Social media has had many run-ins with politics this year, especially Facebook, Twitter and Russian VKontakte. This week alone Facebook offices in Hamburg were victim to a violent attack on the premises, and Twitter released information about a potential threat to its users.
Facebook Gets Attacked by Vandals in Germany
On the night of December 13, Facebook offices were attacked by vandals. They smashed the glass, threw paint at the premises and graffitied ‘Facebook dislike’ on a wall. The incident was handled by the Hamburg police department that night. The attack was reportedly carried out by a group of young people between the ages of 15-20, clad in all black and wearing hoods. There were no injuries or casualties, and authorities do not have enough information to pinpoint a motive for the attack yet.
Germany Will Not Tolerate Racism
There is a strong belief among the community that this attack was carried out because of Facebook’s poor efforts to remove racist hate speech from the social network. Celebrities and German politicians have expressed their concern on Facebook’s loose restrictions on hate speech, especially against foreigners in the German vein of Facebook. Germany has famously welcomed refugees with open arms, and the community has since embraced a zero-tolerance for hate in their soil.
Facebook officials have not taken these concerns seriously, and the attack was likely an expression of outrage at this. While some people may assume that this attack was the product of just vandalism, the German people are standing up for something very valuable and very relevant right now. Facebook should, at least, consider monitoring hate speech more efficiently than they have done so far, that is if Mark Zuckerberg means anything he’s ever said concerning the ISIS conversation.
On the Other Hand, Twitter Warns of a Possibly State-Sponsored Cyber Attack
In other news, Twitter Inc has declared that some users might be at risk of having their information stolen in what could be a cyber attack sponsored by the US government. The attack could potentially involve hackers hired by the US government to obtain data from only certain accounts.
There was little else revealed by the social network, but several companies have shared that they were warned by Twitter that their information could be in danger. According to Twitter companies like Coldhak were sensitive to having their email addresses, IP addresses and/or phone numbers hacked by this group of cyber attackers.
— coldhak (@coldhakca) December 11, 2015
VKontakte Hosts a Political Joke Yet Again
Social media and politics seem to be hand in hand, and in truth, they are quite compatible. In a hilarious turn of events, Russian politics have seen an unlikely candidate this past week. Barsik the Siamese cat became a runner for Barnaul’s mayoral elections after being put on the ticket through VKontakte, the Russian counterpart of Facebook.
Barsik the Cat Could Become the Next Mayor of Barnaul
Barsik became a true and legitimate candidate for the elections, with his picture among those of the human politicians running for mayor of the Russian city. Over 2,000 people took part in the polls after the cat was shown as a runner, and it won by a very wide margin against human candidates. VKontakte accounts were making posts supporting the cat, with messages like ‘Go, Barsik!’ and ‘Barsik Rules’ throughout the time that the cat spent on the polls.
Why Was Barsik the Cat Ahead Of Human Russian Politicians?
Several users made an analysis onto why the cat received so much support. Despite the ridiculousness, the Russian people believe a cat can’t be more corrupt than Russian politicians, so they’d rather have their trust rest with Barsik than with anyone else.
Petr Frisen is the current mayor of the city after Igot Savintsev was fired from the position because of corruption. Surely enough, Barsik the Cat could be replacing Frisen for the same reason.