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6 of Facebook’s top check-in places in 2013 are in Asia

Facebook check-ins around the world

Graphic from official Facebook page. Yes, we realize they misspelled ‘world’.

Facebook has just released Facebook Stories 2013 – A Year in Review 1, which highlights the most talked about topics around the world, the most talked about things near you, and – what I found most interesting – the top check-ins around the world.

Out of the 25 most popular destinations people checked into this year (excluding transportation hubs), six of the locations are in Asia. Check out the full list here. These are the six hottest spots in Asia:

  • Hong Kong: Hong Kong Disneyland
  • India: Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple)
  • Japan: Tokyo Disneyland
  • Singapore: Marina Bay Sands
  • South Korea: Myungdong Street, Seoul
  • Taiwan: Tainan Flower Night Market, Tainan City

It’s interesting to see that the popular venues have changed a lot from last year, when Facebook included transportation hub check-ins as well. Last year, U.S. airports were among the top destinations, followed by airports in Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Taiwan. The only places in last year’s list that are not airports were Disneyland in California and New York’s Times Square.

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6 of Facebook’s top check-in places in 2013 are in Asia

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GAP’s ad with Sikh model Waris Ahluwalia defaced with racist graffiti, drawing incredible response from company

The Huffington Post: This is how the Internet is supposed to work.

Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor at The Islamic Monthly and founder of TheMuslimGuy.com, posted a picture to his Twitter and Facebook wall of a defaced subway advertisement for Gap featuring Sikh actor and jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia. The caption had been changed from “Make Love” to “Make Bombs,” and the writer had also scrawled “Please stop driving TAXIS” onto the poster.

He told The Huffington Post, “When I first saw my Facebook friend’s photo of this GAP subway advertisement defaced by vandals with racist messages, I wanted the world to see how millions of brown people are viewed in America today.”

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The next day, Gap tweeted back at Iftikhar to find out the location of the ad, which is part of its holiday “#MakeLove” campaign featuring a wide variety of diverse models.

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But that wasn’t all. The company proceeded to change its Twitter background to the picture of Ahluwalia, to show solidarity and support.

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Their action was applauded by Sikhs and Muslims alike, as Iftikhar shared their incredible and speedy response.

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Some members of the Sikh community have started a “Thank you, Gap” campaign in order to show their appreciation for the inclusion of a Sikh model.

A letter to the company says, “By placing a Sikh model in prominent locations on billboards, direct mail advertising and digital channels, you have raised the profile of Sikhs in ways the community couldn’t have accomplished with its limited resources. The community has tremendously benefitted from the attention it has received through Gap’s marketing campaign.

Ahluwalia is certainly an inspiration to Sikhs and non-Sikhs of all ages, as one can see in this adorable picture that he shared on his Facebook page. The importance of relatable role models in media can’t be underestimated.

Waris Ahluwalia has landed on multiple best-dressed lists and is a regular in art and fashion circles.

waris ahluwalia

Iftikhar told The Daily Mail, “This whole story just proves that we do not live in a post-racial America yet when South Asians and those perceived to be Muslims cannot even grace fashion advertisements without racial epithets being directed their way.”

Check out this link:

GAP’s ad with Sikh model Waris Ahluwalia defaced with racist graffiti, drawing incredible response from company

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19 Pictures that show what modern India is like…

1. This priest playing Temple Run in an actual temple.

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2. This Groupon sale for onions.

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3. This connectivity issue.

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4. These phone-friendly saris.

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5. This rickshaw entertainment system.

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6. This hotel.

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7. This street vendor.

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8. This Breaking Bad rickshaw decor.

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9. This online clothes store.

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10. This beer-cooling system.

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11. This chaat seller.

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12. This Google result.

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13. This cell phone-savvy ascetic.

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14. This Reddit thread.

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15. These Buddhist monks doing some window shopping.

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16. This headline.

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17. This classroom.

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18. These tech-obsessed Google India popular searches.

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19. And this T-shirt.

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Check out this link:

19 Pictures that show what modern India is like…

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‘Anonymous’ hackers threaten war with Singapore government

A hacker group claiming to be the notorious Anonymous collective has put up a YouTube video promising that it will declare war on the Singapore government if it does not stand down from an internet licensing framework that critics have said restricts freedom of speech.

The video, which surfaced online two days ago, was removed from YouTube just minutes after it went viral on Facebook and Twitter today with over 4,000 shares. The video, however, has been reposted on Facebook, other channels on YouTube, and various video platforms.

The message goes: “the primary objective of our invasion was to protest the implementation of the internet licensing framework by giving you a sneak peak of the state of your cyberspace if the ridiculous, communistic, oppressive and offensive framework gets implemented.

It continues: “We have faced much larger and more secured corporations such as the FBI and the NSA. Do you think the IDA will be a problem for us? … so mark our words when we say that we Anonymous stand firm on our belief that no Government has the right to deprive their citizens the freedom of information.

The video then called on “fellow Singaporean brothers and sisters” to start a public protest by dressing in black and red on November 5 and blacking out their Facebook profile pictures.

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Facebook says it remains blocked in China’s Free Trade Zone

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Due to well-known restrictions on Internet usage in China, any report that says people are free to go about their social media ways is immediately cast with doubt. However, those who are hoping that the country’s stringent policies over online activity are easing will be glad to know that yes, finally, China is allowing some leniency when it comes to the Web… provided that you stay within the “free-trade zone,” according to a South China Morning Post (SCMP) report.

So where exactly is the free-trade zone? SCMP describes it as an area spanning 28.78 square kilometers in Shanghai, China’s largest city in terms of population. The zone will be located in the city’s Pudong New Area and will include the Waigaoqiao duty-free zone, the Yangshan deepwater port, and the international airport area. According to SCMP’s anonymous government contacts, over the next couple of years the free-trade zone will eventually cover the entire Pudong district – an additional 1210.4 square kilometers – provided that this year’s initial move proves to be economically fruitful for the nation down the road.

China has always been known to be extremely conservative when it comes to the Internet – to date, there are more than 2,000 websites that are both currently and previously blocked in the mainland (not including Macau and Hong Kong), and according to Amnesty International, China “has the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world.

Given the country’s inclination to Web censorship, the fact that access to previously banned websites within the free-trade zone has been approved by the government could be perceived as a step in the right direction. Some of the websites that are reportedly permitted in the free-trade zone are social networks Facebook and Twitter – which were both banned in 2009 – and the New York Times, which was banned last year. (We have reached out to Facebook, Twitter, and the New York Times for comment and this story will be updated if we receive response.)

Additionally, China is open to foreign interest in setting up shop within the zone, specifically bids from telecommunications companies that offer Internet connectivity. China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, three of the country’s biggest telecommunications companies, reportedly have no qualms about the potential for foreign competition since they are all state-owned corporations and the final decision to let international investors in was sanctioned by China’s top-tier leaders.

“In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home. If they can’t get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free trade zone is compared with the rest of China,” a source from the government told SCMP.

The Shanghai free-trade zone is scheduled for launch at the end of this month.

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Facebook says it remains blocked in China’s Free Trade Zone