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BBC Trending to investigate social media extremes


BBC Trending returns in September to the BBC World Service and BBC Sounds with new series, Extreme.

Extreme explores the ways social media is shaping behaviour and beliefs on the fringes of the internet – and in some cases, making it into the mainstream.

The series will investigate how people are whipped up into a frenzy through social media, and discover the extreme lengths others around the world go to in order to fulfil their dreams.

From intense beliefs about health and science to political and religious extremes, we find out how views and behaviours are being influenced by social media, and the ways people who’ve tumbled to the edge are dealing with the fallout.

In episode one, Ed Main investigates the chilling AI-generated videos of child murder victims spreading on TikTok whilst other episodes examine germ deniers, incels escaping the manosphere and the people smugglers operating in plain sight on social platforms. Later in the series, Marianna Spring questions the causes of frenzies linked to harmful behaviour and social algorithms.

Flora Carmichael, Editor, BBC Trending, says: “Our teams have scoured the globe to find what’s trending at the extreme ends of the internet. We want to understand how and why the extremes of social media trends have led to behavioural changes in the real world and expose the shocking and in some cases disastrous consequences.”

Gwenan Roberts, BBC World Service Commissioning Editor, says: “BBC Trending has grown a trusted reputation for taking listeners to the outer edges of social media and providing them with in-depth analysis into the origins of these online phenomena. The series returns to inform us all about the pitfalls and impact of the latest extreme trends.”

BBC Trending: Extreme will air on the BBC World Service from 2 September and will be available on BBC Sounds and most other podcast platforms.

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