Greenpeace Attacks Barbie, the Latest Viral Hoax, and the Social Media Search for a Missing Girl

Adriana Diaz
June 9, 2011

The environmental group Greenpeace has accused the toy company Mattel of deforestation in Indonesia. Mattel reportedly uses timber products like palm oil to make the packaging for its Barbie line. Social media is at the center of Greenpeace's massive campaign against the toy maker. Greenpeace released a YouTube video where Ken breaks up with Barbie over deforestation, which has gotten more than 100,000 views. Environmental activists have also written biting comments on Barbie's official Facebook fanpage. Mattel has since disabled the comments section of the page. On Twitter, the handles @Ken_Talks and @Barbie have spoken out against Mattel's activity in Indonesia. Yesterday @Ken_Talks tweeted, "Did you know there are only about 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild? Feel a bit sick :{." @Barbie also wrote, "Yes, I participated in else am I supposed to heat the "Dream House"? #Barbie." Greenpeace's social media attack on Mattel seems to be working. Yesterday the toy maker released a statement saying it would stop sourcing pulp from the Indonesian company accused of the deforestation. The company added that it will investigate the matter.

Have you seen the YouTube video of a woman in the Netherlands getting a huge tattoo of her 152 Facebook friends along her arm? The graphic video has gotten nearly a million views and was covered by CNN, NBC, ABC, and various blogs. But like many viral videos, it's fake. According to the tattoo artist, the body ink is temporary. The video is part of a campaign for Pretty Social, a company that makes products featuring people's Facebook profile pictures. So what are the other viral videos that duped the Web? The popular YouTube teen video blogger "lonleygirl15" turned out to be an actress. Also, a video of cell phones popping popcorn garnered millions of views before it was discovered to be fake.

Social media have rallied around the search effort for Lauren Spierer, a student at Indiana University who has been missing since Friday. Friends and family have created a Twitter account to help organize search teams, distribute digital missing-person posters, and reach out to the media. Facebook pages to find Lauren have gained nearly 200,000 members. In addition, celebrities like Ryan Seacrest, Lil Wayne, and Eliza Dushku have spread the word by tweeting about the case. You can click on the Twitter handle #FindLauren for her photo and to see how you can help.

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