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Carla Buzasi

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The Week That Was: Who's Listening?

Posted: 26/10/2013 21:35

As Europe's leaders have learnt to their detriment, cross Angela Merkel at your peril. Perhaps someone should have sent that memo to Barack Obama. The president was left short of excuses this week as yet another embarrassing revelation was handed out by former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden.

The Guardian continued their NSA exposes with the news that 35 world leaders, Germany's chancellor included, have unwittingly been chatting away on their phones with America listing in.

The White House issued a red-faced statement, while Angela demanded answers from Barack himself in a phone call that presumably every side recorded (and Barack wasn't in the least bit surprised to receive).

India's prime minister had a slightly different take on the situation, not owning a mobile phone himself, or indeed an email address.

"His office uses email, but he has no personal email... We have no information and no cause for concern," a spokesperson for 81-year-old prime minister Manmohan Singh revealed.

As conversations go, Merkel vs Obama can't have been the most comfortable, but bets are it wasn't nearly as fiery as Paxman vs Brand.

As HuffPost UK's deputy news ed Paul Vale asked in his report on Wednesday night's show, when did Newsnight become the most watchable programme on British TV?

Our political director, Mehdi Hasan, was watching with interest. His HuffPost UK Conversation Starter event with Mr Brand is less than two weeks away, and promises to be no less entertaining.

Wednesday evening's explosive viewing made up for the slightly more subdued live feeds in place for Prince George's christening. A few hours of policemen standing around doing very little, and then a flash of a car with the heirs to the throne inside, and that was our lot. Still, once the official pictures were released, us royal subjects were back to doing what we do best. No, not moaning about who won the Great British Bake Off, but dissecting the Middleton sisters' outfits.

Thankfully, Facebook - which temporarily stopped working properly earlier in the week - was functioning for both the Bake Off final and George's christening, so we were spared from having to actually talk to each other in person about either topic, and could post away to our heart's delight.

The winner to Facebook's loss? Twitter, if only for the deluge of hilarious Facebook-themed Tweets that ensued.

On a more serious topic, Britain's energy bills/rises/fees and the politics around them continued to make headlines. With British Gas reeling from the backlash at its 9.2% price-rise announcement, a sponsored post on Facebook delivered another smack in the face with tens of thousands of negative comments and thousands more shares.

It was hardly surprising to see the firm on Friday advertising for a new social media manager. One wonders how many applications they'll receive.

If they're on the hunt for advice on how to deal with negative PR, maybe they should consult GBB finalist Ruby Tandoh? She might not have won the show, but her Comment is Free blog for the Guardian was one of my favourite articles of the week.

"Sod the haters. I'm going to have my cupcake and eat it, too," she wrote. A lesson for us all.

 

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