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Mashable readers went the hardest for these 30-ish items on Black Friday

2023-03-19 06:13:44

Mashable readers went the hardest for these 30-ish items on Black Friday

The most shopped-for items or brands during Black Friday aren't that hard to guess. You could probably rattle off five without seeing a crumb of data — just based on vibes alone.

Mashable readers went the hardest for these 30-ish items on Black Friday(图1)

TVs, Apple products, and Roombas probably came to mind, and those were top of mind for Mashable readers on Black Friday itself, too. All three of those categories ranked in the top 25 most popular items at two of the biggest Black Friday retailers: Amazon and Walmart. Other expected synchronicities included non-iRobot robot vacuums and laptops.

Beneath that, however, lies one retailer-specific trend: People are more likely to ball out at Amazon while Walmart draws the bargain hunters.

SEE ALSO: Black Friday deals live: Tracking Apple, Best Buy, Amazon, and more

Apple stuff aside, Amazon's most sought-after TVs included pricier premium TVs (specifically the 2021 and 2022 versions of LG's flagship gaming TV, the C1 and C2) while readers shopping at Walmart went for cheap mid-size TVs, like Samsung's cheap entry-level series or onn.'s budget-friendly QLED model.

Even the iRobot stans were split. All three versions of the smartest Roomba (the j7+ alone, the self-emptying j7+, and the self-emptying and mopping Combo j7+) topped Amazon's list, while Walmart's most popular was the cheapest self-emptying Roomba, the i1+. Mashable readers were also down to drop over $1,000 on Roborock's most expensive robot vac.

Whether you use this information to map out a game plan for next year or simply for people-watching purposes, here are the items Mashable readers cared about most on Black Friday. Bonus: The ⚡ signifies that an item is still at its Black Friday price. Just saying.

Most popular items at Amazon on Black Friday

  • LG C1 Series 65-inch OLED TV(Opens in a new tab)

  • Apple AirPods Pro (2nd gen) (Opens in a new tab)

  • iRobot Roomba j7+ (Opens in a new tab)

  • iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ (Opens in a new tab)

  • iRobot Roomba j7 (Opens in a new tab)

  • Shark AV2511AE (Opens in a new tab)

  • iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO (Opens in a new tab)

  • iRobot Roomba i3 EVO (Opens in a new tab)

  • LG C2 Series 65-inch OLED TV(Opens in a new tab)

  • 2020 MacBook Air M1 (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) (Opens in a new tab)

  • iRobot Roomba 694 (Opens in a new tab)

  • Roborock Q7 Max+ (Opens in a new tab)

  • Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra (Opens in a new tab)

  • Roborock S7(Opens in a new tab)

  • 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 (8GB RAM, 512GB SSD) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Apple TV 4K (3rd gen)(Opens in a new tab)

Honorable mentions in the top 25 that don't fall under the top three categories: DJI's Mavic Mini Combo(Opens in a new tab) and FPV Combo(Opens in a new tab) drones, Apple gift cards(Opens in a new tab), and the 13.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Book Pro(Opens in a new tab).

Most popular items at Walmart on Black Friday

  • Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Open box bundle: Apple 13.3-inch MacBook (i5 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)

  • Nintendo Switch with neon Joy-cons and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bundle (Opens in a new tab)

  • Vizio 70-inch V-Series 4K TV(Opens in a new tab)

  • LG 55-inch UP7050 4K TV(Opens in a new tab)

  • Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS, 41mm) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Roomba i1+ (Opens in a new tab)

  • Apple AirPods with Charging Case (2nd generation) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Eufy Anker RoboVac G32 Pro (Opens in a new tab)

  • Acer Nitro 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop AMD Ryzen Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 (Opens in a new tab)

  • onn. 70-inch 4K TV(Opens in a new tab) and onn. 65-inch QLED TV(Opens in a new tab)

  • Xbox Series X(Opens in a new tab)

  • Dyson V10 Absolute (Opens in a new tab)

  • Ninja Foodi 4-in-1 Dual Zone Air Fryer (8-quart) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Samsung 65-inch TU7000 4K TV(Opens in a new tab)

  • Apple Watch SE (1st gen, GPS, 40mm) (Opens in a new tab)

  • HP 14-inch FHD Laptop (AMD Ryzen 5, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) (Opens in a new tab)

Honorable mentions in the top 25 that don't fall under the top three categories: The HP LED projector with an 86-inch screen included(Opens in a new tab) and, of all things, tires.

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  • A guide to getting off to your own sexual fantasies and imagination

    A guide to getting off to your own sexual fantasies and imagination

    They say the mind is the biggest, most powerful sex organ in the body. But, uh, don't try visualizing that mental image too vividly or literally, unless you're into that sorta thing?


    Instead, imagine your favorite fictional crush pressing you up against a wall, or think back to the hottest sex you ever had in your life. Now stop imagining, because this magical place where all your desires are possible and acceptable exists. And literally anyone can tap into it.

    While sexual fantasies are by definition not "real," their effects on your sex life (especially when explored during masturbation) are — shall we say — palpably physical.

    "Engaging your imagination rather than relying on visual porn for example helps to build, enhance and strengthen your erotic mind," said Dr. Britney Blair, co-founder and Chief Science Officer of the sexual wellness Lover(Opens in a new tab) app. "You can bring that imagination to life when you want to prime the pump on your desire or push yourself over the edge to climax while solo or with a partner."

    "It's incredibly liberating, recognizing our own power to design the scenes and situations that turn us on."

    To be clear, there's nothing wrong with porn or other forms of erotica. But there's something especially powerful in orgasming to smut that couldn't be more personally tailored to what you like.

    "In our minds we're not confined to our studio apartments or our current sexual partners. There are no rules or judgments. Not even the laws of physics apply," said Gina Gutierrez, co-founder of the popular audio erotica app Dipsea(Opens in a new tab). "It’s incredibly liberating, recognizing our own power to design the scenes and situations that turn us on and to scrap the ones that don’t work for us."

    Don't take our word for it, though. There's science to show exactly how real the effects of a healthy erotic imagination are.

    In a landmark 2016 study(Opens in a new tab), Dr. Nan Wise — neuroscientist, sex therapist, and author of Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life(Opens in a new tab) — mapped the brain's response when subjects merely imagined pleasurable stimulation on their genitals. Just by thinking about it, the pleasure centers in their brains "lit up like a Christmas tree," Wise said.

    "The mind is really the recipient of all the body's sensations. So there's this empirical evidence of a huge connection between the mind and pleasure," she said.

    While everyone can benefit from using their imagination as a sexual aid, it's an especially potent practice for women and others who society has conditioned to feel ashamed about their sexuality.

    "We have to do more work to lay down the connections, the neural pathways, between the genitals and the brain's sensory reward regions," said Wise. "Using your imagination to masturbate not only gives us the information about what stimulation we need, but also actually strengthens the connections between our genitals and the brain."

    SEE ALSO: Why some people masturbate about people they hate

    Beyond that, getting off to our own sexual fantasies tackles another negative effect that patriarchy can have on women's sexuality.

    "We're socialized to think of ourselves as the objects of other people's desires, like we need to borrow someone else's idea of pleasure" said Wise. That's why learning how to be the subject of our own desires, to embody the pleasure we conjure up in our own mind, can be so empowering.

    Everyone with a brain, genitals, and desire is already equipped to masturbate to their own sexual fantasies. And while the practice does come more naturally to some, it only takes little guidance and patience to unlock the endless possibilities tucked inside your erotic mind.

    Set the right environment

    Set that phone to night mode, but make it sexy. Credit: bob al-greene / mashable

    A major key in setting your mind up for erotic success is to ensure your environment allows your brain to feel fully relaxed, safe, and free from distraction.

    Pick a time and place where you'll have full privacy without needing to worry about any interruption, whether from roommates or notifications. For most people, that place will naturally be the bedroom. But put some effort into also making it a true fortress of sensual solitude, like by locking the door, setting your phone to airplane mode, putting on an eye mask, or maybe even using some essential oils and putting on your favorite sexy playlist.

    Blair even recommends purposefully scheduling these more exploratory kind of session and making them habitual. So maybe it can be something you add to your nightly ritual before bed: Brush your teeth, do the skincare routine, put on some pajamas, then let your mind wander as you touch yourself.

    Create a safe space in your mind

    Of course, priming yourself with the right mindset is vital to unlocking your brain's full fantasy potential.

    One of the biggest hurdles to exploring our erotic imaginations is actually the engrained social shame many of us have picked up (even subconsciously) through sexism, homophobia, social stigmas, religion, etc.

    "It’s important to know if that is coming up for you, you’re not alone. But there is no such thing as a wrong or right fantasy." said Blair.

    SEE ALSO: Am I the only one who's horny for podcasts?

    Treat your imagination as a judgement-free zone. To be fair, clearing or redirecting your mind away from feelings of shame is easier said than done. But certain exercises can help (which we'll get into more in the mind-body connection section below).

    Blair suggests that, while exploring sexual fantasies in your mind, try to distinguish between when you're having a reaction versus a judgment to a certain scenario. Judgments often come from values imposed on you by something or someone else, while visceral reactions can be an indication that your mind wants to explore it further — especially if it's something your never thought you'd be into.

    It's easy to get scared off by an intense response to a fantasy, and write that off as being too weird or outside the norm for your taste. But if you give yourself a second to assess where that response is coming from, you might actually find that the intensity comes from a part of you that you've never tried tapping into before.

    "Everything is okay in the world of fantasy. No fantasy is a crime."

    Or maybe not, and that's fine too. The point is, if you feel safe doing it, just try leaning into parts of your erotic mind that feel challenging and see where it goes.

    "Everything is okay in the world of fantasy. No fantasy is a crime," said Blair. "Whatever turns you on in your mind is totally healthy. Your fantasy doesn’t say anything about you except that you are lucky to have a rich imagination that you can use to have an exciting and enduring erotic life."

    That's another major benefit of sexual fantasies versus traditional porn, too. You don't have to worry about any ethical concerns, because your imagination can't hurt you or anyone else. You're in total control.

    "You imagination is a completely safe space," said Dipsea's Gutierrez. "We can play out fantasies that are risky or illicit that we would never actually want to happen in real life. In our minds we’re free to experiment without consequences."

    Familiarize yourself with (but don't feel limited by) common sexual fantasies

    While the whole point is to tap into the unique potential of your own mind, a good jumping off point is to explore whether the most common sexual fantasies(Opens in a new tab) spark your interest. Researchers have labeled them into different categories, though there's a world of possibilities within those labels as well.

    Dr. Blair described these categories as multi-partner sex like group sex or threesomes; power, control, or rough sex; novelty, adventure, and variety; taboo and forbidden sex; partner sharing and non-monogamous relationships; passion and romance; and erotic flexibility like homoeroticism or gender-bending.

    Jess O'Reilly is a sex educator, author of The New Sex Bible(Opens in a new tab), and Astroglide's resident sexologist. She explained that through each of these fantasy categories you can help identify the specific core erotic feelings that get you into a heightened state of arousal.

    "Oftentimes, they relate to fantasy, escapism or subverting otherwise 'negative' emotions. You might find that sex is really hot when you feel powerful, submissive, challenged, mindful, or playful," she said. "You may also find yourself aroused by feelings that you don’t naturally associate with pleasure, like jealousy, inadequacy, fear, and even humiliation can be exciting."

    What our brains often gravitate to most is pure novelty. What gets you off in a fantasy can actually be the total opposite of your real-life sexual orientation or even completely removed from you, as an abstract scenario happening to someone else entirely.

    Let your spank bank be a place where your freak flag flies. Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    So don't be weirded out if you learn that you're as horny for that fish-god monster from The Shape of Water as the Academy Awards were in 2018. Or maybe you're one of the many women who enjoys a rape fantasy — which, as Dr. Wise points out, in a fantasy context is the opposite of a real-life rape since, "you're choosing to have the fantasy and who's overpowering you. You're in complete control."

    One other general rule of thumb Wise found is that while men tend toward more visually-oriented fantasies centered around preferred body parts, women tend to focus on overall scenarios. However, it's impossible to distill the endless possibilities of human sexuality into neat categories. Which is why you also shouldn't get discouraged or ashamed if none of these common fantasies do it for you.

    "Our capacity for imagination is limitless," said Wise. Don't feel pressure to confine yours to a specific label.

    Related Video: I built my own vibrator at CES

    Start building your erotic imagination through fiction, porn, memories... anything!

    The truth is that, while other obstacles might make it hard initially to give yourself permission to explore sexual fantasies, using your imagination is a very natural and innate part of being human. Who doesn't fantasizing about getting up from their desk in the middle of a hard work day and quitting, or spend time daydreaming about how they'd furnish their dream apartment?

    "We make Pinterest boards and save Instagram photos, collect and catalog all these things that we like. I recommend starting to do that for your sex life," said Gutierrez. "Become more mindful observing what attracts you to someone. The moments where you feel sexiest. What you want to say out loud during sex but hesitate to. Then the next time you want to use your fantasy for pleasure, you know exactly where to draw from."

    Everything in your life can become part of your horny mood board.

    Everything in your life can become part of your horny mood board.

    We all have that one fictional character or public figure — whether from books, tv, movies, video games, or even politics and the internet — that just does it for us. Begin there, expanding into a specific sexy scene that got you going or whatever comes to mind when you think of that person. Heck, maybe you're like me and realize that a silky, authoritative voice is actually your kink, leading a bunch of non-erotic popular podcasts to become your go-to spank bank material.

    Audio erotica can be a great place to start if you don't want to take the training wheels off yet to explore sexual fantasies of your own making. Unlike visual porn, audio erotica still exercises the muscles of your erotic imagination, asking you to fill in the details and paint the full picture. While we always recommend Dipsea, there's also plenty of free ways to try audio erotica like r/gonewildaudio(Opens in a new tab) and Girl on the Net(Opens in a new tab).

    Once you're ready to bring yourself more to the forefront of the fantasy, begin with a memory of the hottest, most visceral sex you've ever had. Really ground yourself back in that moment by recalling your senses: What position were you in? What did the person's lust feel like? Were you sweating? How exactly did they touch you?

    Touch yourself while pulling from all the erotic mental material you've curated, and don't be afraid to really get your whole body involved in mimicking the sensations you're creating through your mind. Maybe that means masturbating while you're on all fours, or matching the tempo of the fantasy, or even dry-humping a pillow. Don't put any pressure on yourself to orgasm throughout any of this, though, and instead just zero in on embodying the experience of your imagination.

    "It's about giving yourself full permission to explore all our internal pleasure places, and how we experience them in both our minds and bodies at the same time," said Wise.

    It's like writing fanfiction, but in real-time Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    Try these exercises to strengthen your mind-body connection

    Through her research and other studies in the field, Wise has ultimately found that, "This distinction we make between the mind and body is really a very arbitrary one."

    One of the best ways to embrace this in a way that engages your erotic fantasy life in is through something called mindful sex.

    This increasingly popular branch of sex therapy describes a bunch of different practices and exercises that add a layer of sexuality to mindfulness, to help you stay present in your body while experiencing pleasure, train your mind to focus on whatever arouses you, and engage in a non-judgmental curious sexual mindset. Try out basic exercises like pleasure mapping (which Dipsea has a guide for), mindful masturbation (which you can read about here), and sensate focus (which you can read about here).

    Wise also suggests a very simple exercise for getting your imagination more connected with your genitals on a neurological level: Just start by tapping or pleasurably touching your genitals, then stop, then think back on the sensations you felt while touching them. Try to recall and summon them back in your body: What did it feel like in your body when the stimulation was building, then dissipating?

    At first, it might not feel like much at all and the pleasure may be pretty mild compared to what you're used to while using more immediate erotic visual aids like porn.

    “But you’ll slowly start to develop a better connection to that pleasure sensation channel in your brain,” she said.

    Use your imagination during partnered sex

    While sexual fantasies are a great way to enhance self-love, learning how to engage with them during partnered sex can also do wonders to get people over the edge and into orgasm.

    At this point though, you might be wondering: Is it even OK to fantasize about other situations — or maybe even other people — while having sex with a partner?

    “It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, as long as you'd come home to eat.”

    “Yes, it’s an unequivocal yes! Because thinking about stuff is not the same as doing it,” said Wise. As the famous saying goes, “It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, as long as you'd come home to eat.”

    It’s totally normal for your mind to desire novelty, especially if you're not in a new relationship anymore. In fact, Wise found that one of the best ways to ensure a couples’ longevity is precisely this kind of openness and understanding that people need to fuel their erotic imagination with new stuff.

    “If we can get over these kind of hang ups, get past this fear of our partners having a fantasy about somebody else while they’re with us, and instead use it as an opportunity talk about: What would you like? What haven't we tried? What are you afraid to tell me? Because that's hot. That's really hot,” said Wise.

    Or maybe instead of thinking about someone else, you'd simply rather use your imagination during partnered sex to transport you both to a setting or scenario that heightens your arousal even more.

    In the end, what you do with your erotic imagination is up to you. You can share it if you'd like — or keep it all to yourself. That’s what’s so great about sexual fantasies you cut from your own cloth: They’re all yours, and no one else's.

  • Social media is the new bodycam

    Social media is the new bodycam

    Childish Gambino warned us in 2018. This is America, right?


    It's been a brutal week for anyone who doesn't live with their eyes closed. The proof is right there on Twitter and other social platforms. It used to be that we relied on police bodycams to hold officers accountable for their actions. But in this difficult moment, citizen journalism is carrying that bucket instead.

    Something snapped in the United States as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against George Floyd's neck until he died on May 25. Floyd was black and Chauvin is white. It was a sadly familiar scene of what looks to rational observers like a clear case of police brutality.

    But this time, we hit a breaking point. The gruesome reality of Chauvin's actions as captured on camera is certainly part of it. He held his position on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, until after the restrained man died. The camera captures it all in vivid, horrifying detail. Add to that the ongoing pandemic, and historic levels of unemployment. People's nerves are frayed and the callous inhumanity of Floyd's death was a last straw.

    So cities exploded over the weekend with widespread protests and grim scenes of violence. Even as much of the country outside of major cities continues to hunker down behind stay-at-home orders, social media has brought all of us to the front lines through citizen journalism and shared news reports.

    These ongoing protests are about stopping racial violence and police brutality, and they're hundreds of years in the making. I think the images and videos, and the actions of the people portrayed therein, tell the whole story. Thank you to all of the protesters and members of the press who are out there doing your part to make sure the realities of this moment won't soon be forgotten.

    It hasn't all been as completely terrible as the above visuals suggest. Protesters are out in force and many of them are skipping the violence in favor of working to send a message, lift up the people in their community, and generally just keep the peace. Many others are just doing the best they can to peacefully work through the days, weeks, months, decades of pent-up anger they've been carrying.

    They've even been joined in a few cases by police officers and departments that have managed to maintain a level of trust with their local communities.

    SEE ALSO: How to demand justice for George Floyd and support Minneapolis protesters

    I don't know what else to say. Take care of yourselves, folks. And please, keep on documenting this moment in any way that you can.

  • Police scanner app catapults to the top of the App Store

    Police scanner app catapults to the top of the App Store

    Protesters just made a police scanner the most popular paid iOS app in the country.


    On Monday, 5-0 Radio Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab), which costs $5, was the number one paid app in the App Store. A pared-down version with ads was the number two paid app, surpassing TikTok and second only to the suddenly popular Zynn app. Vice first reported(Opens in a new tab) on the app's rise.

    Protesters clashed with police in Minneapolis, Louisville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia(Opens in a new tab), and other U.S. cities over the weekend. They are demanding an end to police brutality after George Floyd was killed by a police officer.

    A look at the top paid apps. Credit: screenshot / mashable
    Also popular as a free app. Credit: Screenshot / mashable

    Scanner apps let protesters listen to live police radio feeds. App analytics firm Apptopia found the top five police scanner apps, such as 5-0 Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab) and Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab), were downloaded 213,000 times over the weekend. That's a 125 percent increase from the weekend before — a record for police scanner apps. 5-0 Police Scanner was downloaded 40,000 times between Friday and Sunday in the United States.

    Other related apps saw download surges as well, like the encrypted messaging app Signal. It was downloaded 37,000 times this weekend, a record for the app. Same for community alert app Citizen, which was downloaded 49,000 times during the same period, according to Apptopia(Opens in a new tab).

  • Elizabeth Warren and her very good dog Bailey joined the Washington D.C. protests

    Elizabeth Warren and her very good dog Bailey joined the Washington D.C. protests

    Less than half an hour before the official curfew started in Washington D.C., thousands of protesters were still walking peacefully in the streets of the capital. Among them were Sen. Elizabeth Warren, her husband Bruce Mann, and their dog Bailey.


    Dressed in sensible beige shorts, sneakers, and a basic blue face mask, the last female candidate to suspend her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination was quickly spotted by her fellow protesters as she joined the throng in Lafayette Square. Many were clearly thrilled to see her, cheering as she told reporters President Donald Trump had been "wrong" to deploy the National Guard in the city.

    "He is imposing violence on our people," she told one reporter(Opens in a new tab). "People are here to protest peacefully.

    Warren also called for Attorney General Bill Barr to resign after reports that he had ordered the violent removal of protesters near the White House, and tweeted her support for her colleague Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to criminalise the use of chokeholds by police. Gillibrand was also in the presidential race until last August.

    Widespread protests have emerged in cities across the U.S. in a furious response to the death of George Floyd — who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes — as well as other recent police killings, including Louisville woman Breonna Taylor and Florida man Tony McDade. These names are only the latest to be added to a shamefully long list of black Americans killed by police.f

    Trump's response to the protests, in particular the order to disperse peaceful demonstrators near the White House using tear gas and rubber bullets for a Trump photo op, has drawn criticism from members of both parties(Opens in a new tab).

    Other politicians who have appeared at protests include Reps. Ayanna Pressley(Opens in a new tab), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(Opens in a new tab), and Joyce Beatty, who was pepper sprayed by police at the Columbus, Ohio event(Opens in a new tab), as well as Sen. Kamala Harris (Opens in a new tab)

  • Every police department should have to hear our rage via Zoom call

    Every police department should have to hear our rage via Zoom call

    Yesterday, the Los Angeles Police Commission held a Zoom call with citizens — of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, as well as some former residents — and watched with blank faces as citizens berated them mercilessly for eight hours.


    The call came not only after several nights of protests in Los Angeles, but also after LAPD chief Michael Moore blamed the death of George Floyd(Opens in a new tab) on the city's protestors and looters. (Moore walked back on the comments(Opens in a new tab) after backlash.)

    But that's just the tip of the iceberg: LAPD has a long history of violence against black people — next year will be 30 years since LA officers beat Rodney King(Opens in a new tab).

    After many people were initially left out of the call(Opens in a new tab) because it capped at 500 people — and after the boomers on the commission figured out how to work Zoom — the commission said their statements.

    Then, the real show started. The public unleashed their fury on the LAPD for hours on end. They demanded Moore's resignation or firing, as well as to defund the LAPD and support the people's budget(Opens in a new tab). Some spewed incredible insults(Opens in a new tab), while others broke down in tears. Several impassioned callers, like this one, went viral:

    After watching this call, I'm convinced that every police department needs to have a Zoom call like this one.

    While the LAPD is notorious for its racism, so are many other departments across the country — including the Minneapolis police(Opens in a new tab), who are responsible for the killing of George Floyd. He died after three police officers pinned him down, one kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

    Police departments across the nation should be subjected to people's rage. In many cities, they're beating up peaceful protestors who they are sworn to protect, all while we — the taxpayers — pay their salaries. Police commissions are supposed to be working for us, the civilians, and we should be able to scream and cry and drag our cops just like the residents of LA did yesterday. (And then I think we should defund the police(Opens in a new tab), but that's a different story.)

    Public meetings with police departments aren't new. As some activists mentioned on the call, they've been raising the same concerns about the police for years. But now thanks to technology not afforded previous generations, these meetings can be online (and the current pandemic pretty much mandates that, anyway). Virtual meetings can not only be more accessible to people who can't make them in-person, but allows these meetings to go viral and be seen by thousands, both in the department's jurisdiction and beyond.

    The total impact of the LAPD call has yet to be seen. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti didn't make any promises about changing the budget(Opens in a new tab), and as of publication the LAPD chief has not resigned.

    But that doesn't mean this call didn't have an impact. Hundreds of people were able to express anger that has possibly been pent up for years. People around the country — like me, in New York — stayed tuned for hours and are now inspired to tell our police departments our similar demands (and probably insults). Like protesting, donating money, and calling our reps, being able to rip into our respective police departments can be just another action to elicit change, and it's a cathartic one at that.

    Police commissions and departments have a duty to their citizens to let their voices be heard. We are all owed a more modern-day public forum. Americans everywhere should be able to call out their police chief's racist eyebrows.

    Mashable has reached out to LAPD for comment and will update if received.

  • Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

    Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

    Listen, let's not give Piers Morgan — a British TV presenter who's dabbled in racist tropes(Opens in a new tab) and transphobia(Opens in a new tab) — a gold star. But even he has realized Rudy Giuliani seems a little off.


    Giuliani, the former NYC mayor and current personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, appeared on Thursday on ITV's Good Morning Britain, which Morgan co-hosts. The appearance, which took place in the middle of the night in the U.S., turned into a shouting match between two old white guys about who was more discredited.

    The fight began when Morgan criticized Trump's tweet about "when the looting starts the shooting starts" in regards to the protests surrounding the police killing of George Floyd. But the argument soon devolved into a barrage of personal attacks.

    "You sound completely barking mad, do you know that?" Morgan said.

    Giuliani fired back, "No, I don't. You sound like a big liar."

    But Morgan kept going after the former mayor, firing off wonderfully British insults.

    "You've lost the plot. And it's sad to see," the host said.

    Taking a page from his boss's playbook, Giuliani stumbled through a few insults about Morgan's failed CNN show and its poor ratings. At some point, Giuliani either tells Morgan he "sucked up" or "fucked up" — it's tough to tell because Giuliani's words are a bit slurred — but either way Morgan apologizes for the language before twisting the knife further into his guest.

    "When I used to interview you, you were an intelligent, reasonable man and you've gone completely mad," he said. "And you sound deranged. You're abusive. And it's really sad to see what's happened to you."

    A viral clip from the interview goes on in a similar fashion for a few more minutes. It does represent a shift from Morgan — a former winner on Celebrity Apprentice who had a largely friendly (if bonkers)(Opens in a new tab) interview with Trump this time last year.

    But definitely watch the entire clip from Thursday, if only to see co-host Susanna Reid deliver an absolutely perfect, "OK," to end the wild segment.

  • Fox News host says John Lennon — who was killed in New York — wouldnt be safe in the city right now

    Fox News host says John Lennon — who was killed in New York — wouldnt be safe in the city right now

    Days after an NYPD car floored it into a group of protesters(Opens in a new tab) — just one of many instances of police violence in the city(Opens in a new tab) — New York City mayor Bill de Blasio responded with...John Lennon lyrics.


    "I don't mean to make light of this but I'm reminded of the song 'Imagine' by John Lennon," said de Blasio, according to journalist Jack Mirkinson. He went on to say that defunding the police, a rallying cry of the George Floyd protests, was "not the way forward."

    De Blasio was subsequently roasted by social media(Opens in a new tab) and traditional(Opens in a new tab) media(Opens in a new tab) outlets(Opens in a new tab), and then Fox News got ahold of the quote. On Fox & Friends Thursday morning, Brian Kilmeade thought he was delivering a brilliant zinger about the mayor:

    "John Lennon wouldn't be safe in this city right now," said Kilmeade. "He'd be hiding in his apartment."

    For those who are unaware (like Kilmeade, apparently), John Lennon was murdered in New York(Opens in a new tab) in 1980. His killer, Mark David Chapman, shot him four times outside his luxury Manhattan apartment. He's still in prison and his eleventh parole hearing is scheduled for this August(Opens in a new tab).

    Maybe Kilmeade should do some fact-checking. Imagine that?

  • Singer performs Bunker Boy, a catchy tune about Trumps time in the bunker

    Singer performs Bunker Boy, a catchy tune about Trumps time in the bunker

    There's a new song inspired by Donald Trump's recent and somewhat confusing trip to the White House bunker, and honestly? It's catchy as hell.


    On Monday, days after it was reported that Secret Service rushed the president to the White House bunker(Opens in a new tab) amidst D.C. protests, singer Courtney Jaye (@TropicalJaye(Opens in a new tab)) penned and performed the tune, titled, "Bunker Boy."

    Jaye shared a video of herself performing the song to social media, and on top of her gorgeous guitar playing and sweet-sounding vocals, the lyrics are truly something.

    "Bunker Boy, don't lie. You got scared and hid in the basement in the middle of the night," Jaye sings. "You're not so tough, no. It's a sorry sight. So take your bible, shove it up your ass, and turn on the fucking lights."

    Jaye ends the song with the lyrics, "Bunker Boy, Bunker Boy, November's coming and we hope you're terrified, Bunker boy," before taking a big exhale and letting out an exhausted eye roll. A real mood.

    SEE ALSO: Stephen Colbert slams Trump's hypocritical Bible photo op

    For those who haven't been closely following Trump's bunker saga, let's recap.

    On Friday night, hundreds of people gathered outside the White House gates to protest racism, police brutality, and the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on May 25, after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

    Reports stated that when protests escalated Friday night, Secret Service ushered Trump — along with Melania and their son Barron — to the underground presidential bunker, where they allegedly remained for nearly an hour(Opens in a new tab).

    After Trump received some backlash for retreating to the bunker amidst a national state of unrest, he said that he didn't go to the bunker to get away from the protests, rather he was merely inspecting the bunker.

    "I was there for a tiny, short little period of time," Trump told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio. He then stated his bunker visit was "more for an inspection," and that he'd been been to the bunker previously. He said he's gone "two and a half times," whatever that means.

    Trump's bunker comments sounded a bit absurd to many people, including Jaye, which is why she decided to use the gift of song to hilariously call the president out on his suspicious story.

    Jaye tweeted her video and made sure to tag Trump's Twitter handle — and the song has been quite a hit since. At the time of writing this piece, Jaye's tweet had more than 60,000 likes, and celebrities like Sophia Bush have even praised the blunt and catchy tune.

    Jaye is no stranger to writing songs about President Trump. On June 1, she also shared another potential hit, called "fuck this fucking president," which has been viewed 174,000 times.

    In it, Jaye shares her true feelings about the president, and urges people to get out and vote for the November election.

    I only wish Jaye had been cranking out these political hits back in 2018, when former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was hiding in (or among) bushes. I bet "Bushes Boy" would have been a real banger.

  • Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, resigns to make room for a black board member

    Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, resigns to make room for a black board member

    The co-founder of Reddit just put the rest of the tech world on notice.


    Alexis Ohanian announced Friday(Opens in a new tab) that he was resigning his Reddit board seat, and "urged" the rest of the board to fill his spot with a new black board member. He will also be donating all future gains on his Reddit stock to "serve the black community," and is immediately giving $1 million to Colin Kaepernick's racial justice charity.

    Yes, take that in. Ohanian just set the bar for using power and privilege for racial equity by transferring not only resources, but also power to people of color.

    The tech world has been looking for ways to support racial equality amid Black Lives Matter protests across the world. The leaders in efforts to promote diversity in tech say that one of the best ways tech leaders in particular can help is by investing in black businesses and venture funds, hiring black employees, and putting black people in positions of power within the tech world.

    "Tech companies should be hiring [people of color] at all levels, from the board room to the boiler room," Rodney Sampson, a leader in tech diversity and founder of the accelerator OHUB(Opens in a new tab), said. "If you’re a venture-backed tech company, you should be looking to put someone black on your board of advisors."

    Ohanian called his move "long overdue." He explained that he had made his decision so that he could answer his black daughter (Ohanian's wife is Serena Williams) when she asked: "What did you do?"

    Williams expressed support for her husband in a tweet that may have made this reporter choke up.

    In the background of Ohanian's actions are the stark realities of Reddit, which Ohanian said he founded "to help people find community and a sense of belonging." Anyone who has spent even a passing moment on Reddit knows that it can be a quagmire of divisive vitriol. Amid the protests, some Reddit communities protested what they see as Reddit's failure to take stronger action against hate speech on the platform by making their communities private. Ellen Pao, a former VC, and one-time interim CEO of Reddit who now runs a tech diversity organization, called out Reddit's hypocrisy on Twitter:

    There is, of course, no guarantee that Reddit leadership will take Ohanian up on his request to fill his seat with a black board member. But this is an opportunity to set an example for the rest of the tech and business world. Currently, around 11 percent of Fortune 100 board members are African American, according to a recent study(Opens in a new tab) by the Alliance for Board Diversity.

    Mashable has reached out to Reddit to learn whether it intends to follow through with Ohanian's call to action, and Reddit said it would be responding "later today."

  • Trump lies about elderly protester injured by police, hits another new Twitter low

    Trump lies about elderly protester injured by police, hits another new Twitter low

    Every time you think Donald Trump has hit a new moral low, he manages to outdo himself.


    On Tuesday morning, Twitter users saw yet another exceptionally distressing and unpresidential display from Trump. The president tweeted outlandish lies about Martin Gugino, the injured protester who was shoved to the ground by Buffalo police officers last week. Even for someone prone to spreading false conspiracy theories, this was a shocking thing to say.

    After video of the Buffalo police officers pushing the 75-year-old man to the ground went viral, public outrage led to the suspension of two officers directly involved and the resignation of the 57 other officers(Opens in a new tab) from Buffalo New York's emergency response team. Those officers who resigned from the team remain on the force.

    As Gugino — whose head could be seen smacking the pavement in the video and then was bleeding from his ears — remains in serious but stable condition, Trump suggested to nearly 82 million Twitter followers that the 75-year-old man was "an ANTIFA provocateur" who was trying to tamper with police equipment and exaggerated the severity of his fall.

    "Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?" Trump tweeted.

    SEE ALSO: Protesters turned Donald Trump's #BabyGate fence into something beautiful

    The tweet not only publicly targets a citizen, but also attempts to destroy his reputation as a peaceful activist(Opens in a new tab). And though Trump continually flings insults and spreads misinformation on Twitter, many people were genuinely taken aback by the harmful nature of this conspiracy theory.

    Trump seems to have gotten this conspiracy theory in his head from One America News, the conservative, far-right news network that previously claimed Dr. Fauci had ties to the Deep State, George Soros, Bill Gates, and the Clintons(Opens in a new tab).

    Trump has proven time and again that he's not above lying to rile up his base and change the conversation. So it's imperative now more than ever that you research whatever he says before you even consider believing it.

Random articles


  • The wildlife photos have been coming thick and fast lately.

    The wildlife photos have been coming thick and fast lately.


    First we had the highly commended entires in the Wildlife Photography of the Year Awards, then we had the Comedy Wildlife Photography of the Year Awards, and this week we had the microscopic entries for the Nikon Small World Photomicography Competition.

    Now, we have even more photos from the Wildlife Photography of the Year Awards — and this time it's the winners.

    On Tuesday night, the competition – which is run by London's Natural History Museum – announced the winning entries across 17 categories, including the overall winner of the entire contest.

    Before we dive into the photos, a quick warning: Although many of the entries below showcase nature's beauty, they also show its more brutal side — and there are two photojournalism winners, right at the bottom, that show animals in captivity.

    'The embrace' by Sergey Gorshkov, Russia. Winner of 'Animals in their environment' and overall competition winner.Credit: Sergey Gorshkov


    'The fox that got the goose' by Liina Heikkinen, Finland. Winner of the 15-16 category, and overall young winner.Credit: Liina Heikkinen
    'Out of the blue' by Gabriel Eisenband, Colombia. Winner of 'Plants and Fungi.'Credit: Gabriel Eisenband
    'Etna's river of fire' by Luciano Gaudenzio, Italy. Winner of 'Earth's Environments.'Credit: Luciano Gaudenzio
    'Eleonora's gift' by Alberto Fantoni, Italy. Winner of 'Rising Star Portfolio.'Credit: Alberto Fantoni
    'A mean mouthful' by Sam Sloss, Italy/USA. Winner of the 11-14 category.Credit: Sam Sloss
    'Perfect balance' by Andrés Luis Dominguez Blanco, Spain. Winner of the 10 years and under category.Credit: Andrés Luis Dominguez Blanco
    'The pose' by Mogens Trolle, Denmark. Winner of 'Animal Portraits.'Credit: Mogens Trolle
    SEE ALSO:27 otherworldly astronomy photos that will truly blow your mind
    'When mother says run' by Shanyuan Li, China. Winner of 'Behaviour: Mammals.'Credit: Shanyuan Li
    'Great crested sunrise' by Jose Luis Ruiz Jiménez, Spain. Winner of 'Behaviour: Birds.'Credit: Jose Luis Ruiz Jiménez
    'The last bite' by Ripan Biswas, India. Winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio Award.Credit: Ripan Biswas
    'Life in the balance' by Jaime Culebras, Spain. Winner of 'Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles.'Credit: Jaime Culebras
    'A tale of two wasps' by Frank Deschandol, France. Winner of 'Behaviour: Invertebrates.'Credit: Frank Deschandol
    'The golden moment' by Songda Cai, China. Winner of 'Under Water.'Credit: Songda Cai
    'Watching you watching them' by Alex Badyaev, Russia/USA. Winner of 'Urban Wildlife.'Credit: Alex Badyaev
    'Show Business' by Kirsten Luce, USA, shows a bear forced to perform in a travelling Russian circus. Winner of the Wildlife Photojournalism: Single Image' category.Credit: Kirsten Luce
    'Backroom business' by Paul Hilton, UK/Australia, shows a pig-tailed macaque on show in Bali’s bird market. Winner 2020, Wildlife Photojournalist Story AwardCredit: Paul Hilton

  • 33 years to read Twilight? This TikTok account isnt in a hurry.

    33 years to read Twilight? This TikTok account isnt in a hurry.

    Take a 15-year-old fandom, add in a heap of meme-based absurdist comedy, and place a 20-year-old who's never read the source material at the helm. That's Shaiann Alger's Twilight(Opens in a new tab) fan account(Opens in a new tab).


    Without being a part of Twilight fandom, knowing the inside jokes, major characters, or fun facts, Alger's created a landing space for its enthusiasts, and her profile is just the latest in successful "one-line-at-a-time" fandom accounts. 

    "I know, generally, it's about a vampire and werewolf, but I've never read it so I don't know the exact details of the story," she explained. 

    One-line-at-a-time accounts like Alger's use a pretty simple format. Pick a book, movie, or TV show, make an account on your favorite social media platform (usually Twitter or, now, TikTok), and start tweeting a single line, sentence, or quote at a similar time each day. Some accounts go chronologically through a screenplay or book, but others mix it up. Schedule the tweets to go up each day and boom! Instant community. 

    These accounts live at the intersection of two social media trends — daily out-of-context accounts that share images from the internet's favorite shows and movies, and repetitively reliable meme accounts that have turned social media posting into a precise, weekly formula. These accounts include the "Ladies and gentlemen, The Weekend" account(Opens in a new tab) that tweets a Daniel-Craig-hosting-SNL GIF every Friday, or the Russian Doll fan page(Opens in a new tab) that shares the same show image every Thursday.

    For fans, one-line-at-a-time accounts serve as daily reminders of lifelong faves and yet another opportunity to commune with fellow obsessives, even as the source material ages and the fanbase dwindles. (Or maybe even convert some new fans). 

    After 400 days of posts to @new_poop15, Alger isn't even done with the first of Twilight's 25 chapters yet. (Her account's name is a play on words referencing New Moon, the second book in the Twilight franchise.) Alger was inspired by fellow TikTok accounts doing the same thing for other cult favorite books, like user @sillyspence(Opens in a new tab), who was reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone one sentence at a time. Her mom also played a part. "I was talking about maybe watching the movie and she was like, 'Don't watch the movie. Just read the book. The movie was really bad.'" 

    As Alger can attest, one-line-at-a-time pages require consistency, tight schedules, and accuracy (the real fans know when you've missed a crucial sentence(Opens in a new tab)). 

    "I'm kind of retelling Twilight in this slightly twisted, slightly unique way."
    - Shaiann Alger

    Each of her videos, which have netted more than 29,000 followers and a collective 1 million likes, has a similar vibe. She introduces herself with a different meme-worthy name each day — "Hi. I'm the 50th Shade of Grey and this is day 390 of reading Twilight. One sentence at a time." — reads a single line, and then gives the viewers an analysis or prediction for the rest of the story. And the viewers in the comment section play right along, guessing with her in playful ignorance. "I wonder if bella will ever be done with lunch or if she'll just live in the cafeteria forever," user @captainmorgs commented on the video from Dec. 19. "Haven't checked in here in a while. Looks like we've made some progress. Very good," wrote user @amberandthings. 

    What keeps bringing me back is that for Alger, every sentence is a new, out-of-context piece of information. As a former Twihard and historical witness to the Twilight craze, it's startlingly fun to watch someone read the book with fresh eyes. Alger's account is like rediscovering a childhood favorite alongside thousands of friends. It's a community of people who love the humor of pretending to not know that Edward and Bella end up in eternal love together, and also a group who crave a kind of nostalgia only found in our favorite youth-related media. It helps, too, that the Twilight franchise has found a resurgence online(Opens in a new tab) in the last couple years. 

    And since she exists somewhere outside the fandom, Alger adds a refreshing spin to something that's already been consumed and reproduced over and over again. "I try to come up with funny commentary after reading the sentence. And I usually take things very literally. Like when Bella 'dropped her eyes'. She still hasn't picked them up. They're still on the floor," Alger said. "I definitely think, in a way, I'm kind of retelling Twilight in this slightly twisted, slightly unique way."

    Similar one-line-at-a-time accounts have long taken over Twitter, including ones focused on the entire Twilight Saga(Opens in a new tab). There are even separate script bots for each of the film adaptations — Twilight(Opens in a new tab), New Moon(Opens in a new tab), Eclipse(Opens in a new tab), Breaking Dawn: Part 1(Opens in a new tab), and Breaking Dawn: Part 2(Opens in a new tab)

    Popular bots also tweet multiple lines a day from the scripts of beloved, currently-running TV Shows like Ted Lasso(Opens in a new tab) and Succession(Opens in a new tab). And the Lady Bird bot successfully(Opens in a new tab) tweeted every line from Greta Gerwig's award-winning 2017 dramedy in August 2018. The bot was still tweeting lines from the movie in March 2021. 

    And social media is reinvigorating other old media, not just the meme-worthy. Take The Goldfinch bot(Opens in a new tab), which posts a line from Donna Tartt's 2013 novel The Goldfinch every four hours. The book was adapted into a highly-anticipated film in 2019, the same year the Twitter account was created, and it's still trending among readers in TikTok's book community two years later. 

    In the same way The Goldfinch won't leave BookTok recommendations(Opens in a new tab), the last year of online Discourse™ was a cycle of younger generations rediscovering art and media beloved by the rest of us for years. Annoying to some, it's a testament to the source material's longevity. Teens obsessed with the online "dark academia" trend are introducing each other to the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society and Tartt's other 1992 novel The Secret History — which is now the #9 most discussed book(Opens in a new tab) on Tumblr. LGBTQ kids are learning about cultural icons and discovering LGBTQ novels, like Madeline Miller's greek myth retelling The Song of Achilles, published 10 years ago. The intensely dedicated The Song of Achilles bot(Opens in a new tab), posts a quote from the book every single hour and has 24,000 followers. 

    SEE ALSO: Is Gen Z bringing flip phones back?

    Some of the creators who run these accounts become characters to obsess over themselves, especially in TikTok's universe — just ask the devoted dozen followers that interact with Alger's videos everyday. 

    "I really love the community of people that comment on my videos every day. It's always so fun to see what they have to say about the sentence or about whatever joke for an intro I made that day," Alger said. "It almost feels like they're all just doing the same joke along with me, instead of me doing a performance for a bunch of people."

    The account's comment section, even on days when only those loyal few are in attendance, remains humorous, light, and positive — hate comments and trolls are rare. There's inside jokes, like the early Chevy truck "plot line" that dominated dozens of videos, the seven days Alger introduced herself as Beyoncé, or the running gag that she thinks Bella will end up with minor character Eric. 

    New fans are joining old fans as Alger reads us one line a day from Twilight, now a 16-year-old book series. "I think I picked one of the best books I could have done for the series, just because it's a book that everyone knows about. And like, people either really like it or really hate it. And I feel like my videos can capture both of those audiences," Alger said. 

    For some followers, her videos have also been constants in a time of uncertainty. 

    During the pandemic, knowing that someone would post a video everyday of something I was already familiar with was a mental comfort and a sense of minute control. Fans can rely on one-line-at-a-time accounts to offer the same brand of content everyday, about a topic they already love.

    "Not all my videos will make it on the For You Page. So people are going out of their way to go to my channel and leave a comment, which is about the same amount of work I do for my videos every day," she said. "It always made me really happy to know that I was kind of helping them by just being some sort of anchor, some sort of thing that happens every single day."  

    Her followers have done the math — it'll take her 33 years to finish Twilight at the rate she's currently going. But most seem undeterred. The account will run until Alger decides it's over, or TikTok dies just like its predecessor Vine, or the world ends, whichever comes first. 

    "I plan on reading the entire book right now. Something might happen, like I might die, and then I wouldn't be able to do that anymore. But you know, assuming something like that doesn't happen in the next 30 years, I can see myself finishing it. I can see it just becoming a thing that I do every day," Alger said. I know, carrying on in my optimistic denial and fervent fandom, that I'll still be there on day 12,386. 

  • 11 of the weirdest DALL-E-generated images on the internet

    11 of the weirdest DALL-E-generated images on the internet

    Despite the existential horrors that come from the ever-increasing wealth of knowledge gained by artificial intelligence — they sure do know how to create art. And now, the internet is making the most of this technology to generate some epically weird images with the help of DALL-E Mini.


    Named after the surrealist artist himself, Salvador Dali, DALL-E uses artificial intelligence to create images based on the text you write (no matter how weird). For example, if we typed in "Elon Musk trapped in space," the AI would spin up images of the billionaire eternally trapped in the void of space (or one could hope so).

    DALL-E(Opens in a new tab) was originally invented in 2021 by OpenAI but the images created were often grainy, inaccurate, and time consuming to generate. However, OpenAI has improved the software significantly, resulting in DALL-E 2 — a powerful new model that performs far better. DALL-E 2 is slowly being rolled out to the public via a waitlist but the version available to the public, DALL-E Mini, has provided some great results so far.

    SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about DALL-E

    Twitter has been lighting up with some wonderfully interesting images from Cthulhu making an appearance on Sesame Street(Opens in a new tab) to a (Opens in a new tab)giant lobster playing basketball(Opens in a new tab). So we took it upon ourselves to find 11 of the weirdest images we could find created by DALL-E(Opens in a new tab).

    "Nosferatu in Rupaul's Drag Race"

    "Darth Vader ice fishing"

    "Jesus Christ on fire break dancing"

    "The Demogorgon from Stranger Things holding a basketball"

    "A bottle of ranch testifying in court"

    "Ronald McDonald performs open-heart surgery"

    "Duolingo trail cam"

    "Santa taking a picture in a tornado"

    "Walter White in Animal Crossing"

    "Thanos looking for his mom in a Wal-mart"

    "R2D2 getting baptized"

  • Why did Reddit turn Bed Bath & Beyond into the latest meme stock?

    Why did Reddit turn Bed Bath & Beyond into the latest meme stock?

    Reddit’s new favorite meme stock is doing what meme stocks do: spiking to an unsettling degree. 


    This time the stock symbol riding the r/wallstreetbets roller coaster is "BBBY," for Bed Bath & Beyond, the brick-and-mortar chain store where you can pick up a Keurig machine and some candles, and save big with one of their famous 20-percent-off coupons.

    As of Tuesday afternoon, BBBY had skyrocketed 67 percent in a day, according to The Wall Street Journal(Opens in a new tab), which noted that at the top of its Tuesday spike, shares were trading at $28.04, after being worth $8.88 a week earlier. (Opens in a new tab)

    SEE ALSO: Reddit traders push GameStop stock to towering heights while pros look in disbelief

    The meme stock phenomenon goes a little something like this: Users of retail investing apps and services like Robinhood read slur-laced stock "tips" on the internet, and then drive up stock prices, ostensibly in opposition to the stodgy bean counters in the traditional investment world. In reality, stodgy bean counters like the folks at Senvest Management, which made about $700 million from the Gamestop Reddit phenomenon(Opens in a new tab), are often the ones who make the most money from meme stocks. Meanwhile, small-fish investors who YOLO their life savings into stocks they read about on Reddit often(Opens in a new tab) simply lose their life savings(Opens in a new tab)

    At the start of March, The Wall Street(Opens in a new tab) Journal(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab) reported(Opens in a new tab) that in a new tab) billionaire and GameStop chairman Ryan Cohen had written a letter(Opens in a new tab) disparaging Bed Bath & Beyond’s operational plan, and in the process, announced that he owned 9.8 percent of the company. Naturally, r/wallstreetbets took notice, with one post praising Cohen as "the meme king(Opens in a new tab)," and saying "Ryan Cohen will never be matched," earning 10,423 Reddit karma points. Ever since then, Bed Bath & Beyond stock has been in a tug of war between meme-fueled exuberance and traditionalist pessimism.

    The stock saw a brief spike in March, and then about five months of steady decline. Then in early August, it saw an uptick, and a Redditor named TheDude0007 posted about making a risky $45,000 investment(Opens in a new tab) in the company. Then Bed Bath & Beyond's fortunes began to improve quickly. And now some commentators(Opens in a new tab) are predicting a "short squeeze" — a spike in a stock price that occurs when those who have bet against the stock rush to exit their toxic investment by buying the stock in question, thus driving up the price drastically.

    SEE ALSO: GameStop stock soared and trading was halted. Then Reddit crashed.

    But meme stocks have been eyed by analysts for allegedly feeding off the activity of social media bots — particularly in the cases of Reddit favs AMC and GameStop. Since its stock price exploded in early 2021, GameStop has seen an aggressive new business plan that involves an attempt to "reduce bloat(Opens in a new tab)" by laying off workers. 

    Trading analyst Jared Dillian wrote on August 11(Opens in a new tab) that the Bed Bath & Beyond craze in particular seems likely to be fueled less by retail investors than by hedge funds, since, Dillian surmises, many retail investors have blown through their COVID-era stimulus checks. 

    "So, the meme-stock trade today isn't really r/wallstreetbets versus big bad hedge funds, it's big bad hedge funds versus big bad hedge funds. Those Reddit users who are still around are simply along for the ride," writes Dillian. 

  • Influencers stopped caring about the pandemic. Here’s why thats so dangerous.

    Influencers stopped caring about the pandemic. Here’s why thats so dangerous.

    Influencers are acting like the pandemic is over. It's not.


    Jake Paul threw a massive house party last week at his Calabasas mansion amid soaring COVID-19 cases in California. Videos from the party show dozens of attendees crowded in the controversial YouTuber’s living room, with no regard for the recommended six feet of distance to limit potential virus spread. Nobody visible in the videos wore a mask.

    The community of Calabasas was rightfully furious at Paul — it’s not the first, and likely won’t be the last time he’s angered his neighbors.

    "They’re having this large party, no social distancing, no masks, it’s just a big huge disregard for everything that everybody is trying to do to get things back to functioning," Calabasas mayor Alicia Weintraub told Fox 11. "It’s just a party acting like COVID does not exist, it’s acting that businesses aren’t closed."

    Roughly four months after most of the United States established stay-at-home orders in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the pandemic is still raging. The country has seen more than 3.8 million cases and surpassed 141,000 COVID-related deaths as of Wednesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control(Opens in a new tab). Los Angeles County, which includes Calabasas, hit a record high(Opens in a new tab) of hospitalizations on Monday as well, with 2,232 people hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms. And of those hospitalized, the Los Angeles Times reports(Opens in a new tab), 26 percent are in intensive care.

    Alarmingly, cases among younger adults are on the rise. Almost "50 percent of cases" occur among people younger than 40, L.A. County director of public health Barbara Ferrer said after the Fourth of July. It’s roughly a 20 percent increase from cases in early April. California Gov. Gavin Newsom blamed it on the “young invincibles” returning to work and attending social gatherings.

    Large parties aren't only hotspots for coronavirus transmission, they're also hell for contact tracing. In Florida, health officials struggled to keep track of potential COVID-19 exposure because of the state's relentless partying, despite closed bars and restaurants. In New York, Rockland County officials had to issue eight subpoenas to partygoers in their 20s who refused to answer basic questions from contact tracers.

    "Going a single party can completely exhaust the capacity of the health department to be able to do contact tracing."

    Dr. Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist who specializes in infectious disease at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, worries about the strain that large parties like the one Paul hosted will have on health departments.

    "It becomes very difficult to be able to nail down who was within six feet of somebody for 15 minutes or more," Dr. Rimoin said in a phone call to Mashable. "Going a single party can completely exhaust the capacity of the health department to be able to do contact tracing."

    In an interview with WebMD(Opens in a new tab), Dr. Anthony Fauci implored young people to continue social distancing, blaming them for "propagating the pandemic" by "not caring."

    "By allowing yourself to get infected or not caring if you get infected, you are propagating a pandemic," Fauci said. "Because it doesn’t end with you. You get infected and you have no symptoms. The chances are you’re going to infect someone else, who will then infect someone else."

    At that point, the virus could infect someone who’s older or immunocompromised.

    Related Video: Why is the U.S. failing at coronavirus testing?

    "And then someone who’s vulnerable to severe consequences will get infected. That could be [somebody’s] father, mother, or grandmother. It could be a sick child who’s immunodeficient," Fauci said. "Then, all of a sudden you’re not operating in a vacuum. You’re part of the problem as opposed to being part of the solution."

    While Fauci noted that "blaming [young people] won’t help," even though the virus' spread has been linked(Opens in a new tab) to the reopening of bars and restaurants, influencers with large platforms can and should be doing more to stay at home. They have immense reach and unique access to younger populations that health officials are struggling to find. In his interview with WebMD, Fauci emphasized the importance of reaching young people, which is why he's appeared on Julia Robert's Instagram Live and Lil Wayne's podcast.

    But those with massive platforms, like Jake Paul, who ignore social distancing recommendations are undoing much of the country's progress.

    "People who are in prominent positions in the media and in particular, these influencers, have exactly that: influence. And they could be doing their part to help stop the spread of this virus."

    "People who are in prominent positions in the media and in particular, these influencers, have exactly that: influence," Dr. Rimoin added. "And they could be doing their part to help stop the spread of this virus. What we know right now is that masks and social distancing work. We cannot rely on any other kind of magic bullet. This virus doesn't care whether or not you believe in it, this virus is going to spread."

    Paul isn't the only one to ease up on social distancing. Many TikTok stars have been meeting in person to collaborate on videos. Jason Derulo congratulated Dixie D'Amelio on the release of her new single "Be Happy" with a joint dance routine(Opens in a new tab) in late June, and featured viral beatboxer Spencer X in another video(Opens in a new tab) the next week. Then he joined Brent Rivera's creator incubator Amp Studios to shoot a few more videos in early July. D'Amelio posted a video(Opens in a new tab) from the Sway House, another creator incubator, on Monday. Members of the Sway House danced(Opens in a new tab) with beauty YouTuber James Charles over the weekend. Charles appeared(Opens in a new tab) on Logan Paul's podcast Impaulsive a few days before. Charles also featured the D'Amelio sisters in a YouTube video(Opens in a new tab) posted Tuesday. Several popular creators, including Tana Mongeau, were spotted(Opens in a new tab) at a birthday party for Larray, a member of the TikTok collective the Hype House.

    Predictably, none of them were wearing masks in their videos, much less maintaining six feet of distance between each other. They may be getting tested before meeting up with each other, but continuing to record themselves in large groups sends a conflicting message to their often impressionable audience.

    Do social distancing recommendations just not apply to influencers?

    Do social distancing recommendations just not apply to influencers?

    Like Fauci said in his WebMD interview, none of us can exist in this pandemic in a vacuum. Every social interaction runs the risk of spreading infection further. Every time you interact with someone outside of the people you're already quarantining with, the web of potential infections grows. And while it's possible that everyone collaborating together is part of the same giant "quarantine bubble,(Opens in a new tab)" ensuring the necessary exclusivity to limit virus transmission to anyone outside of the group is increasingly difficult. As the New York Times(Opens in a new tab) reported on quarantine bubbles, the ideal bubble would be a "closed loop" — nobody inside the bubble interacts with anyone outside of it.

    "The ideal thing is that we just stay home forever and never see anybody, but that's just not sustainable," Dr. Zoe McLaren a health policy researcher at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland told the New York Times. "Each additional person you add adds in more risk for everybody else in the group. Keeping the pod size small is really, really key for minimizing your risk."

    It's highly unlikely that the influencers gathering are all quarantined together, much less agreeing to any sort of exclusivity.

    Disappointed in the lack of consideration for social distancing, some former followers are taking it to the influencers' home turf to publicly shame them. In response to a group video posted by laurenkettlecorn, a TikTok creator with roughly half a million followers, user icryatnightcheck added a side-by-side screenshot(Opens in a new tab) of a Time article about California's spiking COVID-19 cases. TikTok user kyleto3 made a similar side-by-side video using one posted by Blake Gray, who has four million followers, and cheekily added "we dont care" over Gray's side of the video.

    Public shaming doesn't seem to work. Credit: tiktok / icryatnightcheck
    Public shaming doesn't seem to work. Credit: Tiktok / kyleto3

    Public shaming doesn't seem to work.

    Is public shaming effective? Critics of cancel culture can hem and haw over how being "canceled" can ruin someone's life, but some frustrated former followers of certain influencers found that their idols didn't respond well to being called out. Despite the risk of traveling, We Wore What founder Danielle Bernstein spent the Fourth of July in the Hamptons.

    The Instagram account influencerstruth(Opens in a new tab) criticized Bernstein in a post shortly after she attended a Fourth of July party and a dinner. In response to critics, Bernstein claimed attendees had to "submit testing results ahead of time" to prove that they weren't infected. Her followers were disappointed in her for attending in the first place.

    "There are 2.4 million people seeing her invite people into her home and attend parties and then people will think it's OK to do [too.]"

    One of Bernstein's former followers runs an account called wedonttakecovidseriouslywhat(Opens in a new tab), collecting screenshots of Bernstein's frequently deleted Instagram stories in an effort to hold her accountable before the stories time out.

    "I was a long time follower but her behavior in the Hamptons/Montauk community has been pretty terrible in terms of partying and seeing tons of people," wedonttakecovidseriouslywhat said in an Instagram DM. They preferred not to share their name. "[It's] deeply upsetting because COVID cases are rising in the U.S. and there are 2.4 million people seeing her invite people into her home (very high risk) and attend parties and then people will think it's OK to do [too.]"

    In response to the criticism, Bernstein blocked wedonttakecovidseriouslywhat, according to the person behind the account.

    While the government's rush to reopen for the sake of the economy has muddled public perception of just how dangerous the coronavirus still is, Dr. Rimoin believes that many influencers have the opportunity to stress the importance of social distancing and mask wearing. To have a large platform with as much reach as many influencers do and not use it for the sake of public health is a missed opportunity. The pandemic isn't an individual issue — it's a societal one that everyone must collectively work toward curbing.

    "Everybody needs to take responsibility. People who have a social platform, and have the ability to influence others, have an obligation to do the right thing," Dr. Rimoin concluded. "Our economy depends on it, our ability to get back to school depends on it, our ability to get back to normal depends on it. So everybody needs to be doing their part. There's no excuse."

  • China could punish people for liking social media posts


    China could punish people for liking social media posts

    China is continuing to crack down on internet use against its citizens amid massive protests that have been sweeping the nation.

    The Cyberspace Administration of China published a new set of guidelines, going into effect on Dec. 15, that would make internet users in China liable for simply liking posts that the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission chaired by leader Xi Jinping deem illegal or harmful, according to CNN(Opens in a new tab).

    SEE ALSO: Protests erupt at Foxconn's iPhone factory in China over working conditions, pay

    This comes as street protests erupted in cities across the nation over the weekend against the "dynamic zero COVID" policy. The anti-COVID measure include strict lockdowns imposed by local authorities, mass testing, forced isolation and quarantines, closing businesses, shops, and schools, and maintaining lockdowns until there are no new infections reported, according to the BBC(Opens in a new tab). Tens of millions of people are living under some kind of lockdown, and some workers have been forced to sleep inside factories so they can continue to work while being quarantined.

    A social media post that was forwarded widely quoted former Chinese leader Xi Zhongxun, the late father of Chinese President Xi Jinping, as saying "the people should be allowed to speak and encouraged to care about state affairs," NPR reported(Opens in a new tab). The country has two options, according to the news outlet: dropping the policies altogether and triggering an increase of COVID cases, or to double down on their zero-COVID policies, escalating lockdowns and political repression.

    As a result of the zero-COVID policies, China has been stepping up internet regulation because of the online public anger against the policies. According to The New York Times(Opens in a new tab), users "are also flipping videos on their side, using filters on them, or recording videos of videos" in order to evade algorithms made to flag content and take it down.

    The new guidelines are similar to guidelines published in 2017, but these now regulate "likes" of public posts and other types of comments. It's making people fearful that the nation might begin to crack down on social media even more than it has in the past. 

    "The authorities are very concerned with the spreading protest activities, and an important means of control is to stop the communications of the potential protesters including reports of protest activities and appeals of joining them," Joseph Cheng, a retired professor of political science at the City University of Hong Kong, told CNN. "This cyberspace control is an important lesson absorbed from protest activities like the Arab Spring."

  • Stop swiping: This video-first app makes dating fun again

    Stop swiping: This video-first app makes dating fun again

    Modern dating is in its flop era.(Opens in a new tab) Intimacy is dead, daters are burned out(Opens in a new tab) after two years of swiping, and apps introduced a decade ago are starting to show their age. A new app, Snack, wants you to break up with photo-based dating apps. And while it's designed with Gen Z in mind, it may also be a godsend for millennials who are tired of swiping to find love. 


    Snack CEO Kim Kaplan knows dating: She spent 10 years optimizing marketing, revenue, and product strategies at Canadian dating site Plenty of Fish. Pre-pandemic, she started thinking about building a video-based app after discovering #singletok, where TikTok users post personal info like their name, age, and zodiac sign to attract potential dates. With the help of a syndicate of Gen Z investors, Kaplan and her team built Snack by asking, "If we were to strip away all the things [about dating apps] that you don't like, what would that look like from a social and dating experience?" 

    And Snack really does strip it all away. My profile showed my name, age, location, a few hashtagged interests, and my videos — that's it. There's no bio or basic info like education level, job, political leanings, and height. Video prompts like "show me how tall you are by comparing yourself to another object in your room" are designed to capture your info and interests instead. Then the algorithm goes to work, identifying video elements, like "skiing," "dogs," and, yes, "fishing(Opens in a new tab)," to learn what you like and to surface more compatible matches.

    Snack may be built for Gen Z, but millennials can still feel the love. You can choose to see potential matches up to 35 years old. Credit: Snack App
    SEE ALSO: Is Bumble Premium worth it? I tried it for two months to find out.

    As a young-ish millennial used to swiping apps, Snack's simple design broke my brain (the app is currently available for daters aged 18 to 35, so it's definitely not just for Gen Z). It felt casual, fresh, and really fun, like flipping through my For You Page. You can flick up and down your feed to revisit profiles you've already seen and tell someone you're into them by tapping a heart button. Try swiping right or left, and the app will cheekily remind you that "swiping is old af." After a few days on Snack, Bumble and Hinge started to look more like resumes than dating apps.

    And the video element definitely worked for me. After watching a guy I'd usually swipe left on boldly twerk upside down on a wall at a house party, I thought, "Yeah, I'd grab coffee with him." 

    Kaplan says that's the point: Watching a video, even for a few seconds, forces you to be "more intentional about the decisions you're making" versus the "low intent" of swiping on a photo. Curated photos get stale fast, especially for Gen Zers who constantly update their feeds and share their experiences, or move dating app conversations to Instagram, where they "flirt through the content that they post," says Kaplan. "Why wouldn't you just keep uploading what happened on a weekend or a night out with your friends or what you're studying?" That type of content says more about who they are than a few old pictures. "You're seeing a more authentic version of somebody," Kaplan explains. "[They're saying] here's who I am and I'm proud of who I am, and you're gonna like me for who I am."

    Another element of online dating that Snack wants to see dead and buried? Ghosting.

    Letting a conversation die when it fizzles, abandoning apps when life gets super busy— Kaplan says that kind of "light ghosting" is super common and not a big deal to most daters. But when it comes to chronic ghosting "that actually impacts people, it creates a really negative experience for everybody else on the app." Snack has decided to try to weed out those folks. "If you continually ghost, we're not going to show you as frequently," Kaplan says. "Hopefully, that changes the behavior and gets people to be more open and honest with the other party about what's going on."

    SEE ALSO: TikTok's 'West Elm Caleb' saga was never about Caleb

    She points to last week's West Elm Caleb uproar, noting that Snack would have kept a lot of the women involved from ever seeing Caleb on the app.

    The goal for Snack is, "How do we make it easier for you to enjoy and laugh and engage with what people are doing [on a dating app], just like you would on TikTok?" Kaplan says. After all, "Dating is meant to be fun, right?"

  • Your dog can now send text messages with these talking buttons

    Your dog can now send text messages with these talking buttons

    If your dog could text you, what would they say?


    This week coinciding with CES, FluentPet, the maker of those viral talking buttons all over TikTok, launched FluentPet Connect, a new version of its button system, now equipped with WiFi and data capturing. The FluentPet Connect app automatically captures when a dog presses a button allowing owners to track their progress and get messages in real time.

    Teaching your dog to use the FluentPet system — hexagonal tiles or "HexTiles" with buttons that are customized to say different words like "outside" or "play" when pressed — is all about patience, repetition, and close observation, according to the experiences of many in the community forum(Opens in a new tab) started by FluentPet. Now users don't have to worry about missing a hard-earned milestone when they're out.

    SEE ALSO: Dog anxiety is real. These products can help calm your anxious pet.

    "When people are in another room, they can get a text message from their dog [saying], 'I really need to go outside right now' you probably want to come get me," said Leo Trottier, CEO of FluentPet. 

    The new version was influenced by a motivation to capture what some claim are remarkable discoveries happening as dogs learn to communicate verbally with their humans. An example of these animals using sound buttons to communicate with their humans was told to Trottier by Alexis Devine, who has 7.2 million followers on TikTok for her videos of Bunny(Opens in a new tab), the famous talking dog. "Alexis was totally perplexed because Bunny was saying 'sound walk' or 'sound tug.'" But Bunny didn’t seem interested in playing tug o’ war or going for a walk, but kept insistently pressing the buttons for "sound" and "walk" and "sound" and "tug." 

    "It occurred to us, well maybe 'sound walk' is Bunny pressing buttons and 'sound tug' is kind of like a conversation between Alexis and Bunny." 

    Alexis Devine and Bunny are part of a 5,000-person study that gathers and reports data to FluentPet on a biweekly basis. But now, if users of the new version choose to opt in, their data can be automatically gathered and reported. Inspired by Christina Hunger(Opens in a new tab)’s work, the goal of the study is to research how dogs (and cats) can learn to express themselves using such devices. 

    Does this mean humans finally discovered a way to talk to animals? "I mean, people should be skeptical. Alexis [Devine] is skeptical. I'm skeptical. There are lots of times when Bunny does things that don't make any sense at all," said Trottier.

    With any experiment, however, that’s to be expected, says Trottier. Just watching one of Bunny’s videos shows the deliberate intent behind each communication. He’s not just pushing buttons at random. 

    But not everyone is convinced. "You stand a much better chance of teaching people to speak dog than you do to teach dogs to speak human," Dr. Clive Wynne, founding director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University Wynne told Mashable in November.

    In addition to WiFi connectivity, the new FluentPet Connect tiles also have improved sound quality, are more durable, and are more customizable for fitting the individual needs of each dog. 

    The FluentPet Connect Base HexTile ($69.95) and Expansion HexTiles ($49.95) can be reserved here(Opens in a new tab) and will begin shipping Spring 2022.

    This post was originally published in January 2022.

  • An exhaustive guide to the scandovalous Vanderpump Rules drama

    An exhaustive guide to the scandovalous Vanderpump Rules drama

    How do we explain the #Scandoval? In basic terms: A reality star from the Bravo show Vanderpump Rules, Tom Sandoval, allegedly cheated on his longtime girlfriend, Ariana Madix, who is also on the show, with yet another Vanderpump star, Raquel Leviss, who is the ex-fiancée of fellow Pump star, James Kennedy.

    But that very convoluted sentence is the equivalent of saying JFK was murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald, end of story. There is so much more. A hilarious amount more. A truly daunting amount more, which I will do my absolute best to lay out in this article. It is a story ripe with theories floated by internet sleuths, complicated webs of romantic overlap, and the deeply weird history of a reality show that's been running for a decade.

    Here's my best attempt at breaking this entire thing down into some kind of discernible bit of text. But before we get to the (alleged) cheating, its history, and the theories, we need to go over some facts.

    The show

    Vanderpump began as a Real Housewives spinoff of sorts. Scheana Shay, a castmember, worked at SUR, the Los Angeles restaurant owned by Real Housewives of Beverly Hill star Lisa Vanderpump. Shay unknowingly had an affair with the husband of another housewife. That drama helped birth Vanderpump Rules, which initially traced the lives and drama of the wannabe actors/models/etc. who worked at SUR. A decade and a few cast members later, the show now follows a mishmosh of people who work at SUR and those who don't.

    Basically, the show created micro-celebrities (also known as Bravolebrities) out of its cast — so now it's just a show that follows those people.

    The key #Scandoval players

    OK, let's meet the people. Other cast members will inevitably come up, but these are the four major players in this scandal.

    Tom Sandoval

    Sandoval is a longtime cast member of Vanderpump Rules. He's been there since the beginning. He fancies himself a Renaissance man of sorts: a model, actor, and musician, and not much good at any of those things. He was previously in a relationship with former cast member Kristen Doute, who had alleged (without proof) that Sandoval cheated on her with Madix.

    Ariana Madix

    Madix joined the cast in Season 2. Her and Sandoval have been partners for years, own a house together, and repeatedly stated they were life partners despite not wanting marriage.

    Raquel Leviss

    Leviss joined the cast in Season 5. She was dating cast member James Kennedy, a self-styled DJ. They got engaged before calling it quits last year.

    Tom Schwartz

    Schwartz is Sandoval's bestie. He was married to cast member Katie Maloney before a very public divorce last year. Schwartz is the more laid-back, man-child of the Tom duo. Together they opened the bar TomTom(Opens in a new tab) under the guidance of Lisa Vanderpump before striking out on their own with another bar called Schwartz & Sandy's(Opens in a new tab).

    The scandal

    OK, let's get to the meat and potatoes of this thing.

    This season of the Vanderpump Rules has been all about relationship struggles, primarily the divorce of beloved cast members Schwartz and Maloney. And, let's not forget, Leviss and Kennedy had called off an engagement — and the hot-headed DJ had already moved on with a new girlfriend.

    Amid all that, there were rumors that Schwartz and Leviss had made out at Coachella. To make things worse, Leviss kept sort of...openly flirting with Schwartz. Keep in mind: She's ostensibly friends with Maloney and Madix, so all of this public flirting crossed several girl codes. The most recent episode that aired this week showed Leviss admitting to Maloney(Opens in a new tab) that she had floated the idea of making out to Schwartz.

    Come to find out, the public discovers that no, no, no it wasn't that Tom who was cozy with Leviss. It was none other than Sandoval, you know the one still in a longterm relationship. TMZ first broke the news(Opens in a new tab) that Sandoval and Leviss were engaged in an affair and that Madix apparently found(Opens in a new tab) explicit messages and videos proving such. Soon enough, incremental details of the affair and breakup flooded the pages of TMZ, Page Six, Reddit, and pretty much everywhere else online. There are lots of smaller details to go over later but the biggest thing: This was reportedly not a one-off cheating incident. A source told People(Opens in a new tab) that the affair had been going on for at least six months.

    Vanderpump is a show basically built on infidelity — the history there is so deep we do not have the time — but this incident comes amid a downturn in popularity for the show that once headlined Bravo's non-Housewives offerings. It's also the kind of cheating scandal the show hasn't really seen: It's an affair within the group dealing with a couple — Sandoval and Madix — who had planned to spend their lives together. Madix was even seen supporting his band at a gig as recently as last Wednesday.

    "This is someone [Madix] thought she knew; someone she planned to spend the rest of her life with. You can't even put into words that betrayal," People quoted(Opens in a new tab) a source,

    Eventually, Sandoval all but confirmed the affair. In an Instagram post he said he understood the anger directed at him — nearly all fans are firmly on Madix's side — but that to please leave his bar Schwartz & Sandy's out of it, which had been flooded with bad reviews on platforms like Yelp and Google.

    Noticeably absent from the initial statement: Madix, who apparently noticed(Opens in a new tab) that herself. Sandoval finally addressed her in a statement in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

    He wrote(Opens in a new tab), in part:

    "I want to first and foremost apologize to everyone I've hurt through this process. Most of all, I want to apologize to Ariana. I made mistakes, I was selfish, and made reckless decisions that hurt somebody I love. No one deserves to feel that pain so traumatically and publicly. I can only imagine how devastating this has been for Ariana and everyone around us. I feel really horrible about that. My biggest regret is that I dishonored Ariana. I never meant to disappoint so many people, including our loving families and friends."

    On Wednesday, we finally got some confirmation and an apology from Leviss herself.

    "I want to apologize for my actions and my choices foremost to Ariana, and to my friends and the fans so invested in our relationships. There is no excuse, I am not a victim and I must own my actions and I deeply regret hurting Ariana," Leviss told Entertainment Tonight(Opens in a new tab).

    View this post on Instagram
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    Those are the broad strokes of the #Scandoval, but there's so much more. Because as with any other juicy news, the internet sleuths are on the case.

    The theories, the gossip, and all the rest

    So now that we know the basics of the scandal, let's get to the juice. To be frank, there is a 0.0 percent chance I could include every bit of gossip about this situation because it is infinite. If you're not a Bravo person, you won't get it, but the network and its shows inspire a certain kind of fandom. The fervor surrounding this is affair has been rabid and people have been hard at work uncovering every last breadcrumb on the internet.

    Let's dig into a few of the theories, bits of gossip, and other tidbits circulating around the #Scandoval. Because it's easy to believe this affair was imminently obvious if you knew where to look.

    The matching necklaces

    The good folks on Reddit(Opens in a new tab) — where else — noted soon after the news breaking that both Sandoval and Leviss had frequently worn lightning bolt necklaces lately. This was backed up — or, let's be real, maybe reverse-engineered — with a post on Reddit(Opens in a new tab) from someone claiming to be a friend of Raquel. These sorts of stories get spread like wildfire by Bravo fan accounts online, which are basically treating this affair like Watergate.

    Now, of course a lot of these details are to be taken with a huge grain of salt. For instance, that random account claiming to be Leviss's pal stated that Leviss would stay the night at Sandoval and Madix's home, carrying out the affair right under the couple's roof. It also claimed Sandoval has been putting off the breakup for months. Yet, the sourcing comes down to "trust me, bro." Some of this could be true, but it's there's no way to tell.

    The Tom of it all

    The Toms are inseparable. Naturally, some folks have wondered if Schwartz was covering — knowingly or not — for Sandoval's mess. After all, it's quite strange the Leviss was so obviously pursuing Schwartz on camera and even playing along in press interviews at the opening of Schwartz & Sandy's. People have even floated the idea that Sandoval was the Tom spotted making out with Leviss at Coachella and that Schwartz was a convenient fall guy.

    This would be interesting, considering the drama playing out in the season currently airing. Leviss effectively wiggled out of drama in last week's episode because Maloney believe she wasn't smart enough to plan an affair with Schwartz. Maloney believed Leviss got the idea put in her head and that she couldn't pull off being the villian.

    "Raquel is not smart enough to come up with something this diabolical on her own," Maloney said in the episode. "She's literally the human equivalent of cotton candy."

    Perhaps not so much.

    Halloween and hoodies

    I swear it's like Sandoval and Leviss wanted people to know something was up. First of all, Leviss wore a TomTom hoodie onstage at last year's BravoCon(Opens in a new tab), and interesting choice for an event where the cast members typically get glammed up. At the time, people speculated this was a shot at Maloney and her apparent interest in Schwartz. Now, with the Sandoval affair out, it could be read differently.

    Not to be outdone, when Halloween rolled around, Sandoval dressed as Leviss. He donned a wig to match her hair and the very same TomTom hoodie(Opens in a new tab).

    The cast chooses sides

    Spoiler alert: Pretty much everyone has sided with Madix. Kennedy, a friend of Sandoval and typically cast as the villain in his relationship with Leviss, has been taking a victory lap(Opens in a new tab). All the women in the cast, especially, have rallied around Madix(Opens in a new tab). They've been spotted going to her house, wine in hand, while Shay has posted(Opens in a new tab) videos of her dancing and singing with Madix, apparently taken at a concert.

    View this post on Instagram
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    Watch What Happens Live drama

    So much drama in the Bravo-verse traces back to Watch What Happens Live, the late-night show hosted by Andy Cohen, the brains behind everything Bravo. Unconfirmed rumors have suggested Shay — who is tight with Madix — may have physically confronted Leviss last Wednesday after they both appeared on the late-night show. That would align with the rumored timeline of the scandal breaking — that Madix discovered the apparent affair after Sandoval performed with his band. There has been no confirmation a confrontation occurred but US Weekly reported(Opens in a new tab) that Leviss has filed a restraining order against Shay.

    Again, the physical altercation is just a rumor, but Shay did like a tweet(Opens in a new tab) that said, "If what they are saying @scheana did after WWHL is true she is the ULTIMATE RIDE OR DIE friend."

    The statement from Leviss also indicated some incident may have occurred, but, again, nothing has been confirmed and Shay's name wasn't mentioned.

    "Although I chose to be on a reality show accepting the good and bad that comes with it, beyond my own actions I have been physically assaulted, lost friendships, received death threats and hate emails in addition to having had my privacy violated," Leviss told(Opens in a new tab) ET in a statement.

    "Send it to Daryl"

    Lawyers, of course, have already gotten involved. Leviss's attorney has reportedly contacted cast members to warn them not to share any intimate videos involving Leviss and Sandoval, claiming it was filmed without her consent and subject to revenge porn laws.

    Cast member Lala Kent, who famously once called Leviss a "Bambi-eyed bitch,(Opens in a new tab)" wasn't pleased that the lawyer contacted her directly. She brought up her own lawyer by name in a phrasing that is sure to last the test of time.

    "Raquel: Tell your little Mickey Mouse lawyer that if he has stuff to send over, he can send things to my lawyer. Same with the rest of my friends and cast, alright?" she said(Opens in a new tab) in a video posted to Instagram.

    "I don't know if you know how this works, I know you’re pretty brand new to the game. Didn't last long — look what you did with your fucking 15 minutes. You have something to send over, you can send it to my lawyer," she added. "I don't want to see that ever. Send it to DARYL!" (There is, of course, now "send it to Daryl(Opens in a new tab)" merch.)

    So what now?

    What now, indeed. For one, the tenth season of Vanderpump Rules is still freaking airing. The apparent affair is playing out in real time, and we'll be able to watch the upcoming episodes knowing information the cast members — aside from Leviss and Sandoval, apparently — are without. When the news broke, Bravo fired up the cameras to, one assumes, get reactions from the cast. We'll get some kind of response to the scandal this season, which is a rarity for a reality show. Until then, folks will be pouring over the episodes like the Zapruder film to suss out new theories.


    Cohen said on his radio show(Opens in a new tab) that it's his understanding Sandoval and Leviss are still seeing one another. Sandoval has been spotted(Opens in a new tab) visiting her apartment, so that adds up.

    In a show basically built on cheating — we didn't even touch on scandals involving former iconic cast members like Jax, Stassi, and others — this is the scandal that beats them all. The show, which had struggled to find its footing amid cast turnover, is now must-see TV. Get your popcorn and outrage ready.

  • Are TikToks de-influencing and anti-haul trends really challenging overconsumption?

    Are TikToks de-influencing and anti-haul trends really challenging overconsumption?

    "TikTok made me buy it," is the beginning of a now well-worn tale. At every turn, the social media app displays aesthetic videos that end with a suggested purchase or two. These mini-vlogs, presented by influencers, range from the ubiquitous get-ready-with-me stints, reviews of new collections, or unboxing videos of massive PR-provided hauls.

    With these, the platform has become something of a hub for fashion and beauty enthusiasts(Opens in a new tab) and a lucrative platform for creators in this field. The nature of the app — highly-visual and fast-paced, in a nutshell — has encouraged consumerism, supported brands, and led to the creation of niche trends that dominate the trend cycle.


    Now, the antidote to this TikTok-supported consumerism claims to be here, and is quickly reaching notability. "De-influencing" videos and "anti-haul" content are, once again, making the rounds on the app. While neither are new shopping phenomenons, the conversation around them has blown up on the app in the past few weeks: #deinfluencing(Opens in a new tab) has 63.3 million views and counting, while #antihaul(Opens in a new tab) has 54.5 million.

    SEE ALSO: TikTok influencers won't stop sending me to their Amazon storefronts

    Both trends, in essence, refer to influencers critiquing popular items and recommending users don't purchase them. The tone is usually biting, often cutting at viral products. Think: that perfume(Opens in a new tab) all over the FYP, the heated eyelash curler that went viral, the lip oils(Opens in a new tab) being advertised with millions of views.

    TikTok's #antihaul videos are full of influencers telling TikTokkers what products to avoid. Credit: Screenshot: TikTok / @sheiskyra, @jessikasherman, @joely.malcolm.

    De-influencing, which has morphed into something of a verb, sees many TikTokkers pushing for the antithesis of what fashion TikTok ordinarily does: urge new purchases and shower attention on material items. While "influencing" is a direct pipeline to buying, "de-influencing" is supposed to be aimed at preventing the surplus in consumerism.

    But not all posts under this wider trend are proposing anti-consumerism entirely; nor are they necessarily aiming to reduce overconsumption. Take this series(Opens in a new tab) by influencer @valeriafride(Opens in a new tab). "Let me de-influence you", she begins in the first video(Opens in a new tab), before unpacking the overhyped purchases that TikTok sweepingly recommends. For each, however, she provides an alternative that is "so much better" or "half the price". Several other TikTokkers are following a similar format, gaining traction for their supposedly tried-and-tested substitutes.

    Videos about "de-influencing" can range from those suggesting other items to some against TikTok-inspired shopping. Credit: Screenshot: TikTok / @jacquelynmenger, @tamillionaire4eva, @valeriafride.

    Within such videos, the prospect of de-influencing is somewhat dampened. The idea is not to stop influencing viral purchases, but rather to suggest alternative items in their place. It's tough, therefore, to say that de-influencing or anti-haul posts are a divorce from consumption entirely.

    It's tough to say that de-influencing or anti-haul posts are a divorce from consumption entirely.

    Of course, some of the influencers committing to de-influencing are actually discussing the need to purchase less. At the very least, they touch upon the idea that TikTok-endorsed products aren't necessarily the best ones. The intersection of sustainability and influencing is already a hazy one. Being a "sustainable influencer" can be considered contradictory, even ironic. A 2022 New York Times article(Opens in a new tab) reflects on this phenomenon, with journalist Isabel Slone writing, "While these influencers may showcase brands that seek to mitigate environmental impact, their content still drives a desire to consume." This is exactly what TikTok is seeing today, with creators denouncing certain items merely for the sake of promoting others.

    Yet, for many, the trend can still be seen as a step in the right direction.

    Mandy Lee, trends forecaster, speaks about de-influencing and anti-hauls in a recent TikTok video,(Opens in a new tab) considering the trend to be about "arming folks with knowledge, and trying to facilitate conversation, ideas, and critical thinking when it comes to personal style, consumption, cultural context, and fashion trends." Lee believes that these trends are a path to facilitating wider conversations about influencing, spending culture, and TikTok's role in it all. So even with the murkier de-influencing videos, there lies the prospect of a pause: a minute to think more deeply about how and where to spend your money.

    Eshita Kabra-Davies(Opens in a new tab), founder and CEO of fashion rental app By Rotation(Opens in a new tab), believes staunchly in practices that elevate sustainable wardrobes, a core mentality that led to the creation of her tech platform. By Rotation is a digital peer-to-peer rental startup, designed to promote slow consumption(Opens in a new tab) and challenge fundamental issues like textile waste(Opens in a new tab). She says that platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and even LinkedIn have been instrumental in promoting such conversations.

    "One of the great things about social media is that there is a lot of education out there, with everyone sharing their pearls of wisdom. TikTok in particular has a lot of money-saving hacks, and fashion has come into it," Kabra-Davies tells Mashable. "It’s been really nice to see people, especially young creators, being pragmatic, and great that fashion influencers have jumped from hauls to sustainability and slow fashion."

    Notably, TikTok and its users aren't the first to promote such discourse. Critical thinking, in the context of consumption, is something sustainability advocates and fashion experts — especially marginalized people and Black women – have long vouched for. Journalist and author of Consumed: The Need for Collective Change; Colonialism, Climate change and Consumerism(Opens in a new tab) Aja Barber has driven conversations in this space, expediting the necessary debates around influencer-led consumption. Activists including Mikaela Loach(Opens in a new tab), Leah Thomas(Opens in a new tab), and Cora Harrington(Opens in a new tab) have also used their platforms to post about these trends of influencer-led consumption and sustainability.

    To combat the promotion of consumerism, Barber suggests techniques such as ceasing to tag items and brands when posting outfits on social media."By tagging every item in our posts, we are promoting consumerism," explains Kabra-Davies of Barber's recommendation. "It's an indirect sell, getting into someone's subconscious, and trying to make people buy more."

    This conscious decision to not tag products is a piece of the bigger puzzle that is de-influencing. TikTokker Tamillionaire4eva(Opens in a new tab) disclosed to her followers(Opens in a new tab) that it's a practice she will now be adopting more, in an effort to jump onto de-influencing consciously.

    "I do not want to be just a billboard for products."
    - Tamillionaire4eva

    "I'm just sharing what I'm wearing, what I'm doing, what I've been liking, and I want to do it in a way that's like — I don't want you to feel the need to buy it," she says, acknowledging that followers occasionally get upset at the lack of tags on individual products.

    "I do not want to be just a billboard for products," she continues.

    Featuring subjects like mindful consumption, and moving away from the monster that is haul culture, is crucial in this fight against overconsumption. De-influencing is not without merit. But ultimately, disentangling a platform like TikTok from consumerism will be a laborious task, maybe even an impossibility.