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Protests sweep through 2022 FIFA World Cup

2023-03-19 06:14:30

Protests sweep through 2022 FIFA World Cup

The 2022 FIFA World Cup, which kicked off this week in Qatar, has been ridden with controversy and criticism — long before the event even started.

Protests sweep through 2022 FIFA World Cup(图1)

This year's host country is under scrutiny for its history of human rights abuses(Opens in a new tab) and alleged bribery and corruption in connection with FIFA(Opens in a new tab), in addition to the conditions surrounding the event itself, such as the injustices faced by migrant workers(Opens in a new tab) (including unexplained deaths(Opens in a new tab)) responsible for building the World Cup stadium and infrastructure(Opens in a new tab). Meanwhile, Qatar's laws regarding homosexuality — same-sex relationships are illegal(Opens in a new tab) in the country, and punishable by up to three years in prison — have led to further condemnation.

SEE ALSO: The Qatar World Cup is already going viral for all the wrong reasons

These circumstances have simultaneously placed in question the integrity of the global extravaganza(Opens in a new tab), along with its ambassadors and stakeholders. Qatar has been accused of sportswashing(Opens in a new tab), or the practice of countries hosting major events for the sake of cultivating influence, improving reputation, and distracting from a country's condemned humanitarian or environmental practices.

Notably, discourse surrounding Western hypocrisy(Opens in a new tab) has simultaneously emerged, and not only from FIFA President Gianni Infantino(Opens in a new tab) (who used his hour-long speech on the eve of the World Cup to declare European critics of the tournament hypocritical in their demand for human rights). Others have written of the complexities of engaging with the cup(Opens in a new tab) regardless of handing out criticism(Opens in a new tab), as well as football's documented history of priotising money over human rights(Opens in a new tab).

This ongoing back-and-forth, however, has not eclipsed the crux of the issue(Opens in a new tab) for many. FIFA itself adopted the U.N.'s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights(Opens in a new tab) in 2016, which codifies its responsibility to uphold human rights. The criticisms towards both Qatar and the governing body of football have resulted in various protests, both on the pitch and off.

Here's an ongoing list of protests being staged against this year's World Cup.

Germany players send a message

Germany players cover their mouths during the Qatar World Cup match between Germany and Japan. Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images

On Nov. 23, Germany players covered their mouths with their hands during a team photo before their World Cup opener, a match against Japan at Khalifa International Stadium(Opens in a new tab). "It was a sign, a message that we wanted to send out. We wanted to convey the message that FIFA is silencing us," said head coach Hansi Flick(Opens in a new tab).

The team's action came days after FIFA banned players from wearing rainbow armbands in Qatar(Opens in a new tab). The bands are a component of the OneLove campaign(Opens in a new tab), which was started by the Dutch Football Association to campaign against all forms of discrimination while emphasising unity and a shared love for football amongst fans. The band has no directly worded mention of LGBTQ advocacy, but is covered with an array of colors — like a rainbow — and a heart, akin to symbols associated with LGBTQ rights.

In Qatar, many teams sought to wear the band(Opens in a new tab) as a message of solidarity with the LGBTQ community, while playing in a country that criminalises same-sex relationships. However, FIFA clamped down on it, citing the organisation's regulation on equipment such as armbands: "No item (of playing kit or other clothing or equipment or otherwise) may be worn or used in any controlled area if FIFA considers that it is dangerous, offensive or indecent, includes political, religious, or personal slogans, statements, or images, or otherwise does not comply in full with the laws of the game." This apparently includes OneLove bands.

FIFA asked team captains to instead opt for bands created as a part of its own "social campaign"(Opens in a new tab). These bands feature slogans such as "Football unites the world", "SaveThePlanet," and "NoDiscrimination".

SEE ALSO: John Oliver takes a deep dive into the Qatar World Cup, slams FIFA

"We wanted to use our captain's armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect," wrote the German team in a Twitter thread. "Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position."

Germany, alongside England, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, and other European nations(Opens in a new tab), backed down from wearing the bands but have expressed displeasure(Opens in a new tab). The German Football Association is planning to take legal action against FIFA.(Opens in a new tab)

Meanwhile, OneLove armbands have sold out according to their manufacturers(Opens in a new tab).

Wales puts rainbow flag on display

A rainbow flag with the Wales' blazon at the Al Saad SC in Doha during the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Credit: NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images

In a similar vein, Wales displayed rainbow flags(Opens in a new tab) at their training base in Qatar on Nov. 23, as a message of solidarity with the LGBTQ community. The team was also planning on sporting OneLove bands but were prevented from doing so.

Backlash against David Beckham

David Beckham during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match between England and IR Iran at Khalifa International Stadium. Credit: Richard Sellers / Getty Images

Former England captain David Beckham is serving as ambassador for the Qatar World Cup(Opens in a new tab) — a role drawing criticism from human rights activists, fans, and celebrities alike. The backlash stems from Beckham's decision to be sponsored by Qatar for an allegedly whopping fee(Opens in a new tab).

In protest, British comedian Joe Lycett promised to shred £10,000 (or USD $11,000) if Beckham didn't stand down from his role before the World Cup. The ex-footballer didn't take any such action — and Lycett appeared to shred the sum in a video posted online. In fact, the money was not shredded, as Lycett later revealed(Opens in a new tab), but instead donated to LGBTQ charities.

Lycett originally praised Beckham(Opens in a new tab) for being a "gay icon": a reputation he held since the early 2000s(Opens in a new tab), largely thanks to gracing a cover(Opens in a new tab) of gay lifestyle magazine Attitude — the first professional footballer to be featured on the title's cover — and sprouting conversations about sexuality and football(Opens in a new tab).

"The fall of David Beckham's star has been fast and heavy," Attitude editor-in-chief Cliff Joannou wrote in a statement on Twitter(Opens in a new tab). "It’s a reminder that being an advocate for not just LGBTQ+ rights, but women’s rights, immigrant worker’s rights...and any human rights should not be lip service.

"It’s not a trend to boost a person’s profile. Human rights are not a fashion statement to be made to generate coverage in the style pages of tomorrow’s magazines."

Iran players decline to sing national anthem

Iranian fans hold signs of solidarity for those protesting. Credit: Evrim Aydin / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

While not a protest against Qatar or FIFA, the political messaging on the pitch continued with Iran's team declining to sing their national anthem(Opens in a new tab) before their match with England. The action was in solidarity with anti-government protests in their home country; a string of protests have swept through(Opens in a new tab) the country after the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini(Opens in a new tab) while in police custody in September. Amini was detained by Iran's "morality police" in Tehran for supposedly not covering her hair adequately. Protesters have been met with brutal force in the country, leading to an imminent investigation by the United Nations' top human rights body.

In the stadium, Iran's football team was met with cheers and fans holding signs with the words "Woman, Life, Freedom". The team captain, Ehsan Hajsafi, told reporters(Opens in a new tab) before the game, "We have to accept that the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy."

This article will continue to be updated during the course of the World Cup.

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    Arabella's story isn't the only remarkable part of this show. Her best male friend Kwame (Paapa Essiedu) has a storyline that explores black masculinity, internalised homophobia, and male experiences of rape. Meanwhile, Arabella's other best friend Terry (Weruche Opia) endures a racist microaggression during an audition for a supposedly empowering advert when a white casting director asks her to take off her wig so she can see her natural hair.

    This show is coming to our screens at a pivotal moment in history — as protests continue across America and parts of the globe against racism and police brutality, following the police killing of George Floyd, who died after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

    The contents of I May Destroy You has the power to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about who rape happens to, and what sexual violence really looks like. That act of service could not be more necessary.

    I May Destroy You debuts on HBO on Sunday, June 7, and on BBC One on Monday, June 8. Both episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer from Monday.

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    “The guy who found it does not want his name mentioned. He’s from back East,” Fenn told the(Opens in a new tab) Santa Fe New Mexican(Opens in a new tab).

    Fenn told the paper the person sent him a picture of the treasure to confirm the find, but Fenn declined to send a copy of that photo to the paper. So... a lot of questions remain.

    And yet things are even more complicated. Barbara Andersen, a Chicago real estate attorney, told the New Mexican(Opens in a new tab) she is filing an injunction in federal District Court against the person who allegedly found the chest, saying they hacked her and stole her solution. She wants to stop the person from selling the loot and have the court hand the chest over to her.

    “He stole my solve,” she told the paper. “He followed and cheated me to get the chest.”

    So, again, a lot of questions remain.

  • During a pandemic, protest livestreams are more important than ever

    During a pandemic, protest livestreams are more important than ever

    Protests against police brutality continue around the country, but not everyone who wants can participate. Whether immunocompromised, living with someone in a high risk group for COVID-19, or simply too far away to attend a protest, people around the world have found their own way to engage: livestreams.


    Leigh Wallace, an 18-year-old in Mississippi, goes through chemotherapy every other week to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The treatment hasn’t affected her immune system as much as it has other patients, Wallace said, but her parents are wary of allowing her around other people, even friends. While treatable, Hodgkin’s lymphoma limits the body’s ability to fight infection. The number of new coronavirus cases(Opens in a new tab) is increasing in many states, and the world is bracing itself for a "second wave," expected(Opens in a new tab) to hit this autumn.

    But Wallace couldn’t just sit at home while her peers marched against police brutality. Her parents have a tight grip on her bank account, so she couldn’t donate to a bail fund or community organization. While she signed petitions pushing for prosecution for officers and advocating for defunding law enforcement, Wallace wanted to be more involved.

    “News stations and YouTubers can take the footage and later edit them to fit their personal agenda.”

    She began watching Instagram livestreams of the protests to stay informed. In a Twitter DM, she said that because she was viewing raw, unedited footage, she could get a clearer picture of what’s actually happening. Watching the protests live allows viewers to see police using disturbing force against peaceful protestors for themselves.

    “I think the news and even some YouTube creators are incredibly biased,” Wallace said. “News stations and YouTubers can take the footage and later edit them to fit their personal agenda.”

    Similarly, Celina Juarez, a 21-year-old restaurant employee in Los Angeles, felt that news outlets weren't focusing on what mattered. Juarez lives with her grandparents and didn't want to risk spreading the coronavirus to them, since the elderly are at high risk.

    "I feel that the news is showing more of the looting and less of the police brutality against peaceful protest when, based on every livestream I've tuned into, it's really the opposite," Juarez said in a Twitter DM.

    While the protests have been associated with looting and rioting, multiple videos(Opens in a new tab) show black protestors shutting down white agitators attempting to graffiti storefronts and steal merchandise. When the protests began in Minneapolis in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer, Juarez and Wallace felt that news coverage focused on the looting rather than law enforcement escalating violence against peaceful protestors.

    In addition to presenting a clearer picture of the the protests in support of Black Lives Matter, livestreams also provide crucial information for those who attend.

    Elijah Daniel, a YouTuber with 568,000 subscribers and 446,000 Instagram followers(Opens in a new tab), attended numerous protests in Los Angeles last week. He's also been broadcasting the protests on Instagram Live, where tens of thousands of viewers watched police tear gas gatherings, shoot rubber bullets into crowds, and arrest peaceful protestors who were out after Los Angeles' controversial curfews.

    I watched Daniel's protest livestream last week because I had several friends who were also marching in Hollywood. It seemed peaceful from wherever Daniel was marching, but the chants of "No justice, no peace" were broken up by panicked comments warning viewers that police were tear gassing protestors a few blocks ahead. Madison Beer, another influencer who's been actively attending protests and was marching ahead of Daniel, tweeted that cops were beginning to block in protestors well before curfew.

    As soon as I read the livestream comments, I called everyone I knew at the protests to warn them. One narrowly avoided the gas and rubber bullets, which law enforcement began deploying just minutes after he decided to take side streets out of Hollywood.

    This weekend, I attended the massive candlelight vigil for George Floyd and other black victims of police brutality, which took place only blocks from where police had arrested(Opens in a new tab) thousands of peaceful protestors the week before. During the drive over, I watched the livestream broadcasted by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles to keep tabs on police presence. Watching the protests live is a matter of safety.

    Watching protest livestreams is a matter of public safety. Credit: David McNew / Getty Images
    "I know it's easy to watch a video on the internet, but to watch it in real time is on a whole other level."

    Daniel's viewers are also using the livestream to open up conversations about police brutality and privilege with their families. Claire-Louise, a 21-year-old customer service agent in Belfast, Ireland, can't attend protests in Ireland because there aren't any close enough to be accessible. She's been showing Daniel's livestreams, as well as other screen recorded livestreams, to her family members who she claims are "a bit backwards in their mindset."

    "I know it's easy to watch a video on the internet, but to watch it in real time is on a whole other level," Claire-Louise said in a Twitter DM. "I get happy when I see the peacefulness but I get angry and anxious when I see the brutality and just blatant racism."

    Influencers and celebrities continue to fall out of public favor through this period of civil unrest. From posting well intentioned but ill informed black squares to their Instagram accounts to getting arrested for looting(Opens in a new tab), as Jake Paul did, celebrity culture is cracking. But those who use their platforms for activism, as Elijah Daniel and Halsey have, are inspiring a generation of viewers to join the Black Lives Matter movement.

    "Even though I can't actually be there, it at least makes me feel like I am," Wallace said. "Seeing how many people are at the protests, plus thinking about how many people are watching livestreams, makes me think that in time something may actually happen."

  • OKCupid adds Black Lives Matter badge and profile questions about racial inequality

    OKCupid adds Black Lives Matter badge and profile questions about racial inequality

    On Thursday, OKCupid announced that it's rolling out a #BlackLivesMatter(Opens in a new tab) badge in a dozen countries. Users can obtain the badge by answering yes to the question, "Do you want to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement by adding a badge to your profile?"


    Since badges won't actually do anything to solve racism, OKCupid has also donated $50,000 to the ACLU, Black Girls Code, Fair Fight Action and the NAACP. The app will also donate a million dollars in advertising space to black civil rights organizations.

    SEE ALSO: How single people have been dealing with the 'sex ban' in England

    In addition to the badge, OKCupid has added matching questions related to racial injustice and inequality. Users can answer whether they protest; whether it's okay to silently support racial equality; how they plan on addressing racial inequality (say by donating or protesting); and whether they find it important that their date supports racial equality.

    OKCupid racial inequality question Credit: okcupid
    OKCupid how will you address racial inequality question Credit: okcupid

    In the past week, over 100,000 users have responded to the new questions. The majority said it's not okay to silently support equality, according to OKCupid's blog post. Seventy percent are protesting for racial equality.

    This isn't the first time OKCupid has created badges and questions around social justice. They did so with supporting Planned Parenthood(Opens in a new tab) and marriage equality as well(Opens in a new tab). While the badge could be seen by some as virtual signaling, the questions do allow users to dig deeper into a potential match's commitment to racial equality — which is a step in the right direction.

    Related Video: Want to donate to help the Black Lives Matter movement? Here's how.

Random articles


  • Tesla to start selling solar roof only with Powerwall battery

    Tesla to start selling solar roof only with Powerwall battery

    Tesla is changing the way it sells its solar roof and solar panels.


    According to Tesla Technoking and Imperator of Mars (check his Twitter bio(Opens in a new tab)) Elon Musk, the company will only sell its solar products bundled with its Powerwall battery starting next week.

    According to Musk, solar power from Tesla's solar roof and panels "will feed exclusively to Powerwall. Powerwall will interface only between utility meter & house main breaker panel, enabling super simple install & seamless whole house backup during utility dropouts."

    Musk also said that Powerwall is getting upgraded via a software update next month. He says that Powerwall 2 has "better than advertised" peak and steady power capability, and now that it has enough operational data, Tesla can unlock these higher capabilities. Musk claims the power increase may be bigger than 50% at an ambient temperature of 30 degrees Celsius (86°F).

    According to Electrek, which reported Tesla's halt on taking orders for Powerwall(Opens in a new tab) without other solar products last month, the change has to do with the popularity of Powerwall(Opens in a new tab). The outlet claims that Tesla's production capabilities simply cannot match the demand, which is why the company is tying Powerwall to its other solar products.

    SEE ALSO: Tesla hikes prices, again

    Given that Powerwall was already unavailable without solar panels or solar roof, the fact that you soon won't be able to buy the panels or roof without a Powerwall isn't very surprising. The upgrade to Powerwall itself is notable, as the gains may be significant, though Musk does say they will depend on the individual unit's production date.

  • Its time to imagine a world without Facebook

    Its time to imagine a world without Facebook

    In early October, Facebook shut down for six hours. No one in the world could access the site, or any of the sites they owned, including Instagram and WhatsApp. And, for a moment, we peered into a potential new world in which Facebook does not exist.


    Spoiler: It was alright. There were negative effects(Opens in a new tab), of course, like shutting creators and small business owners out of their work, but overall, everything turned out OK. Maybe even better than OK, as it afforded everyone a chance to spend a few hours off of the addictive platforms(Opens in a new tab)

    Now, more people than ever are considering logging off, possibly for good, including every member of my family besides myself — but only because I have to stay on for work and the Shrek fan theories page(Opens in a new tab). On Reddit(Opens in a new tab), users chalk the mass departures up to everything from the platform being less fun to its harm on democracy. Currently, according to Facebook, more than three billion people use the site every month, and about 2.6 billion people use it daily, which means there are some 400 million people who have accounts but don't log on every day. They keep their accounts not because Facebook is so much fun, but because the platform has become a staple in our lives on the internet. Deleting your account doesn't always feel like an option because it is so deeply ingrained in our digital DNA.

    For instance, as 26-year-old Tahmina Osmanzai told Mashable in March, "I do not enjoy the platform at all." She only keeps her account "to see any dog pictures my boyfriend tags me in and to check on birthdays I might have forgotten." Others don't want to cut community ties: A 2015 study from Pew Research Center(Opens in a new tab) showed that 28 percent of U.S. parents with grown children use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter to communicate with their families. 

    But with Facebook’s prioritization of profit over the health of its users pulsing through the nation over the past few weeks, users and politicians alike feel that something has to be done to combat the platform's misuse of power. In September, the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of bombshell reports called “The Facebook Files(Opens in a new tab)” based largely upon leaked internal Facebook documents from whistleblower Frances Haugen. Among the many revelations: Facebook refused to share internal studies showing that the social network is harmful to the health of young people. Haugen went on to testify in front of the Senate just days before the platform was shut down for nearly six hours when an update to Facebook's routers that coordinate network traffic went awry, according to NPR(Opens in a new tab). Since then, more documents, called the Facebook Papers, have been leaked. They show a continued disregard from Facebook for the health of the site’s users. 

    In late October, in a feeble attempt to create "a new company brand" that will encompass everything it does — from Instagram to Facebook to WhatsApp — Facebook rebranded as Meta. But a new name isn't comforting activists.

    "For too long, Black, brown and Muslim communities have been targeted and criminalized because of lies spread on their platforms," Jessica Quiason, the deputy research director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy(Opens in a new tab), said in a statement. "Only together will we be able to stand up to Facebook and show them that our communities are worth more than their profits."

    The Action Center on Race and the Economy is part of a coalition of more than 40 national- and state-based organizations, including NARAL Pro-Choice America(Opens in a new tab), the Women’s March(Opens in a new tab), United We Dream(Opens in a new tab), and MoveOn(Opens in a new tab), that are encouraging users to log off of Facebook and Instagram(Opens in a new tab) from November 10 through 13 to demonstrate support for the comprehensive policy change at Facebook needed to keep users safe. The hope is that this three-day strike will show Facebook how much it needs its users — and encourage the company to treat them better.

    Juanita Monsalve, the senior marketing and creative director at United We Dream, said in a statement that for too long, social media platforms like Facebook have "prioritized profit over the safety of its users, especially Black, brown and immigrant communities." While Facebook has done detrimental harm, Monsalve added, UWD's Facebook page is still an important part of communicating to their members.

    "We know all too well the importance of finding community online, which is why United We Dream is Logging Out," Monsalve said. "We are taking collective action, and using our people power to demand safer and better online spaces for our communities." The groups are encouraging users to log off to push Facebook to provide more effective content moderation, algorithm transparency, and direct accountability to users.

    It's hard to imagine deleting Facebook when you want to remember birthdays, log onto other apps like Spotify or Tinder, or if you have to use it for work. But you can put your friend's birthdays on a calendar, create unique logins to your other apps, and find new ways to connect with old friends — try a pen pal! A world without Facebook isn't impossible to imagine. We watched the downfall of MySpace; why wouldn't Facebook be next? It would at the very least create space for another platform to come along — and, hopefully, not recreate all of Facebook's mistakes.

    According to research(Opens in a new tab), the two main reasons people leave Facebook or any other social media site are due to social movements, like #DeleteFacebook, which makes quitting social media a popular trend, or avoiding the negative effects of social media, which is associated with symptoms of depression, addiction, and anxiety.

    Billions of users jumping ship is pretty unrealistic, but starting with three days off of the platform seems at least reasonable. Facebook is already losing younger teens(Opens in a new tab), and all of this bad publicity could encourage users to give another platform a try, or turn to apps like MeWe(Opens in a new tab), which prioritizes privacy.

    We've been imagining a world without Facebook(Opens in a new tab) for years — is this the time to give it a shot?

  • The watchOS 8 feature that makes Apple Watch fitness apps way better

    The watchOS 8 feature that makes Apple Watch fitness apps way better

    Now that Apple has released iOS 15 and watchOS 8 to everyone, it's time to dig into the new features. There are the obvious and flashy ones, such as the World Timer watch face (it's really pretty) and new workout types (tai chi and Pilates).


    But it’s Always On support for third-party apps that might change the way you use your Apple Watch.

    SEE ALSO: 5 features that will make you want to download iOS 15 now

    Up until watchOS 8, only Apple's chosen apps had full support for the Watch's Always On state, meaning the apps would stay active and fully visible when you lower your wrist. Most other apps would get blurry and dark, with Apple's digital clock obscuring a part of the app.

    That was especially problematic with third-party fitness apps, which are far more useful if you can always glance at the metrics on your Watch's screen without constantly having to raise your wrist. (Try doing that while doing pull-ups to see what I mean.)

    This is why I often defaulted to using Apple's Workout app, which had this functionality from the get-go, instead of using some of the vastly more powerful third-party fitness apps.

    SEE ALSO: The Apple Watch Series 7 gets a bigger, curvier face

    With watchOS 8, however, any app can stay fully visible (though a bit subdued) in the Always On state. From Apple's documentation(Opens in a new tab) on the new feature: "Now watchOS 8 expands Always On to include your apps. Apple Watch continues to display your app’s user interface as long as it’s either the frontmost app or running a background session. To preserve battery life, the system updates the user interface at a much lower frequency than when running in the foreground. It also dims the watch."

    This doesn't happen automatically; the app itself has to be compiled for watchOS 8 (developers, see details here(Opens in a new tab)) for this to work, and not all app developers have done this at writing time.

    One app that did release a new version with this functionality is running app Helium. I've tried it out, and it's definitely far more useful when the watch is in Always On state, with basically all of its metrics fully visible and active.

    Helium is one of the apps which now look nearly the same in active state and in Always-On state. Credit: stan schroeder/Mashable

    I reckon more Apple Watch app developers will introduce this change in the coming days.

    In the meantime, it's worth checking out some of Apple's own apps that previously didn't have this feature. With watchOS 8, the company now supports Always On on several new apps, including(Opens in a new tab) Maps, Mindfulness, Now Playing, Phone, Podcasts, Stopwatch, Timers, and Voice Memos. 

  • YouTube adds another TikTok feature: live rings

    YouTube adds another TikTok feature: live rings

    YouTube is taking more cues from TikTok and Instagram, adding a small new feature that will let you know if a channel is streaming live.


    While the platform has offered livestreaming since 2016, you'll now see a ring sitting around a YouTube channel's circular icon with the word "Live" across it, which users can click to lead them to the stream.

    YouTube's chief product officer, Neal Mohan, made the announcement on Twitter last week.

    TikTok and Instagram already feature a similar ring, which circles an account's profile picture while they're livestreaming.

    This isn't the first time YouTube has revealed a TikTok-esque update to its platform. Most significantly, the company rolled out YouTube Shorts last year, a direct TikTok competitor promoting short-form videos on YouTube's mobile app.

    SEE ALSO: How to go live on Instagram

    TikTok lending inspiration to other tech companies is well evidenced: Netflix added "Kids Clips" to its iOS app in a handful of countries last year, a feature displaying short clips from their child-friendly content.

    It's no real surprise to see these platforms constantly copying TikTok — it was, after all, the most downloaded app in the world last year.

  • This $500 gravity bong is a grown-up way to get wrecked

    This $500 gravity bong is a grown-up way to get wrecked

    The term "gravity bong" can be a bit of a dirty word in the cannabis world. No more with the Stündenglass Gravity Hookah.


    For those who didn't spend a hazy evening of their youth with their head in a 5-gallon bucket, a gravity bong, or "g-bong" uses water and air pressure to force smoke into your lungs(Opens in a new tab). Taking a full bowl to the dome will likely cause the user to get absolutely ripped, hence its popularity among college kids and at parties. Typically, it's made using items found around the house, like a 2-liter soda bottle and a socket from your dad's tool set. Sorry, Dad.

    While the legalized cannabis industry continues to battle a century of stereotypes, the Stündenglass makes a valiant attempt at reimagining the DIY gravity bong. Unlike a homemade gravity bong, however, the Stündenglass is not made from a plastic bottle or bucket and aluminum foil, and it really benefits from being an actual real glass bong, or water pipe, meaning the hot smoke from the whatever you are smoking is passed through water, cooling it for a more pleasurable experience.

    A man relaxes with his $500 gravity bong. Credit: Stündenglass


    The Stündenglass is an extremely versatile smoking device, capable of handling flower, concentrates, and shisha tobacco. It looks more like a weird piece of art than a waterfall bong, and there are a number of attachments allowing for various styles of use.

    You'll probably notice the large rotating glass chambers on the Stündenglass, which effectively act as an hourglass. (The name, Stündenglass, means "hourglass" in German.) The user fills the bottom container with water, and leaves the top half empty. While igniting the source, the user then flips the chambers 180 degrees. The negative air pressure causes the smoke to pull through the falling water into the once empty chamber that is now on top.

    Flip the chambers once more, and the smoke is expelled by the falling water through the mouthpiece. The user can actually control the amount of smoke being pushed out by how far they turn the hourglass, which is neat, and also makes the bong a little bit more accessible for those who prefer to remember their evenings.

    I can attest that this thing, like a regular gravity bong, can and will mess you up. I stupidly decided to go with a full bowl and full hourglass flip my first time trying it out, and I ended up having a coughing fit, which brought me right back to the last time I tried a gravity bong in college.

    "Cough to get off," as they say.

    Again, taking a smooth or smaller hit is possible, it's all up to the smoker.

    No spit swapping

    The Stündenglass is impressive in its looks and operation, and would be a real crowdpleaser at any party. However, maybe the most important feature of this water bong is the "contactless smoke delivery system."

    A smoker uses the contactless smoke delivery system. Credit: Stundenglass

    Since the coronavirus pandemic, some have begun questioning what exactly cannabis culture will look like when we reach the other side. It may be years before we feel comfortable sharing a joint, bowl, or blunt with friends, let alone strangers at a party. In The Beforetimes, sharing spit while smoking weed was commonplace. But the contactless attachment allows users to inhale smoke without actually putting your mouth on anything. Remember, the smoke is forced out the glass chamber using water pressure, so you don't have to create an airtight seal with your mouth in order to suck the smoke out like conventional methods of consumption.

    Of course, given that the Stündenglass is designed to be used as a hookah too, there is also a typical hookah hose with a glass mouthpiece that can easily be attached for a different experience.

    The package

    Unboxing the Stündenglass felt more like I was unboxing a piece of tech than a gravity bong, complete with branded stickers. That may be the company leaning in hard on the Apple angle, considering it was engineered by ex-Apple employee Tracey Huston "out of his garage." Regardless, it was the right move. While the contraption may seem complex and overwhelming at first, giving each piece its own space in the boxing made unboxing more fun and less confusing. Plus, if you ever need to transport it you have a good case for it. Keep the box.

    Unboxing the Studenglass. Credit: Brian Koerber

    The packaging also makes the piece feel expensive, which is great, because it is expensive. A good glass bong is never cheap, but at $499(Opens in a new tab) the Stündenglass is definitely reaching an upper limit. And, sure, while that is incredibly expensive, you cannot deny the quality.

    The base which holds the rotating hourglass is heavy and sturdy, and will not tip over easily. According to some press notes from the company, the unit includes "aircraft grade aluminum, surgical grade stainless steel, and high quality Teflon seals." Sure, those are some fancy buzzwords — a big upgrade over cobbling something together with a bottle cap, a bottle, and some scissors — but I can absolutely confirm that this thing is built well and with care, and it will last.

    But perhaps one of the most adult things about the Stündenglass has nothing to do with weed, but it's a major plus from me: The glass chambers are removable so you can pop them into your dishwasher. Smelly bong water isn't just some urban legend. Bong water stinks, but thankfully the Stündenglass is crafted so that it's easy to clean and nearly impossible to catch a mouth full of nasty water.

    Concentrating is hard

    While I had a good time testing out the Stündenglass with dry herb, I did not use the hookah attachment to smoke tobacco, though the setup was easy and everything you need but coals and tobacco is included. It's just not my thing.

    Additionally, Stündenglass was recently acquired(Opens in a new tab) by Grenco Science, which makes a variety of cannabis vaporizers. One of the coolest innovations the company offers is the G Pen Connect(Opens in a new tab), a male adapter that attaches to any bong so that you can use concentrates without an elaborate torch setup.

    So technically you can use the G Pen Connect with the Stündenglass to create a concentrates gravity bong, but the Connect doesn't come with the bong, and it's going to cost you an extra $150 from G Pen(Opens in a new tab).

    And finally, because this piece can feel a bit overwhelming, Stündenglass went ahead and uploaded a whole bunch of how-to content — including how to clean it(Opens in a new tab) — to its YouTube page. There is a learning curve with this unit, but like everything else, the company went above and beyond in showing the user how to operate the bong.

    Overall the Stündenglass is an impressive piece and a fun way to consume whatever you put in it. It's well built, and feels like a grown up way of smoking marijuana. The price tag may be shocking for some, but the experience is definitely unique.

    The Kompact:

    If the size of the Stündenglass is a bit too much, the company also released a mini version called the Kompact(Opens in a new tab), which is essentially the same thing, but just smaller. Despite its size, it is still a mighty beast.

    Credit: Stündenglass

    This post originally published in July 2021 and was updated in April 2022.

    The information contained in this article is not a substitute for, or alternative to information from a healthcare practitioner. Please consult a healthcare professional before using any product and check your local laws before making any purchasing decisions.

  • How to safely store your nudes

    How to safely store your nudes

    Taking (and sending) nudes can be a spicy part of your relationship with a live-in partner, a valuable aspect of your connection with a long-distance partner, a fun new way to connect with a date, or, honestly, just a hot thing you want to do for yourself. If you're taking more nudes, though, you may be wondering what the best way is to keep them secure from prying eyes.


    While the celebrity iCloud nude photo leak(Opens in a new tab) rattled the nude ecosystem more than half a decade ago, the fear that something similar can arise hasn't dissipated completely. Thankfully, there are actionable steps you can take to store nudes safely and keep your sexy photos where they belong — with you.

    Keeping nudes secure on iPhone and iOS

    If you use Apple products, the good news is that they're already pretty secure. "Apple has done a great job…creating a very secure consumer device," said Patrick Wardle, creator and founder of Objective-See(Opens in a new tab), a source for free open-sourced tools for Mac users, and a former NSA hacker. "[If] you're an average hacker, you're not gonna have the ability to hack iPhones."

    SEE ALSO: Sexting and nudes are on the rise

    That being said, it's not a complete impossibility. There are some easy steps one can take to make sure their photo library is as safe as possible. Wardle compared hacking to robbers choosing houses. They're not going after the house with the alarm system, they're going after the house with the back door open. The same is true for hackers: They're going after the least-secure devices.

    One step is to install the latest iOS updates. "Those updates have a lot of fixes and patches for security vulnerabilities," said Wardle. It's possible for someone to reverse engineer updates to see what was patched and use those vulnerabilities to target those who haven't installed the update. In iOS 16, Apple added another way to protect photos with the ability to lock the hidden folder(Opens in a new tab) with Face ID.

    The other step is one many people have already said, but you may not have yet implemented: Use a unique password for every account. 

    "A lot of times hackers will hack into other companies and gain access to a large number of accounts, and then based on those accounts those using the passwords they will try [to hack] other accounts," said Wardle. This has been seen many times over, and Wardle referenced the 2013 Adobe hack(Opens in a new tab) as an example.

    Keeping sexts stored safely. Credit: bob al-greene / mashable

    In addition to using unique passwords (and password managers can help with that), Wardle also suggested turning on two-factor authentication whenever possible, such as with your iCloud Drive. "It's just an extra layer of security that will make your device, and your account, way more difficult to hack," said Wardle, "So opportunistic hackers are just going to basically move on." 

    It's also a good idea to have a passcode on your phone as well, just in case. 

    Speaking of the cloud: Wardle prefers the practice of keeping files — especially sensitive files like nudes — on your phone or iPad as opposed to dropping it in the cloud. That doesn't mean the cloud isn't secure, but having files in one place instead of two just "reduces the attack surface" according to Wardle.

    Then there are photo storage apps. Apps that you download from the app store are usually secure since they're vetted by Apple, but Wardle advises you be careful and judicious. Look at who made it, what they're doing with information and data. Once you give an application access to your private photos, Wardle said they can do anything they want with them.

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    "There's nothing to stop an app that claims to provide some fancy filters to your images from copying all your images and sending them to some remote server where — who knows what's going on," said Wardle. This isn't the case for huge apps like Facebook, Google Photos, and Instagram (those have been vetted by security researchers), but smaller apps with more dubious origins.

    "There's nothing to stop an app that claims to provide some fancy filters to your images from copying all your images"

    Also, look into whether the app has end-to-end encryption. In a nutshell, end-to-end encryption means that only the sender and recipient can decrypt and read the content. Wardle used the example of iMessage: The message goes through Apple's servers but if the servers were hacked, hackers can't read the message. Even Apple wouldn't be able to read the message. 

    For those wondering, don't worry: Snapchat has had end-to-end encryption(Opens in a new tab) since 2018.

    And if you store your nudes on a Mac, there's even more protection: You can encrypt files and folders(Opens in a new tab) that are protected with an additional password. "So even if your system got hacked or someone you know had access to your laptop… that specific folder perhaps more sensitive content and images can kind of be protected with an extra layer of security," said Wardle. 

    Third-party photo vault apps claim to have similar functions for the iPhone, but Wardle warns users to be cautious of those as with anything that accesses your photos. "I wouldn't recommend just running out to the App Store and downloading the first file vault app that pops up," he said. Do your research, and don't balk at a potential cost. "You often get what you pay for" in terms of apps like these, said Wardle. 

    The most likely scenario of a nude photo leak isn't a hacker, however: It's someone who has the photos breaking the sender's trust — essentially, revenge porn. Should that happen to you, here's what you can do.

    Android and PC

    Neil Kittleson, CEO of NKrypt(Opens in a new tab) and former senior executive in the NSA's cybersecurity directorate, shared tips for Android and PC devices. 

    First off, encrypt your device. "A four-digit passcode isn’t enough to keep really curious people out of your device," Kittleson said. "Use a strong passcode or biometrics to secure your device."

    When you're not using your phone or tablet, don't keep it unlocked. Instead, set your sleep mode and screen lock and set the power button to autolock. "This is your only protection if someone tries to take your unlocked phone from your hand," said Kittleson.

    Next, install Find My Device(Opens in a new tab). Not only will the app help you recover your device, but it'll allow you to remotely wipe it as long as it's connected to the internet according to Kittleson.

    SEE ALSO: 7 people describe what they keep in their 'spank bank'

    In addition to encrypting your actual device, Kittleson advises you to encrypt your photos. He explained that the Department of Defense uses specific cryptographic algorithms, and the one they use to protect confidentiality of data is called AES256. "When you want to encrypt photos on your device, look for applications that use AES256 encryption," he advised. "Additionally, make sure you trust the developer that implemented the cryptography."

    Two main ways cryptographic products are reviewed are by government bodies making sure these products meet their requirements, and by open source. Kittleson explained the difference: "Typically government bodies use specifications that have been published that adhere to international criteria and use independent labs to validate the cryptography," he said. "If the product is open source, that means that anyone can look at the code to make sure that no mistakes were made (intentionally or unintentionally) in the implementation of the code." 

    Here are encrypting options from Kittleson:

    a. PC: There are a few good options for encrypting files on Windows10. If you are using the Pro, Enterprise, or Education versions, you have both full disk encryption and file encryption right on your desktop. Just right click on the file, select properties, on the general tab select the advanced attributes screen and check the box to encrypt contents. This works for files or entire folders. If you are using Win10 Home edition, you can upgrade to Pro for $99. That might be well worth it to protect your most sensitive files.

    b. There are free options too. 7zip is a free and open source folder and file encryption software that has been widely deployed around the world. It uses AES 256 by default and if you encrypt the entire folder that stores your files, not even the file names are visible without the password.

    c. Android: On your Android devices, in addition to using the default encryption, there are photo vault apps that allow you to hide your sensitive files and add an additional layer of encryption to them. When selecting one, look for a trusted developer that is using AES256 to encrypt the files. As always, use a strong password that you haven’t used anywhere else.

    Like Wardle, Kittleson wants you to be wary of storing sensitive photographs in the cloud. Once it's there, said Kittleson, you have no control over it. 

    Finally, Kittleson advises you to remove EXIF data from your photos (EXIF stands for exchangeable image file format). "Every photo you take has tags that describe where you were, what kind of camera use used, what time the photo was taken...It’s how social media apps know how to tag our location,'' explained Kittleson. "If your sensitive photos tag your house as the location it was taken, not even cropping out your face will protect your privacy if it is leaked."

    SEE ALSO: A survival guide to dick pics (both solicited and unsolicited)

    Thankfully, it's easy to remove EXIF data on Windows according to Kittleson: Right click the file, select details, and on the bottom of the tab there is an option to "Remove Properties and personal Information." 

    On Android devices, you'll have to install a third party app to do this or you can turn off "Store location data" for all photos. "Keep in mind that it only works for photos you take after you change the setting," said Kittleson. Be wary of apps that you allow access to your camera roll however. This is where a photo vault app can be helpful. 

    Like storing your files into the cloud, once you share a photo you no longer have control over it. Even if you delete a picture it'll go to a recoverable cache. "It’s almost impossible to keep other people from keeping your photos if you share them," said Kittleson. "People can screenshot photos or even use other cameras to take photos of digital photos." 

    That being said, revenge porn is the fault of the perpetrator and not the victim. 

    When it comes to keeping a naked photo from ending up in the wrong hands, the fewer places you keep it the better. There's always a non-zero risk of a leak, but these tips can give peace of mind, everyday-nudes and beyond. 

  • Twitter mourns the passing of President Joe Bidens beloved dog, Champ

    Twitter mourns the passing of President Joe Bidens beloved dog, Champ

    He was a good boy.


    On Saturday, President Biden announced on Twitter that his family's beloved dog, Champ, had passed away at 13 years old.

    Biden isn't the only one mourning. "Champ" quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, with people expressing their condolences and sadness over the pup's death, who was the older brother to Major, the youngest Biden dog.

  • People flood England players Instagram pages with support amid racist abuse

    People flood England players Instagram pages with support amid racist abuse

    Sometimes things don't quite work out as we'd hoped.


    That's certainly true of the UEFA Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium, which saw Italy take home the trophy on Sunday after beating England on penalties. But the loss has led to disgraceful, racist behaviour against several England players.

    Footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka have been targeted with a torrent of abuse on their social media accounts after missing penalties in the 3-2 shootout loss.

    People have been taking to Instagram to attempt to drown out the vile abuse by reporting racist comments and posting messages of love and support for the players.

    London's Metropolitan Police tweeted(Opens in a new tab) that it's aware of the abuse being directed at players on social media following the final and said that the matter will be investigated. "This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated," the tweet read.

    "No one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram," a Facebook company spokesperson told Mashable in a statement. "We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules.

    "In addition to our work to remove this content, we encourage all players to turn on Hidden Words, a tool which means no one has to see abuse in their comments or DMs. No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse."

    After attempting to report racist comments I'd personally spotted on players' posts, I received notifications saying that the Instagram team hasn't been able to review them and that the comments "probably didn't go against the community guidelines." Facebook said it was going to look into these reports.

    Comments on Bukayo Saka's Instagram page Credit: mashable screenshot / instagram
    Credit: mashable screenshot / instagram

    England manager Gareth Southgate said this racist abuse against his players was "unforgivable." "It’s just not what we stand for," he told reporters(Opens in a new tab). “We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue."

    SEE ALSO: Brand tweets about being an anti-racist ally are not enough

    The FA (Football Authority, the national governing body for football in England) released a statement condemning the online racism aimed at the players on social media.

    "We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team," read the statement(Opens in a new tab). "We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible."

    The statement went on to say that the FA implores the government to "act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences" and that social media companies "need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms."

    Comments on Marcus Rashford's Instagram page. Credit: mashable screenshot / instagram
    Credit: mashable screenshot / instagram

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted(Opens in a new tab), "This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves."

    Comments onJadon Sancho's Instagram page. Credit: mashable screenshot / instagram
    Credit: Mashable screenshot / instagram

    Sending solidarity and love to Rashford, Sancho, and Saka today.

    UPDATE: July 12, 2021, 1:15 p.m. BST Added response from Facebook company spokesperson.

  • Steve Bannon jokes about stealing Build the Wall money to buy a yacht in viral clip

    Steve Bannon jokes about stealing Build the Wall money to buy a yacht in viral clip

    Oops. Seems like Steve Bannon said the quiet part out loud more than a year ago.


    If you somehow missed it, the former White House chief strategist was arrested on Thursday, charged with defrauding donors to the viral 'We Build the Wall' GoFundMe campaign. Federal prosecutors allege he and Brian Kolfage — the founder of We Build the Wall — worked to funnel thousands of dollars in donations to Kolfage to fund a "lavish lifestyle." Two other men, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, were also charged as part of the scheme.

    So, that in mind, flash back to June 2019, with Bannon and Kolfage broadcasting a Wall-a-Thon(Opens in a new tab) to raise funds. In a clip that was unearthed on Friday and has now gone viral, Bannon jokes about stealing money from the GoFundMe to buy a yacht.

    "Welcome back, this is Stephen K. Bannon and we're off the coast of Saint-Tropez in Southern France in the Mediterranean on a million-dollar yacht. Brian Kolfage, he took all that money from Build the Wall," Bannon says. "No, we're actually in Sunland Park, New Mexico."

    Well, might not have been a joke after all. Bannon was taken into custody on Thursday by agents from the U.S. Postal Service. He was — not kidding here — arrested on the deck of a $35 million, 150-foot yacht(Opens in a new tab) while drinking coffee and reading a book.

    "As alleged, not only did they lie to donors, they schemed to hide their misappropriation of funds by creating sham invoices and accounts to launder donations and cover up their crimes, showing no regard for the law or the truth," Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett said in a statement(Opens in a new tab). "This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist."

    To be fair, the yacht Bannon was taken off of was off the coast of Westbrook, Connecticut, not Saint-Tropez.

  • The best way to keep your Peloton bike from being gross and sweaty

    The best way to keep your Peloton bike from being gross and sweaty

    If you’ve got a shiny new exercise bike and no idea how to clean it, you’re not alone.


    Sales of indoor cycling equipment soared in 2020, with the uber-popular Peloton bike leading the way. But just because it's in your house and not the gym, doesn't mean it doesn't need to be cleaned regularly. In-home fitness equipment still very much needs routine wiping down.

    It's especially important to implement good cleaning practices in a home with more than one Peloton rider. If multiple people are using the machine, it's more likely that germs and bacteria could spread and cause infection or illness.

    How to clean Peloton bikes

    A basic, post-ride cleaning is all you really need to keep your spin bike in good sanitary standing. To do this, simply take a very 2020 habit and apply it to your Peloton bike(Opens in a new tab) - just as we adopted regular, routine hand washing, plan to adopt a routine Peloton cleaning habit.

    Cleaning your stationary bike after every ride will keep it in good working condition, eliminate the need for time-consuming deep cleans later, and, most importantly, keep the machine free of sweat and germs.

    Cleaning a Peloton bike (or really any other piece of gym equipment) doesn't require anything fancy or a specialty cleaning product. A (Opens in a new tab)microfiber cloth(Opens in a new tab) and a gentle all-purpose cleaning spray like (Opens in a new tab)Mrs. Meyer's Everyday Cleaner(Opens in a new tab) is all you need to clean the Peloton.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how much the ideal Apple Fitness+ setup will cost you

    Work from the top of the bike frame down, gently wiping each section. Pay special attention to high-contact areas like the handlebars, seat, and resistance knob — and anywhere else that may have gotten especially drenched in sweat.

    To protect the machine from damage, avoid products that contain abrasives, bleach, ammonia or other harsh chemicals, and spray the cleaner on the microfiber towel, rather than directly on the bike. Do not saturate the cloth with the cleaning spray; it should be just-damp, and the machine and bike seat should not be wet post-cleaning. (If they are, wipe them dry with a fresh microfiber cloth). Pre-moistened cleaning wipes, like (Opens in a new tab)Clorox Wipes(Opens in a new tab), which do not contain bleach, or even baby wipes, can also be used to clean the frame of your Peloton bike or treadmill(Opens in a new tab).

    A word about Peloton accessories

    Peloton accessories(Opens in a new tab) shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to your post-spin wipe down, but since things like cleats and bike mats are less high-touch than the machine itself, they don't need to be cleaned quite as frequently. Still, you may want to include them in your regular cleaning routine, since they both need nothing more than a wiping down with a gentle cleanser and a towel.

    Your heart rate monitor, however, is high-touch and should be cleaned regularly; follow manufacturer instructions to ensure you don't damage the monitor through improper cleaning.

    Cleaning the Screen

    Peloton's official recommendation for cleaning the bike's touchscreen is to wipe it down using a glass cleaner that is safe to use on LCD, plasma, or other flatscreens, such as (Opens in a new tab)Endust LCD and Plasma Screen Cleaner(Opens in a new tab), and a microfiber cloth.

    For convenience, screen cleaning wipes can also be used on a Peloton screen, though what you gain in ease you'll lose in cost and waste, since disposable wipes are more expensive than reusable microfiber and create more trash. Always shut down the screen prior to cleaning by holding down the red button on top of the tablet.

    SEE ALSO: SoulCycle's at-home bike is great for Soul diehards

    Peloton says to clean the screen once per month, which is simply not often enough to keep bacteria at bay — especially on equipment that's being shared by multiple people. Instead, plan to wipe the touchscreen off with a microfiber cloth or cleaning wipe after every ride. And, of course, don't forget to wash your hands immediately after your workout!

    One final handy tip for you: Keep your supplies like wipes, a spray bottle, and cleaning cloths in a bin or basket near your bike, along with your shoes and other accessories, for easy access.