By BBC World Service

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Episode Date
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 Church. People on the list have their bank account frozen and Maria and others face criminal charges. Why is this happening - and will a campaign launched by a Russian blogger make a difference? Presenter: Mike Wendling Producer: Lee Kumutat (Photo: A pair of hands in handcuffs hold a mobile phone showing the VKontakte website. Credit: Anton Vaganov/Interpress/TASS)
Sep 14, 2018
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 Burmese. The company was criticised in a UN report - so what exactly went so wrong online in Myanmar? Presenter: Mike Wendling Reporter: Anisa Subedar Producer: Edward Main Studio Manager: Graham Puddifoot Photo Caption: Rohingya refugees pictured in August 2017 Photo Credit: Getty Images
Sep 07, 2018
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 advertising and promotion? And can we really trust the people behind big social media accounts? After all, their reputations rest in part on the idea of authenticity. Presenters: Jonathan Griffin and Lee Kumutat Producer: Lee Kumutat Studio manager: Nigel Appleton Photo Caption: Influencer Lisa Linh promotes a number of brands – including hotels and credit card companies Photo Credit: Lisa Linh
Aug 31, 2018
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 Editor: Ed Main Photo Caption: This is Decentraland Photo Credit: This is Decentraland
Aug 24, 2018
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”. Presenters: Mike Wendling and Anisa Subedar Producer: Elizabeth Cassin
Aug 17, 2018
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 combat the spread of fake news and online propaganda. But will such efforts have any impact? Presenter: Anisa Subedar Producer: Reha Kansara (Photo: Automated accounts boosted the 2012 presidential campaign of Enrique Pena Nieto. Credit: Getty Images)
May 25, 2018
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 Trending about how it feels to care for someone with dementia. Presenter: Mike Wendling Producer: Anisa Subedar (Image/Credit: Miss Sahhara)
Mar 18, 2017
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)
Feb 18, 2017
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
Feb 11, 2017
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)
Sep 03, 2016