Content providers who publish April Fools posts were understandably shocked to learn that Facebook will now be treating their generally sarcastic annual jokes the same way they treat fake news.
“Fake news is a huge problem,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a press conference this morning, “and so-called April Fools celebrations are just cover for this practice. We say no more!”
In an effort to curb the spate of completely made-up stories cramming people’s newsfeeds which helped turn the tide in the last US Federal Election, Facebook went on the offensive a few months ago (and a few months after such an offensive was needed). This involved blocking stories reported as fake and entire sites that were responsible for several fake news stories.
Zuckerberg didn’t specify what algorythms would be employed to curb the impact of “fake April 1st news” as Facebook has taken to calling it, or if they would be reporting transgressors to authorities as they had talked about doing in the past.
US President Donald Trump weighed in with an early morning tweet:
While it remains unclear if this new decision by Facebook would only be applied to US-based accounts or to all of Facebook, organizations representing media around the globe came out with a strong statement of opposition. Except for media in Spain, they seemed a little preoccupied with something.
It remains unclear if April Fools media pranksters will be able to weather the storm. In addition to Facebook’s decision, they are also facing an uphill legal battle against parody sites like The Onion, Breitbart and Info Wars (and their Canadian counterparts The Beaverton and The Rebel). In a class action suit filed last month, these outlets claimed that running BS content is something they do 365 days a year and therefore sites who partake in the practice on April 1st owe them royalties.
At this point, you’re probably guessing that what you are reading is not true (and maybe a little too meta for this early on a Saturday). Fake news, the actual kind, is a blight on web journalism and Facebook is right to try and fight it, as long as they remember that opinion backed up by facts is not fake. April Fools jokes are a cherished part of our culture and something that are part of our culture and something FTB partakes in once a year.
So, without further adieu, I’ll let Fake Twitter Trump let you know officially what you’ve all guessed:
* Please note that as far as Forget the Box knows, there is no US Military action planned against Spain
Wednesday morning, like most mornings, I went on Facebook to see what was going on in my community and the world and to get a good idea of what people would be talking about that day. It’s a useful start of the day ritual for someone in media and something to do while the coffee brews.
The first thing that caught my eye was a story from Global News announcing that two journalists had been murdered live on air. I clicked and was greeted by a video player. In my not-yet-caffinated state, I clicked play.
I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe a news report on the incident. I missed the graphic content warning and saw the raw footage of a murder as it aired live on WDBJ Roanoke, Virginia.
Fortunately I didn’t see the carnage, but still a helluva way to start the day. At least I was only a witness after the fact. The day started off much, much worse for reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Brad Ward.
As the coffee kicked in and my mind shifted to what I actually needed to do, I wondered why it was necessary for me and the thousands of others clicking on that post to see the actual crime. It wasn’t, and I could have done without. Just knowing that it happened would have been enough.
Later in the day, as more details started to emerge, a more graphic video shot by the killer started showing up and even did in my feed. By this point, I was awake enough to know not to watch it, but I seriously wondered why anyone would share it at all.
Sometimes We Need to Watch, But Not This Time
Now I will admit that sometimes it is important to share graphic videos. However unpleasant to watch, videos of police murdering and abusing unarmed citizens need to be shared. Videos and images of wartime atrocities committed by supposedly democratic governments are also important to circulate.
This is because public outcry over abuses of the state is essential for any changes to happen. Otherwise, crimes, even murder, can very easily be swept under the rug.
What happened Wednesday morning in Virginia was not one of those times. The killer freely admitted his crime and posted the proof himself. This is one of those rare cases where we should trust law enforcement to be the only ones to view the evidence and respond accordingly.
Murder For Shares
Whatever the killer’s stated motives were, fame was clearly what he was looking for above all. He made sure he killed live on air to get the story out there and filmed his own version and posted it himself, hoping for an exclusive.
He was denied that pretty quickly. Facebook, where he posted the video and Twitter which he used to link to it deleted his accounts almost immediately. LinkedIn also removed his profile, though that was kind of pointless. Murdering former colleagues effectively makes a business networking page useless.
Unfortunately this didn’t stop other people who had captured the video from sharing it themselves. They can try and justify it all they want, but sharing in this case is helping the killer get what he wants at the expense of the victims and the peace of mind of anyone who had the misfortune of watching (I hear some of these vids were on autoplay).
Basic Decency Isn’t That Hard
While the gun the killer used to commit the murder is something that should be restricted, the tools he used to record and upload it aren’t. Before we start talking about a mandatory waiting period and background check for data roaming plans, we should realize that we can stop killers from posting murder online by denying them an audience for it.
It’s not that hard, really, we just need to apply a bit of basic decency. For example, Vince McMahon isn’t known for being decent, but yet, our modern-day PT Barnum decided against using the death of a wrestler during one of his company’s Pay-Per-View events as a moneymaker. The WWE cut to stock crowd footage right after it happened and destroyed all footage (except those they sent to authorities) and even removed the Pay-Per-View from its history (yes, he didn’t cancel the rest of the event when it was running, that would have cost millions, but he did do the right thing after the fact).
So what does it say when a man who never met something he couldn’t gleefully exploit decided to take the high road when someone actually died, but legit news outlets have no problem sharing the footage of a murder? Also, what about the New York Daily News and a slew of other papers who took a screengrab from the killer’s video of the shot being fired and splashed it across their front page?
Well, they’re just Murdoch tabaloids, I guess. That’s their excuse. But for the people sharing the video, what’s yours? Don’t you realize that by sharing the killer’s angle on the shooting you are helping him get the fame he so craved? Why would you do this?
Slamming mainstream media is easy, but they respond to a perceived demand. If there is no demand, they won’t show it. We’ve got to stop clicking on videos like this. We shouldn’t share videos like this.
This is probably the first time a murder was designed for social media. Together we can make it the last. If we don’t build it, they won’t come.
Facebook is ubiquitous, and it ain’t going away any time soon. That’s a good thing, because it’s a valuable social tool. But it can be pretty overwhelming when you log on and you’re confronted with an all-out assault from friends, family, co-workers, people from high school that you didn’t even care about then, and that creepy weirdo you met at a party one time and had a fifteen minute conversation with about Joss Whedon that was mostly just you agreeing that yeah, you guess Firefly was pretty good and pretending you didn’t sleep through most of The Avengers.
You have the people you want to stay updated on, the ones who are important to you, but how do you go about weeding through the rest? Who deserves to get the axe? Often it takes careful consideration, a weighing of pros and cons that doesn’t just take into account the present, but the future of relationships too. That being said, there are a few people on our friends lists we’ve all got that have no business being there, and whom you should drop right now like a cat into a crock pot.
People with children
It’s a pretty hard and fast rule that anyone with kids should be avoided online at all costs. Nothing good can come of being friends with parents. It’s just one never-ending cavalcade of pictures and braggy status updates about the “amazing” thing their child did that day. Oh, my kid took his first steps today. Look, my kid can use the potty now. Wow, now he’s graduated top of his class. Whoopee, my kid got appointed to the Supreme Court. Big deal, I can walk and poop and get a job. Well, I can walk and poop, anyway. And I’ve appeared in court.
You know the type. They post all day about all these causes, acting like they’re making a difference, but they never actually do anything real. There’s a difference between really making an impact and just sharing a bunch of links and photos. So you got a bunch of people to sign a petition about some oil pipeline, it’s not like that took a lot of effort. And is it really that much work to organize a protest that stops the destruction of the only local habitat of an endangered species of bird? I doubt it. You know what? I looked it up, and a lot of those birds are just going to get eaten by cats and bigger birds anyway, so smooth move on that one, John James Audubon.
Also, raising money for breast cancer research by riding your bike across three provinces? That’s not even half of the country. Better luck next time. And $8400 isn’t even that much money, either. I make that in like three years.
This one should be a no-brainer, but a lot of people hold off on hitting that unfriend button because they want to keep tabs on their ex. It’s a lot easier that way to find out where someone’s going and sit in your parked car outside, smoking cigarette after cigarette listening to radio static for four hours stewing about who they could be seeing inside that condo.
And, let’s not kid ourselves, social media allows us to rub their face in our current successes, too. But really, as soon as the relationship is done you should cut those ties. Otherwise, what may start as a civil, respectful post-romantic friendship will almost certainly turn ugly. Spiteful messages will be sent, embarassingly photoshopped photos will be posted, and rumours will start to spread about who’s a big cheating whore and who’s not. And eventually this will all be used in her case to take out a restraining order on me.
Well, guess what, Charlene? If you didn’t want your dad and your 67-year-old aunt and your fiancé to know that you once told me I’m better at oral than any guy you’ve ever been with, then maybe you shouldn’t have created a situation in which I can tag you in even one post about it, let alone four.
There’s no foreseeable time when Facebook isn’t a regular part of everyday life. So we might as well get used to it. We’re well past the early, Wild West days when your stature in life was told by how many friends you had. Thankfully we’ve now settled into a much more calm and reasonable system based on the quality of those friendships. And, obviously, the much more vital count of how many Twitter followers you have.
The next time someone asks me if they should travel through South America for four months or more, I will respond with another question: “Are you prepared to lose everything?” Despite bringing along my Macbook Pro, iPod Touch and Canon DSLR Camera, I really felt mentally prepared to lose everything for the sake of world experience. After all, they are just things. I even left my iPhone at home in Canada with the idea that even if they took everything else from me, at least I’d have that. However, despite my preparation, losing stuff sucks!
Below find a tale, not about loss, but about an outstanding couple, a thief, and the power of social media. By the end, it might just restore your faith in humanity, I know it did mine.
Why the hell would I travel by myself? At least with people you might have more security. Another good question, but I feel that if I wasn’t alone, I wouldn’t have the freedom to meet such incredible people like Damian Martone, the friendly Argentinian graphic designer who allowed me to stay in his apartment for over a week in Buenos Aires through the networking site CouchSurfing or Bruno Beserra, the flight attendant from Brazil who made the video of Carnaval with me and lent me his camera for the rest of my trip.
But all this journalism, travelling and partying can be taxing on the body, so since Carnaval I pledged to limit my drinking and start to run everyday. I kept to my word on the morning of Sunday, March 3rd and hauled myself out of bed at 8 am after a sober Saturday night for my morning run. In my morning drowsiness I accidentally bumped the foot of an Argentinian man sleeping above me in the 10-person dormitory in Salvador, Brazil and woke him up.
“I’m going to Praia do Forte!” he told me confidentially in Spanish as he started to pack his bag. “Cool!” I responded, having been to the nearby beach a few days prior. “There is an amazing, tranquil beach with no people and white sand if you continue walking from the main beach for 10 minutes. You have to go there!” Appearing delighted by the recommendation he agreed to go. I then locked my locker with all my valuables inside of it, took the key and set off on my run.
When I returned 45 minutes later, I saw the Argentinian on the way out, exchanged a friendly “Chow!” and went to unlock my locker. There, I discovered that my MacBook Pro and the Nikon point + shoot digital camera that Bruno had lent me were missing! Fortunately, however, everything else including my passport was there.
Before the embarrassment, disappointment and general bummed out feeling hit, I just felt confused as to how those items were stolen. I always make sure to lock my locker even if it is for a second to go to the bathroom.
Who could have done this!?
Immediately my mind shifted to the friendly Argentinian. He did rush out and he was probably the only person who saw me open my computer on that morning and could have been fast/sneaky enough to nab it, but there was no evidence to prove this. Where’s Dexter when you need justice!?
Justice had a rough start. At the police station nearby, the casually dressed policeman did not speak a word of English. Less than three words into my explanation in Portuguese (slow and choppy, but I know it made sense) the officer wrote “Pelourinho” (the name for the historic centre) on a piece of paper. Apparently in Pelourinho there is a tourist police station where they speak English.
Of course when I got there, both employees did not speak a word of English. One of them spoke broken French. It’ll do.
In the meantime, a beautiful Uruguayan couple living just north of Salvador named Veronica and Nicolas decided to make a surprise visit to the city to visit Nicolas’ sister.
Unprepared for their arrival, Nicolas’ sister was in the process of interviewing an Argentinian named Rodrigo about renting out her apartment. Rodrigo and the couple got to talking… The couple works with computers, Rodrigo has a new MacBook Pro (wonder where he got it…). Que buena suerte (such good luck) he must have thought! They can wipe the computer’s hard drive and it’ll be just like he never stole it! Having never touched a MacBook before, he asked Veronica and Nicolas to show him where the CD eject button was so that he could take out his Bob Marley CD.
Rodrigo went to the beach and left the computer with the couple with hopes that it would be all ready when he came back.
Suspicious of the odd request to wipe my computer’s content, Veronica and Nicolas took a peek online where she found myFacebook signed in with myphotos. If that wasn’t proof enough that this computer was freshly stolen, they saw my full name displayed in the top right hand corner of the screen.
So here’s me sitting at the tourist police station awaiting a police report that a snail could have preformed faster, while Veronica is on my Facebook posting a status to contact me because I had been robbed.
When Rodrigo got back, Nicolas would not let the thief back in to get the stolen computer. He asked Rodrigo for the camera too, but the Argentinian wouldn’t give that back, nor the SD card. After about 15 minutes of arguing he finally left, without my computer!
It was only by chance that I found out about the status, despite some of my friends’ best efforts to contact me through email or Facebook. I had no access to Internet because it was a Sunday and nothing was open.
I was eager to set off for Lencois, a nearby tourist town, to get rid of the bad energy I was feeling in Salvador, but had to wait for my police report – which would take another two hours because the lady writing it was hungry and wanted lunch! Ahem, wasn’t there a crime to solve!? This no-pressure attitude while handling necessary services is something that Salvador and Brazil’s Bahia province is infamous for.
While I waited upset and with thoughts of my retreat home to Canada out of disappointment, I went to a nearby hostel to visit a Canadian friend. She wasn’t there, but her boyfriend Pedro who works at the hostel was. Reluctantly, I told him the embarrassing news – that I had apparently left my locker and lost my computer and camera.
“Dude!,” the Brazilian told me in his perfect colloquial English accent. “You didn’t see your Facebook status? Someone found it and they want to meet up!”
Huh!? This must be a joke! My first instinct was to laugh.
I went to look and alas, there on Facebook, was my own status updated with all the information I needed to contact Veronica and Nicolas!
Veronica truly went above and beyond to get a hold of me. She messaged Damian, the Argentinian from CouchSurfing and called the hostel to get a hold of me.
They also took photos and posted them on my own wall to prove that they had the computer.
The comments on Facebook were filled with heart warming messages from family and friends from all walks of life. “Good things happen to good people,” said a friend I knew from high school, but hadn’t seen in over five years. “Well today officially became the shitiest day of the year…! At least Joel Balsam’s story still gives me faith in the world!” read a status of a former teammate from the French Jeux de la Communications.
I called Veronica. No answer.
I went to message a close friend of mine on Pedro’s computer to express my shock and suddenly I was typing my own name in chat, but I really wasn’t… Veronica was also logged in to Facebook and was communicating with me through the same message!
Didn’t Facebook used to sign you out if you were signed in at two different locations?
Anyway, Veronica messaged me the address and I punched it into Google Maps. Ready to head out the door, Pedro, the guy who worked at the hostel stopped me. “Dude, that’s in the worst and most dangerous part of the city.” Crap! Salvador is already pretty dangerous, so I could only imagine what the locals would do to a white gringo like me. Hopefully, a white gringo with his Macbook.
A closer search on Google Maps found the same street in a completely different part of the city. Relief.
Two hours later by bus and taxi I arrived to Veronica and Nicolas’ huge condominium and rang the doorbell. Finally, I would meet face to face with the saints that found my computer! But… you guessed it… they weren’t there! Crap, I thought as I looked out the window. I was in some strange place and still unsure if this was all real. Seconds later, a happy couple looked up at me from the street and said “hoy!” I knew it was them!
I sat at their kitchen table, still numb from the whole experience as they related the wild story back to me of how they encountered Rodrigo and hustled the computer back for me. Soon, we got to laughing and talking about each others’ lives.
If it wasn’t enough that they saved me the grief and expense of buying a new computer, Nicolas offered me an old shirt as a keepsake to take with me on my journeys.
I took Veronica and Nicolas out for pizza dinner and drinks and they offered me a place to stay when I come back from Chapada Diamantina, a nearby national park. And, Veronica wants to teach me to surf! How could I say no?
So, there you have it. There are good, even great people out there! Something I will tell the grandkids.
Do you have a couple friends that you’d also like to do the horizontal mambo with? We all do, but how do you get it across without the awkwardness if your friend isn’t down to fuck. Well leave it to the pioneers of the internet to solve your problems. A new facebook app called Bangwithfriends allows you to anonymously select all the friends you would hook up with, without them knowing unless they are DTF too.
The app is so simple it’ll leave you wondering why you didn’t think of it first. To get started you install the app, then it lists all your Facebook friends of the opposite sex. You click if you’d like to “bang” them, and no one ever knows… that is, unless one of those friends installed the app and elected to bang you, too. If the app detects a match the two of you will receive an email notification. What happens after that is up to you. Bang With Friends is definitely an interesting take on matchmaking but is it worth a try… even if just “for science”?
The app was created by 3 college friends to practice their pimping skills to revolutionize dating (or at least hooking up). They say that the app was simply conceived to avoid some of the awkwardness regarding dating and hooking up when you don’t know if the other person is interested. They admit that the site is not perfect and are working on some tweeks.
At the moment there is no way to filter your list of potential fuck candidates so you may see images of relatives, exes and friends already married or in relationships (if you know what’s good for you don’t click these). Seeing your mom as a candidate to bang isn’t exactly up there on most people’s lists of turn ons. Also there doesn’t seem to be a way to un-select people if you accidentally click on the crazy girl from LA that you met during a 3 day rave years ago…
So is this site a good thing? bad thing? or just another part of the internet? Well we’ll just have to wait and see how this social experiment plays out. Do you have an opinion? Do you have a problem with this app objectifying your friends? women? men? Will this app bring an end to the “friend zone”? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Good Day Everyone. I am Admiral Tenenbaum of Napoleon’s Army of Animals on Facebook, an international Role-Playing Game. This is
one of very few games on Facebook that doesn’t require any kind of application, only participation. It is a part of the great Napoleon Buonaparte’s army/navy. I started out as a Major General in the QFF (Quebec Feline Front) division, moved up to General, and when the
Navy of Animals began, I became Admiral of Supplies.
Rex Sunshine, of JC Sunshine fame, is an ensign in Napoleon’s army and a minor character who is usually arrogant and adversarial. He has been known to spy on the army on occasion and more often to spy for the army.
The Army of Animals is a game that was started by Napoleon Buonaparte when he noticed that many other people, like himself, were posting pictures of their pets as profile pictures. At one time Facebook began deleting a lot of profiles containing pictures of animals, and this was one very creative way of keeping everyone’s accounts active, or at least showing some solidarity between people who post photographs of their pets instead of photographs of themselves.
The Army of Animals is also a place where one can either relax in the
bar or battle the enemies, including the forces of Nelson and Wellington,
as well as Facebook spies. This RPG now has over 4000 members from all around the world involved.
The general and his army are always on the lookout for new recruits. If you use a photo of your pet as your Facebook image, then you can join, and the official tailor will make you a uniform. The only recruitment rule is: No Humans Allowed (or spies). Of course you can use any photo you wish when not playing this game.
Come and join us on our next big adventure with all of the virtual hijinx and debaucheries we animals can muster on an online, anthropomorphic plain, or just join us in the bar for a drink.
If you go on any type of social media, and in particular Facebook, on a semi-regular, regular or frighteningly frequent basis, this has probably happened to you:
You see that one of your friends, probably someone you haven’t heard from electronically for a while, has posted something on your wall. You go to check it out and take a step back. “Wait a minute, why is my anti-corporate activist friend posting a link to skin cream?” Then it dawns on you, their profile has been hacked by some spammer.
As you race to delete the post from your wall, pausing only to read the joke comments followed by the obligatory, “dude, you’ve been spammed” you wonder if something like this could happen to you. Later, when you read the “uh, yeah, don’t click on that link” status update from your now embarrassed friend, you sigh and think, “oh, so the spammers have finally come here in force.”
The important thing we should all be asking our selves is, just who are these spammers? This isn’t the same “Nigerian prince” who emailed you and everyone else five years ago.
People on sites like Facebook aren’t generally the web-illiterate suckers who fall for just about anything that sounds good, and even if the scam is particularly clever in that it looks like a link that your friend may actually post, the chances of you then entering your cellphone number and paying for a text message to take a stupid quiz is, uhm, very small.
Essentially, these hucksters are hawking products to a market that won’t buy, or at least not in the numbers that would make it anywhere near a profitable venture. This begs the question, why?
Are they stupid? Well, if they possess the programming skills necessary to make an app do something you’re not expecting it to, then probably not. Is there some other motive besides instant financial gain at play? Sadly, I think so.
The real gain in annoying this many people, I feel, is the annoyance itself.
The net in general and social networking sites in particular are really changing the paradigm of power on our media landscape and in our culture in general. If person-to-person communication continues to dominate our global communication apparatus, then some people, namely those who run our huge corporate media, stand to lose quite a bit.
I wouldn’t put it past them to use spammers to discredit the validity of social media, even if only a bit at a time. Every little bit helps make people turn away from a media where they may be vulnerable to spammers to one they know all too well and every time they don’t check their Facebook or Twitter, it’s one more missed opportunity for a fledgling, unknown or underfunded media source to promote their content.
It’s a scam so simple that I’d be impressed if it wasn’t so damn evil. Honestly, if this is what’s happening, I’d rather spend my time with a Nigerian prince.
I am Optimus Prime. Not the Michael Bay billion-dollar craptastic version, the real 80s cartoon version, or at least that’s me on Facebook right now. Why, you ask? Well, because I damn well want to. What gave me the idea? Well, read onâ€¦
It’s actually part of a viral campaign to raise awareness about child abuse that a number of people on Facebook have taken to heart or at least their profile pics over the past few days. Here’s the concept (and what people joining in have been posting as their status update:
“Change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday, Dec 6th of 2010, there should be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories! This is for a campaign against violence on children.”
While this is clearly for a good cause, the kind of good cause that no one can possibly be against, but I still wonder what affect, if any, it will have.
These types of campaigns are everywhere. in just the past few months we’ve seen the Breast Cancer awareness campaign “I like it on…” with women stating things like, “I like it on the stairs” or “I like it on the kitchen table” in reference (obviously) to where they like to keep their purse. And prostate awareness month, Mo-vember was certainly helped through viral ad spreading, but does it work?
I don’t think someone will have a revelation such as “wait, I can’t beat my son or molest my niece, not since Wendy from work became a smurf on my computer screen!” but I don’t think that’s the point, either.
I think it’s more of a way to mobilize people to take a stand by doing something they wouldn’t have done otherwise, or at least not done at that specific time in such numbers. It’s also the kind of thing that does get people to think and maybe, just maybe, could get someone responsible for child abuse to think and realize, randomly in the moment, that people aren’t cool with what they’re doing.
On the off chance that someone I don’t even know, is abusing children decides to stop and gets help or turns themselves in because I’m Optimus Prime for a few days, then the whole thing is worth it. If not, then I was a cartoon character online, which was worth it, too.