What does the QAnon conspiracy theory tell us about American politics today? It’s a sprawling set of allegations which has a number of branches and offshoots –but if one thing unites its believers, it’s that they all support President Trump.
We meet Dylan Wheeler, an influencer with more than 370,000 followers on Twitter, as he speaks at a gathering of Trump supporters. Although the people in the crowd aren’t all conspiracy theorists, some of them aren’t exactly opposed to such ideas.
We hear from experts who tell us that conspiracy theories are a consistent and significant feature of American politics, and they come from the left as much as the right. What, if anything, is different about QAnon?
Presenter: Mike Wendling
(Photo Caption:: A QAnon supporter holds up a sign outside a rally for President Donald Trump / Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Is YouTube to blame for the rise of flat Earth?
Many people who believe the Earth is not round first heard the idea on YouTube.
While it’s hard to accurately say how many flat Earthers there are worldwide, it is undeniable that their community has grown in recent years. Flat Earth meet-ups and conventions have popped up in a number of countries, while online searches for the topic have reached unprecedented levels.
YouTube hosts thousands of flat Earth videos, some with millions of views. And when you ask flat Earth conspiracy theorists how they got into the movement, they almost always say their introduction came via the world’s most popular video-sharing site. It was on YouTube that many were persuaded to reject centuries of solid science and where they found like-minded people to share their views with.
YouTube says it's taking action to address the proliferation of misinformation and conspiracy theories on their platform. The Google-owned company says it’s trying to limit the spread of flat Earth videos (albeit only in the United States so far) and is taking steps to insert factual information among the conspiracy content.
But is it all just too little, too late?
Presenter: Mike Wendling
Reporter: Marco Silva
(Photo: 3D illustration of a flat earth model/ Photo credit: Getty Images)
The Emirati women fleeing their faith and family
Growing up, Dina – not her real name – would browse social media and imagine a life far from the one she was living. She felt shackled by the rules imposed on her by her parents, religion and the culture of the United Arab Emirates.
So one day she escaped, using social media to navigate through networks of people and ex-Muslim communities, to get to the West.
Several recent high-profile cases of Emirati women leaving the country have been in the news recently. But Dina’s story is more ordinary and indications are it is becoming more common.
We explore why Dina fled the UAE, how she did it and what life is like for her now.
Presenter: Reha Kansara
Reporter: Sophia Smith-Galer
(Photo Caption: Dina, who fled her family in the United Arab Emirates / Photo Credit: BBC)
How scammers took advantage of #BlueForSudan
After a Sudanese protester was killed, there was a wave of sympathy on social media – but scammers took advantage.
In early June, 26-year-old activist Mohamed Mattar was shot and killed in Khartoum. He was one of 100 protesters who died in a government crackdown on a sit-in.
Blue was his favourite colour, and at the time of his death, the avatar on his social media pages displayed a deep shade similar to the colour of the ocean.
Some of Mohamed’s friends and family changed their avatars to the same colour that he used. Within days, a worldwide movement had started: #BlueForSudan.
But along with the authentic outpouring of support came scammers who used the trend to harvest likes, shares and followers.
So how did “sympathy scammers” exploit the crisis for their own benefit? We speak to the teenage boy who took them on.
Presenters: Jonathan Griffin and Reha Kansara
(Photo caption: Some of the fake accounts / Photo credit: Instagram)
The man who kick-started the Egyptian revolution
It was a moment that defined online activism. When tens of thousands of people came out to Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand the end of the rule of Hosni Mubarak in January 2011, they weren’t responding to a political party or a leafleting campaign – but instead to a Facebook page.
It was called “We are all Khaled Said” - in honour of a 28-year-old man who was tortured to death by Egyptian police. It was the moment when the world woke up to the true political power of social media.
Wael Ghonim was one of the founders of that Facebook page - but the revolution did not go according to plan. The Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi was elected president, and was then overthrown by the army. He recently died while on trial.
A wave of terror attacks, a shaky security situation, a faltering economy, and increasing political repression have rocked Egypt.
Earlier this year, Trending visited Wael Ghonim in one of his favourite cafes in San Francisco to talk about technology, politics, and revolution. Have the events in Egypt changed his perspective on technology and politics?
Presenter: Mike Wendling
(Photo Caption: Wael Ghonim / Photo Credit: BBC)