The Zara T-shirt called the “Sheriff” went on sale online at 2 a.m., London time, on Wednesday. Within a few hours, it had sparked a social media outcry, with many Twitter posts accusing the clothing company of anti-Semitism — or at least a large measure of insensitivity. The shirt, meant for children, bore a striking resemblance to the top of a Nazi concentration camp uniform.
At first glance, it seems obvious -- of course Twitter and YouTube have the right to take down a video showing the American journalist, James Foley, being beheaded. The question is why taking it down is controversial at all. The answer, I think, shows how important services like Twitter have become, and how this has thrust unexpected responsibilities onto them.
Google “Kosovo”, and Petrit Selimi knows exactly what you’re going to see: dry, diplo-speak scouting reports at best, and depressing references to past conflicts at worst. It’s not exactly the promotional buzz a fledgling country with sights set on global integration would hope for.
Twitter just made it easier for celebrities, and other verified users, to interact with each other on the platform. Two new features rolled out on Wednesday will increase the visibility of verified users in each other's feeds — effectively encouraging high-profile users to trade more compliments, insults or expressions of undying love.
As U.S. airstrikes pound Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant-held positions in Iraq, Americans and supporters of the radical group have begun trading threats on social media. Under the hashtag #AmessagefromISIStoUS on microblogging site Twitter, ISIS fans shared photos of dead U.S. army soldiers, and the burning twin towers of 9/11.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is turning to social media in an effort to engage in online diplomacy, practice “open policy development” and improve international trade ties. The government is also looking to Twitter and other social media to retool what it acknowledges has been a “closed” diplomacy and policy model that “emphasized control over information and access,” show newly released federal documents.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State, formerly known by the acronym ISIS, is actively recruiting Western women and girls. And in the process this “caliphate” that now occupies large swathes of Syria and Iraq is showing, once again, that it’s almost as shrewd with social media as it is ruthless on the battlefield. The tweets and blogs apparently are written by Western women married to jihadi warriors.