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Can Social Media Help You Lose Weight?

Do dieting influencers and communities help or hurt when you’re trying to get in shape? If you’re trying to lose weight you might have tried out exercise tips and diet recipes you’ve seen online. Some find social media groups a useful source of support, but there are concerns that some of the advice might not be as healthy as it seems, and that social media celebrities are setting unhelpful and unrealistic body expectations. So how can you cut through all the noise, and which social networks...


Arrested for Saving Memes in Russia

Why are some Russians put on extremist watch lists for saving or posting memes online? Maria Motuznaya was investigated by police after saving edgy memes on her account on the social network VKontakte. They showed a character from the series Game of Thrones and smoking nuns, and in at least one case, a racial slur. She’s not alone. Maria and hundreds of Russians are being placed on an extremist watch list for using memes declared to be racist, offensive or against the Russian Orthodox...


Did Facebook Fuel Hate in Myanmar?

Facebook’s dream of a more open and connected world turned into a nightmare in Myanmar. Ethnic tensions between the Buddhist majority and the Rohingya minority had been simmering for decades when the country started opening up to outside business. The price of a smartphone SIM card dropped from around $200 to $2, and Facebook quickly became the app of choice. But despite multiple warnings, Facebook failed to control hate speech against Rohingyas, and had very few employees who could read...


The Influencer Business

Earlier this year, a baker in Liverpool in north-west England vented her frustration on Twitter over constantly being asked by social media influencers for free cakes. Laura Worthington tweeted: “I wasn't kidding when I said this happens a lot.” Many other businesses publicly sided with Laura Worthington on social media… but were they being fair? We investigate the impact of influencers – people with large and/or powerful social media followings. What are the rules and ethics around...


Virtually Making a Fortune?

Why are people spending real money to buy land that only exists in virtual reality? In the virtual world of Decentraland, users can build whatever they can imagine on their own plots of land. Some hope to make a profit by trading goods and services using the social platform’s own cryptocurrency. Could this be the birth of a new virtual economy or a cryptocurrency bubble waiting to burst? Presenter: Jonathan Griffin Reporter: Joanne Whalley Producer: Lee Kumutat Studio Manager: James Beard...


What is #QAnon?

Back in October 2017, an anonymous figure posted a series of cryptic messages on an online message board. The user, who signed themselves "Q", claimed to have top security clearance within the US government. Despite there being no credible evidence for the claims, “Q” has sparked a vast, endlessly-complicated pro-Trump conspiracy theory. The far-fetched story has since jumped from fringe message boards to the floor of a President Trump rally. We look at the story behind the mysterious “Q”....


The Sandy Hook Hoaxers – Update

An update on the people behind a paranoid conspiracy theory. Twenty-six people, mostly young children, died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. They were the victims of a man named Adam Lanza, who killed himself after the slaughter. It was a shocking tragedy, even in a country used to regular gun violence. Soon false rumours began to circulate online, that the attacks were staged using actors. Although they had no basis in truth, hundreds of YouTube videos, blogs, and tweets repeated...


Mexico’s Fake News Problem

This year Mexico will hold both its presidential and congressional election at the same time. With such high stakes, political parties are being accused of systemically using bots and cyber trolls to spread online propaganda – even though they deny this. Researchers and activists have catalogued examples of bots and troll farms being used to promote specific candidates Initiatives such as Verificado 2018 and the blog Lo Que Sigue (“What’s Next”) are popping up around the country to help...


Nigeria’s Secret Transgender Groups

After comments by writer and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche divided opinion, we speak to members of some of Nigeria’s secret gay and transgender on groups who rely on each other on social media for support. They communicate with each other in private and closed ambiguously named WhatsApp and Facebook groups. Joey Daley from Ohio has documented his mother Molly’s dementia. One film in which she failed to recognise him for the first time was viewed nearly 2 million times. Joey speaks to BBC...


Antifascists v Alt.Right

The Alt.Right in the US is locked in a fierce ideological battle with Antifa - a group of anti-fascists. We investigate online dirty tricks by both sides. And debunking myths in India. How the country is getting to grips with the spread of fake news on an untrackable social platform. Producer: Anisa Subedar (Image: Protest, Credit: Getty Images)


NATO’s Claims of Russian ‘Misinformation’

A Russian-funded online new agency has an office in Scotland. We look into allegations of ‘misinformation’ . Is it another just another perspective on news or is an example of what some call ‘Russia’s state-run propaganda machine’? Produced by Anisa Subedar and Will Yates. Image caption: Online agency branding / Image credit: BBC


China’s Rush For Divorce

Happy couples in Shanghai have been rushing to divorce because of rumours of rules change that would make it more expensive for them to buy property. Our second story looks at the first anniversary of the death of three-year-old Alan Kurdi. Did the iconic image of Syrian toddler’s body washed up on a beach lead to real changes in public opinion and the way governments treat refugees? Producers: Anisa Subedar and Sam Judah (Photo credit to Think Stock)