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It's Bad on Purpose [Content Made Simple]
Issue #304: US restricts social media for kids, fake Pope coat, and more.
TOP OF THE WEEK
As you travel the twists of Twitter
As you pass through the Lands of Zuck
And the frogs and the pinks overwhelm you with links
And the links overwhelmingly suck
When the Redditors ask if you've read it
When the TikTokkers talk and tic
Hold this admonition close to your breast:
It's bad on purpose to make you click.
I came across this cheeky poem for the first time last week, and I knew I had to share it here. It’s a humorous reflection on the rage-inducing content that pervades our feeds. Next time you see an article, a headline, or even just a tweet that makes you so mad you ready your rage fingers, remember: “It’s bad on purpose to make you click.”
THE TRIVIA QUESTION
Today is Opening Day for Major League Baseball. A national holiday for some of us, in our our hearts anyway. Question:
ONLY ONE (active) Major League Baseball team has never been to the World Series. Which team is it?
Answer at the bottom.
HITTING THE LINKS
Really good exploration of this phenomenon here.
Last week, a 31-year-old construction worker took a few psychedelics and thought it might be fun to use AI image generator Midjourney to create a photorealistic image of Pope Francis wearing a big white Balenciaga-style puffer jacket. A lot of people who saw it thought it was fun, too, so they spread it around social media. Most of them probably had no idea that it wasn’t real.
A bit of a deeper dive into the Fake Pope Coat phenomenon with one of my favorite tech writers, Charlie Warzel.
Pope Francis’s rad parka fooled savvy viewers because it depicted what would have been a low-stakes news event—the type of tabloid-y non-news story that, were it real, would ultimately get aggregated by popular social-media accounts, then by gossipy news outlets, before maybe going viral. It’s a little nugget of internet ephemera, like those photos that used to circulate of Vladimir Putin shirtless.
I am hopeful for this progress, but I remain skeptical of how well it can all actually be enforced. But these are steps in the right direction, to be sure!
New legislative efforts in the US to protect kids from the potential dangers of using social media are generating mixed responses. Despite acknowledging new hurdles that may arise as a result, ad industry players recognize the intent behind such developments as an opportunity to adapt to a more privacy-centric future.
THE FUNNY PART
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Trivia Answer: The Seattle Mariners