If you’re starting to wonder if last week was just one long bout of déjà vu, you’re not alone in that feeling. From new talk of Obamacare repeal to another terrorist incident in London, a lot of news stories over the last few days have sounded like tales people have heard before. It’s been apparent for a while that 2017 is a strangely accelerated year, but who knew that it would run out of new material and be forced to repeat itself by September? It wasn’t all predictable, though. There was, of course, all of this.
Hillary Clinton Has Book Recommendations for President Trump
What Happened: Some people just aren’t big readers. And, for them, there’s always something else to leaf through.
What Really Happened: So, Hillary Clinton has a new book out. You might have noticed by the fact that it’s been talked about everywhere this past week. Even if you missed the news, President Trump definitely did not.
Let’s ignore the fact that Clinton, you know, won the popular vote, because nuance might not be the best course of action here. Still, Clinton did seem to realize from these tweets that maybe the book wasn’t for him, and instead suggested an alternative:
Let’s just say that Twitter approved.
Because it’s Donald Trump, and it’s Hillary Clinton, and it’s Twitter, the media got involved, as well. At least these aren’t important figures who should be caring about important things or anything.
The Takeaway: Well, there is another, snarkier way to look at this.
Have You Checked Ted Cruz’s Twitter Likes Recently?
What Happened: Whoever was in charge of Ted Cruz’s Twitter account on Monday should have realized that some tweets were not meant to be “liked” on there.
What Really Happened: Late on Monday night, a lot of Twitter users started suggesting that their followers go check out the most recent “liked” tweet by Senator Ted Cruz. A lot of people.
But what could this be referring to?
Oh. Oh. Concerns about, well, not publishing hardcore pornography on this website mean that we won’t post the tweet itself here, but suffice to say, it certainly looked as though Cruz—a man who once argued against the sale of sex toys—had used his professional Twitter account to like a video of a woman masturbating while watching a couple have sex, all of which was clearly visible on camera. This kind of hypocrisy was, as you might expect, prime Twitter fodder:
It wasn’t just Twitter, of course; the media was all over the story, because, well, come on. And some took it upon themselves to defend Cruz—because, let’s be honest, there are far worse things than watching porn or even accidentally liking it on your work account—even if those defenses weren’t entirely sincere.
Cruz blamed an anonymous staffer for what happened, and said that the matter would be dealt with internally. But, in trying to defend himself, it turned out that he broke new ground in terms of his beliefs, even if it was probably accidental.
If it takes public shaming because of his porn habits to get to this point, that’s—OK, it’s actually kind of unfortunate. But still! It ended well… ish?
The Takeaway: If nothing else, this whole thing did kind of humanize Ted Cruz a bit, didn’t it?
President Trump’s Terrorist Tweets
What Happened: Shortly after Friday’s explosion on a London Underground train, President Trump took to Twitter to share some thoughts. He might’ve spoke too soon.
What Really Happened: Early Friday morning an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in at a London tube stop, injuring dozens. As a manhunt ensued to find the perpetrator or perpetrators, President Trump tweeted the following.
Putting aside the idea of “cutting off” the internet—how does that work, exactly?—it should be noted that Trump did not really have all the facts when he made his comments. How do we know this? Because the British prime minister said so:
She wasn’t the only one responding to Trump’s comments.
The president’s supporters, on the other hand, saw a different problem: people upset at Donald Trump.
On Saturday, police in the UK arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with the attack, but Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it was “too early” to determine whether those involved were previously known to authorities.
The Takeaway: Some folks were too distracted by what was actually going on to have a position on this sideshow, of course.
The White House Will Accept Your Resignation Now
What Happened: Turns out, the Trump Administration doesn’t take kindly to criticism.
What Really Happened: It started with a tweet from ESPN host Jemele Hill:
With such a bold statement, it’s no surprise that some people were upset, and ready to share their frustrations.
Also unsurprising was ESPN acknowledging that Hill’s tweet was a personal statement, and not speaking on behalf of the network.
That wasn’t enough for the White House, however, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders raising eyebrows midweek when she claimed Hill’s tweet was a “fireable offense.” The notion that the White House would call for anyone to be fired for criticizing the president is a strange one, especially considering that this particular president has criticized the previous administration on numerous occasions.
Nevertheless, Hill addressed the situation in a second tweet.
And, even as calls for her ouster continued, it turned out that many had her back.
The Takeaway: Well, at least things aren’t likely to get any worse anytime soo—
Facebook’s Other Ad-Based Problem
What Happened: And you thought selling ads to Russians was the most trouble Facebook could get in…
What Really Happened: It was only last week when we were talking about Facebook selling ads to Russians during the 2016 election—they still don’t know how many ads were purchased, if you’re keeping track—but, this week, there was a whole other Facebook ads story to get upset about.
No, really: ProPublica ran the astounding story that, up until last week when the site asked Facebook about it, it had been possible to target ads directly to Facebook users who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “how to burn jews” and “History of ‘why jews run the world.'” This isn’t just theoretical; the site actually went head and purchased promoted posts based on those terms, only to get the accepted within 15 minutes. The response was as you might expect.
Of course, it’s not as if Facebook lets anything go on its platform, as some were happy to share:
As the story started getting traction in the media, Facebook issued a statement that rang more than a little hollow.
“We don’t allow hate speech on Facebook,” the statement read. “Our community standards strictly prohibit attacking people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, and we prohibit advertisers from discriminating against people based on religion and other attributes. However, there are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards. In this case, we’ve removed the associated targeting fields in question. We know we have more work to do, so we’re also building new guardrails in our product and review processes to prevent other issues like this from happening in the future.”
“Guardrails.” That’s certainly one way of putting it.
The Takeaway: At least not all social networks are like this.