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ReleaseTheButtholeCut Tops This Week’s Internet News Roundup

Of course, not everyone got it. Or maybe they got it far more than everyone else.

The Takeaway: At least no one is overstating the importance of the Butthole Cut and just enjoying it for the dumb distraction that it clearly is.

Who’s Watching the Watchmen?

What Happened: If everyone is relying on the internet to bring folks together and deliver information while we’re stuck inside away from each other, what happens when it fails to do so?

What Really Happened: With social distancing and self-quarantining becoming the norm around the world, the internet is becoming even more important in people’s lives as a tool with which to communicate, with platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook assuming even more central roles in how we talk to each other and share information—which makes it a problem when things start to go inexplicably wrong, disrupting that communication in worrying ways.

People started noticing that something strange was happening with Facebook pretty early in the week.

Turns out, there was a reason why this was happening, and it wasn’t a malicious plan to feed the world misinformation.

A bug was marking legitimate links as spam, which seems like a pretty big problem right now—and also a fairly strong indictment of the AI being used to identify spam by Facebook, really. Still, at least they found it in time, and, well, actually, just because you know something is a problem doesn’t mean that the problem’s solved, apparently.

As Facebook inevitably tries to sort out the mess, here’s a fun little postscript to the whole thing: The day after the bug was identified, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a press call to discuss how the platform was adapting in light of the virus, and guess what he said?

“Making sure [people] see info from trusted news outlets and orgs first” sure feels like a weird flex to make at this particular moment, but sure. It’s worth adding, quickly, that Twitter announced this week that it is also pushing legit Covid-19 tweets harder than the alternative.

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