FACEBOOK POSTS/STORIES MAKING MAJOR BUZZ DURING THE MONTH OF JUNE:
Melania Trump, wife of Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump, came under heavy social media fire when it turned out that parts of her speech at the Republican National Convention were strikingly similar to Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. The plagiarism case was quickly picked up by Facebook users who rushed to share a video showing the two speeches against each other as evidence. Trump’s campaign denied the speech plagiarism allegations but this eventually did not stop the stream of disapproving statuses and comments that followed.
Out of all the photos that surfaced online in the aftermath of the Nice truck attack, a haunting picture of an abandoned doll lying next to a covered body that was taken by Reuters photographer Eric Gaillard went viral on social media. And while the body has not been identified to date, the heartbreaking image was widely shared by Facebook users worldwide following the tragic incident and has come to symbolise the senseless tragedy of the attack, which resulted in the death of ten children on Bastille Day in addition to 74 other victims and left countless people wounded.
Another story related to the Nice attacks involved MTV Lebanon anchor and founder of Bic Aswad Jerry Ghazal who happened to be present among the crowd celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice at the time of the attack. Ghazal illustrated his traumatising
experience through a touching status that was posted to his Facebook page (Bic Aswad) on the morning of July 15. The post earned countless interactions and was shared over 200 times in the span of 24 hours.
On July 10, a 16-year-old girl was drugged and gang-raped by three different young men in Lebanon’s northern Koura district. News of the tragedy spread across social media overnight as local Facebook went on to voice their indignation by sharing a photo of the three assailants that surfaced online shortly after the incident and a number of corresponding articles including a blog post titled “A 16-Year-old Girl Was Gang Raped... And People Still Blamed Her” that was published on local lifestyle website Beirut.com, earning over 170 shares.
Several instances pertaining to sexist coverage of the Olympics were raised across a number of articles that were heavily shared/commented on by Facebook users over the past month. One of them involved Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu who broke the world record in the 400m individual medley but instead of being celebrated for her Olympic achievement, was overshadowed by her husband Shane Tusup whom NBC sportscaster Dan Hicks deemed to be “the man responsible” for her gold medal. The remark sparked outrage among social media users who started to be more aware of statistically documented gender differences in sports coverage.
With her funny faces and memorable attitude, Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui became one of the Internet’s favourite athletes from the Rio Olympics. But her biggest moment came after she became one of the first Olympic athletes ever to talk about her menstrual cycle which remains a taboo subject in sports culture. The swimmer was interviewed by a CCTV reporter alongside her teammates right after competing in the 4x100m relay. “My period came last night and I’m really tired right now. But this isn’t an excuse, I still did not swim as well as I should,” she told the reporter, becoming the talk of both mainstream media and Facebook users on August 15.
Besides winning four gold medals in this year’s Rio Olympics, American artistic gymnast Simon Biles had her ultimate Internet moment when she finally got to meet her long-time celebrity crush Zac Efron after he flew down to Rio specially to surprise her and her teammates after they were done with their individual competitions. Photos and videos of the encounter quickly spread across the Internet and were widely shared and commented on by Facebook users worldwide, leading to full-fledged meltdown over the cuteness of the pair, which exchanged a couple tweets towards the beginning of the summer Olympics that paved the way for the impromptu encounter later on.