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).
This is Hellfeed: Emergency Edition.
The CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter went before the U.S. 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 U.S. 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).
- Members of U.S. 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 prioritising 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 favourite 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.”
1/3 I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and appreciate his push for a progressive workplace. I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace https://t.co/Fq8D6vyuh9
— Dave Clark (@davehclark) March 24, 2021
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.”
1/2 You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us. The truth is that we have over a million incredible employees around the world who are proud of what they do, and have great wages and health care from day one.
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) March 25, 2021
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.
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):
Just absolutely phenomenal work here, boys.
In what is presumably entirely unrelated news, Amazon is hiring a new social media manager.
Elon finally regrets a tweet
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the only person in history to be fined $US20 ($26) million by the U.S. 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.”
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 Labour Review Board upheld a 2019 ruling that determined Tesla engaged in unfair labour practices and called on the company to have Musk delete a tweet from 2018.
Tesla shares were hovering near $US608 ($797) shortly before 2 p.m. EDT, after an otherwise uneventful morning session. The company’s market cap tumbled to $US586.7 ($769) billion, losing more than $US26 ($34) billion over the span of four hours.
As the Post noted, this is just one day after the National Labour Relations Board ordered Tesla to have Musk delete this 2018 tweet threatening labour organisers, which Musk has not done.
Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 21, 2018
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.
— Jensen Karp (@JensenKarp) March 22, 2021
Ok, we’ll after further investigation with my eyes, these are cinnamon coated SHRIMP TAILS, you weirdos. I wasn’t all that mad until you now tried to gaslight me? https://t.co/7DmADmoqUt pic.twitter.com/rSLE60pvoy
— Jensen Karp (@JensenKarp) March 22, 2021
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:
The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist
— pixelatedboat aka “mr tweets” (@pixelatedboat) June 12, 2016
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.
if you're in the line at the Suez Canal STAY IN LINE!!!
— Gokuna Black (@ldrinkh20) March 26, 2021
Meanwhile, at the Suez Canal pic.twitter.com/faAgfNbxFJ
— Daisy Dixon (@daisyldixon) March 24, 2021
seeing lots of people tweeting about how they should simply turn the boat in the suez canal. i've been studying this kind of thing for years, and the situation is actually far more complex. basically in layman's terms, if you turn it too far it'll get stuck the other way pic.twitter.com/mxe36B9YTP
— Rajat Suresh (@rajat_suresh) March 26, 2021
The former traffic reporter in me couldn’t resist giving you a Suez Canal traffic update… pic.twitter.com/1CssLkQDty
— Jon Hansen (@JonHansenTV) March 26, 2021
my solution for the Suez Canal problem pic.twitter.com/pc1hCR4hsr
— Michael Tannenbaum (@iamTannenbaum) March 26, 2021
If you ever doubted that size matters just take a look at what’s going on in the Suez Canal
— Dr. Parik Patel, BA, CFA, ACCA Esq. ???? (@ParikPatelCFA) March 26, 2021
Just solved the Suez Canal crisis… idk why this is so hard pic.twitter.com/pwELuT1ByD
— Dr. Parik Patel, BA, CFA, ACCA Esq. ???? (@ParikPatelCFA) March 25, 2021
— Jeff Gibson (@GibbyMT) March 24, 2021
What idiot called it a ship stuck in the Suez and not Canal Culture
— Matt Negrin, HOST OF HARDBALL AT 7PM ON MSNBC (@MattNegrin) March 26, 2021
it's probably very unpleasant and embarrassing to block the suez canal by accident but imagine how powerful you would feel if you did it on purpose
— flglmn (@flglmn) March 24, 2021
call me a conspiracy theorist but there is no way that the cargo ship currently stuck in the suez canal drew a giant dick and ass in the red sea """by accident""" pic.twitter.com/PWb1uGPGmd
— sloane (sîpihkopiyesîs) (@cottoncandaddy) March 24, 2021
this is just to say
and my ship ass
— Rhiannon Shaw (@rhiannoneshaw) March 24, 2021
I know everyone is having a good time getting off some easy jokes about the cargo ship stuck in the Suez, but just know people like me who are waiting on a shipment of rare Goku statues and cocaine that is in one of those containers see your "humor" too.
— Will ???? Menaker (@willmenaker) March 24, 2021
wait, if YOU’RE here, and I’M here,,, then who’s driving the boat in the Suez Canal??????
— meg “cecilia” bitchell (@MeganBitchell) March 26, 2021
My solution as a man for the stuck boat in the Suez Canal pic.twitter.com/btbC3TcoyH
— Fancy Rory Autumn???????????? (@roryisconfused) March 26, 2021
The only thing that would make this Suez Canal ship story better is if Elon Musk inserted himself into the situation, loudly offered a useless solution, and then accused a crew member of being a pedophile
— Chelsea Fagan (@Chelsea_Fagan) March 25, 2021
We regret to inform you…
The entire Earth is now being converted into a giant block of computronium that will be worth approximately $US42.50 ($56) 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.
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 personalised 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.
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 $US122,000 ($159,954). 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 $US1.3 ($2) 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.
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.
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.