Trending - explaining the stories the world is sharing...


  • Did a state news agency troll its critics?

    Did a state news agency troll its critics?

    08/08/2020 Duração: 20min

    The people in charge wanted state-run news agency Notimex to become the “BBC of Mexico”. And after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was elected in 2018, he appointed people who took on that mission. But now the agency has been rocked by allegations that it targeted online abuse at former employees and critical independent journalists. An investigation by three organisations alleges that people among the most senior Notimex executives orchestrated the use of fake accounts to attack people they didn’t like. We find out how the trolling campaigns worked, speak to people who have been at the receiving end of the messages, and even talk to someone who admits they were told to carry out orders from the top. Presenter: Reha Kansara Producer: Marcos Martinez Picture: Photo illustration of an anonymous troll Picture credit: Getty Images

  • Why do some influencers back bad products?

    Why do some influencers back bad products?

    01/08/2020 Duração: 19min

    If you're on Instagram, you'll have seen influencers promoting all sorts of products - from gadgets to clothes or food. But can you really trust their recommendations? A BBC investigation found a number of top influencers pushing products that are fake and poor quality. There’s no evidence to suggest these social media stars knew they were openly promoting questionable brands and companies. And yet, many customers say the only reason why they bought these products was because influencers suggested they ought to. So should social media stars be held accountable for the promotional deals they make? We explore the dark underbelly of influencer marketing. Presenter: Marco Silva Reporter: Omar Mehtab Additional production: Osman Iqbal Picture caption: Stock photo of a social media influencer filming herself. Picture credit: Getty Images

  • QAnon and on and on

    QAnon and on and on

    25/07/2020 Duração: 23min

    It’s bursting into the mainstream – a bizarre conspiracy theory that casts US President Donald Trump as its hero. QAnon claims that the president is secretly fighting a cabal of high-placed paedophiles in Hollywood and the so-called “deep state”. But why has it had an apparent surge in popularity during the global pandemic? Since it first emerged in an anonymous post on an online message board in 2017, QAnon has developed into a movement which is now making inroads into the American political psyche. However, many families of QAnon followers feel they have lost their relatives to a dangerous cult. Several people have been arrested plotting attacks while seemingly under the influence of the conspiracy theory. This week Twitter banned thousands of QAnon-themed accounts, but it’s likely that at least one adherent will enter the US Congress after elections in November. What role might this strange belief system play in US politics? Presenter: Mike Wendling Reporter: Stephanie Hegarty Picture caption: A

  • The online heroes of the coronavirus pandemic

    The online heroes of the coronavirus pandemic

    18/07/2020 Duração: 20min

    They’re going viral for all the right reasons. Health care workers, scientists and experts have been spreading sound facts and solid advice about coronavirus. It’s a push back against all the misinformation, speculation and conspiracy theories that have been swirling around about the pandemic. In this programme we’ll meet four Covid-19 information heroes – from India, the US, and the UK. Each comes from a different background, and they all have different motivations driving what they’re doing online. So what are their strategies for getting sound science to the public? And in a social media world fuelled by emotion, how do they reflect both the facts and the human toll of the disease? Presenter: Mike Wendling Reporter: Sean Allsop Photo Caption: Illustration of a phone with a heart Photo Credit: Getty Images/BBC

  • How to talk about conspiracy theories

    How to talk about conspiracy theories

    11/07/2020 Duração: 19min

    We’ve all been there – that awkward situation that happens over the dinner table or at a party, when someone starts talking about conspiracy theories. With the coronavirus pandemic has come a huge wave of novel online misinformation – including some outlandish ideas and panicky people who are buying into them. So what do you do when confronted with someone who starts spouting obvious falsehoods about “evil plots” and “deadly vaccines”? Trending brings together a man who’s been drawn towards social media’s fringes and an expert who studies the psychology of people who believe in conspiracy theories. What happened when they sat down for a socially distanced chat? Plus we give some tips on how to talk to people who are edging towards the rabbit hole. Presenter: Jonathan Griffin Reporter: Marianna Spring Photo caption: Woman wearing a mask looking at a computer screen Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Who spread the ‘5G coronavirus’ conspiracy theory?

    Who spread the ‘5G coronavirus’ conspiracy theory?

    04/07/2020 Duração: 18min

    In April, dozens of mobile phone towers were set on fire across Britain and demonstrators took to the streets to protest the rollout of 5G. They had the bizarre and entirely false idea that phone towers were somehow causing coronavirus. Fake news and conspiracy theories were given a huge boost by the Covid-19 pandemic, and many of the whispers coalesced around politicians, scientists, and former Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates. They weren’t true of course, so why did people believe them? We speak to protestors who were sucked into the rabbit hole - and question one of the key players responsible for spreading the myth. Presenters: Mike Wendling and Marianna Spring Producer: Sam Judah Photo caption: A mobile phone tower Photo credit: Getty Images

  • The scammers promising poison on Facebook

    The scammers promising poison on Facebook

    27/06/2020 Duração: 18min

    They seem to be selling a deadly chemical, and have no qualms about offering it to people who may be at risk of suicide. But is their business what it seems - or just an elaborate scam? A Trending investigation has uncovered dozens of pages claiming to sell a highly toxic substance that, in many countries, cannot be bought without a licence. While the substance has some industrial uses, the supposed sellers running these pages have their eyes on a different type of customer: someone looking online for a way to take their own life. Facebook says it won’t allow content on their platform that encourages suicide – yet some of these pages have been running for several years. Experts say they are a scam – but how exactly does it work? We went undercover to investigate the shadowy pages peddling deadly poison. If you are affected by the issues in this programme, you can find information about support organisations on the Befrienders Worldwide website: Presenter: Marco Silva

  • Can viral videos stop police brutality?

    Can viral videos stop police brutality?

    20/06/2020 Duração: 28min

    It was a brutal killing which captured the attention of the US and the world. But the death of George Floyd wouldn’t have caused such an outcry if it hadn’t been captured on camera. The person who shot that famous video was 17-year-old Minneapolis resident Darnella Frazier. Her footage, along with other angles captured by other witnesses on that day in late May, galvanised a social media wave and prompted protests around the world. But are viral videos really an effective check on police abuse? We talk to the experts, look at the evidence – and talk to witnesses and people on the front lines of the protests. Presenter: Michael Wendling Reporter: Reha Kansara Picture caption: A protest sign reading “No justice, no peace” Picture credit: Getty Images

  • The children’s video game that turned toxic

    The children’s video game that turned toxic

    13/06/2020 Duração: 18min

    It’s full of garish colours and blocky animals. Club Penguin was a huge smash for Disney upon its release 15 years ago. And an unofficial version became an unlikely comeback hit during the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of new players. But things have gone downhill quickly. The unofficial version is outside of the entertainment giant’s control, and a BBC investigation found that moderation is lax to non-existent. Cybersecurity correspondent Joe Tidy donned his undercover avatar and discovered widespread bullying, sexual content, and racist abuse. Disney says it’s “appalled” by the unofficial version of the game and has ordered it to be shut down, and parents say it shouldn’t exist anymore. So how did Club Penguin turn sour? Presenter: Jonathan Griffin Reporter: Joe Tidy Picture caption: A screengrab from the Club Penguin game Picture credit: Disney/Club Penguin Power down sound effect courtesy of qubodup.

  • Are Instagrammers ruining nature?

    Are Instagrammers ruining nature?

    06/06/2020 Duração: 18min

    A beautiful shot in the wild can get thousands of likes – but some influencers are going too far. We speak to a nature lover who’s had enough. He says that disrespect of nature has risen alongside the popularity of social media. So he’s fighting fire with fire, with an Instagram account called Public Lands Hate You. His more than 70,000 followers and fans – and a host of similar accounts – call out influencers who damage national parks and break the rules of open spaces. Some Instagrammers are getting the message, and welcome the intervention. But Public Lands Hate You also has its fair share of opponents, with some saying it incites hate. Presenter: Mike Wendling Reporter: Sean Allsop Photo caption: A woman takes a selfie in a field of wildflowers Photo credit: Getty Images

  • The human cost of viral misinformation

    The human cost of viral misinformation

    30/05/2020 Duração: 25min

    What’s the human cost of viral misinformation? In an exclusive report, we track the worldwide effects of bad information about coronavirus. Misleading info has led to deaths in the US, alcohol poisonings in Iran, drug overdoses in Nigeria and Vietnam, religious violence in India and arsons by people convinced by conspiracy theories. It’s a sobering tally of the human effects of so-called “fake news”. So what can we do to stop it? Presenter: Reha Kansara Reporter: Marianna Spring Picture caption: Brian Lee Hitchens believed conspiracy thoeries about coronavirus – until he and his wife became seriously ill with the disease. Picture credit: Brian Lee Hitchens

  • Inside the world of the meninists

    Inside the world of the meninists

    23/05/2020 Duração: 18min

    On Facebook and Reddit, they’ve collected hundreds of thousands of members with their criticisms of feminism and campaigning on a range of gender issues. We’ve visited the International Conference on Men’s Issues in Chicago to meet the internet personalities driving the men’s rights movement. They say they’re looking out for men and boys. But their critics claim this conference is just a “gathering of insecure and sexist man-babies”. So what’s the truth - who are the men’s rights activists? Presenter: Mike Wendling Reporter: Jonathan Griffin Picture credit: BBC

  • What happens after you go viral?

    What happens after you go viral?

    02/05/2020 Duração: 25min

    Two stories about viral stories that kicked off deep debate about social issues. What happened when social media moved on? Randa Jarrar, a university professor, tweeted a provocative – and many would say deeply offensive – message after the death of former US First Lady Barbara Bush. It went viral and hit a nerve in a country riveted by debates over free speech and its limits, especially on college campuses. And you may remember the story of the jogger who was caught on video throwing a homeless man’s possessions into a lake in Oakland, California. The incident eventually led to criminal charges for the jogger, and also sparked an outpouring of sympathy for the homeless man. But what happened next – yes, you guessed it – might surprise you. Presenter: Mike Wendling Reporter: Chris Bell (Photo Caption: Photo illustration featuring Randa Jarrar (centre) / Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • How scammers are exploiting coronavirus fears

    How scammers are exploiting coronavirus fears

    18/04/2020 Duração: 25min

    Where some see a crisis, others see an opportunity… For the past few weeks, hackers and scammers around the world have been busy using the confusion and anxiety created by coronavirus as cover for dangerous and illegal activities. From phishing emails to bogus cures and treatments, their scams have taken a number of different forms. BBC Trending turns the spotlight on the darkest corners of the web and analyses some of the scams and hacks that have emerged since the coronavirus outbreak began. Presenter: Marco Silva (Photo: illustration of a magnifying glass hovering over a laptop that has received malicious content/Credits: BBC)

  • How coronavirus is changing online dating

    How coronavirus is changing online dating

    11/04/2020 Duração: 28min

    It seems like everything’s being changed by coronavirus – and love is no exception. Dating apps are often a first point of call when people want to meet someone new, but the real-world meetups that used to spring from online conversations are now impossible in many areas under lockdown. So how are people using tech to meet new partners during this global pandemic? We talk to people in Iran, India and Italy to find out how love is operating in lockdown. Will the virus result in a long-lasting shift in attitudes towards dating – and what do people plan to do first once the restrictions are over? Presenter: Reha Kansara Photo: Illustration of a woman wearing a mask on a phone Photo credit: Getty Images

  • How to stop viral misinformation

    How to stop viral misinformation

    04/04/2020 Duração: 18min

    We’re in the middle of an “infodemic” – that’s the slightly clunky word the World Health Organisation has used to describe the deluge of information about coronavirus. While some of it is accurate, the facts swim in a vast sea of more dubious content – misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, unproven cures and bad health advice. So what can we all do to stop the spread of misinformation to our friends, family and contacts on social media? We’ve talked to the experts and have collected seven key tips: 1. Stop and think 2. Check your source 3. Ask yourself, could it be a fake? 4. If you’re unsure whether it’s true … don’t share. 5. Check each fact, individually. 6. Beware emotional posts. 7. Think about biases Think of it as the digital equivalent of washing your hands.

  • How bad coronavirus info goes viral

    How bad coronavirus info goes viral

    28/03/2020 Duração: 19min

    There's a huge amount of misleading information circulating online about coronavirus - bad advice, conspiracy theories, dodgy health tips and more. This week Trending delves into one specific viral post. It's a list of supposed facts about the virus and what you can do to protect yourself. Some of the tips are true, some are false but relatively harmless, and some are potentially dangerous. The list was first put on Facebook in early February and has since been dubbed the "uncle with master's" degree post, because of the alleged source of the information. It hopped from Singapore to India to England and has been sent to us by listeners all around the world who are rightfully suspicious of its contents. Along the way it mutated - it has incorporated new and more dangerous false information, and has been translated into at least half a dozen languages. So who's behind the post and how did it spread? We get to the bottom of this mystery. And we give some crucial pointers about how you can avoid spreading bad in

  • The fight against Poland’s ‘LGBT free zones’

    The fight against Poland’s ‘LGBT free zones’

    21/03/2020 Duração: 19min

    New laws are being passed across Poland taking aim at the LGBT community. They’ve been called “LGBT free zones” as a shorthand. While they don’t necessarily mean that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are being thrown into prison, they are having a chilling effect on the community. The laws have contributed to a more general climate of conflict and fear. In 2019, violence broke out at several equality marches after far-right groups held counter demonstrations. After one such clash, LGBT activists fought back with a hashtag campaign - which led to more protests on the streets. We meet the activists who are rallying support and the counter demonstrators who organise against them. And we find out whether young LGBT people in Poland are planning to leave the country – or stay put. Presenter: Mike Wendling Reporter: Ben Hunte Producer: Sean Allsop Picture caption: Anti-LGBT protesters burn a rainbow flag at a demonstration last year in Bialystok in Poland Picture credit: BBC

  • What happened when a troll met his target?

    What happened when a troll met his target?

    13/03/2020 Duração: 24min

    Alan commutes into London where he works as a concierge. In his spare time he composes songs with political themes. But his beliefs also fuel a much uglier hobby: leaving nasty messages online – often hateful, racist and threatening. One of those at the receiving end of his abuse is a high-profile political activist and businesswoman. Gina Miller gets so much abuse from people like Alan that she travels everywhere with security. At our request, they have agreed to meet. What happens next might surprise you. Presenter: Reha Kansara Reporter: Marianna Spring (Photo Caption: A troll in the shadows / Photo Credit: Getty images)

  • Did Russia leak British secrets online?

    Did Russia leak British secrets online?

    06/03/2020 Duração: 20min

    How did a trove of confidential government documents end up on social media… And is Russia to blame? As the UK prepared to go to the polls in December, sensitive documents outlining ongoing US-UK trade talks were published on Reddit. They made for potentially explosive reading and were rapidly seized upon by opposition politicians. But the origin of the leak soon aroused suspicions. When investigators looked at how the documents were spread online, they soon found striking similarities to a disinformation operation originating in Russia. But is there any evidence that the Russian state was behind the leaks? And were the documents authentic? We take a careful look at the clues left behind by a social media user going by the name of “Gregoratior” and uncover a shadowy network of whispers, forgeries, and social media deception. Presenter: Mike Wendling Reporter: Marco Silva (Photo Caption: illustration of confidential UK government documents held in front of a Russian flag / Photo Credit: BBC)

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