Suspected Gas Punk Apprehended Amidst Gaspocalypse

Illustration for article titled Suspected Gas Punk Apprehended Amidst Gaspocalypse

Photo: City of Griffin Police Department

Early Wednesday morning, a would-be gas heist-master in Griffin, Georgia bungled a gasoline theft after drilling holes in a U-Haul truck’s tank and spilling up to 45 gallons of gas everywhere. Much of the eastern United States has gone full Mad Max over a brief gas shortage, and yet, the Griffin police department has vanquished anarchy with the rule of law.

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The Griffin police confirmed in a statement shared with Gizmodo that they have arrested Jesse Smith, 25, and charged him with criminal damage to property and theft by taking.

Aside from the spill, the gas crime went sideways due to a few slip-ups, namely because the gas thief doesn’t follow the rules, like the A-Number-One rule of crime: disable the security cameras. Local police thanked the suspect in a Facebook post for the evidence.

“So while you’re creating a hazardous material spill, for 5 gallons of gasoline and cause firefighters to have to work in the rain, we appreciate you parking your truck behind the KFC where we can obtain a photo of your get away vehicle,” the cops wrote. “Also, the shots of you walking around the U-Haul trucks are helpful.”

Illustration for article titled Suspected Gas Punk Apprehended Amidst Gaspocalypse

Photo: City of Griffin Police Department

The car pictured was identified as a red of his 1980-1986 Ford F series truck.

In the post-arrest statement, police thanked a number of citizens for calling their tip line about the photos. “The assistance and cooperation of supporters and citizens broke the case and without their assistance this case may well have gone unsolved,” they wrote.

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Griffin Fire Chief John C. Hamilton told Gizmodo that a team of city workers scrambled to get the emergency under control in roughly two hours. The action involved stopping and containing the spill with help from oil dry and sand from the Public Works department. They removed the mix of fuel and rainwater with the storm water’s vac truck, after which a clean-up crew contained the contaminated sand and dry oil, then ensuring that the fuel hadn’t leaked into stormwater ditches. This was not an elegant gas crime, per se.

It’s likely that Smith will face additional charges for the contingent environmental damage and perhaps all-around general pain in the ass to local authorities. “Investigators are working to determine the appropriate charges related to the hazardous materials spill of the fuel and will add those charges as appropriate,” the City of Griffin Police Department wrote in a release.

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The gas shortage caused the Department of Transportation to declare a state of emergency in 17 states and D.C. Hacker group DarkSide has claimed responsibility for debilitating the Colonial Pipeline’s systems and have demanded a nearly $5 million cryptocurrency ransom. (The Drive has reported that no evidence shows that the supply system itself was impaired, but that the company may have decided to shut down the delivery of fuel due to vulnerabilities in their billing system. In other words, they could’ve been pumping but were worried about getting paid.) The Colonial Pipeline has turned some of the tap back on, but according to Reuters, some analysts believe it could take weeks to return to normal operations. The Washington Post reported last night that at least 12,000 gas stations have run dry.

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End-times hysteria has swept hoards who’ve lined up around gas stations to load up their trunks with containers. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has urged the public not to fill plastic bags with gas. Two people now face assault charges for a spitting match that turned violent. The Washington Post reported gas hoarding has reached Florida, which had gas and isn’t served by Colonial.

Griffin police have asked people to maintain peace.

“While we understand that there is a shortage on gas, we also want to remind everyone to exercise safety, patience, and common sense,” they wrote in a Facebook post. “The shortage is temporary and we anticipate the gas stations returning to full operations soon. In the meantime, remain calm and don’t do anything to endanger yourself and others.”

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Conservatives, including DT Jr., have seized on the opportunity to demonize Joe Biden as a present-day Jimmy Carter. When the topic started trending, Twitter added a notice that Jimmy Carter was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and that his “humanitarian record is largely respected.”

Joe Biden did not personally hack the Colonial Pipeline’s system to our knowledge, but Mike Lindell might have some theories cooking.

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Trump 2020 Holdouts Stand in Line for 7 Hours to See World’s Biggest Corn Cob, Err, Mike Lindell

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota in 2015.

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota in 2015.
Photo: Dirk Lammers (AP)

Hundreds of Republicans that still believe that, contrary to any and all evidence, Donald Trump actually won the 2020 elections and only didn’t get a second term in office due to mass voter fraud congregated together on the Corn Palace in South Dakota on Monday to see the World’s Biggest Corn Cob. By which we mean, a sweaty guy with a mustache yelling about voting machines and who kept on telling them to log onto his friend Frank.

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The Corn Palace is a big arena slash tourist trap that is themed around corn. Usually, the biggest corn cobs on display there are statues with cartoon faces on them, accompanied by lots of other regular-sized corn cobs for theming. MyPillow co-founder and attempted coup leader Mike Lindell spoke there on Monday to continue spreading a hoax theory that the Chinese government, or other nefarious foreigners, worked in concert with U.S. election tech firms such as Dominion Voting Systems to subvert the outcome of the 2020 vote. He was also there to promote the supposed re-launch of his failed social media website, Frank Speech, which almost entirely consists of Lindell livestreams and ads for pillow coupons. He claimed 30,000 would be in attendance.

Well, Lindell fans reportedly came from as far afield as Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin—Texas being a 15-hour drive or so—and formed lines that stretched around the building, with some reportedly waiting seven hours or more to get into an event they had been assured would be packed to capacity.

After all that waiting, it turns out the line was a crock of shit. There weren’t more than about 1,500 people inside, about half of the total that can fit in the Corn Palace. Anyone could have waltzed right in. And, as mentioned before, the only giant corn cob on display was Mike.

This corn-themed hellhole show went on for the next three and a half hours. The Dickinson Press summed it up as largely consisting of Lindell reiterating debunked claims he’s repeated endlessly on air, as well as predicting that regular citizens would successfully petition the Supreme Court to return Trump to the presidency by the end of the summer:

Lindell spoke for nearly 90 minutes, serving as the crescendo for the crowd in attendance after seeing a number of conservative personalities for the prior two hours… He says his evidence shows that China corrupted election machines and changed the voting results in the election, denying Donald Trump from winning by 14 million votes. Lindell’s goal, he said, is for regular citizens to put significant pressure on the U.S. Supreme Court to look at the evidence. He said if that happens, Trump will be back in office as president by August.

“They will have to protect our country and it’s going to be a 9-0 vote to pull the election down,” Lindell said, adding that “evil is overplaying its hand” in politics in this country.

Lindell, who told the crowd that he doesn’t know anything about cybersecurity or informational technology, said he has kept his name in the news since November to help spread his claims about the election being fraudulent.

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Frank Speech’s original rollout in April was plagued with crashes and glitches, which Lindell and his partners blamed on DDOS attacks, rather than obvious technical ineptitude and the apparent lack of any social features. Despite the event on Monday being billed as a relaunch, the only content on the Frank Speech website appears to be livestreams of Lindell and other conspiracy theorists talking, reposted news articles, and podcast episodes. The signup screen returned an error stating “The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.” The signup attempt later succeeded, though there appears to be no difference in functionality beyond the ability to log in and log out and the collection of personal information during the signup process—possibly for the purpose of selling it to political committees. Despite the website requiring users to input a phone number for the ostensible purpose of anti-spam verification, Frank Speech happily accepted the phone number “1-111-111-1111”.

Anyone displeased with the festivities at the Corn Palace won’t be getting a refund for their ticket, as it was a free event. Perhaps they could sue, but something tells us Lindell would love that.

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MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Told Us What He Would Do If Someone Said There Were Knives in His Pillows

Illustration for article titled MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Told Us What He Would Do If Someone Said There Were Knives in His Pillows

Screenshot: Ongoing Frankathon on Frankspeech dot com

Many weird and wild things are coming out of Mike Lindell’s 48-hour bananathon livestream today—Ted Nugent, a crank call from a “reporter,” another crank call from “Donald Trump”—and somehow, I, too, was there. After a press request this morning to MyPillow, which has ignored my emails on two previous occasions, my phone rang.

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“Are you okay with being live on the air?” Mike Lindell asked me. “Twenty-six million people?”

Gotta respect the game. For context, this broadcast is ongoing on the homepage of Lindell’s borked social media platform Frank, which was supposed to launch last week, and this weekend, and again today. After disgruntling followers with days of silence, Lindell struck back with a gripping tale of a foreign cybersecurity attack(!!!), the biggest of all time ever in the world. Somehow the livestream has been functioning smoothly, for tens of millions, so parts of it are theoretically working. While we still don’t know exactly what Frank will look like when it does come to fruition, the platform is supposed to be a “mix of YouTube and Twitter,” multi-billion dollar platforms that took over a decade to build and still don’t function as their overlords would like to claim.

Lindell regaled this morning’s captive audience of potential Frank users with the news that My Pillow is suing Dominion Voting Systems for $1.6 billion—retaliation for Dominion’s $1.3 billion defamation suit against MyPillow and Lindell for the latter’s multitudinous unsubstantiated speculation about a wide-ranging Deep State conspiracy that involved Dominion’s voting machines robbing Donald Trump of the presidency.

Elected officials and cybersecurity experts have almost unilaterally rejected Lindell and Trump’s nonsense on the basis that it has no basis. The Washington Post found that, as of December 20th, at least 86 Democrat and Republican judges (including at least one open Trump supporter) had rejected Trump’s post-election lawsuits. The Supreme Court, which includes three Trump appointees, tossed aside a suit brought by the state of Texas asking to throw out election results in key states. As Dominion points out in its lawsuit, a wide swath of bipartisan officials have refuted Lindell’s conspiracy theories, including Trump appointees attorney general Bill Barr and Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity head Chris Krebs. Fifty-nine election security experts jointly condemned bunk fraud claims, agreeing that none had seen any credible evidence of a “technical compromise.” Numerous top government election overseers also rejected fraud claims, noting that voting equipment was tested and certified by state and federal bodies.

In numerous interviews, Lindell had confused who owned Dominion Voting Systems and said that Dominion’s “algorithms” had failed despite additional hand counts of paper ballots.

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Lindell didn’t shed further light on where he’s getting his intel or the nature of today’s supposed cybersecurity attack (just that it’s from “overseas”). He did repeatedly tell me that as a journalist I “should know” about this stuff and he used the opportunity to promote his forthcoming movie (a sequel to the “documentary” that he released in February). He did say what he would do if someone was going around making up unsubstantiated nonsense about his pillows. “You could put this in your article,” he said. “If everybody out there was saying MyPillow is full of rocks and knives, I wouldn’t sue them. I would go, hey, guys, look inside my pillow. It’s beautiful patented felt.”

It’s a line that he’s been repeating throughout the day, so I pressed the issue. How would Mike Lindell disprove un-dis-provable widespread fraudulent allegations about a single pillow, were someone to make them repeatedly on air?

Gizmodo: To compare this to Dominion, would you provide that person with every single pillow? Like, how can you disprove that one pillow did not arrive at someone’s house with rocks or knives inside?

Lindell: Are you for real?

Gizmodo: I’m curious. I mean, if you’re looking for—

Lindell: This is the common sense that has been lost in our country. I’ve sold over 50 million MyPillows. I’m just saying, if all of the sudden—actually [Alan Dershowitz, attorney retained by MyPillow] said, if all of the sudden people are out there saying there’s stuff in his pillows, I would show them in my factory and say, look at this. Or I would say, bring them in. You know what, bring in your pillow and show the news desk. Dominion won’t show one machine.

So, you know, I would say, okay, if you’ve got a rock and a knife in your pillow, show the world. They won’t even show this. So there’s the difference. I would not only show my manufacturer, I would say, I would want to show every pillow I could in the world. Everybody, open up your pillows. If Dominion didn’t have any corruptness to hide with the biggest cyber crime, part of it with China, in the history of the world—this is a crime against humanity. Dominion should say, hey, you know what? Smartmatic, all of them, they’re all tied together. We’re going to show that you open up every machine. Let’s go in there and show this to the world once and for all.

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So, he wouldn’t sue. Food for thought, I suppose.

Dominion legal counsel Stephen Shackelford told Gizmodo today, in a statement, that My Pillow’s “meritless retaliatory lawsuit” was filed with the goal of trying “to distract from the harm it caused to Dominion.”

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Anyways, Mike Lindell’s social media platform will allegedly be available to collect your personal data at some point in the future.

My Pillow Goblin Sues Dominion for $1.6 Billion, Swears His Pillows Aren’t Filled With Knives

Current status of Frankspeech dot com

Current status of Frankspeech dot com
Screenshot: Gizmodo/FrankSpeech.com

Americans had prepared today (and also last week) for MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to unleash his nebulous avant-garde invention, Frank: a social media platform billed as a cross between YouTube and Twitter with elements of newspapers and television, except with free speech. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see the nexus realized.

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Frank is currently down for an indeterminate length of time, but Lindell is offering an alternative spectacle. The homepage of FrankSpeech.com currently hosts the “Frankathon,” a 48-hour Lindell-hosted livestream broadcast set in a sort of news studio. He has a mug. The event opened today in full meltdown conspiracy mode.

“It was the biggest attack on a website, probably in history,” Lindell said of the failed launch. While Lindell has not yet specified exactly who attacked his website and how, the theory seems to be evolving live, with increasing certainty that this was the biggest cyberattack of all time. (A bucket of clues include attackers from “all over the world,” “Zuckabuck from Facebook,” and the inability to talk about “vaccines and machines.”) At this writing, Lindell says that 15 million viewers have tuned in.

We’ve reached out to My Pillow for comment and will update when we hear back.

Lindell’s headline news, though, is the announcement that My Pillow is counter-suing Dominion Voting Systems for $1.6 billion for defamation, which he has framed as a defense of free speech. Court records show the lawsuit, which claims violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Minnesota.

The sum is slightly higher than the $1.3 billion in damages Dominion is currently seeking from Lindell in its own defamation suit, targeting Lindell’s wild fabrications that the company conspired with Democrats to steal the election from Donald Trump. (The site showed a looping video of Lindell’s claims, which I won’t repeat here. Dominion has also sued Fox News for allowing Lindell to make such claims without challenging their veracity.) Lindell has enlisted a legal A-team including prominent First Amendment attorney Nathan Lewin and Alan Derschowitz, primarily known for advising on the O.J. Simpson trial and defending Harvey Weinstein. (Both, the Daily Beast has noted, are longtime registered Democrats.) In a motion to dismiss, My Pillow’s attorneys argue that Dominion has engaged in “lawfare,” using the suits to “restrict the marketplace of ideas to one viewpoint.”

Dominion has argued that Lindell’s “viewpoint” (read: hysterical accusations) has caused them irreparable harm and led to an onslaught of violent threats against employees.

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Dershowitz, appearing on the Frankathon this morning via video, made a crystal clear point to distance himself from certain harmful misinformation that would likely be welcome on Lindell’s platform. Unprompted, he said, of free speech:

I defend the right of bigots and ignoramuses to say the Holocaust didn’t occur. It’s wrong, it’s foolish, it’s bigoted, it’s insulting. It affects my family. But I think they’re right to say it. If you want to say the Earth is flat, say the Earth is flat. The geologists will come and prove you wrong, historians will be wrong about the Holocaust.

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Lindell also said:

“…It would be like if My Pillow was out there, and all these people were saying there’s rocks and knives in my pillows. And I would just say what I would do as the owner. I would say, ‘hey, everybody, look… there’s no rocks or knives.’”

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Okay…

Dershowitz does plan to uncover the truth behind Dominion’s election conduct in discovery, in which he’ll demand access to Dominion’s machines and source code, in case completely unsubstantiated social media-sourced conspiracy theories prove to be true.

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You can watch unfolding events here. Steve Bannon and Diamond and Silk are on the docket. And you can view the lawsuit below.

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Donald Trump and Mike Lindell Should Cage Fight Over Whose New Social Media Site Is Actually Real

Mike Lindell, CEO and founder of MyPillow, and a possibly entirely fictional social media site named Frank.

Mike Lindell, CEO and founder of MyPillow, and a possibly entirely fictional social media site named Frank.
Photo: Stephen Maturen (Getty Images)

HellfeedHellfeedHellfeed is your bimonthly resource for news on the current heading of the social media garbage barge.

We’re jumping the gun on Hellfeed’s normally bi-weekly schedule—because dear lord, the last five days were something else. This week’s social media hellscape kicked off with news Donald Trump is investigating opening his own, presumably even more racist social media platform (uh-huh) before drunkenly veering everywhere to a beleaguered mega-ship clogging the bowels of shipping to Mark Zuckerberg’s vaccination to Amazon tweeting about peeing in bottles to the Shrimp Guy getting Milkshake Ducked (something that I swear will make more sense if you scroll down the page).

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This is Hellfeed: Emergency Edition.

Hearing commentary

The CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter went before the House Energy and Commerce Committee for precisely the kind of bipartisan struggle session they’ve faced at multiple prior hearings. While Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai, and Mark Zuckerberg absolutely deserve to be dragged by whatever means possible, the hearings are quickly becoming a ritualistic washing of hands in which the assembled members of Congress yell at unpopular tech CEOs instead of actually passing any legislation to address their pet concerns (misinformation and hate speech for Dems, why a grainy .bmp file of Donald Trump giving a thumbs up doesn’t appear at the top of every webpage for Republicans).

Some highlights:

  • Members of Congress still cannot pronounce the surname “Pichai,” which is two syllables and not all that complicated.
  • Republicans finally added another issue to their playbook than screaming about censorship of conservatives: social media’s impact on children.
  • Zuckerberg explained that misinformation about the climate isn’t as harmful as misinformation about the coronavirus, which conveniently explains why Facebook doesn’t do anything about it.
  • Representative Peter Welch asked the three CEOs whether they would support the creation of a Federal Trade Commission-like agency to regulate social media sites; Zuckerberg, who has been a major beneficiary of the FTC’s half-hearted approach to regulation, enthusiastically responded that could be “very effective and positive.”
  • More generally, the CEOs agreed that there needs to be some type of regulation of social media—though possibly just to placate Congress into summoning them to fewer hearings, and they were generally vague on what kind of regulations they would actually support beyond mandating greater transparency and accepting more liability for user-generated content.
  • Confronted on the issue of whether they would ban a dozen anti-vaxxers who bear wildly disproportionate responsibility for hoaxes, misinformation, and conspiracy theories circulating about vaccines on their sites, all three CEOs waffled.
  • In an extremely uncomfortable moment starting at 2:35:15 in this YouTube stream, Representative Billy Long asked each of the CEOs whether or not they understood the difference between “yes” and “no” before asking them if they had been vaccinated against the coronavirus yet. Pichai was the only one who said yes.
  • The assembled CEOs generally evaded addressing or defending their actual business models, which is prioritizing user growth and engagement and thus revenue over just about anything else.

Amazon is now tweeting about whether or not its employees piss in bottles

Everyone’s favorite robber-baron empire has had a lot of fun online this week trying to “own” critics and failing miserably in the process. This all started when Dave Clark, the CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, practiced his tight five for the Comedy Store by tweeting a fun little jab: he often says “we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace.”

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This could be charitably described as misreading the room. The heckling escalated rapidly when Representative Mark Pocan pointed out the well-documented trend of Amazon warehouse workers being pressed so hard they have to urinate (and sometimes poop) in bottles, which the official Amazon News account condescendingly responded to with “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.”

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This is more than a little like some cartoon banker dressed like Mr. Monopoly yelling, “You don’t really believe the locking the shirtwaist factory stairwells thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us,” over the sound of a fire alarm.

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Amazon workers and drivers on numerous occasions have confirmed they sometimes have to pee and poop in things that are not toilets to hit company quotas, something the company is quite aware of. As a result of their pathetic little attempt at a clapback, the Google News results for “Amazon pee in bottles” now looks like this (and goes on and on like this):

Illustration for article titled Donald Trump and Mike Lindell Should Cage Fight Over Whose New Social Media Site Is Actually Real

Screenshot: Google News

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Just absolutely phenomenal work here, boys.

In what is presumably entirely unrelated news, Amazon is hiring a new social media manager.

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Elon finally regrets a tweet

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the only person in history to be fined $20 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission, sent a tweet at 4:18 a.m. on Friday stating “I think there is a >0% chance Tesla could become the biggest company.” He perhaps had that settlement on his mind when he deleted a subsequent tweet saying that could happen “Probably within a few months.”

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Per the Washington Post, Musk mashing that delete button caused a minor panic among Tesla stockholders:

Musk boasted early Friday to his nearly 50 million Twitter followers that his company could be “the biggest” in a few months. It came less than a day after the National Labor Review Board upheld a 2019 ruling that determined Tesla engaged in unfair labor practices and called on the company to have Musk delete a tweet from 2018.

Tesla shares were hovering near $608 shortly before 2 p.m. EDT, after an otherwise uneventful morning session. The company’s market cap tumbled to $586.7 billion, losing more than $26 billion over the span of four hours.

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As the Post noted, this is just one day after the National Labor Relations Board ordered Tesla to have Musk delete this 2018 tweet threatening labor organizers, which Musk has not done.

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You live by the post, you cringe die by the post.

Shrimp guy gets milkshake ducked in record time

Social media was briefly delighted by the tale of a man named Jeremy Karp, who tweeted a complaint to the Cinnamon Toast Crunch account asking it to explain why cinnamon-encrusted shrimp tails had ended up in his bag of cereal. After his initial tweet went viral, Karp spent days tweeting many, many more times about the incident.

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Unfortunately for Karp, the attention also drew a massive amount of attention to his backstory. That began with fun revelations, such as that he is married to Danielle Fishel, who played Topanga in Boy Meets World, and was once an unsuccessful rapper named “Hot Karl”. It ended with considerably more disturbing ones, as several women on Twitter accused Karp of being a serial manipulator and emotional abuser and disrespectful to Black colleagues. (Podcaster Melissa Stutten wrote he was a “manipulative gaslighting narcissistic ex-boyfriend who once told me he was surprised I hadn’t killed myself because my life was so worthless,” while writer and former Karp colleague Brittani Nichols wrote he had inserted racist lines into the scripts of TBS rap battle show Drop the Mic.)

In other words, he got Milkshake Ducked in record time:

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One could call this a cautionary tale, but the moral isn’t ‘never tweet’ so much as don’t be like this guy.

Ship. Ship. Ship.

Everyone is living vicariously through the big ship that’s blocking the Suez Canal (and a massive percentage of world shipping) and has exhibited no signs it intends to get moving anytime soon. It’s possibly the first relatable news event in years! Anyhow, here’s a bunch of tweets about it.

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We regret to inform you the

The entire Earth is now being converted into a giant block of computronium that will be worth approximately $42.50 after a “market correction,” as evidenced by the fact that the “Cash Me Outside” meme girl Danielle Bregoli—who is somehow now the rapper Bhad Bhabie—is getting in on non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs are essentially a complicated, blockchain-powered way of turning massive amounts of electricity into digital trading cards that in some cases are selling for millions of dollars, despite the fact they will likely be worth absolutely nothing in just a few months or years.

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Anyhow, Bhad Bhabie is selling 20 NFTs, per HypeBeast, which writes that the sale includes “original works based on the biggest meme of 2017 and focusing on its dominance, her rise to fame, the success of her music and meme culture.” That includes the chance to own the “Cash Me Outside” meme:

The first group of NFTs will be released on March 26, Bregoli’s 18th birthday, via Opensea, then on March 29 via Rarible and March 31 via Zora. The collab between Bhad Bhabie and Flue Block Arts will also include a mega package on Opensea that includes ownership of the “Cash Me Outside” meme transferred from the artist to the buyer, one NFT of each of the visual works, a personalized video of the transfer sale from Bregoli to the buyer that will be posted on both her Instagram and YouTube and a 16-bar verse feature from Bhad Bhabie.

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Also, recording artist Ja Rule, who previously managed to jettison himself mostly clear of the explosive radius of the Fyre Fest debacle, is selling an NFT of the Fyre Fest logo for $122,000. OK.

If nothing else, you have to respect Ja Rule’s deep commitment to scams.

Frank. It’s just called Frank

MyPillow goblin Mike Lindell, who is currently being sued for $1.3 billion by Dominion Voting Systems for promoting hoaxes and conspiracy theories claiming it helped steal the 2020 elections for Joe Biden, is launching a social media site. Allegedly. No one really knows whether it exists or is just another Lindell fantasy. It’s possible there is a small army of coders locked in the basement of the MyPillow factory, who knows.

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But this week we learned two critical pieces of info: Mike Lindell’s new social media site is named Frank, and it’s a platform for Americans who want to defend life, liberty, and all the freedoms that have marked America as the longest-running Constitutional Republic in the history of the world.

This poses a dilemma, though, because as we previously noted, the former president also has ephemeral plans for a censorship-free social media site for people who think their guns whisper to them at night.

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There’s only one solution: Donald Trump and Mike Lindell must fight to the death. Possibly in a gladiatorial format, maybe jousting, could also be a cage match, or perhaps an old-timey duel? What’s important is that two old men of dubious lucidity enter, one old man leaves—as the tech bro CEO of a startup social media firm that possibly exists entirely within their heads. But watch out, Mr. Trump. Lindell looks like a biter.

Dominion Comes for Fox News

Illustration for article titled Dominion Comes for Fox News

Screenshot: Lou Dobbs on Twitter

Dominion Voting Systems, the company which supplied voting machines for the 2020 election, has slapped Fox News with a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. In a 443-page complaint, published by the Associated Press, the company provides reams of evidence that Fox broadcast Twitter-sourced conspiracy theories about the machines in the full knowledge that the claims were disproven. It’s requesting damages for, among other things, security expenses for siccing the hounds on the company, which claims its employees have received death threats.

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It’s also seeking damages for lost profits and enterprise value and expenses for combatting misinformation. The lawsuit adds to three previous over-billion-dollar lawsuits against Rudy Giuliani, Trump lawyer and QAnon adherent Sidney Powell, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who’ve all spread baseless lies on Fox, often without pushback.

For instance, Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo trotted out Sidney Powell, who shared the unproven claim that Democrats conjured “massive numbers” of votes from dead people. “They had this all planned, Maria. They had the algorithms,” she said, referencing the bogus Democrat-Dominion conspiracy.

“Sidney, these are incredible charges that you are making this morning,” Bartiromo remarked. “We, of course, will be following this.”

Mike Lindell claimed to Tucker Carlson: Dominion “hired hit groups, bots and trolls” to take down MyPillow and then added: “We have all the evidence…I dare Dominion to sue me because then it will get out faster. So this is — it — you know, they don‘t— they don‘t want to talk about it.”

Carlson: “No they don‘t.”

Sean Hannity, giving Powell a little wink to spread her Dominion lies: “I have gone over everything I have been able to find out, nobody liked Dominion Voting Systems. Nobody. The professor. The three Democrats. The State of Texas. They had problems in Georgia. The New York Times. The AP. Why would we use a system that everybody agreed sucked or had problems is beyond me.”

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Jeanine Pirro, blowing past publicly-available information: “The President’s lawyers alleging a company called Dominion, which they say started in Venezuela with Cuban money, and with the assistance of Smartmatic software, a backdoor is capable of flipping votes…These are serious allegations, but the media has no interest in any of this.” Dominion states numerous times in the complaint that it is not affiliated with competitor Smartmatic and that Dominion was founded in Toronto.

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Dominion concludes that Fox sent in the clowns because its ratings had tanked after it called the election for Biden, and Trump ordered followers to abandon the network. “In the face of intense backlash and viewers beginning to flee to rival networks, Fox understood that it needed to embrace and amplify the lies that had begun to circulate about Dominion,” the complaint reads. It continues:

To fan the flames, Fox turned to Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, neither of whom were official White House spokespeople and both of whom were promoting a baseless defamatory campaign against Dominion, claiming that the election had been stolen by vote-flipping algorithms in Dominion machines that had been created in Venezuela to rig elections for Hugo Chávez. As Fox well knew, Powell and Giuliani were facially unreliable sources and their claims were ludicrous, inherently improbable, and technologically impossible. Powell was and is such an obviously unreliable source—and her claims about Dominion were so inherently improbable and outlandish—that those very same lies resulted in Tucker Carlson publicly mocking her for failing to produce evidence to support them. In private, Lou Dobbs himself “raised questions about Powell’s claims to others.”

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And here’s Lou Dobbs calling Powell a “great American,” asking her where a fancifully “removed” “Dominion server” is located, which makes absolutely no sense:

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Dominion says that the lies not only damaged its reputation but that the conspiracy theories fueled personal attacks, so much so that it encouraged employees to work from home and “protect their social media profiles” against persistent threats of violence. It quotes tweets from now-deactivated Twitter accounts, such as:

GOP DEALS IN FACTS … AND JUDGE PIRRO IS SUCH EMBODIMENT OF INTEGRITY … devilocrats and lucifers msm and dominion voter fraud will not see the light of day in TRUMP‘S WHITE HOUSE, !

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And:

Obvious fraud corrupt election, eye witnesses, computer science experts, tech experts testifying about corrupt dominion voting machines and smartmatic software, a 12th grader can see what‘s going on, the only thing transparent about this election is the fraud, to quote Lou Dobbs!

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Fox is facing a separate $2.7 billion lawsuit by unaffiliated voting system Smartmatic and filed motions to dismiss along with Maria Bartiromo, Judge Jeanine Pirro, and former host Lou Dobbs.

Smartmatic similarly alleged that “Fox joined the conspiracy to defame and disparage Smartmatic and its election technology and software.” Fox noticeably didn’t refute the charge that it broadcast false claims, but only shared “matters of public concern.”

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In a statement shared with Gizmodo regarding the Dominion suit, Fox wrote: “FOX News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”

Dominion’s attorneys were not immediately available for comment.

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Pillow Goblin Mike Lindell’s New Social Media Site Is Just Named Frank and It’s a Platform for Americans Who Want to Defend Life, Liberty, and All the Freedoms That Have Marked America as the Longest Running Constitutional Republic in the History of the World

Illustration for article titled Pillow Goblin Mike Lindell’s New Social Media Site Is Just Named Frank and It’s a Platform for Americans Who Want to Defend Life, Liberty, and All the Freedoms That Have Marked America as the Longest Running Constitutional Republic in the History of the World

Screenshot: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia / FX / Edit by Gizmodo

The MyPillow weirdo’s new censorship-free social media network is here and… it’s a website named Frank. Like, it’s actually just named Frank.

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Mike Lindell is probably best known as the pillow magnate who somehow managed to worm his way into the inner sanctum of Donald Trump’s administration and has subsequently spent most of his time promoting various hoaxes and conspiracy theories trying to prove Trump won the 2020 elections. In the process, he’s earned himself a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit from election tech manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems (he claims to love it), gotten both himself and the MyPillow corporate account banned from Twitter, and released the most unintentionally funny movie of the year, a depraved rant called Absolute Proof.

However, Lindell is also preparing to launch his own damn social media site where anything goes and which will be better than Twitter and YouTube. It was originally called “Vocl,” but now it’s named Frank. Per Business Insider, on Tuesday, Lindell told something called The Eric Metaxas Radio Show that Frank will be ready for launch in just 10 to 14 days, and a preview in the form of a rambling introduction on “cancel culture” that defines “the very definition of Frank” (bold and italics are Lindell’s, but we’re doing that too from this point forward) is available at FrankSpeech.com.

We’re just copy-pasting this in full so readers can really soak their consciousnesses in the pillow man’s pickle brine:

Necessity is the mother of invention. The free speech platform, Frank, is just that.

Political correctness has caused many people to be shamed, marginalized, and characterized for speaking forth truth. In part, the very definition of Frank is to be forthright and sincere in your expression. What could be more American than that? It is from this perspective that this platform was named Frank.

The world watched as perhaps the most visible and vocal CEO in America, Mike Lindell, became the victim of the “cancel culture” when he began to express his views on matters that the liberal media and big tech deemed to be politically incorrect.

Lindell goes on to write some nonsense about “the radical worldview of today’s liberal media intelligentsia, or deep state actors” (why can’t we be both, Mike?) and how Frank is essentially part of the Constitution. Frank will also be the home of “major influencers, to micro-influencers, to average Americans wanting to share in the constitutional right of freedom of speech and freedom of expression”:

Free speech is one of the hallmarks of our Constitutional Republic, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights. It is no coincidence that nations that have free speech also have a free enterprise system and freedom of religion. Inversely, nations that deny free speech tread upon the free enterprise system and freedom of religion. Americans want to remain free. Americans are craving news and information that is not filtered through the radical worldview of today’s liberal media intelligentsia, or deep state actors.

Frank, the voice of free speech, will be the platform for Americans who want to defend life, liberty, and all the freedoms that have marked America as the longest running Constitutional Republic in the history of the world. On this platform you will find a home where you can post videos, livestream television, distribute news and information, and find community and fellowship with likeminded Americans. Frank will be a home for major influencers, to micro influencers, to average Americans wanting to share in the constitutional right of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. We hope you will join our community and let freedom ring.

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While Frank is “Coming Soon,” we have nothing but various hints dropped by Lindell as to what it will actually be. According to Business Insider, Lindell told the radio show, “There’s nothing like it out there. Your YouTube channel is your Twitter. It’s amazing.”

Frank will also somehow force every user to consume every other user’s content. In an interview clip flagged on Twitter by Right Wing Watch, the marquis du sommeil added, “So when this launches, millions are gonna come over. What I’m doing is when the influencers come over, um, they will now have a platform where all the people down here follow them instantly. If someone joins Frank, it’s reverse-engineered. They don’t have to earn their followers. So someone such as yourself, [The Eric Metaxas Radio Show host Eric Metaxas], you’ll have millions right away because they need to see your show. They need to see, hear the word. They need to hear, uh, free speech.”

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Also, Frank will give some type of “bonus” to users banned on YouTube and will somehow result in the CEOs of every other social media site going to prison by launch day.

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“Well when that happens now, what I’m gonna do to my influence, I’m gonna say, as soon as you get kicked off a YouTube, you’re getting a bonus,” Lindell added. “Because why? Because then you’re actually speaking out free speech, and you’re not worrying about what Mr. Alphabet and Mr. Google say about us, or Suckabuck, or Dorky, and all these people that try and control us here, and they’re all going to prison. They’re all going to prison, I’m telling ya, by the time this is done.”

Also, check out Frank’s logo:

Illustration for article titled Pillow Goblin Mike Lindell’s New Social Media Site Is Just Named Frank and It’s a Platform for Americans Who Want to Defend Life, Liberty, and All the Freedoms That Have Marked America as the Longest Running Constitutional Republic in the History of the World

Screenshot: frankspeech.com

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Frank, which is definitely not just a clever diversion from that $1.3 billion lawsuit or anything, will Frank Frank Frank Frank Frank.

Frank Frank Frank. Frank Frank. Frank.

Fraaaank? Frank. Frank Frank. Franks.

[Franks begin kissing]

Frank.

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Senate Considering Hauling in Facebook, Twitter CEOs so They Can All Ramble for Hours About Whatever BS Gripe They Have This Time

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at a Congressional hearing in November 2020.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at a Congressional hearing in November 2020.
Photo: Hannah McKay (Getty Images)

HellfeedHellfeedHellfeed is your bimonthly resource for news on the current heading of the social media garbage barge.

If you thought last year’s clusterf*ck of a Senate hearing on social media was a good use of everyone’s time, congrats! The Senate is considering calling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and the rest of the gang back together for another hearing, this time before the Judiciary Committee.

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Per Politico, Senator Chris Coons told the site on Thursday that he “[thinks] there’s reason for us to ask them to come before us again.” While the plans aren’t final and Coons said he was still negotiating with his Republican counterparts, he added his expectation is that “we’ll look at the dynamics of social media and I think we’ll look at the intersection between privacy, civil liberties and civil rights in the digital context.”

Last year’s hearing was before the Commerce Committee. At the time, it was still controlled by Republicans, but Democrats joined their colleagues across the aisle in a unanimous vote to subpoena Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and Alphabet-Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Democrats’ rationale at the time was that the committee chair, GOP Senator Roger Wicker, had promised the hearing would reserve time for Dems’ preferred issues like antitrust and not solely serve as a vehicle for conservatives to scream at the assembled CEOs about liberal bias. Of course, the latter thing is exactly what happened.

With Democrats in control, perhaps this hearing will go a little smoother. Anything’s possible, right? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s been a while since our last edition of Hellfeed, so here’s some of the biggest developments in the social media world over the last few weeks.

Facebook is building a version of Instagram for, uh, kids

It’s long been the case—based both on safety concerns like bullying and pedophiles and, more cynically, laws surrounding the collection of user data on children—that Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram have been age-gated to those 13 and older. Of course, this has been completely unenforceable without solutions nobody likes, such as requiring new users to provide photos of their IDs. Children have slipped onto the site in droves, and like their teenage counterparts, sometimes face extreme amounts of bullying and harassment, not to mention the occasional message from pedophiles.

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As originally reported by BuzzFeed, Facebook has a jaw-dropping solution to this: A post on an internal company message board by Instagram vice president of product Vishal Shah said the company is working on “a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.” What could go wrong? Well, YouTube Kids—which unlike an Instagram for children, doesn’t even involve kids uploading videos of themselves—resulted in claims of illegal data collection and the site being flooded with disturbing videos uploaded by bots or horrible trolls. YouTube was eventually forced to overhaul the whole product. Facebook is mulling a product for children based around one that lets adults upload everything from drug cartel glamour posts to pro-eating disorder content, so… yeah.

As Gizmodo colleague Matt Novak pointed out, pretty much everything about this product and how it will function is an unknown at this point. But it does reek of an effort to get ever-younger users signed up for the Facebook data machine, thinly veiled with the excuse that it’s trying to make kids already on Instagram safer. Yeesh.

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Facebook Groups: Now with slightly more oversight!

Facebook also announced this week that it’s taking steps to clean up Groups, the interest-based communities that it tried to juice in recent years before many of said groups inevitably became hives full of QAnon conspiracists, election truthers, anti-vaxxers, far-right propagandists, and the people who organized the Capitol riots. Changes include prohibiting users who break rules from posting or commenting in Groups for a period of time, putting warning labels on groups that have broken rules, and requiring tighter moderation of rules-violating communities. Surely they’ll whack that mole this time!

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Parler is somehow getting worse, actually

A few fun updates from our friends at Parler, the far-right Facebook/Twitter clone for people who love issuing death threats and would marry a gun if they could just choose one:

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  • While the site has managed to crawl back onto the web after losing its web hosting and app store placements over its role in the Jan. 6 riots at the Capital, it hasn’t convinced any of the tech companies that ditched it—Amazon, Apple, and Google—to do business with them again.
  • Parler claims to now have algorithms to detect content calling for violence now, but there’s no reason to believe anything will change. Apple rejected the company’s appeal to get back on the App Store, after which Parler reportedly fired its whole iOS team.
  • Republican megadonor and Parler investor Rebekah Mercer, a hardliner on the whole giving-racists-and-conspiracy-theorists-a-giant-megaphone-to-spew-hate-online issue, is reportedly personally bankrolling the site with “big checks” at this point and flexing her muscles to preserve that vision. The new CEO, apparently a Mercer pick, is a Tea Party activist.

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Definitely not a ticking time bomb waiting to go off for a second time or anything.

Posting on Gab was maybe not the smartest idea

Gab, Parler’s neo-Nazi uncle, has been hacked—big time. Whistleblower site DDoSecrets announced the release to a group of reporters of some 70 gigabytes of data lifted from the company’s servers, including profile and user data, posts, private messages, and more.

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A similar situation played out on a far smaller scale with white supremacist forum Iron March, which had its SQL database dumped on the Internet Archive by an unknown hacker in 2019. The result was numerous white nationalists/supremacists, fascists, and current/former members of violent groups like the terroristic Atomwaffen Division had their identities publicly revealed, which is sort of inconvenient when you’re trying to anonymously spark a race war.

The Gab leak is already providing a similar look at what’s going on behind closed doors there, and the sheer size of the leak is likely to keep researchers and reporters busy for a while.

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I shall simply open my own failing internet hellhole

You may remember MyPillow founder Mike Lindell from his previous best hits, such as months of increasingly depraved promotion of voter fraud hoaxes (TL;DR: Donald Trump won, apparently!) and the $1.3 billion lawsuit he is facing from an election tech manufacturer over that. He’s definitely not mad that he got banned from Twitter, which is why he’s announced he is launching his own free speech site, Vocl. Per Business Insider:

In an interview with Insider, [Mike] Lindell said he plans to call the site “Vocl” and he described it as a cross between Twitter and YouTube.

“It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen,” he said to Insider in a Wednesday interview. “It’s all about being able to be vocal again and not to be walking on egg shells.”

Vocl, he said, isn’t like Gab or Parler, two far-right social-media sites. It’s a cross between Twitter and YouTube meant “for print, radio, and TV,” he said.

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Sure thing, Mike.

ISIS is trying to hit its crowdfund goal

Facebook, Telegram, PayPal, and other big tech firms are continuing to serve as a vehicle for crowdfunding the Islamic State terror group, often via accounts that are fake or run by sympathizers and middlemen posing as humanitarian interests, according to an in-depth feature on Rest of World:

Vera Mironova, a visiting fellow at Harvard University who has extensively monitored online terrorist fundraising campaigns, notes that posts follow the mores of their host platform. “So secretive campaigns would not be posted on Facebook, or if they were, they would sound more humanitarian and not use words like ‘ISIS.’ But the ones on Telegram go full hurrah,” she explained. This same dynamic plays out on a country-by-country level, Mironova added, and is especially apparent on payment platforms. “Some countries — let’s say Russia or parts of Eastern Europe, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan — they just do not care,” she said. “ISIS-linked campaigns coming from those places absolutely won’t hide anything. … They could use any platform; they even transfer money between bank cards.”

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The full thing is worth a read, because this type of thing is now a permanent fixture of the internet and will only become more relevant going forward.

You are not going to get rich tweeting. You are not going to get rich tweeting

Twitter, which has been introducing new features at a rate of approximately 10 per minute, has announced that it is working on Super Follows, a tool for users to launch paid subscriptions with access to private feeds or posts. While feed-addicted journalism and media types might be salivating at the prospect of being paid to waste time, Twitter has yet to clarify whether it will allow the most obvious application that will actually make money: porn.

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Accessibility on social media apps continues to be a challenge

The Washington Post has an interesting feature on how apps like TikTok have tried to implement accessibility features, but still lag far behind on implementing or improving features like speech to text transcription—making them harder to use for those with deafness, hearing loss, or visual impairments. A good roundup of the technical challenges behind implementing such features on the one hand, but also how tech firms have sometimes failed to prioritize working on them on the other.

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Hoo boy, Substack sure made a mess

Newsletter platform Substack isn’t really a social media site. But it essentially wouldn’t exist without Facebook and Twitter, where the various journalists, commentators, and web personalities that actually write those newsletters generated and cultivate their followings in the first place. Besides, what we will euphemistically refer to as “Substack discourse” is now approximately three hundred percent of Twitter.

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In the past week Substack has come under fire for its practice of luring high-profile writers to set up shop on the site by writing huge “advance payment” checks. That might be less controversial were it not for the fact that many of its most prominent power users regularly write raving diatribes about supposedly out-of-control leftism, “cancel culture,” “identity politics,” and stuff like that. Glenn Greenwald, one of the site’s biggest success stories (and who says he did not accept an advance check from Substack), uses his account to further vitriolic feuds such as one with a specific New York Times reporter. Another, Irish TV writer Graham Linehan, aggressively promotes anti-trans rhetoric.

Annalee Newitz, founder of our sister blog io9, penned a Medium post arguing that Substack’s habit of paying writers, sometimes without disclosure, and seemingly allowing others with huge followings to violate its rules essentially makes it less of a platform than an editorial publication—except one with none of the editorial standards followed by reputable ones:

So Substack has an editorial policy, but no accountability. And they have terms of service, but no enforcement. If you listen to [co-founder Hamish McKenzie], they don’t even hire writers! They just give money to people who write things that happen to be on Substack. It’s the usual Silicon Valley sleight-of-hand move, very similar to Uber reps claiming drivers aren’t “core” to their business. I’m sure Substack is paying a writer right now to come up with a catchy way of saying that Substack doesn’t pay writers.

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(No, no one means “publication” in the way Josh Hawley does, stop asking.)

Substack wrote in a blog post that misunderstandings about the actual makeup of the advance payments program has resulted in a “distorted perception of the overall makeup of the group, leading to incorrect inferences about Substack’s business strategy.” But because there’s no transparency into who Substack is paying beyond those writers which have chosen to disclose they cashed a check, you’re just gonna have to take their word for it.

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And the Q of QAnon is…

An HBO documentary series airing this weekend claims to have discovered the identity of QAnon’s Q, the individual or individuals behind a sprawling pro-Trump conspiracy theory that infected the Republican Party (primarily via Facebook) and provided much of the manpower at the Capitol riots. It’s not exactly a huge surprise that the culprit named here is Ron Watkins, the administrator of imageboard sites 8chan/8kun, where Q posted for years after leaving 4chan.

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That doesn’t necessarily solve the mystery of who came up with Q in the first place, as Watkins may have simply took over the Q account from its original creator, and whatever case Q: Into the Storm believes it has to prove Watkins is Q has yet to be vetted. Either way, don’t think we’re done with this whole mess anytime soon.

The ban list

Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please…

  • QAnon cheerleader and (unfortunately) Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was temporarily suspended from Twitter for 12 hours thanks to an “error,” though one could argue one wasn’t actually made.
  • YouTube took down a video from bigoted talk show host Steven Crowder, not for mocking Black speech and culture in an explicitly racist way or suggesting Chinese restaurants spread the novel coronavirus, but for violating anti-misinformation policies by conflating the pandemic death toll with that of the common flu. That’s because they’re cowards afraid of backlash from conservatives.
  • Facebook banned the military of Myanmar, which perhaps might have been more effective had it done so before they used the site to incite genocide.
  • Also, Facebook briefly banned news links across the entire country of Australia in an inspiring corporate protest against a law forcing them to pay out a share of revenue to news sites.
  • Twitter accidentally auto-banned a lot of people, including Gizmodo weekend editor Alyse Stanley, for posting the word “Memphis.”
  • TikTok banned the use of the “super straight” hashtag, which claimed that being transphobic is a gender identity, and its creator Kyle Royce.
  • World’s worst lawyer Rudy Giuliani was banned from YouTube for two weeks for refusing to stop insisting his ex-boss, who hates him, won the 202 elections.

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Honorable mention: Neera Tanden, Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Office of Management and Budget, didn’t get banned from Twitter. But her tweets attacking numerous members of Congress did get her “banned,” in a sense, from further consideration for the job.

Solve This Riddle

Illustration for article titled Solve This Riddle

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

What is a cross between Twitter and YouTube and is also a newspaper and TV show and radio broadcast?

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Space? Time? The concept of time? An alchemical process by which vibrating particles moved by a passing sound wave are transmuted into sheets of paper and back into the air? A social phenomenon, like a zeitgeist or coercive persuasion? The yet-unsolved mysteries of psychokinetic abilities?

Before I tell you the answer, think hard, scroll down, and add your comment.

A: It is a place to be vocal called Vocl.

Business Insider presented the puzzle, courtesy of MyPillow guy Mike Lindell, who’s currently facing a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit and also embarking on a new social media platform. Insider writes:

In an interview with Insider, [Mike] Lindell said he plans to call the site “Vocl” and he described it as a cross between Twitter and YouTube.

“It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen,” he said to Insider in a Wednesday interview. “It’s all about being able to be vocal again and not to be walking on egg shells.”

Vocl, he said, isn’t like Gab or Parler, two far-right social-media sites. It’s a cross between Twitter and YouTube meant “for print, radio, and TV,” he said.

Nods knowingly with dead eyes staring into the everlasting nothingness.

MyPillow Guy Says He’s Starting Some Kind of Little Twitter Platform That’s ‘Not Just Like a Little Twitter Platform’

Illustration for article titled MyPillow Guy Says He’s Starting Some Kind of Little Twitter Platform That’s 'Not Just Like a Little Twitter Platform'

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

Mike Lindell, America’s pillow man, may be being sued for $1.3 billion for spreading hoax, pro-Donald Trump conspiracy theories claiming election tech manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems engaged in massive fraud to get Joe Biden into office. But soon that might only be a sliver of the MyPillow founder’s riches, because he’s launching some sort of tech company!

Per Mediaite, Lindell—who is banned from Twitter and definitely doesn’t seem extremely mad about it—said in an appearance on Turning Point USA executive director Charlie Kirk’s podcast on Friday that he will be launching a company to rival Twitter or even YouTube. What’s more, it will be up in just a few short weeks!

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Lindell suggested that his stillunnamed platform will be friendlier to conservative viewpoints than other competitors, something that has never been tried before or resulted in physical disaster, and since he owns it, he’ll allow users to tell it “like it is” without the threat of any kind of pushback. It will also boast a rich feature set when it launches in around a month. From Mediaite:

“What we’re going to do, it’s going to take four or five weeks, were going to have this platform coming out that all the influencers in this country will be able to go to and not worry about YouTube and actually be able to talk,” Lindell told Kirk. “So what we’re doing, we’re launching this big platform, so all the voices of our country can come back and start telling it like it is again.”

“It’s not just like a little Twitter platform,” Lindell stated before adding that the project has been in the works for four years.

“I have a platform coming out,” Lindell added elsewhere in the episode. “I can’t say the name… in ten days. Every single influencer person on the planet can come there, you’re gonna have a platform to speak out, and you’re gonna have, and you will not need YouTube, you won’t need these places. So it will be where everything can be told because we gotta get our voices back.”

What a stunning accomplishment for a man who appears to have no prior experience or qualifications in non-pillow-related technology, save coining the term “cyberly.” Twitter’s market cap is estimated at around $50.67 billion, and YouTube parent company Alphabet’s market cap is estimated at around $1.36 trillion, which is to say that Lindell is now on track to be worth somewhere between $50.67 billion and $1.36 trillion in just four to five weeks.

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To quote a wise man: Wow!

Lindell used the rest of his appearance on Kirk’s show to continue promoting his baseless conspiracy theory that a hostile foreign nation such as China worked in tandem with Democratic plants in the U.S. to steal the election, though he said he hasn’t provided his evidence to the government because he doesn’t trust it. (Note that Lindell has previously released what he said was complete and total proof the election was stolen in a rambling, two-hour diatribe literally titled Absolute Proof.) He also plugged MyPillow promo codes.

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Yes sir, everything’s coming up Lindell, including that aforementioned $1.3 billion Dominion lawsuit, which Lindell is apparently convinced will prove him right about the election via the court-ordered discovery process. He’s lucky that’s the case, especially if soon he’ll have a brand new platform to leave a rich text record of defamatory statements on.