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China’s Social Media Hall of Mirrors

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Posted on Apr 17, 2012

Social media in China is blurring the lines between facts, lies and rumors, as evidenced by the Bo Xilai case; some homophobic video gamers are in an uproar about characters identifying as homosexual, bisexual or transgender; meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has made it back into young voters’ good graces. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

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How Social Media Is Changing the Nature of Truth in China
China’s ultra-popular, Twitter-like service moves too fast for censors or propagandists to keep up, but it’s changing more than just the spread of information.

Straight Arizona Student Denied Right to Be Prom Queen Says He’s Standing Up for LGBT Students
River Flanary, a straight high school student in Tempe, Arizona, ran for prom queen and won after receiving the most votes of any of the candidates on a write-in ballot.

How Pakistan Makes Washington Pay for the Afghan War
Chalk it up to the genuine strangeness of our second Afghan War. 

Why Are Community Colleges Being Treated Worst When They’re Needed Most?
By the time the police arrived with the pepper spray, sending throngs of college students choking to the ground, it was clear that Santa Monica College’s plan to raise tuition had gone badly awry.

But is it Occupy?
As the movement ages, it’s becoming harder and harder to determine which groups exactly belong to it.

Has Kindle Killed the Book Cover?
Daylight Saving came out in the U.K. in February, and in the months leading up to its release, the publisher used a novel strategy to generate interest in the teen novel: It placed a ticker at the bottom of the digital cover, counting down to the launch date.

Does Israel Interfere in US Elections?
German artist Gunter Grass reveals that Israel has conspired with the rest of the world to hide the fact that it is a major nuclear threat to world peace.

Some people are gay in space. Get over it
Video game players can now identify their characters as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Which is wonderful, unless you’re a sad homophobe.

When Mormons were socialists
Joseph Smith would be horrified by the religion’s present-day materialism—and uber-capitalist candidate.

Feds ready whistleblower trial
Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer John Kiriakou — the sixth whistleblower the Obama administration has indicted under the Espionage Act for alleged mishandling of classified information — was arraigned this morning in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Hillary Boys: The New Obama Girl?
Hillary Clinton has endured decades of scrutiny more often embarrassing than adoring. But now Hillary love has gone viral, with the very youthful demographic that scornfully dismissed her as a presidential candidate ready to embrace her.

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