Winter has finally come for Game of Thrones – and its last series is getting a chilly reception.
A petition calling on its makers, HBO, to redo season eight has been signed by more than 500,000 disgruntled fans.
The latest series of the popular show – based on George RR Martin’s books – has faced a barrage of criticism online.
Disappointed viewers have taken umbrage with the show’s narrative structure and the fate of beloved characters.
The Change.org petition, launched after this week’s penultimate episode was aired, goes further by demanding a complete do-over “with competent writers”.
It argues that the show’s writers, David Benioff and DB Weiss, “have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent”.
The writers, the petition charges, have “no source material to fall back on”, alluding to the unfinished books season eight is loosely based on.
Because Mr Martin’s next book, The Winds Of Winter, is still a work-in-progress, the TV series has a different ending.
“This series deserves a final season that makes sense,” the petition reads. “Subvert my expectations and make it happen, HBO!”
Those who signed the petition left comments saying the final series “seems rushed”, “totally disrespected the author” and threw eight years of character development “down the drain”.
“The season demolished everything that was built throughout the series, as a result of rushed storytelling, poor character development, and overall lack of care,” one signatory wrote.
Given the reported cost of each episode – an estimated $15m (£11.7m) – HBO is unlikely to cave in to the petition’s demands.
And ultimately, staggering numbers of viewers are still tuning in to watch the programme. HBO said a record 18.4 million viewers across all its platforms watched last Sunday’s episode – the penultimate in the series.
The ending, as Mr Benioff and Mr Weiss have admitted themselves, was always likely to be contentious.
“A good story isn’t a good story if you have a bad ending,” Mr Benioff told Entertainment Weekly. “Of course we worry.”
A Facebook live stream of a gunman attacking a Christchurch mosque, killing 49 people, has been widely seen on social media, with some news websites also posting clips of the violence.
The incident once again highlights how platforms deal with such content.
While Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and YouTube raced to remove it, they failed to stop it being shared.
It raises questions about who is sharing it and why but, perhaps more importantly, how these platforms are dealing with the threat of far-right extremism.
49 dead in mosque attacks
What is known about the suspects?
Many members of the public have taken to Twitter to express shock and anger at the fact that the video is still in circulation on lots of platforms, with others pleading for people to stop sharing it.
One pointed out: “That is what the terrorist wanted.”
What was shared?
The video, which shows a first-person view of the killings, has been widely circulated.
About 10 to 20 minutes before the attack in New Zealand, someone posted on the /pol/section of 8chan, an anarchist alt-right message board. The post included links to the suspect’s Facebook page, where he stated he would be live-streaming and published a rambling and hate-filled document
Before opening fire, the suspect urged viewers to subscribe to PewDiePie’s YouTube channel. PewDiePie later said on Twitter he was “absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person”
The attacks were live-streamed on Facebook and shared widely on other social media platforms, such as YouTube and Twitter
People continue to report seeing the video, despite the firms acting pretty swiftly to remove the original and copies, and copies are still being uploaded to YouTube, faster than it can remove them.
Several Australian media outlets broadcast some of the footage, as did other newspapers around the world
Ryan Mac, a BuzzFeed technology reporter, has created a timeline of where he has seen the video, including it being shared from a verified Twitter account with 694,000 followers. He claims it has been up for two hours
What is the response of the social media companies?
All of the social media firms have sent heartfelt sympathy to the victims of the mass shootings, reiterating that they act quickly to remove inappropriate content.
Facebook said: “New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the live-stream commenced and we removed both the shooter’s Facebook account and the video.
“We’re also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware. We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues.”
And in a tweet, YouTube said “our hearts are broken”, adding it was “working vigilantly” to remove any violent footage.
In terms of what they have done historically to combat the threat of far-right extremists, their approach has been more chequered.
Twitter acted to remove alt-right accounts in December 2017. Previously it has removed and then reinstated the account of Richard Spencer, an American white nationalist who popularised the term “alternative right”.
Facebook, which suspended Mr Spencer’s account in April 2018, admitted at the time that it was difficult to distinguish between hate speech and legitimate political speech.
49 dead in New Zealand mosque attacks
Agonising wait for victims’ families
UK mosque security to be discussed
This month, YouTube was accused of being either incompetent or irresponsible for its handling of a video promoting the banned Neo-Nazi group, National Action.
British MP Yvette Cooper said the video-streaming platform had repeatedly promised to block it, only for it to reappear on the service.
What needs to happen next?
Dr Ciaran Gillespie, a political scientist from Surrey University, thinks the problem goes far deeper than a video, shocking as that content has been.
“It is not just a question about broadcasting a massacre live. The social media platforms raced to close that down and there is not much they can do about it being shared because of the nature of the platform, but the bigger question is the stuff that goes before it,” he said.
As a political researcher, he uses YouTube “a lot” and says that he is often recommended far-right content.
“There is oceans of this content on YouTube and there is no way of estimating how much. YouTube has dealt well with the threat posed by Islamic radicalisation, because this is seen as clearly not legitimate, but the same pressure does not exist to remove far-right content, even though it poses a similar threat.
“There will be more calls for YouTube to stop promoting racist and far-right channels and content.”
His views are echoed by Dr Bharath Ganesh, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute.
“Taking down the video is obviously the right thing to do, but social media sites have allowed far-right organisations a place for discussion and there has been no consistent or integrated approach to dealing with it.
“There has been a tendency to err on the side of freedom of speech, even when it is obvious that some people are spreading toxic and violent ideologies.”
Now social media companies need to “take the threat posed by these ideologies much more seriously”, he added.
“It may mean creating a special category for right-wing extremism, recognising that it has global reach and global networks.”
Neither under-estimate the enormity of the task, especially as many of the exponents of far-right views are adept at, what Dr Gillespie calls, “legitimate controversy”.
“People will discuss the threat posed by Islam and acknowledge it is contentious but point out that it is legitimate to discuss,” he said.
These grey areas are going to be extremely difficult for the social media firms to tackle, they say, but after the tragedy unfolding in New Zealand, many believe they must try harder.
Some celebs rarely post a bikini pic, while others lean the hell into being nude AF. Just wait until you see these celebs who bared it all on Instagram. And we mean topless, bottom-less, and even full-on nude. Hot? Definitely. Aggressive? Maybe. But you gotta love their confidence.
Kourt threw every stitch of clothing to the wind while posing nude for GQ Mexico(seemingly in some swanky AF LA penthouse with a serious view). The photo series features her in a wedgie-defying thong/tank top onesie and a turtleneck with her bare butt to camera.
Apart from a little whipped cream, Bella Thorne is basically naked in this adorable behind the scenes clip. Don’t worry, though, she’s wearing a bra and a bathing suit bottom underneath.
3The Kardashian/Jenner Sisters
The whole Kardashian/Jenner crew stripped down to their lingerie for Halloween, borrowing wings and underwear from Victoria’s Secret. Collectively, the sisters showed off a lot of skin as they strutted around in their looks.
Kim showed off her incredible body on Instagram in what must be the tiniest bikini ever made. The mom of three also rocked the same bikini a few days ago, but this pic is the one that really got people’s attention.
Gaga took to Instagram to share a few scandalous pics. The shots, taken by photographer Eli Russell Linnetz, show the singer with large blonde hair, putting on stockings. Who knew getting dressed could look so good?
Bella is known for her fun dressing room selfies. How does this girl always manage to look so damn glam, even when she’s in the process of getting ready?! She captions this pinktastic pic, “Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow.”
Unlike Kim Kardashian, Drake Bell, and all your other favorite naked celebrities, makeup artist James Charles posted his nude totally by accident. And even though it wasn’t posted on Insta, I had to add this hilarious mishap to the list.
Yesterday, the influencer updated his Story with some major booty. He quickly deleted the post and in its place, posted a selfie captioned “sorry to all 10,000 of you that saw that LMAO oopsies!”
Later, he took to Twitter to laugh with his fans about it. “I ACCIDENTALLY JUST POSTED A NUDE ON MY SNAPCHAT STORY AT LEAST MY BODY LOOKED AMAZING LMAOOO I’M DELETING MY ACCOUNT BYE.” He later added, “damn I should’ve facetuned my butt first.”
Honestly, he should have left it! That pic was 🔥.
Bella Thorne makes it onto this list twice! In what started out as a seemingly feminist Twitter post, Bella wasted no time getting to the point, writing, “I could write a whole post talking about feminism and why I should be allowed to post this pic. But f*ck it here’s my side boob.” Love the bluntness, Bella.
While working on a top secret photo shoot in Mexico, Bella took some time to get nakey for the gram. She posed on the beach in an obnoxiously oversized hat and a barely-there g-string. Honestly, I’m just concerned about where all that sand ended up.
While Kendall Jenner is notorious for going braless in public all the time, she’s also been known to share plenty of suggestive (and always topless) pics on Instagram. This one was captioned, “Playing dress up.” Dress up, dress down, same difference 😉
Drake Bell posted a ~quite~ nude pic to his Instagram in promotion of his sexual music video for “Rewind.” (Warning: watch only if you want your childhood to be ruined forever.) After posting that picture on Instagram, however, Drake started trending on Twitter… but for a different reason. Apparently some hackers found even more undisclosed nudes of Drake and were sharing them around the Internet. Drake has yet to comment on this.
Bella Hadid shares plenty of pics on Instagram of her perfectly angled face, but this Instagram pic with fellow Victoria’s Secret model Kendall Jenner, is all about friendship and celebrating women! Butts FTW.
Bad girl Ri Ri takes everything to the next level with this post on Instagram. Bleach blond hair, blue shadow, orange nails, and baring ~almost~ everything, Rihanna sure knows how to make a statement.
Ashley is not one to shy away from nude pics, and she always slays in every single one she takes. She captioned this pic: “All I have to say is – Thank You @PrabalGurung! Thank you for your desire to create clothes for ALL women.”
In this dressing room Instagram post, Bella poses ~completely~ nude. But I mean, we all know Bella can rock anything.
This sexy shot lives on Kim’s Insta in promotion of her fragrance, KKW Body, which came out this May. And get this: the bottle is, indeed, in the actual shape of her body.
With this post (and many scandalous new outfits), Ariel Winter looks like she’s finally breaking free from her child star phase.
Seriously can’t get enough of this picture, or Amy’s caption: “Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman.” To say that’s a caption to be remembered is an understatement.
Rita Ora stripped it all down in this sexy Instagram shoot by the sunset. Perfectly entitled, “Sundaze.”
Selena Gomez took everything off for the cover of her “Revival” album, which was so dreamy. When she posted it to Instagram, she got so much fan love 💕💕
Okay, John Legend may not have posted this picture himself, but Chrissy Teigen apparently couldn’t resist. P.S. They’re so cute!
For a V Magazine photoshoot, Chronicles of Narnia star Tommy Dorfman stood completely bare in front of a New York City, street-facing window. In his post caption, he made it very clear: “I was, in fact, naked in front of a window on mercer street thanks to @vmagazine.”
Emily loves sharing barely covered nipple pics on her Instagram feed. But this full body shot flies to the top as one of her sexiest moments for sure.
Just last year, Britney Spears posted this sexy pic on Instagram. Fans went wild, and you
Twitter has this week shared its annual round-up of the most tweeted about topics, politicians, celebrities and more, providing a range of insights into the key trends of the year, and what’s of most interest to Twitter users.
First off, on topics – the most discussed movements of 2018 were as follows:
Those likely come as little surprise – each of these movements also saw significant media coverage, showing that Twitter generally reflects the key movements of the time. The amount of related on-platform discussion underlines that Twitter remains a hugely relevant cultural force, with many of these topics first gaining significant momentum via tweet.
Next up – political figures:
It will be absolutely no surprise to anyone that US President Donald Trump tops this list. Trump’s polarizing personality and policy approach has both his supporters and opponents regularly engaging – if nothing else, Trump has definitely awakened more political awareness across the spectrum.
Interesting, too, to note how few comparative mentions US Vice President Mike Pence has seen.
Meanwhile, on celebrities, the ‘most tweeted’ list is particularly interesting:
South Korean pop band BTS tops the list, beating out Kanye West, LeBron James and Beyonce. In fact, the top 10 highlights the broader rise of Asian pop musicians, with BTS, EXO and Jimin all making the list. Twitter does have around 5 million users in South Korea, but its the global interest in this new wave of pop stars that’s fueled their popularity.
The same is also reflected in the most tweeted about musicians listing.
Next up is athletes, with LeBron James’ move to LA pushing his mentions to the top:
In 2018 movies, it was Black Panther that sparked the most tweets, beating out The Avengers: Infinity War.
And for TV shows, Saturday Night Live came out on top, beating the return of Roseanne (and the ensuing controversy around comments made by star Rosie O’Donnell).
As noted, the lists provide some interesting insight into not only the key trends of 2018, but also the focus areas of Twitter’s audience. Most of these are fairly obvious, but some are likely less so, and that could help in your targeting moving forward, providing a better understanding of who and what’s of interest on the platform.
Twitter has also provided regional trend reports for Australia, Canada, India and the UK, if you’re looking for more specific insights from your region. Definitely worth a look to get a better understanding of your target market.
Instagram has added a new option that will enable users to restrict the audience for their Instagram Stories content. Now, if you want to share your Instagram Stories in a more private group, you can, which could encourage users to more freely – and regularly – share quick updates.
Instagram Stories private sharing
the new option enables users to create lists of specific groups of friends, which will then appear as sharing options when you go to send your Stories
This means you no longer have to share all your Stories with everyone, which, as noted, could open up the option for more use.
As per Instagram:
“Only you can see your close friends list and no one can request to be added, so you can feel comfortable adjusting it at any time. When you share to Stories, you’ll see the option to share with just the people on your close friends list. If someone has added you to their list, you will see a green badge when you’re viewing their stories. You’ll also see a green ring around their profile photo in the Stories tray.”
The option moves in line with broader social media trends towards more private sharing. The top messaging apps now have more users than the top social networks, and an increasing amount of engagement is now occurring via messages and within private groups. That’s why Facebook’s been working hard to find new ways to monetize Messenger and WhatsApp, and to put increased emphasis on group usage – as social media, in general, has evolved, people have become more aware of the potential negative aspects of sharing everything with everyone online, and most have sought to pull back.
On Instagram specifically, private sharing has been steadily on the rise – around half of all Instagram users now also use the platform’s messaging options, while previous reports have shown that 85% of the messages shared on the platform are distributed to the same three friends, underlining the desire for more intimate sharing.
Instagram’s been working for some time to cater to this – social media code hacker Jane Wong spotted the option to share Stories with specific friends in development back in June, while the platform has also been working on its ‘Friends Lists’ feature for more than a year, with The Verge first reporting on it in June 2017.
Instagram friends lists
Really, given the trends and development, it’s somewhat surprising that it’s taken this long for Instagram to launch it, but the logic of the option is fairly clear. Now you can separate your audiences and feel more free to share whatever you like, which is an option that will no doubt be welcomed by many.
From a marketing perspective, the addition could provide value by giving brands a way to share their posts with specific lists of users based on content relevance (promotions with specific audiences based on list segmentation), or maybe for exclusive groups and offers. That is, if the tool is available for business profiles (waiting on confirmation). But if it is, there are new options to consider.
Instagram ‘Close Friends’s is being rolled out from today in the latest version of the app.