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Insulin producer Eli Lilly sees stock drop because of a fake blue check tweet

2023-03-19 06:20:04

Insulin producer Eli Lilly sees stock drop because of a fake blue check tweet

After days of Twitter instability, users showed new CEO Elon Musk what the power of a million angry shit-posters can do, all by casually dropping the stock of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly with a single tweet(Opens in a new tab).

Insulin producer Eli Lilly sees stock drop because of a fake blue check tweet(图1)

"We are excited to announce insulin is free now," read the post from a fake Eli Lilly account(Opens in a new tab) that had purchased a blue verification check mark using Musk's new Twitter Blue subscription option. The account(Opens in a new tab) has since lost its blue check mark and gone private.

Over the course of a few hours, the insulin producer saw a 4.5 percent drop(Opens in a new tab) in its stock and had to issue a clarification(Opens in a new tab) on its official Twitter account, @LillyPad.

SEE ALSO: Twitter is dead, maybe: The 9 best tweets the week

It was a single moment in a week of blue check-induced stress. What began with innocuous impersonations of sports figures quickly descended into a free-for-all of impersonation and misinformation. The practice isn't new to the social media app, but more like a blue-check-enhanced riff on a long-established Twitter joke format. One which sees users trying to get their accounts and usernames to look as close to the real thing as possible, with just the blue check standing in misinformation's way (and it didn't always work, even then).

The democratization of the blue check (which has since been halted) is exacerbating Twitter's misinformation problem. Eli Lilly and Company was just one target of several corporate and government imposters, including fake accounts for defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin, oil company BP, and produce distributor Chiquita.

While several tweets seemed to toe the line of acceptable posting behavior, the clamor from Twitter comedians was also the first inkling of a new kind of guerrilla social media posting, pushing against the corporate monetization and control of beloved sites. Users chose to hone in on the absurdity of the corporate Twitter presence (relying on over-personalization and out-of-touch memes), and call out the tarnished and unethical histories of the brands themselves. While Eli Lilly and Company might have dipped in the stock market this week, the price of insulin for individuals has remained inaccessibly high(Opens in a new tab).

Is the "fall of Twitter" ushering in a unique form of protest? Or is it just the culmination of years of cursed posting meeting a haphazardly moderated site?

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    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

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    Content warning: This review contains discussion of rape and sexual violence.


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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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  • 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.

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    “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


  • Jill Biden and Douglas Emhoff are building a beautiful virtual friendship

    Jill Biden and Douglas Emhoff are building a beautiful virtual friendship

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris are officially Democratic running mates in the 2020 presidential election. And their two biggest supporters, Dr. Jill Biden and Douglas Emhoff, have already started bonding on social media.


    On Tuesday, after Biden announced that Harris was his choice for VP, Biden's wife, Jill, and Harris' husband, Douglas, made their friendship social media official.

    Jill tweeted "Hey @DouglasEmhoff. Are you ready?" to which Emhoff replied, "Ready to work! Let's go @DrBiden!"

    As spouses of high-profile Democratic candidates — and the potential future first lady and second man of the United States — Jill and Douglas have a lot in common. However, they could have easily remained socially distanced strangers who occasionally interact at campaign events. Think about it. How often do you see Melania Trump and Karen Pence bonding online?

    The fact that Jill and Douglas decided to become friends and team up to help win the election is somewhat refreshing to see. And on Wednesday, Biden tweeted a clip of his big VP video chat with Harris that reinforced the new Jill/Doug support team.

    "When I called @KamalaHarris yesterday to ask her to be my running mate, I wanted to make sure Jill and Doug got to say hello," Biden wrote. The four of them then chatted for a bit, and "Jilly" and "Dougey" got a chance to bond over the news.

    On Thursday, Jill also tweeted a photo of her and Douglas on the sidelines of the first joint campaign address. (Both were wearing masks, of course!)

    And on Friday she tweeted a short clip of the two of them walking out to greet Biden and Harris after the address. Emhoff quote tweeted the clip and wrote, "I’m just so happy and honored to be taking this journey with you @DrBiden, now let’s go and help Joe and Kamala win this thing (and ps, we need all your help out there too!)."

    Even their pal Chasten Buttigieg, husband of former 2020 candidate, Pete Buttigieg, is a huge fan of the new virtual friendship.

    Biden and Harris better watch out. As this rate, it looks like Jill and Douglas will be the first to exchange friendship bracelets like Biden and Obama did in 2016.

    UPDATE: Aug. 13, 2020, 12:54 p.m. EDT Updated to include an additional tweet from Douglas Emhoff.

  • 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.

  • Robinhood faces over 30 class-action lawsuits for blocking GameStop stock, others

    Robinhood faces over 30 class-action lawsuits for blocking GameStop stock, others

    Angry internet users have filed over 30 class-action lawsuits against Robinhood for restricting stock buys on the app.


    The lawsuits have been piling up in the PACER court database days after Robinhood stopped(Opens in a new tab) stock buys for GameStop and seven other companies. On Tuesday, PCMag counted 34 civil complaints against the company. 

    A Massachusetts-based man named Brendon Nelson was the first(Opens in a new tab) to file a class-action lawsuit against Robinhood, demanding it pay up in damages for depriving users of the chance to buy GameStop stock. Since then, dozens of users across the U.S. have filed similar complaints.

    Some of the lawsuits point out Robinhood users could only hold or sell the affected stocks as the share price for GameStop began to fall, benefiting short-sellers. “This is what the Hedge Funds wanted. When everyone is only selling, the price cannot go up because no one can buy the shares,” reads a complaint(Opens in a new tab) filed in Florida.  

    Another complaint(Opens in a new tab) filed in California names all the major stock trading platforms(Opens in a new tab), claiming they engaged in a conspiracy and violated antitrust laws by preventing retail investors from buying the stocks. “In other words, Robinhood (and Apex Clearing Corporation) stole from the poor to give to the rich,” writes(Opens in a new tab) a separate class-action lawsuit filed in San Francisco.

    However, the lawsuits may not have much of a chance in court. Robinhood’s customer agreement notes(Opens in a new tab) it has the power to stop stock buys, without any prior notice. 

    The company also claims it had no choice but to restrict the stock buys due to it running out of cash to cover the transactions. “The amount required by clearinghouses to cover the settlement period of some securities rose tremendously this week. How much? To put it in perspective, this week alone, our clearinghouse-mandated deposit requirements related to equities increased ten-fold,” the company wrote in a blog post(Opens in a new tab) over the weekend. 

    “We did this because the required amount we had to deposit with the clearinghouse was so large—with individual volatile securities accounting for hundreds of millions of dollars in deposit requirements—that we had to take steps to limit buying in those volatile securities,” it added. 

    The company is now allowing(Opens in a new tab) users to buy as much as 20 shares in GameStop. Nevertheless, Robinhood’s reputation may have been irrevocably damaged over restricting the stock buys. 

    The company’s CEO is expected to testify(Opens in a new tab) before Congress on Feb. 18. In the meantime, the share price for GameStop plummeted Tuesday morning from $227 to $93.

  • The best memes from President Joe Bidens Inauguration Day

    The best memes from President Joe Bidens Inauguration Day

    We meme'd it, Joe!


    On Wednesday, Joe Biden officially became the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Harris became America's first woman vice president.

    Biden's history-making inauguration — which took place in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, just two weeks after riots at the Capitol — looked a bit different than inaugurations past. But like every inauguration, it still delivered a plethora of meme-worthy moments.

    From early morning news that Donald Trump left Biden a note in the White House to ceremony attendees who stole the spotlight (like Sen. Bernie Sanders and his precious mittens,) here are some of the best memes from Inauguration Day.

    1. The highly anticipated Trump note

    In one final Trump administration plot twist, Trump carried out America's time-honored tradition of leaving a note for the incoming president. People didn't think Biden would have anything other than a nation in crisis and a freshly cleaned White House waiting for him after inauguration, but he reportedly has an authentic Trump note awaiting him. Naturally, Twitter users couldn't help but imagine what message Trump left.

    2. "Have a good life"

    Before Trump departed to Mar-a-Lago he gave a farewell speech that ended with some blunt, casual words that had some serious high school yearbook signature energy. "Have a good life," Trump said. HAGS HAGL!

    3. Bernie, Bernie, Bernie

    He is once again wearing the same coat. He's sporting a pair of adorable mittens(Opens in a new tab). He showed up with a mysterious envelope. You simply love to see some new Bernie memes.

    4. The gorgeous freakin fits

    It's worth noting that this inauguration was a remarkably fashionable event. It's almost like people have been stuck at home wearing sweats for a straight year and finally got the opportunity to dress up? They turned out in long coats, high boots, and fresh fits galore.

    5. Ella Emhoff's eyebrows

    Kamala Harris's stepchildren, Cole and Ella Emhoff, were in attendance to support and celebrate their Mom-ala. In addition to a fierce coat, Ella gave the internet this absolutely perfect reaction while in the presence of Mike Pence.

  • Atlantas Missing and Murdered shows how little America cares about Black kids lives

    Atlantas Missing and Murdered shows how little America cares about Black kids lives

    Cries for justice — for American power systems to make even the most basic concession that Black lives matter — are not in any way new.


    Over the past couple weeks, however, those cries have rung out with a long-overdue collective ferocity that has rarely been seen in this country. But to truly join the voices who've been demanding a safer future for Black Americans, we must also look back and fully reckon with the countless times non-Black Americans failed them.

    That's why HBO's Atlanta's Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children, a documentary released this past April about an infamous string of child murders in the '80s, feels especially pertinent right now. It's not only a timely reminder of how far back these conversations around race, injustice, and policing go. The documentary highlights exactly how the American law and order system enables and protects those who murder Black people, even when they're children.

    It zeroes in on the biggest forces of evil at play in the murders: systemic racism and white supremacy.

    The Atlanta child murders have seen a resurgence in pop culture recently, whether through Payne Lindsay's 2018 true crime podcast series Atlanta Monster or Season 2 of David Fincher's Mindhunter. Unlike those explorations, though, this documentary doesn't focus on Wayne Williams (the man authorities pinned the murders on). Rather, it zeroes in on the biggest forces of evil at play in the murders: systemic racism and white supremacy.

    The key difference in the documentary's approach comes down to whom it listens to and believes. Rather than giving the police or the accused killer the majority of screen time, it takes the Black communities and families who suffered through these tragic losses at their word. Most, if not all, do not believe Williams killed their children and, by the end of the five episodes, I doubt any reasonable mind wouldn't question the officials' narrative either.

    SEE ALSO: How to be an effective ally online, at protests, and moving forward

    There are numerous revelations in Atlanta's Missing and Murdered that are truly jaw-dropping —ones that went ignored in the numerous other tellings I’ve consumed (which is a failure both of these narratives and of my own ignorance). The latter half of the five-part series digs into the enormous pile of evidence that validates what many labeled the “conspiracy theories” (i.e., the very substantiated beliefs) held by many Black Atlantans, that the Ku Klux Klan was involved.

    But I won't spoil any more specific details. A better way to capture the relevance of Atlanta's Missing and Murdered to current events is by focusing on how it addresses the many arguments being used in attempts to discredit the police brutality protests following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

    For one, the documentary should be required viewing for anyone spouting the “but who will catch the murderers?!” rhetoric to counter calls to defund the police.

    As the Atlanta child murders make abundantly clear, cops aren’t doing a great job of catching murderers as is. Assumptions that they’d care enough to try that hard are based in white privilege, since it took the death of nine Black boys before anyone really started taking notice. (Meanwhile, the cavalry came out in full force before JonBenét Ramsey’s body was even cold — and they still didn’t catch her killer, mind you.) What's painfully obvious is that the issue of police routinely disregarding Black lives isn't just a matter of brutality, but of indifference and callousness.

    Calls for justice are not new, but white Americans actually listening is. Credit: hbo

    Far from being treated with any shred of decency, the family members who suffered these losses are barely seen as victims by the police. Instead, they're nuisances, simply for demanding that the police do their jobs of protecting and serving. More egregiously, most police officials interviewed for the documentary show no remorse for behavior that some might try to excuse as being “of its time.” One is indignantly self-righteous as he restates today to the camera why he was totally justified in accusing one of the victims’ mothers (and other family members) of killing her own child. His main reason for vilifying her? She was “a prostitute.”

    All of these injustices intersect with another sick media cycle we’re all too familiar with now, since it happens after every viral video of an unarmed Black person being killed for the crime of being Black. The victim’s family is forced to go on a media tour to try and convince the public that their murdered family member was a human being who did not deserve to be killed and is worthy of our attention. Inevitably, the news media and police find a way to victim blame, vilifying the murdered and questioning their innocence even when if, like the Atlanta cases, they are literal children.

    More Black people in powerful positions is not enough when every branch of the political and judicial system is rot with white supremacy.

    The documentary is also a great takedown of another popular argument being used to counter protests: Just go vote instead! While voting is obviously important, let’s recognize who exactly is most affected by voter suppression. (Hint: It’s a lot of the people protesting right now.)

    Moreover, the racial dynamics of the Atlanta child murder case are complicated by the fact that the murders and investigation happened under a Black mayor (the first one ever elected in the South, actually) and a Black police chief.

    Clearly, having more Black people in powerful positions is not enough when every branch of the political and judicial system is rotting with white supremacy. So you can throw out that other argument about “good apples” too, since no amount of good intentions stops a machine specifically designed to protect some through the literal sacrifice of others.

    Beyond a salient and timely commentary on systemic racism, Atlanta's Missing and Murdered is a gut-wrenching reminder of the unconscionable human costs of that system's failures.

    The documentary is unrelenting in how it lays bare the pain and fear these families and communities suffered. They are not just mourning the loss of their children, although that in itself is too much to bear. They are also mourning the loss of any and all illusions — however small — that the people in charge would protect the most vulnerable among them.

    The failure to provide the families of the Atlanta murder cases any real justice should prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that white supremacy reigns over definitions of “justice” in America. No one went to prison for those dozens of unsolved murders, but the documentary makes clear exactly who has blood on their hands.

    Atlanta's Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children is available to stream on HBO(Opens in a new tab) and HBO Max(Opens in a new tab).

  • TikTok announces a new way to pay its creators

    TikTok announces a new way to pay its creators

    TikTok is introducing new ways for creators to get paid.

    Creators only make(Opens in a new tab) around $0.02 and $0.04 for every 1,000 views from the TikTok Creator Fund, meaning most full-time creators rake in their primary income through other sources, like promoting products, podcasting, selling Notion templates, and other hustles. Now, TikTok is introducing a new way for creators to make money directly from the app: Series.

    Series allows eligible creators to post Collections(Opens in a new tab) of premium content — a group of up to 80 videos, each of which can be up to 20 minutes long — behind a paywall. Fans and viewers can pay to purchase access to their Series. Creators can pick their own price as long as it's between $0.99 to $189.99, and TikTok told Mashable that for a "limited time" creators will receive 100 percent of the money after platform and processing fees. Users will be able buy access to the Collections via direct in-video links or through a creator’s profile.


    SEE ALSO: How to get paid on TikTok

    It's unclear what, exactly, makes a creator eligible to participate in Series, but TikTok says applications to join the feature will be rolling out in the coming months. It's also not entirely clear what kind of content will be provided in a creator's Series. Perhaps we'll have to pay to see Tefi Pessoa's next multi-part investigation on Amy Winehouse,(Opens in a new tab) or maybe your favorite TikTok chef will let you pay to see 80 additional secret recipes for beans.

  • The Gaps hilariously bad unity sweatshirt accidentally unites people who hate it

    The Gaps hilariously bad unity sweatshirt accidentally unites people who hate it

    Not now, The Gap.


    For the love of God, just not now.

    Look at this (now-deleted) tweet calling for unity, and for moving forward together. The hoodie is half red and half blue to unite the political parties, get it, get it, ahh how clever, how smart.

    Not a great idea. Credit: Screenshot / twitter / @gap

    Meanwhile, we're all waiting around, during a pandemic, nervous as hell for what happens next. The president of the United States is frantically making false claims in an effort to undermine the legitimacy of election results he doesn't like. Pardon my French, The Gap, but that's some bonkers shit and I really don't need a hokey call for unity or a thinly veiled plea to buy your hoodies. I wasn't alone in my feelings. Lots of on Twitter weren't pleased with The Gap's tweet.

    People also pointed out that even the design of the hoodie was kind of dumb.

    During the writing of this article, The Gap seemingly wizened up to the fact that people really didn't like their post. The tweet was deleted. Gap told the (Opens in a new tab)New York Times(Opens in a new tab) that the sweatshirt was not actually for sale.

    It told the paper: "The intention of our social media post, that featured a red and blue hoodie, was to show the power of unity. It was just too soon for this message. We remain optimistic that our country will come together to drive positive change for all.”

    But the whole thing gets at a bigger truth: Brands — our dear stupid brands — you don't have to post right now. There's no law requiring you to make some mealy mouthed, bland, aggressively nonpartisan statement. Just shut up and let us fret.

  • YouTube Rewind is dead. Can Escape2021 take its place?

    YouTube Rewind is dead. Can Escape2021 take its place?

    This year, YouTube is trying something new: a 24-hour, gamified three-part interactive livestream called "Escape2021." Like YouTube Rewind, the ill-fated annual video event that preceded it, Escape2021 celebrated the year’s top content trends and featured some of the platform’s most popular creators, as well as major artists like BTS, Blackpink, Doja Cat, and Olivia Rodrigo.


    YouTube clarified(Opens in a new tab) that Escape2021 was not intended to "replace" Rewind, to which I say: tomayto, tomahto

    YouTube officially canceled(Opens in a new tab) Rewind in October, but the format died years ago. A sore spot for creators and fans alike, 2018’s Rewind was the platform’s last earnest attempt at a year-end video that celebrated the creator community while also wooing advertisers. Instead, it became a symbol of how YouTube had lost its way, jumping the shark to the tune of "Baby Shark."(Opens in a new tab) The internet burned it to the ground, making it the most-disliked video(Opens in a new tab) in YouTube history within a week.

    [Disclaimer: The author worked as a consultant to YouTube’s Culture and Trends Team from September 2017 to January 2020. She provided suggestions around each year’s top-trending content but was not directly involved in the production of YouTube Rewind.]

    It wasn’t always this way. Rewind was originally a celebration of all the things that made YouTube great, a joyous community year-in-review. 

    Initially a simple "top videos" list in 2010, by 2012, YouTube had debuted the Rewind format(Opens in a new tab) that would become standard: a recreation of the year’s top music videos, memes, and moments in vignettes that featured creators themselves. It was celebratory, self-aware, and silly. Every year, the budget for Rewind grew bigger, the production slicker, the references more robust. As YouTube evolved into an industry juggernaut and an advertising machine, Rewind transformed from a true year-in-review into a showcase of YouTube’s shiniest, least offensive elements, a commercial for the platform itself. That often meant its most colorful creators were sidelined(Opens in a new tab) in favor of sanitized alternatives. The number of featured creators ballooned, as did the inclusion of late night talk show hosts and mainstream celebrities.

    By 2016, the video(Opens in a new tab) opened with The Rock and closed with James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.

    In 2017, YouTube faced an existential crisis: the "adpocalypse," a platform-altering debacle in which advertisers pulled their spots after discovering that they sometimes ran alongside extremist and hate content. To placate these brands, YouTube offered new filtering options that excluded wide swaths of content from running alongside ads. This change impacted the earnings of some of YouTube’s most prolific and beloved creators, who watched their revenues drop(Opens in a new tab) as their trust in YouTube dwindled. Then Swedish gamer Felix Kjellberg, otherwise known as PewDiePie and the platform’s most-subscribed creator at the time, made anti-Semitic comments and defiantly sparred(Opens in a new tab) with the Wall Street Journal. Advertisers fled.

    As a result of this fallout, there was immense pressure on the platform to make YouTube Rewind 2017 as brand-friendly as ever. It opened with Stephen Colbert asking Lele Pons and Lizy Koshy, two innocuous Vine stars-turned-YouTubers, to tell him about 2017 to the tune of a "Despacito" and "Shape of You" mashup. The video featured at least half a dozen other Vine alums, including Logan and Jake Paul, and ended with creators smiling broadly and sliding through slime. There was only a single indication that YouTube was aware of the year it had endured: Kjellberg was notably absent for the first time in five years. 

    Pons (left) and Koshy (right) opening YouTube Rewind 2017. Credit: YouTube

    As 2018 approached, it’s possible that YouTube thought the worst was over. Then, on Dec. 31, 2017, Logan Paul uploaded what is commonly referred to as his "suicide forest video(Opens in a new tab)," a vlog in which he encounters, films, and reacts to a body hanging in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. Paul, one of YouTube’s top-earning creators at the time, endured scathing criticism and fumbled through a set of(Opens in a new tab) apologies(Opens in a new tab). As YouTube scrambled to react, copies of the video appeared on the Trending Tab for a portion of users(Opens in a new tab). The site ultimately took more than a week to address the debacle in an "open letter" on Twitter(Opens in a new tab), which was widely derided. YouTube’s moderation policies were called into question, with long-time news commentator and YouTube watchdog Philip DeFranco opining(Opens in a new tab) that "YouTube is either complicit or ignorant" in the video gaining more than 6 million views before Paul took it down.

    Before YouTube could catch its breath, Infowars’ Alex Jones twisted February’s Parkland shooting into conspiracy theory fodder. A video suggesting that Parkland survivors were crisis actors(Opens in a new tab) reached YouTube’s Trending Tab, further eroding public and creator trust in the platform’s ability to moderate itself at scale. June brought Tanacon(Opens in a new tab), August the much-publicized Logan Paul vs. KSI fight(Opens in a new tab). And then, on Aug. 29, Kjellberg posted a video(Opens in a new tab) playfully calling on his viewers to help him defeat a looming threat: the Indian production studio T-Series, whose YouTube channel was set to pass his own in subscribers. Kjellberg’s "bro army" waged an all out guerrilla war: hacking(Opens in a new tab) printers(Opens in a new tab) and buying billboards(Opens in a new tab) encouraging the public to subscribe to Kjellberg and unsubscribe from T-Series, in an attempt to stave off the inevitable.

    The PewDiePie vs. T-Series campaign would last more than seven months, with Kjellberg admitting defeat in April 2019. It was not so much a battle between one of YouTube’s most recognizable, beloved, and problematic creators and an Indian production studio as it was an allegory for the end of an era. Kjellberg was held up as the last bastion of the old YouTube guard. If he succumbed, the YouTube we grew up loving — politically incorrect parodies, home videos, and double rainbows — no longer belonged to creators and the community that had built it.

    SEE ALSO: T-Series finally surpassed PewDiePie in YouTube subscribers

    PewDiePie vs. T-Series also highlighted the growing divide between the demands of advertiser-friendly content and creators’ ability to keep up. Large studios like T-Series could produce more content in a week than a single creator could in a year. Celebrities were opening YouTube channels with teams of producers and backing from YouTube itself. Plagued by burnout and worn down by demonetization, creators found themselves teetering on the edge of an uneven playing field.

    YouTube Rewind 2018(Opens in a new tab) tried its best to create a shimmering highlight reel of a terrible year. The result was, as tech creator Marques Brownlee put it(Opens in a new tab), a "chaotic barrage of clips that’s really hard to watch." The video opened with a (much-memed(Opens in a new tab)) Will Smith cameo and went on to cover Fortnite, parody K-pop, and then pause for an awkward segment acknowledging a bevy of social issues, including mental health, Asian representation in entertainment, the "empowering art of drag," education, women’s empowerment, and "people who put aside their differences." 

    The flub led to an almost-inspiring unification of fandoms. PewDiePie fans were upset that their idol and efforts to defeat T-Series had not been acknowledged. Creators were upset that they had been portrayed as unbearably cringey. Driven by a combination of anger, embarrassment, and disappointment, they began to dislike the video en masse. They were eventually joined(Opens in a new tab) by(Opens in a new tab) the BTS Army, who were disgruntled after view count freezes and the removal of tens of millions of views(Opens in a new tab) from BTS music videos (a result of YouTube’s perpetual fight(Opens in a new tab) against spam views) complicated their streaming efforts and jeopardized their record-setting goals(Opens in a new tab)

    Together, they made YouTube Rewind 2018 the most-disliked video in YouTube history. In 2019, YouTube returned to its list format and in 2020, they pointed to the global pandemic as a reason for skipping Rewind altogether. Finally, in October 2021, YouTube announced Rewind would not be returning and that they would be highlighting creator-made rewind videos instead.

    So, is Escape2021 an improvement over Rewind? I think so. Ultimately, Rewind tried to be too many things to too many audiences. "The problem with YouTube Rewind," explained Brownlee, "is pretty simple: YouTubers and creators and audiences see it as one thing" — a celebration of the best moments on the platform — "and YouTube… sees it as something completely different" — an advertiser-friendly highlight reel.

    YouTube can’t make everyone happy, and Escape2021 knows that.

    Ultimately, Rewind tried to be too many things to too many audiences.

    The event featured notably brand-safe creators and trends. Mark Rober made an elephant toothpaste volcano, with an assist from Mr. Beast, as a gaggle of schoolchildren looked on. Soccer fan content creators AFTV(Opens in a new tab) commentated a nail-biting marble race crafted by Jelle’s Marble Run.(Opens in a new tab) A very charming magician duo faced off in a test of their skills. And there were no less than four “Real or Cake” guessing games featuring Sideserf Cake Studio(Opens in a new tab). Most of these segments were accompanied by interactive gameplay for viewers in the live chat. This creator-centric content was offset by games and music video trivia highlighting artists like The Weeknd, Blackpink, Doja Cat, and The Kid Laroi. The finale featured a virtual concert with Maneskin and BTS, hosted in Minecraft. The tempo of the event was relaxed, even slow at times. It was beautifully produced and palatable and, most importantly, it didn’t feel forced. 

    Julia Alexander(Opens in a new tab), who reported extensively on YouTube for The Verge and Polygon from 2017 to 2021, and whose work is referenced throughout this piece, says Escape2021’s format makes sense. 

    "YouTube is at the point where their creators exist in their own infamy, they kind of don't need to be involved," she says. "If we look at YouTube's trajectory over the last five years, what they want to put emphasis on as a brand, it's just become much more music-focused." 

    A lo-fi scene from Escape2021. Credit: YouTube

    So putting on a show with big artists and spotlighting brand-safe creators is a smart path forward. "That way, it's hard to argue YouTube as being inauthentic," Alexander adds. "You can argue YouTube is making an advertising play, and they are. But at the end of the day, that's still better coverage than what they're going to get out of Rewind [which is] simply, ‘It's cringey.’ And that's the best option." 

    According to Alexander, there’s not a huge difference between YouTube Rewind and Escape2021. "One is in celebration of YouTube," she explains, "and one is in recognition of YouTube."

    As I contemplated the stream, and watched a giant knife cut into an inanimate object for the 10th time to reveal whether it was made of cake or not, I realized what she meant. Whereas Rewind sought to encapsulate the culture of the platform, Escape2021 seeks to capture the content. Creators represent a wild spectrum of perspectives and personalities; they’re complicated, difficult to predict, and messy in all the ways humanity can be. Content, on the other hand, is a commodity. Content can be controlled.

    Whereas Rewind sought to encapsulate the culture of the platform, Escape2021 seeks to capture the content.

    Still, Julia thinks it would be wise for YouTube to invest in a new way of celebrating all of its creators, even the ones that don’t meet its advertiser-friendly standards, "in a way that is not just a commercial on NFL Sunday." That’s especially crucial when Black(Opens in a new tab) and LGBTQ+(Opens in a new tab) creators report feeling that demonetization affects them disproportionately. 

    The question is, "What [do] you do that celebrates [creators] and reiterates that you are one of the few companies [providing them with] a good revenue split? Looking at those types of positives," she says, will be the key to rebuilding that relationship.

    If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, Crisis Text Line(Opens in a new tab) provides free, confidential support 24/7. Text CRISIS to 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor. Contact the NAMI HelpLine(Opens in a new tab) at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET, or email [email protected] You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline(Opens in a new tab) at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list of international resources(Opens in a new tab).

  • Separation anxiety in dogs can be difficult. Heres how you can help.

    Separation anxiety in dogs can be difficult. Heres how you can help.

    If you have a dog you're probably familiar with the term separation anxiety. 


    Over 23 million households in the U.S. welcomed a new pet into their home during the pandemic, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(Opens in a new tab). With many of us spending way more time at home, it's no surprise that our dogs may be having a hard time as we start to leave the house more.

    Separation anxiety can be a serious issue for pets and their owners, but with the right training and resources, it doesn't have to derail you or your dog's life. Here's what you need to know about separation anxiety in dogs.

    What is separation anxiety?

    Separation anxiety is a condition where a dog becomes extremely stressed when they are separated from their guardian, other close humans, or sometimes even another pet. In a 2019 study(Opens in a new tab) of over 4,000 dogs published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 13 percent were reported to exhibit overt separation anxiety.

    Dogs are inherently social animals, which is what makes them great pets and prone to separation anxiety, said Joanne Basinger, director of Andrea Arden Dog Training in New York City. "All dogs have the propensity to develop some sort of separation intolerance or separation anxiety, because they don't want to be left alone," she said. "A healthy well-balanced dog is going to prefer being with its people versus without."

    SEE ALSO: Dog anxiety is real. These products can help calm your anxious pet.
    • How TikTok helped me and my dog deal with separation anxiety

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    In a 2014 webinar(Opens in a new tab) presentation, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a renowned veterinary behaviorist and representative of the Humane Society, said separation anxiety stems from a combination of factors, but "by far and away, the most powerful force is environmental." He goes on to say that just like babies, puppies need to be given lots of love and affection which makes them independent and secure as they grow up. This is why many dogs with separation anxiety tend to have a "shelter or stray background.

    What causes separation anxiety?

    Dogs experience separation anxiety when something happens that "disrupts the social bond," according to Dodman's webinar. This could be moving homes, children going back to school after vacation, or changing up daily routines. 

    What are some signs of separation anxiety?

    The most common signs of separation anxiety are vocalization, destructive behavior, inappropriate elimination, and not eating while you're away. But separation anxiety is not always so straightforward. "The owners aren’t there to observe the behavior in person, and some of the symptoms can seem like problems with housetraining or boredom," wrote Carly Loyer, PhD, Research Manager on the ASPCA Behavioral Sciences Team, in an email. 

    Dodman's webinar lists the following as signs of separation anxiety:

    • Following (Velcro dog)

    • Pre-departure anxiety

    • Vocalization (barking, whining)

    • Destructive behavior

    • Inappropriate elimination 

    • Pacing 

    • Houdini Syndrome (trying to escape)

    • Self-destructive behavior

    • Salivation

    • Vomiting

    • Psychogenic anorexia (not eating while you're gone)

    • Exuberant greeting 

    Make sure you rule out whether or not it's just puppy behavior or boredom. Credit: Getty Images

    What should you do if your dog has separation anxiety

    1. Consult with your veterinarian

    These symptoms could indicate a variety of issues, so just because your dog is behaving a certain way, doesn't mean it's definitely separation anxiety. That's why it's important to get an official diagnosis for your vet so you can rule out other behavior or medical issues. 

    2. Consult with a trainer or animal behavioral specialist 

    If a veterinarian has determined that your dog has no underlying health issues and may have separation anxiety, Basinger recommends consulting with a trainer "so that they could have a consultation that's based on the specifics of their lifestyle, where they live, and their dog's specific behavior." There's a lot of information out there, so rather than having to parse through all of it, she said, "Find a person that they trust to talk through it and come up with a plan. That way, they're really getting the attention that they need for their particulars."

    While the pandemic may have contributed to a rise in separation anxiety, it doesn't have to inhibit its treatment. "Many professionals are still offering services virtually during this time," said Loyer, "and luckily separation anxiety is one behavior challenge that lends itself well to virtual coaching."

    There's no legal requirement for dog trainers to be certified, but there are several highly reputable qualifications that can help you parse out the good from the bad. Listing all the different certifications here would be like alphabet soup, but as a rule of thumb, look for a trainer that is certified in canine behavior consulting or has a good track record with testimonials from clients. 

    SEE ALSO: Dog anxiety is real. These products can help calm your anxious pet.
    Consulting with a behavior specialist can give you a specific plan that works for you and your dog. Credit: Getty Images

    Helpful tips to prevent or curb separation anxiety

    There are preventative measures that you can do to prevent separation anxiety in dogs or stop it from getting worse. 

    1. Practice healthy boundaries 

    Many people are still working from home in some capacity, which means now is a good time to start preparing your dog for a future change in routine. Loyer recommends designating some alone time throughout the day. 

    "Try to leave your home throughout the week – go for a stroll outside or do some yardwork without your pet. Practice with short durations initially so you can make sure your pet is comfortable with you being gone, gradually increasing the duration as much as possible to prepare for longer stretches of time," she wrote.

    For those in an apartment, Basinger suggests crating your dog or working in a separate room, "so there's alone time, with you, home."

    2. Set your dog up for success

    There are a few different approaches to separation anxiety. But for that critical period when you are out of the house, the experts interviewed all emphasized the importance of creating a safe environment where your dog will feel relaxed and comfortable. 

    What exactly this environment looks like is highly situational, but Dodman recommends a confined space with an open crate they can go into if they want. When creating this environment, he also says to think of the five senses. 

    For taste, use food puzzles or toys stuffed with high value treats, like peanut butter, liver, or frozen wet food so that it becomes a dog lollipop. Smell has some overlap with taste, and Dodman and Loyer both suggest hiding treats for them to discover like a scavenger hunt. Another idea from Dodman is to enrich a toy with an engaging smell like anise, vanilla, or… deer urine "if you can stomach it." 

    For vision, turn on the TV and give them access to a window, perhaps adorned with a bird feeder. Sound could be from the TV, or talk radio, as well as music designed specifically for dogs. Lastly, make sure your dog has a cozy bed and soft comforts. The idea, said Dodman, is to try and make it fun for them. "When you leave it's party time." There's also a ton of YouTube videos specifically made for relaxing dogs.

    Above all, remember the adage, "a tired dog is a good dog." Try and make sure your dog gets some exercise before you leave so they're mentally and physically calmer.

    Make the environment so inviting that they look forward to you leaving. Credit: Getty Images

    3. Don't ignore separation anxiety

    You may have heard that ignoring your dog or letting them cry it out will teach your dog to self-soothe or learn healthy boundaries, but for a young puppy this probably won't work and may have the opposite affect. "When you're in need of an attachment figure, you've been separated from your mom, lost your litter mates, your new owners should not be distancing you. Leaving a puppy to cry is precisely the wrong approach because, at this stage, newly adopted pups need all the care and attention you can muster," said Dodman.

    "They should be kept as close as possible, spoken to kindly and have all their needs met." That being said, Dodman continued it's important to strike a balance between loving them and being matter of fact, especially when it comes to departures. Being overly emotional when you leave will make them feel like it's a big deal and that they should panic. 

    To help find that balance, Basinger suggests thinking about it as "coaching them on how to learn how to self soothe and self pacify." If your dog is in their crate or in another room and starts to get upset, get closer to them, allow them to see you and talk to them. The key is to address it, not ignore it, because your dog's separation anxiety won't get better on its own. 

    Remember you're not alone

    "The most important thing is to get your ducks in a row in terms of who you can lean on," said Shoshi Parks, a professional dog trainer who specializes in separation anxiety. "Whether that's a dog care provider you trust that can walk your dog, or a doggy daycare that you can bring them to, or a trusted friend or neighbor that you can drop the dog off when you need to be somewhere." 

    Having a dog with separation anxiety can be daunting, so look to family and friends for support when you need them. Parks also wants dog owners to know that training can be flexible and tailored to fit particular lifestyles, so getting help for your dog's separation anxiety doesn't mean overhauling your entire life. "They can really do it on their own time, and that it really only takes a commitment of about 30 minutes a day."

    Resources and products to help with separation anxiety 

    There are tons of great resources and products to arm yourself with when taking on separation anxiety. Interactive toys like Kongs(Opens in a new tab), snuffle mats(Opens in a new tab), or food puzzles(Opens in a new tab) can keep your dog engaged for a while. Calming aids(Opens in a new tab) like treats with L-Theanine and melatonin or weighted blankets(Opens in a new tab) can also help.

    When in doubt, look to resources like the American Kennel Club(Opens in a new tab), the ASPCA(Opens in a new tab), and the Humane Society (Opens in a new tab)for trustworthy information. And be aware that while these suggestions may help, they shouldn't be substituted for actual training or advice. 

    UPDATE: Mar. 1, 2022, 12:00 p.m. EST This story has been updated to add additional context from Dodman and to reflect Carly Loyer's complete title. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the ASPCA's statistic — 23 million dogs and cats, not just dogs, were acquired during the pandemic. This story has also been updated to correctly spell Nicholas Dodman's name.

  • Heybaby is a new dating app for parents and people who want to be parents

    Heybaby is a new dating app for parents and people who want to be parents

    As you scroll through dating apps you start to spot trends, like fishing photos or mentions of The Office. Often a potential match has a photo with a child, and their bio says something akin to, "That's just my nephew." Or niece, or cousin, or whatever small relative one feels compelled to show suitors.


    If you're only looking for hookups, it's somewhat justifiable to make it clear that you're not a parent. Children change the dating game entirely. While users may want future partners to see how good they are with children — hence the nephew photos — it's likely just to relate back to their sex appeal.

    But many people, including single parents and people who want to be parents, aren't on dating apps to hookup. For those who want to find a co-parent, the search can be difficult.

    That's why, amid the deluge of both broad and niche dating apps, three dads — Diko Daghlian, Chas McFeely, and Rene Van De Zande — founded heybaby(Opens in a new tab), an app for people with kids or who want kids.

    "Despite the popularity of dating apps, the reality is that talking about the desire for children or existing children from previous relationships remains a fraught topic that is tough to broach when potential couples are meeting for the first time or in early days of dating," said McFeely in a press release.

    There are over 13 million single parents(Opens in a new tab) in the United States, and half of people aged 20 to 45 report wanting children(Opens in a new tab) — but it's not exactly what you want to open a Tinder conversation with. Heybaby wants to take away the apprehension involved in trying to find a partner with similar life plans.

    The app will be available first in San Francisco, where the team is based, but it will expand eventually to everywhere in the United States. It's also iOS(Opens in a new tab) only for now (sorry, Android users).

    When a user signs up for heybaby, they answer questions about their family and what they want in the future, such as if they already have kids and if they want more. There will also be questions about lifestyle, such as work life and travel preferences, in hopes to find a good match on multiple levels.

    dating app for single parents Credit: heybaby
    dating app for dads Credit: heybaby

    "The key factors that determine whether a couple has not just short-term attraction but actual long-term compatibility are money, kids and religion," said Van De Zande in a press release. "While we’ve seen more specialized apps enter the market for people looking for serious relationships, they don’t address some of these crucial topics."

    Van De Zande continued, "The worst thing for someone who has kids or wants them is to enter a relationship, only to find out they don’t share a vision of the future with their prospective partner."

    Daghlian agreed, commenting in the press release, "It’s important to us that heybaby doesn’t just ask whether you have or want kids, but also connects people who will have compatible approaches to parenting."

    The team designed heybaby to not just match potential couples but also potential parents, according to Daghlian. "As much as we’re looking to create love between two people," he said, "we’re also looking to create happy and healthy families for life."

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