Trending podcast


BBC World Service

In-depth reporting on the world of social media

127 avsnitt

  • Trending podcast

    Beirut blast: Looking for Eleni


    When an Ethiopian woman called Eleni disappeared amid the chaos of the Beirut blast there seemed little hope of discovering what had happened to her. In the wake of the explosion that devastated the Lebanese capital, rescuers searched through the rubble to try to locate hundreds of dead and missing people. As the death toll mounted, the only clue to Eleni’s fate was a pool of blood on her employer’s kitchen floor. It fell to two complete strangers - who had never met Eleni or each other - to try to solve the mystery using social media. Presenter: Reha Kansara Producers: Najib Deeb, Abiy Getahun & Yadeta Berhanu Editor: Ed Main Photo: Graphic showing a highlighted profile picture of a woman among lots of other social media profile pictures. Photo credit: BBC
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    The Kenyans who help the world to cheat


    If a lazy student in London or New York goes online to pay somebody to do their essay, the chances are the work will actually end up being done by somebody in Kenya. So who are the African ghost writers who are paid to help wealthy foreigners fake their way to unearned success, and what do they think about what they do? Kenya has become a key hub in the international cheating industry, because it is an English-speaking country with a good education system, but where there are often limited economic opportunities, particularly for younger people. Thousands of people are making a living supplying faked assignments commissioned by unethical students in other countries, through websites mainly based in the US and Eastern Europe. Many of those employed to do this work are students themselves. Although essay selling offers some a route out of poverty, universities say it is increasingly undermining the integrity of education around the world. And there are calls, even from within Kenya, for action against this booming online industry. Presenter: Reha Kansara Producer: Michael Kaloki Editor: Ed Main Photo: Graphic of hand writing an essay while another hand takes it and offers cash Photo credit: BBC
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  • Trending podcast

    The cops weaponising copyright


    Could your favourite song be used to cover up the misdeeds of the police? Officers across the US have been filmed playing music - out loud - on their phones in public. They weren’t hoping this unusual display would make them go viral on social media. In fact, the aim was quite the opposite. Some officers believe that by blasting music while being filmed, the videos would get blocked by automatic copyright protection software and activists wouldn’t be able to post them online. Should we be concerned by these attempts to evade scrutiny by gaming technology, and do they even work? Presenter: Sam Judah Editor: Ed Main Image: A graphic of a police officer with a mobile phone in his breast pocket blaring out music. Image copyright: BBC
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    Nesara: The financial fantasy ruining lives


    Nesara is a decades-old conspiracy theory whose followers believe all their debts will be magically cancelled in a radical reset of the world’s economic system. It’s a bizarre and baseless idea whose promoters peddle a vision of a financial neverneverland that is always just round the corner. Many of those who get sucked in, develop an almost cult-like belief in Nesara that inspires them to make horrific financial decisions that they think will make them rich. It’s a fantasy whose real life impact is dividing families and ruining lives. So why during the Covid-19 pandemic has Nesara become more popular than ever? Presenters: Jonathan Griffin & Shayan Sardarizadeh Additional reporting: Olga Robinson Editor: Ed Main Photo: A graphic of a banknote with an N at the centre. Photo credit: BBC
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    Who is TikTok’s masked vigilante?


    Think you’re safe being an anonymous TikTok troll or cyber bully? Think again. The Great Londini could be your worst nightmare come true. You might think you’re anonymous - but if you leave a threatening, racist or homophobic comment on someone’s video, Londini will find out who you are. If you’re a kid, he’ll contact your parents or your school. If you’re an adult, he'll really tell on you. In just a few months, the mysterious online vigilante has gained a huge following for his efforts to clean up TikTok. Londini says he’s doing the job that the platform should be. But does social media need moderation vigilantes - or are they a problem in themselves? Presenter: Sophia Smith Galer Editor: Ed Main Photo: The Great Londini Photo credit: BBC
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    Anti-vaxxers only


    As the pandemic progresses, some opponents of Covid-19 vaccines are taking things one step further. An emerging international grassroots movement is seeking to create online and offline communities away from the vaccinated world. Trending meets the people who are setting up dating sites, house share groups, even blood banks specifically for the unvaccinated only. Underpinning many of these efforts is the totally unfounded belief in “vaccine shedding” - the false idea that the unvaccinated can be made ill simply by being around people who have had a coronavirus jab. But will any of these alternatives to mainstream society take root? Presenters: Marianna Spring & Chris Giles Producer: Sam Judah Editor: Ed Main Photo: Graphic of hand holding mobile phone with dating app onscreen. Photo credit: BBC
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    The TikTok news revolution


    TikTok became successful by being the app for watching viral dance videos. But with global downloads of the app recently topping three billion, it’s also increasingly a place where users are also going to find news - though not any old news. While traditional media organisations are struggling to gain a foothold on the platform, a wave of fresh and diverse creators are finding innovative ways to present the news in a style that engages TikTok’s massive young audience. Trending explores the potential and the pitfalls of news on TikTok. We hear from the journalist who makes comedy videos in which he plays a Covid-19 variant and his dad. And we meet the man who is the biggest star in TikTok news - who despite his fame still has to work other jobs to make ends meet. Presenter: Jonathan Griffin Reporter: Abbie Richards Producer: Matt Munday Editor: Ed Main Photo: Collage of TikTok news creators Photo credit: BBC/TikTok
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    The anti-vax influencer plot that flopped


    Who was behind a secret plot to pay social media stars to falsely discredit the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine? Trending investigates an attempt to weaponise the power of influencer marketing in the online disinformation war over the pandemic. In May this year a marketing agency contacted influencers in several countries with an extraordinary offer. A mystery client was offering big money if the influencers would use their YouTube and Instagram videos to spread lies about the health risks associated with the Pfizer vaccine. The anonymous sponsor wanted them to pretend they weren’t being paid so the fake message would appear genuine. The plan failed spectacularly when several influencers went public and blew the whistle. But who was behind it and what were their motives? Presenter: Charlie Haynes Reporter: Flora Carmichael Editor: Ed Main Photo: French YouTuber Leo Grasset Photo credit: Leo Grasset
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    Vaccine heroes fight back


    Nicole is a paediatrician in Ohio who was shocked when she received a ton of nasty comments on one of her online videos. Her “mistake” was providing reliable, evidence-based information about vaccines. It meant that anti-vaccine activists targeted her. But with the help of a group of volunteer medical professionals called Shots Heard Around the World, she led a fight back against abuse and disinformation. The pandemic is far from over – but there are signs that science is winning out over hardcore anti-vaccine lies. In the final episode of the series, we reveal the extent of vaccine disinformation in countries around the world. And we meet some of the volunteers on the frontlines of the push back. They’re filling in some of the gaps, but shouldn’t that be the job of the social media companies? We quiz a Facebook executive about whether their policies and systems are really working. Presenter: Mike Wendling Reporter: Marianna Spring Producer: Ant Adeane
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    Brazil’s bubble of bad information


    A helicopter carrying vaccines is greeted in a by a crowd in an indigenous village – and the villagers are armed with bows and arrows. It’s just one, thankfully rare incident. But it’s a symptom of the creeping misinformation hitting some of Brazil’s most remote communities. But rather than being a vestige of traditional ideas or village life, rumours about health and vaccines are being spread in a very modern way. Mobile phone operators in Brazil often include free data in their user plans, but the package is limited only to select social media platforms. These plans, popular in poorer, rural and indigenous communities, allow Brazilians to spend hours online for free – but limit access to other apps and alternative sources of online information. It means Brazil’s poorest can find themselves unable to check what they’re reading on chat apps – and stuck in a misinformation bubble. And the fact that some religious and political leaders – including President Jair Bolsonaro – have been spreading falsehoods and anti-vax messages doesn’t help either. In Brazil, the uptake of vaccines in indigenous communities is now significantly lower than expected – but the news isn’t all bad. We meet indigenous people trying to convince their families to take the jab. Presenter: Mike Wendling Reporter: Juliana Gragnani Producer: Jonathan Griffin

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