are great at making fun of ourselves," says John Thomas, a well-known former journalist in India.

The hashtag is not Indians taking pride in the uniqueness of Indian English, he says - far from it. Indians are highly class conscious, he says, and aspire to speaking "correct" English. "An ideal Indian of class should be able to recite Wordsworth as well as literature of his mother tongue."

That said, one tweet joked: "British messed our motherland we mess up their mothertongue #IndianEnglish"

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


How #TeamMelli united Iran

Iran's World Cup 2014 campaign may be over, but the nation is still going home with something to cheer about.

Iranians from all over the world have been using the hashtag #TeamMelli - which translates as "national team" - to cheer the team on and discuss the World Cup.

Politics in Iran can be highly polarised, but #TeamMelli has helped bring many Iranians - both inside and outside the country - together.

#BBCtrending finds out more.

Video journalist: Benjamin Zand


Is it always racist to black up your face?

A photo of two fans with their faces blacked-up and t-shirts saying "Ghana" posted to Instgram by Jason Spears It was widely reported that these men were German, but their nationality has not yet been confirmed

All week, images of "blacked-up" fans at the Germany v Ghana game have been causing outrage around the world - everywhere but Germany.

Here is how it began: "I was pretty upset. I was angry," is how Jason Spears, a lawyer from Alabama, describes his reaction when he encountered the first of a total of eight fans with blacked-up faces at last weekend's Germany-Ghana World Cup match. There were even people lining up to take photos with a group of them, he says. Spears, who is African-American, confronted some of the men and told them - in no uncertain terms - just how offensive and racist he found their behaviour. The response from them, he says, was one of bewilderment.

Spears later found himself sitting close to two more fans with blacked-up faces and T-shirts with "Ghana" written on them. He assumed they were Germans dressed up to taunt the opposition. He grabbed a quick photo and posted it to his Instagram page. Over the following days, global outrage spread. Spears's post was widely shared, and reposted on Twitter and Facebook.

Start Quote

People in Germany, they think it's funny”

End Quote Mo Asumang Documentary maker

There were tens of thousands of comments on social media - including 10,000 tweets using the hashtag #blackface. Most came from the US and were highly critical - slamming the men in the image as "racist", and calling on football's world governing body Fifa to investigate. Fifa initially considered opening a disciplinary case, but told BBC Trending it had decided not to pursue it.

But as the global conversation continued, nuances and cracks started to appear. Firstly, though Spears believed the men in the photo to be German, others on social media suggested they may have been Swiss fans there to support Ghana. One theory is that their "blacking-up" was a well-intentioned - albeit clumsy - gesture. For Spears, regardless of where they were from, or who they were supporting, they were representing an offensive "caricature". "If you want to cheer for Ghana, you can wear a Ghana shirt," he says.

Minstrel show performers Alexander and Mose in 1931 In the US, blackface is associated with minstrel shows - like this one from 1931

In Germany itself, there was relatively little discussion of the image on social media or the mainstream media in the country. But what debate there was, was completely different in tenor.

"No-one wants racism, but you have to ask, 'Is this really racism?'" says Sascha Michel, who teaches at the University of Koblenz in Germany, and tweeted about the image. Dressing up is common at carnival time, Karneval, in Germany. People dress up as all sorts of things, he says - police officers, sailors and animals, for example, as well with blacked-up faces. He sees no difference between them, and argues that people who criticise blacking up are being politically correct.

Some on social media began to share an image of a black fan with white facepaint at a World Cup game, using the hashtag #whiteface, and questioned - perhaps ironically - whether that was racist too.

A tweet showing an image of a black fan with white face paint on at the World Cup, and the words "Hey @FARENET, @AfricasaCountry @FIFAWorldCup Did you notice this racist WHITEFACE soccer fan from Ghana? This image - and similar ones - were also widely shared online

"People in Germany, they think it's funny," says Mo Asumang a German-Ghanaian film-maker who recently made a documentary about race in the US and Germany. Germans don't necessarily know about the minstrel shows in the US where white actors where blacked up to play black people - who were portrayed as stupid, lazy and a whole range of other racist and negative stereotypes - she says.

In Germany, people are only just starting to question, and feel uncomfortable, about blackface. "I would say it's very important now for other countries to help us a bit in this debate," says Asumang. Just last year, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel was photographed beside some blacked-up children taking part in Three Kings Day, where - in Germany - it is traditional for some of the children to black up to represent one of the kings.

Angela Merkel and a child with a blacked up face on the Three Kings Day Angela Merkel has been photographed more than once beside a child in blackface - this image is from 2009

Perhaps more worrying, says Asumang, was a handful of extremely racist tweets from Germans during the Ghana match. One read: "Hopefully a few men will die of Aids in the middle of the field." Others made references to slavery.

Germany is far from being the only country in Europe where it's sometimes socially acceptable to black up. The Netherlands has Santa Claus's sidekick Black Pete, who is played by a white person with a blacked-up face. A group of police officers in France caused controversy earlier this month when they turned up at a party in blackface.

Reporting by Cordelia Hebblethwaite

There's more on this story on BBC Trending radio on BBC World Service on Saturday at 11:30 BST (10:30 GMT). You can listen here, or download the podcast.


Suarez 'bite': Social media reacts

A composite image showing some of the jokes being shared online. In this case, mash-ups playing on Hannibal Lecter and Jaws  Countless memes were shared online right after the incident

Social media exploded after Luis Suarez's suspected "bite" of Giorgio Chiellini during Tuesday's World Cup game between Uruguay and Italy.

Football world governing body, Fifa, is investigating the alleged "biting". If found guilty, Suarez faces a long ban.

Here are some of the many ways social media reacted to the incident.

Anne-Marie Tomchak reports on social media reaction

The wrong Suarez

A man from Buenos Aires named Diego Suarez - who happens to have the Twitter handle @Suarez - found himself bombarded with messages after the incident. "Please stop," he pleaded in a series of tweets. " I am not Uruguayan, I am not Luis Suarez.... There are many Suarez's in the world, I am not Luis Suarez please."

For the record, the Twitter handle for the real Luis Suarez is @luis16suarez. He has more than three million followers.

A tweet from @Suarez which says: ""Please stop," he pleaded in a series of tweets. " I am not Uruguayan, I am not Luis Suarez..."

Hashtag heaven

Here are some of the trending terms and hashtags - together with the number of times they have been used in the past day:

Suarez and #Suarez - 3.1 million

#BanSuarez - 55,000

#Bansuarezforlife - 2,5000

#Bite - 6,500

#Suarezbite - 5,000

Mike Tyson - 25,000

A tweet with an image of Mike Tyson which reads: "I taught Luis Suarez everything he needed to know to become a true champion

Brands 'bite'

Dozens of brands have jumped on board, hoping to capitalise on the incident. #EatASnickers, for example trended, after the company tweeted: "Hey @luis16suarez. Next time you're hungry just grab a Snickers," together with a picture saying, "More satisfying than Italian."

McDonald's in Uruguay offered him a Big Mac , and Nando's in the UK offered him a giant platter.

Meme-tastic

The incident was like a gift from heaven to the world of internet memes - playful images created by users with takes on Jaws, Hannibal Lecter and vampires were among the favourites.

A tweet showing Suarez with vampire fangs

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


World Cup? Look again

Does the logo look like a "facepalm"?

Brace yourselves! Because what we're about to tell you next will change the way you see the World Cup logo forever.

Have you noticed that the logo looks like a person "face palming"?

Thousands of people on social media have been discussing how it's impossible to look at the logo without seeing a "facepalm", once the resemblance has been pointed out.

Anne-Marie Tomchak of #BBCtrending reports.

Produced by Paul Harris


Why does Ronaldo have zigzag hair?

Cristiano Ronaldo in the Portugal v USA game on 22 June, showing his new haircut Stupid haircut or act of charity?

There have been tens of thousands of tweets about Cristiano Ronaldo's new zigzag haircut - with many of them praising him for his "tribute" to a boy who had brain surgery. But is this just a big Twitter rumour?

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo has been trending around the world since late on Sunday, not for his footballing prowess, but his latest haircut - a bold zigzag-y stripe on the right-hand side of his head.

When he first sported the new style in public, a few hours before the Portugal v USA game, Twitter erupted in a collective round of head-scratching and mickey-taking. Some suggested it merited a place among the World Cup's "worst haircuts". Others wondered if it was a funky-looking "7" - similar to Ghana's Asamoah Gyan, who has a yellow "3" dyed into his hair.

And there were thousands of references to a certain wizard's scar. "What's with Ronaldo's hair? Is he sponsored by Harry Potter now or something?" for example.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo is a massive social media star - with more than 110 million followers on Facebook and Twitter.
  • He came top in our recent World Cup social media XI.

But the widespread mockery of his locks - admittedly mostly from Americans - soon morphed into something completely different. And it sent the Twitter rumour mill into overdrive. A single tweet from a regular football fan with 900 followers seems to have been the trigger. The tweet read: "Ronaldo cut his hair to match the scar of a young fan who had surgery to remove a brain tumor last week. #respect."

That tweet has now been shared more than 11,000 times. It was also copied word-for-word and reposted by numerous larger accounts. In all, there have been about 50,000 tweets and retweets. The problem is, there's nothing to suggest this is anything but a rumour. Ronaldo himself has not posted to his social media accounts since before Sunday's match, and neither his agent nor the Portugal team have responded to our request for clarification.

A tweet from Nick Barrett which shows his scars after brain surgery and reads: "Ronaldo's almost as good as mine" Some people who've had brain surgery started sharing images of their scars

It does appear to be the case that, some months ago, Ronaldo paid for the treatment of a young child needing surgery for a brain abnormality, cortical dysplasia, which causes epileptic fits. The story was widely reported in the media - and a screengrab from a USA Today article about this was included in the original tweet. But whether Ronaldo's haircut has anything to do with this, or brain tumours - or anything else - is anyone's guess.

Whether it's true or not doesn't matter to 29-year-old Nick Barrett who lives in Florida and who had brain surgery for a tumour eight months ago. He tweeted photos of his large, curved, post-surgery scar after watching the game and the discussion online. "It brought back memories," he told BBC Trending. "When you walk around with a scar like that, everybody looks at you... It would be great if it just raises awareness about it."

Reporting by Cordelia Hebblethwaite

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


#FreeAJStaff: The hashtag in numbers

A journalist with taped up mouth against a blackbard with #FreeAJStaff Journalists around the world have posted selfies

As three al-Jazeera journalists are jailed in Egypt, the global protest hashtag #FreeAJStaff has surged. Here is a breakdown of the numbers.

#FreeAJStaff has been trending on Twitter all over the world, with more than 50,000 tweets so far on Monday. An image posted by Amnesty International was the most retweeted.

Pictures of people with taped mouths, Amnesty logo and banner reading Journalism Is Not A Crime

There have been more than 273,00 uses of the hashtag in total on Twitter, and it's also been used on other social platforms - for example about 2,000 times on Instagram. Other protest hashtags have been used more, however - for example #BringBackOurGirls, calling for the return of kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, has surpassed 4.5 million uses.

Al-Jazeera themselves seem to have started the hashtag on August 21, 2013.

Journalists in al-Jazeera's Doha newsroom Journalists in al-Jazeera's Doha newsroom

The name Peter Greste, one of the three men convicted today of spreading false news and supporting the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, was used over 10,000 times today on Twitter, with more than 60% of these posts coming from Australia, where he is from. Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are the other two journalists being jailed.

Many of the messages of support came from other journalists and people in the media. Larry King posted one of the most shared images.

A tweet from Larry King

Reporting by Ravin Sampat and Mukul Devichand

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


What makes a great parody account?

What do God, the Kremlin, Tilda Swinton and the Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan have in common?

They are each the subject of a popular parody account on Twitter - The Tweet of God, Not Tilda Swinton, Not Goodluck and KermlinRussia respectively.

Parody accounts have been around for years - one of the oldest was for Dick Cheney, former US Vice-President. We asked for your favourite parodies, and spoke to the people behind a selection of them. What makes a great parody account? Writer and comedian David Schneider gives BBC Trending his take.

Produced by Neil Meads

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Mapping jihad: How ISIS went social

The Sunni militants of ISIS aren't just taking over territory in Iraq - they're also trying to advance into people's social media timelines.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) are spreading violent videos and propaganda messages using hashtags and even their own smartphone app - which was later removed after a an investigative report about it.

The BBC Trending team have mapped ISIS social media posts across the world. They tell a revealing story about the group's strategy and support.

Video journalist: Benjamin Zand

Presenter: Mukul Devichand

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Israel's '#BringBackOur...' hashtag

Bring Back Our Boys campaign placards

The world rallied behind #BringBackOurGirls. Will the Israeli version, bitterly opposed by some Palestinians, gather the same attention?

A month ago, US First Lady Michelle Obama posted a much shared photo, calling for the return of schoolgirls in Nigeria. Her tweet came at the height of #BringBackOurGirls, one of the world's biggest ever social media campaigns. On Israeli social media, there are now calls for her to do the same for three Israeli students. The hashtag #BringBackOurBoys has been used 127,000 times since last Thursday when three Israeli teenagers, students from Jewish seminaries in the occupied West Bank, went missing. Israeli authorities believe they were kidnapped.

The Israeli campaign started after a group of fellow students decided they wanted to bring attention to the story. According to Keren Bar, one of the organisers, the aim of the hashtag was to bring the world's attention to something people in Israel only talk about. "We are not an organisation," she said. "We are just a group of students. We each do shifts to cover social media because we receive hundreds of messages from people showing their support."

Like Kenyans and Russian campaigners in recent days, they're consciously copying the "Bring Back Our..." hashtag format started by concerned Nigerians. "Regardless of the situation, they have been abducted," said Bar. "I'm frustrated that people outside Israel are not hearing this story."

But Palestinian campaigners on social media saw the issue quite differently. They moved quickly and were accused of "hijacking" the hashtag by using it to publish pictures of detained or dead children to highlight what they said was the disparity in the treatment of Palestinian children and young people by Israeli authorities. A Palestinian blogger, for instance, tweeted: 'Who will bring u back #AhmadAlSabarin 20 y/o …" in reference to a young Palestinian killed during clashes near Ramallah, which erupted after soldiers conducted house-to-house searches on Sunday night.

ADC campaign for #BringBackOurBoys

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Media Relations specialist at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), who have used the hashtag to highlight the plight of Palestinians, told BBC Trending that the ADC decided to use the same hashtag because "we also want people that access #BringBackOurBoys wanting to learn about the missing Israelis to also learn about the Palestinian children that have been abducted, imprisoned, and killed by Israeli forces."

The use of the hashtag by Palestinian campaigners has prompted the young Israelis who started it to renew their efforts to get it to trend globally. "The hashtag was stolen," said Bar. "We wanted to get the hashtag back."

Reporting by Abdirahim Saeed, Mukul Devichand & Ravin Sampat

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Crimea sings for Russia

Singing songs at the World Cup is one of the best ways of cheering on your national team in a large crowd. But what happens when the songs become political?

Russia is playing in Group H. Events in Ukraine are being reflected in social media trends around Russia's national football team.

In particular, Crimea being annexed by Russia is the source of inspiration for a number of unofficial World Cup anthems.

Anne-Marie Tomchak of #BBCtrending reports on how the songs are being used on social media to score political points, by both sides.

Produced by Paul Harris.


Should Kenya bring back its boys?

Kenyan troop points to a mural Kenyan troops were first sent to Somalia in 2011 to route out Islamist militants

The "BringBackOur..." hashtag format has spread to Kenya, where it's being used to channel anger after a deadly terror attack.

At first, Al-Shabab said they did it. The Somali militant group claimed responsibility for this week's attacks in the coastal town of Mpeketoni in Kenya, which left over 60 people dead over two days and shocked ordinary Kenyans. It now seems they might not in fact have been responsible, but still over 4,000 Kenyans have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #BringBackOurKDFSoldiers. The tag refers to the deployment of the Kenya Defence Force (KDF) troops in Somalia, which al-Shabab cite as the motivation behind their violent attacks in Kenya. Some are pretty clear. They are sick of al-Shabab violence and want their army back home. Others think that returning the troops would do no good.

Tweet from Xitan Dela's page Xtian Dela is responsible for starting many trends in Kenya and worldwide.

The hashtag is also smart campaigning. It echoes #BringBackOurGirls which brought global attention to the kidnapping of nearly 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamist militants in April. Popular Kenyan blogger Xtian Dela was one of the first to use the phrase, imploring his 228,000 Twitter followers to get it trending in the aftermath of the Mpeketoni attacks. "We've done hashtags targeting officials before, but they don't carry much weight," he says. "We chose this hashtag similar to #BringBackOurGirls knowing the world was going to pick it up." He says that that a lack of accountability at the top of Kenya's government means action must be taken. "Kenyans want someone to own up for the insecurity in the country," he says. "When we started the hashtag, we were telling the government, if you don't want to get rid of those responsible, then why not just bring the soldiers back to the country and solve this Al-Shabab issue."

But there's also a debate in Kenyan social media over whether withdrawing the troops would end the violence. Political consultant Ngunjiri Wambugu disagreed with the hashtag, saying it was "ill-advised". He tweeted that a withdrawal will not make Kenya safer. "We are forgetting why we went to Somalia in the first place," he said. "Before we went to we were still being attacked - withdrawing from Somalia will not stop that."

Reporting by Paul Brown

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All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Iranians celebrate 'dullest' World Cup game

Would you hold a street party for what some are calling the "dullest game" of World Cup 2014?

By near universal agreement of the football commentariat, Iran's opening World Cup game against Nigeria on Monday was not the most exciting of matches. The match ended in a goalless draw and was met by a fairly negative response on social media due to its lack of goals and action. But that hasn't stopped fans across Iran taking to the streets in order to celebrate. In cities as far and wide as Rasht and Shiraz, as well as the capital Tehran, fans have been celebrating publicly and posting about it on social media. People are talking about how they sounded their car horns, cheered and shouted in public.

Iranians hold street party for goalless draw. People shared pictures of themselves celebrating

But why such a public display over a result that was neither necessarily significant nor surprising for the Iranian national team? Some put the celebrations down to low expectations or bad results historically for Iran in the World Cup. Out of the 10 games Iran have played in the finals, this is only the fourth they didn't lose and the first time they got a clean sheet. It is also their first time they have taken a point in their opening World Cup match.

Imam on twitter posted: "I think we have made a new world record because I think we are the only nation who celebrates its scoreless draw!" Another user named Mohammed said: "I was just about to cry when I saw my people celebrating their national teams tie with Nigeria. How miserable and contempt we are!"

Iranians hold street party for goalless draw.

There is though, an underlying social factor, according to BBC Persian's Sina Motalebi, who is part of the BBC's tweet translation service @viaBBC, which has been tracking Twitter comments. "Public celebrations or demonstrations of joy are heavily restricted in Iran, so people use any occasion they can find," he says. Moderate football triumphs, election results or the traditional celebrations at the end of Persian New Year allow Iranians to get out and celebrate joyfully, in a country where the government usually won't encourage or allow this. "It's not necessarily because people found a reason in the result to celebrate, but rather more because people planned to get out after the game and they didn't find any reason not to," he says.

Iran have at least two matches left in the World Cup, with plenty more to potentially celebrate. But it seems that win, lose or draw, some Iranians will be on the streets making the most of the occasion regardless of what happens.

Reporting by Benjamin Zand


Persieing goes global

Dutch striker Robin Van Persie's goal in Friday's Holland v Spain World Cup match has sparked an internet trend.

Thousands of people around the world have been paying homage to the goal by replicating it and sharing images online using the hashtag #persieing.

Anne-Marie Tomchak of #BBCtrending speaks to the people behind the trend.


There are no giraffes in Ghana

Giraffe

That awkward moment when thousands of people turn on a major US airline to tell them there are no giraffes in an African country.

There is normally a landmark or iconic image that one associates with a country. Think London, you may think of Buckingham Palace. Think Rio de Janeiro, you might picture the Christ the Redeemer statue. But what about Ghana?

When Delta, one of the main US airlines, decided to congratulate the US football team for their victory over Ghana in the World Cup last night, they tweeted the number of goals each team scored, superimposed over a picture of the Statue of Liberty - for the US. And for Ghana, the image they chose was of a giraffe.

Delta tweet USA vs Ghana The original Delta airlines tweet, now deleted

The only problem here is, there are no giraffes in Ghana. So Delta's tweet was perceived by many as a stereotypical view of Ghana and Africa as a whole. Delta later deleted their tweet and apologised saying: "We're sorry for our choice of photo in our previous tweet. Best of luck to all teams."

The apology came too late to stop a tirade of criticism online, however. At one end of the spectrum, social media users accused Delta of being "racist pigs". A Twitter user tracked down the image Delta had used as a stock photo from the Masai Mara - on the other side of the African continent, in Kenya. A Twitter user in Abuja, Nigeria said: "If you're gonna talk about something at least take 10 seconds to study it a little. @Delta Africa is not a big bush full of wild Animals." Another tweet from Accra, the Ghanaian capital, said: "Ok so @Delta u think d best way to depict us is using a picture of a giraffe? Anyway that was a beautiful sight."

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a 2010 study found that there are no giraffes in Ghana. The animals remain in the wild in other parts of Africa including Botswana and Cameroon and have been introduced in Rwanda and Swaziland.

Reporting by Ravin Sampat

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Ai Weiwei sparks 'leg gun' craze

In this photo posted on Instagram on 11 June, 2014, and released by Ai Weiwei, Ai holds and aims his leg as a rifle in Beijing Locked and loaded: Ai Weiwei poses with his "leg gun" on Instagram

China's most famous dissident artist is armed with a "gun". And he's not afraid to use it.

Dressed in shorts, black socks and a straw hat, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei uploaded a photo of himself on Instagram last week, holding up his leg and aiming it as a rifle. He then accompanied the picture with the words "Beijing Anti-Terrorism Series," which he later explained was a reference to anti-terror campaigns.

Instagram users from around the world then began to follow suit, uploading images of themselves "brandishing" their "leg guns" using the hashtags #endgunviolence #gunleg #gunviolence. Close to 10,000 photos have been shared and Ai himself handpicked some and has been continually promoting them on his account.

ALVELYN ALKO

What's the message behind the "leg gun" meme? Ai, who has had a long history of using art as a form of protest, initially did not say. But in an interview with AP on Monday, he remarked that power was being "overused in the name of counter-terrorism". There has been a series of violent attacks and security tensions in China, and three men were sentenced to death on Monday, over a car crash in Beijing's Tiananmen Square last October that left five people dead. Local authorities have increased surveillance and tightened security in China's western Xinjiang province, launching what they call an "anti-terrorism campaign".

"Power is being used in the name of protecting you," Ai said in the interview. "But what the authorities are actually doing is something which deserves a lot of discussion."

Ai Weiwei instagram

"Ai Weiwei's work appeals to a very primal sense of justice that people thrive for," said gallery owner Michael Janssen, who has staged several exhibitions by Ai. "So when he begins work on a piece that could relate to anything, especially with politics, it always makes for quite an interesting phenomenon."

Ai Weiwei instagram

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is not banned in China. While the leg gun photos first began circulating on Instagram, the craze soon spread to popular Chinese messaging chat app WeChat where Chinese users were seen sharing their leg guns.

"Maybe Ai wants to remind us that firing a gun is a choice and by making ourselves (our legs) the weapon, we eliminate the distance between killer and victim," wrote Instagram user petrichor123.

Another user, gstab said: "It seems to be a reference to the Chinese national ballet where the dancers used their legs as rifles."

WeChat user mobdance58 said: "Could never master the harlem shake and was never one for planking - my legs have never felt so powerful before."

Reporting by Heather Chen

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The women 'sexually harassing' men

Graffiti showing a woman and reading in Arabic: 'No to Sexual Harassment' on a wall outside the presidential palace in Cairo This graffiti in Cairo reads: 'No to Sexual Harassment'

The hashtag "We will harass men" is trending in Egypt - it's been used more than 20,000 times on Twitter. Why?

Imagine a world where most sexual assaults were carried out by women on men, rather than vice-versa. That's what many in Egypt are doing right now, using the hashtag #هنتحرش_بالرجال, which translates as "we will harass men" or "we will sexually harass men".

It's the latest - and a somewhat surreal - twist to the debate raging Egypt over sexual harassment, which we have been covering on this blog after hundreds of thousands watched a shocking video of a woman stripped naked and assaulted.

The "We will harass" men trend is mostly tongue-in-cheek, with both women and men having a dig at attitudes to sexual harassment in Egypt. Some joke that men are being harassed because of their "tight trousers". Others that men are asking for it if they don't wear the veil.

The hashtag was started by a woman, who describes herself as a student in Egyptology, early on Sunday, and has been one of top trends throughout Monday. One female blogger tweeted: "LOL Egypt's top trending hashtag is 'we will sexually harass men'. Girls taking their revenge on Twitter."

But not everyone is amused. "Close this hashtag - you are immoral," tweeted one man. "You are disgusting. What a stinky women-orientated society," tweeted another. Some women objected too: "I dislike this hashtag, you can't solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it," tweeted one woman.

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

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Listen to BBC Trending radio

Vera Sidika at the BBC studio in Nairobi, Kenya

What's in your pocket? Take a walk with the BBC Trending podcast.

On this week's programme we find out why skin lightening is under the spotlight in Kenya and speak to the woman at the centre of the #BleachedBeauty trend - socialite Vera Sidika.

Listen to BBC Trending

Also, why sandwiches have become dangerous in Thailand.

Presented by Mukul Devichand

We are on BBC World Service radio at 10:30 GMT on Saturday - and you can catch us anytime you like by downloading our free podcast


'Bleached Beauty' defends skin lightening

The Kenyan socialite Vera Sidika has defended her decision to lighten her skin in an interview with BBC Trending.

As we reported on this blog, Sidika was criticised on social media for spending as much as $170,000 on skin lightening. People shared their opinions online using the hashtag #BleachedBeauty.

Sidika, often dubbed "Kenya's Kim Kardashian", told BBC Trending she has no regrets and blames society for encouraging skin lightening.

More on this story here, or subscribe to the free BBC Trending podcast here. BBC Trending radio is on BBC World Service at 10:30 GMT (11:30 BST) on Saturdays.

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


What do sandwiches have to do with democracy?

A woman in Thailand doing a three-finger salute

What do sandwiches have to do with democracy? And why has the Hunger Games three-finger salute taken off in Thailand?

There have been 12 coups in recent history in Thailand. But the latest - three weeks ago - was the first in the social media age. The military rulers now in charge are monitoring social media closely - meaning those who oppose the new regime have had to get inventive.

The sandwich-eaters

Sandwiches are not a particularly Thai food, but they've become very important in Thailand in the past few days. With political gatherings of more than five people banned, "sandwich parties" - organised via social media - have taken off. The first of these took place at Kasetsart University in Bangkok on 6 June.

State-run newspapers have warned people against eating sandwiches, and a senior police chief said they're keeping a close eye on the sandwich-eaters. Eating sandwiches is not illegal per se, he said, but if sandwich-eating is being used as a front - when the real intention is to criticise the coup - then that would be.

"Sandwiches" will soon be replaced by another "code word", joked some on social media. Sticky rice, anyone?

Three-finger salute

A woman in Thailand doing a three-finger salute

For the uninitiated, the three-finger salute in the sci-fi blockbuster The Hunger Games is a sign of rebellion against totalitarian rule. It's unclear how it started, but it's now being used by protesters in Thailand as a way of displaying opposition to the coup.

"Raising three fingers has become a symbol in calling for fundamental political rights," wrote one opposition activist on his Facebook page. He called on people to raise "three fingers, three times a day".

TV interruptions

Since the coup on 22 May, TV programmes have frequently been interrupted by the army listing names of people they're summoning for questioning. Many active social media users have been detained - along with those associated with the previous government. One high-profile figure on Twitter, Pravit Rojanaphruk, tweeted the entire experience of his own summoning for questioning. All those detained have been forced to sign an agreement which states they will not criticise the military government. Some have been charged.

A soldier with a gun in Thailand

Thailand's charge d'affaires in the UK, Nadhavathna Krishnamra, defended the measures. "In this initial period... people are being requested to avoid comments that may further inflame political opinion," he told BBC Trending. Facebook was shut down briefly in Thailand, but it soon came back online and all the major social networks remain free for people to use, he said.

Others disagree. "You can't really say it's a free space unless you can really use it to express opinions freely," Verapat Pariyawong, legal advisor to the ousted former deputy prime minister told BBC Trending. With 70,000 followers on Facebook, he's among those who've been summoned by the military. "By creating a sense of fear among the people, they are not going to succeed in silencing people - there will be backlashes against them," he says. "And even if they do silence Thai people, the rest of the world will still talk about them."

More on this story on BBC Trending radio on BBC World Service at 10:30 GMT (11:30 BST) on Saturday. You can listen here, or subscribe to the free BBC Trending podcast here.

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


India's controversial World Cup 'squad'

Indian kids create World Cup wall art

India isn't sending any footballers to the World Cup - the team haven't qualified since 1950 - but that doesn't mean they won't be represented. Six parliamentarians are being criticised on social media for their planned trip to Brazil using state funds.

Indian Twitter users used the hashtag #BJPFifaMasti more than 10,000 times since Thursday. The hashtag expresses irritation with the BJP political party for letting MPs and ministers travel to Brazil for what people are referring to as "masti" or "fun". The six individuals are Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from Goa state, which is governed by the same party that recently won the national elections too, the BJP.

The criticism on social media has been fierce. A rival political party tweeted: "More than 30% of Indians r poor & not getting food for 2 times, while 6 Goa BJP MLA's spending tax payers money in Brazil. #BJPFifaMasti". A famous parody account tweeted: "Now that Goa MLAs are going for the study tour to Brazil, they must learn Samba Dance. We must preserve all ancient cultures. #BJPFifaMasti". Another widely shared tweet said: "Poor Goa MLAs have such bad timing. Wanted to learn traffic management but will now have to settle for watching World Cup. #BJPFifaMasti."

So were the six off to Brazil simply to watch the World Cup? Goa state, which has cultural ties to Brazil as a former Portuguese colony, is promoting football as a sport. The trip was officially described as a "study tour" to learn about traffic management and tourism. According to opposition politicians the trip cost 89 lakh rupees ($150,000; £90,000). But they weren't intending to avoid football matches. A newspaper reported that the delegation would watch the first and second quarter-final clash at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, and then attend the semi-finals.

This isn't the first time that Indian politicians have been criticised for going on foreign tours. "These tours have happened in the past using public money," says Vikas Pandey of BBC Monitoring. "But Indians wouldn't necessarily know about it. They are now wired into the 24-hour news cycle and social media."

The hashtag seems to have had an effect. Since it started trending, the six individuals have said that they will bear the expenses of the trip from their own pockets, rather than the taxpayer.

Reporting by Ravin Sampat

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Why is sexual harassment so bad in Egypt?

A woman holds her hand up at a demonstration against sexual assault in Egypt

Why is sexual harassment so common in Egypt - and what can be done to stop it? These are the questions being discussed on a hashtag trending in Egypt.

Sexual harassment in Egypt has shot up the agenda after a shocking video which showed a woman being stripped naked and assaulted. It's believed to have been shot in Cairo's famous Tahrir Square, and has been watched by hundreds of thousands of people.

We first reported on the video on Monday here on BBC Trending. It's now prompting deep soul-searching on the reasons why women keep being attacked. A hashtag is trending in Egypt (أسباب_إنتشار_ظاهرة_التحرش), which translates as "Reasons for the Spread of the Harassment Phenomenon" (Arabic hashtags are often very long). It's been used more than 7,000 times on Twitter since Wednesday.

Common theories put forward on the hashtag include the popularity of "obscene" films. It's not Hollywood movies that are singled out, but locally-made ones, which are deemed too "racy", or seen to glorify men who behave in a sexually aggressive way. Others cite a lack of observance of Islam. Some of the tweets criticise women for the way they dress or behave. Others say men should be better at "controlling themselves".

Most of the tweets are from inside Egypt, but there's also been some discussion in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. More than 70% of the comments are from men, but it was a woman who started the hashtag. "All the men must know that this could happen to anyone - to your daughter, your mother, or your sister," she told BBC Trending. "We are trying to get social media to talk about this and think about it... What can we do to stop this crime in our society?" She doesn't want to use her real name in case she is harassed herself.

Egyptians chant slogans as they march in downtown Cairo to mark International Women's Day - 8 March 2013

In the past few months, there have been a number of campaigns on social media aimed at raising awareness about Egypt's sexual assault problem - but nothing has had anything like the impact of this latest video. The new president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi even went to visit the woman in hospital. "The video has helped put this message on mainstream media," says Kholoud Saber, a psychologist who works with survivors of sexual assaults. But Saber has concerns about the privacy of the woman, whose face has been shown by some media in Egypt. The fact that so many have watched images of her naked body during the attack could add to her distress, she fears.

Many of those using the hashtag are giving "excuses" not explanations, argues Saber. "Ours is a culture that does not respect women and does not respect women's bodies," she says. "We need to change this kind of culture as a whole." A demonstration against rape and sexual violence - organised on Facebook - is due to take place in Cairo at the weekend.

Reporting by Cordelia Hebblethwaite

BBC Arabic is holding a Google Hangout on sexual violence in Egypt on Friday at 12:00 GMT. You can watch it live here.

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


The World Cup social media XI

The big day has finally arrived. The World Cup is about to begin and all squads are chosen.

Who though, would make the team if it were based on social media - what would be the social media dream team?

Benjamin Zand from #BBCtrending takes a look at Twitter and Facebook to find the most followed and "liked" players heading to the 2014 World Cup to find the ultimate social media XI.

Video produced by Neil Meads


What's it really like to live in Libya?

Two photos of figs tweeted by @wheelertweets

No-one would deny that life in Libya is difficult right now, but a hashtag trending there, #MyLibya, is trying to show the positive side of life in the country.

"Since there is so much negativity and pessimism about the situation in Libya, I think it's about time we start a new hashtag #MyLibya," tweeted Khadija Ali, a 21-year-old student and freelance journalist, early on Tuesday morning. Since then, there have been more than 2,500 tweets using the hashtag.

Like the #OnlyinSomalia hashtag we reported on this blog, casting an eye over the tweets and photos gives a small window onto the day-to-day life - and frustrations - of people living there. The hospitality of Libyan people, the importance of family, the desert and the coast are all frequently mentioned on #MyLibya. Its been used widely right across Libya and among the Libyan diaspora around the world.

Sunset beach shot in Libya taken by Amena Shermadou

Khadija Ali started the hashtag in an attempt to counter what she sees as the negative or simplistic portrayal of Libya in mainstream news. Social media can skew to the negative too, she says, with some people keen to be the first to tweet about the latest attack, as a way of boosting their own follower numbers. Libyans on social media have a responsibility, she says, to point out the good things too.

For her, it's the small things - the sun glistening off the water, children on their way to school, or the roads being fixed in Tripoli - that give her hope. "Being here, you see the potential there is," she says. "There's no place I'd rather be in all honesty."

Mountain scene in Libya tweeted by @wheelertweets

Three years after the overthrow of Col Muammar Gaddafi - who ruled for more than 40 years - Libya remains highly unstable, both politically and in terms of security situation. Large swathes of territory are controlled by militias and successive governments have struggled to remain in control.

A composite image posted on Twitter by Khadija Ali showing food and some goats

Living in Libya can be "super frustrating" says 25-year-old Libyan-American Assia Amry who lives in Tripoli and has also been tweeting using the hashtag. "#MyLibya restored my faith in Libya... it reminded me why I'm here and why I continue to be here," she says. "It's not all militia and gangs - real people live here and it's important that these people and these places get highlighted too."

Student Amena Shermadou tweeted an image on the hashtag of her father kissing the ground as he arrived in Libya just after the revolution - for the first time in more than three decades.

A photo of Amena Shermadou's father kissing the ground on his arrival in Libya for the first time in 32 years

She lives in Ohio and had hoped to fly to Benghazi herself for only the second time in her life last week, but the airport was closed and the flight was cancelled because of fighting in the city. "Seeing the #MyLibya tweets gives me hope," she says. "We are all united in one thing - we all want and hope for the best for Libya."

Reporting by Cordelia Hebblethwaite

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


British values... according to Twitter

A fry-up with a cup of tea and a Union Jack flag

What are British values? The Twittersphere has its own answers.

England's Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to promote "British values" in schools - including democracy, mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths. The proposal comes after the "Trojan Horse" scandal, in which a group of fundamentalist Muslims were alleged to be plotting to "takeover" some schools in Birmingham.

But many on Twitter have been joking about exactly what British values are - using the hashtag #BritishValues. There have been more than 25,000 tweets since Monday.

One of the most retweeted came from the @SoVeryBritish account which wrote: "Waiting for permission to leave after paying for something with the exact change #BritishValues." British Brand Marmite seized on the opportunity, and shared a photo of a jar of Marmite, with the simple words "Me".

Popular Twitter commentator @fleetstreetfox tweeted: "Today, Matthew, I will mainly be sitting in my garden drinking tea. #BritishValues." Some highlighted the seedier side of British culture. "#BritishValues Streets covered in vomiting youth every weekend," for example.

But not all the tweets were full of satire. Some used the hashtag to talk about political issues, or as an opportunity to have a dig at Michael Gove. Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott tweeted: "So what are Gove's #BritishValues? Brief against your colleagues, demoralise teachers and blame others for your mistakes?"

Twitter user @JamzLdn used the hashtag to mention Britain's colonial past and the current debate on immigration: "Invade the entire planet without asking, then complain about immigration #BritishValues."

Though the vast majority of the tweets focused on the comedic value of the hashtag, a few voices leapt to the defence of the Education Secretary. "#BritishValues Parliamentary supremacy, free speech, religious pluralism, sanctity of contract, my home is my castle, liberty. Not so hard," tweeted MEP Daniel Hannan, a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.

Reporting by Ravin Sampat

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


Graphic 'sexual assault' shocks Egypt

A graphic YouTube video showing the apparent sexual assault and stripping naked of a woman in Egypt has been viewed nearly half a million times and widely shared across social media.

It's unclear exactly when the attack took place. First reports suggested it was on the night of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's inauguration on 8 June, but it now appears more likely that it was some time earlier.

The video has highlighted Egypt's problem with sexual assault - and left many shocked and outraged.

#BBCtrending finds out more.

Video journalist: Benjamin Zand

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending


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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