Posts tagged with "Facebook"

Allstate, Progressive drop company over racist Juneteenth sign

June 28, 2022

People in the town of Millinocket, Maine, found their own ways to observe Juneteenth, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Yet, a sign posted in the window of an insurance company has received the most attention after it not only dismissed the new holiday but also included a racist trope regarding Black people and fried chicken, reports The Washington Post.

“Juneteenth, it’s whatever … we’re closed,” the sign read outside of the Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency, according to a photo posted to social media. “Enjoy your fried chicken and collard greens.”

As the firm has faced backlash over the sign, insurance giants Allstate and Progressive announced this week they are dropping the Maine company, after days of national headlines. An Allstate spokesperson said in a statement to The Washington Post that the company had terminated its contract with the Harry E. Reed agency, which Allstate described as an “independent agent.”

“Our commitment to Inclusive Diversity and Equity is nonnegotiable and we take action when individuals violate our code of conduct,” a statement from Allstate said.

Progressive spokesperson Jeff Sibel told the Post that the company was “appalled by the sign recently posted at the Harry E. Reed Agency” and that Progressive was also terminating its relationship with the firm.

“We’re committed to creating an environment where our people feel welcomed, valued and respected and expect that anyone representing Progressive to take part in this commitment,” Sibel said in a statement. “The sign is in direct violation of that commitment and doesn’t align with our company’s Core Values and Code of Conduct.”

Melanie Higgins, who helps run the insurance firm with her mother, wrote in a Wednesday letter posted to Facebook that she had posted the sign. Higgins apologized “for any misunderstanding or hurt that has arisen out of my usual, snarky office closure signs and content” and said she had been reprimanded for her actions.

“My only explanation I can offer is I had a death in my family, and I just wanted to go home and I quickly wrote the note,” Higgins wrote, identifying herself as multiracial. “I can assure you all, truly, I would never in any facet of the word be characterized a racist. Nor would I purposely incite such acts.”

Messages left for the insurance firm were not immediately returned.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Chupacabra? Mysterious ‘unidentified object’ caught on camera near Amarillo, Texas, zoo

June 14, 2022

What appeared to be a mysterious-looking creature has been filmed lurking outside the Amarillo Zoo—leaving city officials baffled about what it might be, reports Chron.

In the “dark and early morning hours” of May 21, security cameras inside a perimeter fence captured a still image of a strange visitor outside of the zoo at approximately 1:25 a.m., according to a Wednesday, June 8, news release from the city.

Now city officials are asking the public for help in determining what it might be. “Was it a person with a strange hat who likes to walk at night? A large coyote on its hind legs? A Chupacabra? It is a mystery—for Amarillo to help solve,” city officials said in the release.

For those unaware of its origins, according to Britannia a chupacabra, in Latin American popular legend, is a monstrous creature that attacks animals and consumes their blood. The name is derived from the Spanish words chupar (“to suck”) and cabra (“goat”) and can be translated as “goat-sucker.” As a fearsome but probably nonexistent creature, the chupacabra has been characterized as the southern equivalent of the Sasquatch.

For now, the city is declaring the creature an “Unidentified Amarillo Object”— or UAO. City of Amarillo Director of Parks and Recreation Michael Kashuba said it’s important to note that there were no signs of attempted entry into the zoo, no animals or individuals harmed and no signs of criminal activity or vandalism.

“We just want to let the Amarillo community have some fun with this,” he said.. “It is definitely a strange and interesting image. Maybe Amarillo can help solve the mystery of our UAO.”

City officials are asking anyone with ideas about the visitor’s true identity to contact the City of Amarillo at publiccommunications@amarillo.gov or on its social media pages.

Some social media users have offered up their own theories. “Is this guy on the loose?” wrote one Twitter user with aGIF of a U.S. Capitol rioter wearing a horned headdress.

Another Twitter user responded with an image of a demogorgon, a tall and thin humanoid creature from the Netflix Original series Stranger Things.

Other guesses included Sonic the Hedgehog and Rocket Raccoon from the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy.

Still, some would rather not dig any deeper into the mystery. One Facebook user wrote, “Oh wow! That looks like [none] of my business.”

Research contact: @chron

Dog sneaks into couple’s home during storm and snuggles her way into their bed

May 19, 2022

It could have been that a door was left ajar, or maybe a window. Julie Johnson from Tennessee isn’t sure; all she knows is that somehow, someway—a stranger was able to freely enter her house one night.

 This stranger however wasn’t trying to steal, but only to snuggle. A brown bull terrier with a golden heart and silent feet crept into the Johnsons’ house, jumped right into bed next to Julie and her husband Jimmy—and went to sleep, head on the pillows, reports Good News Network.

 “You could see light coming into our curtains in our bedroom and I feel my husband not just roll over—but kind of startled, like almost a jump roll over, and it woke me up,” Julie told NPR this week. “And in a quiet but stern voice, he said, ‘Julie, whose dog is this?’”

Despite the startle, in such a situation; it didn’t take long for Jimmy and Julie to realize the intruder meant them no harm, and was just “100% content being there.”

 How Nala the dog managed to enter their house without disturbing or garnering the attention of Jupiter, Hollis, and Zeppelin, the three dogs who normally sleep alongside the couple, the Johnsons will never know, and it must have made for an interesting chit-chat over morning coffee.

 Julie took to Facebook to see if she could locate the dog’s owners, posting a variety of selfies she took with the pup. Not long after, Nala’s owners contacted them to explain she had slipped out of her collar on a walk the day before just ahead of a serious thunderstorm.

She had escaped into the woods, and between the four dog parents, the working theory arose that Nala had entered the Johnsons’ house out of fear of the thunder and lighting.

“Our overly friendly pup, Nala, has hit an all-time record for ignoring personal space and added yet another trick to her long list of Houdini acts,” Cris Hawkins, one of Nala’s owners, wrote on Facebook.

“Shame [on] Nala for somehow breaking into a stranger’s house and invading their personal space. Thankfully, the couple thought it was hilarious and they aren’t even mad about it.”

Since the incident, the four pooches have had playdate in the park, celebrating their new, and entirely accidental friendship.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

In wake of Buffalo shooting, Liz Cheney says House GOP leaders ‘enabled white nationalism’

May 18, 2022

Top Republicans in the House of Representatives are facing new scrutiny, as critics, including some within their own party, contend that they have failed to condemn the racist rhetoric espoused by the suspected gunman who killed ten Black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket on Saturday, May 14, reports ABC News.

A far-right conspiracy known as the “great replacement theory”—which contends that white Americans are intentionally being replaced by minorities and immigrants—was included in a 180-page screed posted online by the alleged shooter.

On Monday, May 16, Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a frequent critic of her own party, singled out what she called a parallel between those beliefs and the behavior of some fellow conservatives.

“The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism,” she wrote in a tweet. “History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.”

Cheney was notably replaced last year from her number-three post in the House’s Republican leadership after saying she would “not sit back and watch in silence” as former President Donald Trump continued to falsely claim he won the presidential election.

In the wake of the Buffalo shooting, New York Republican Representative Elise Stefanik, Cheney’s successor, has become a primary target of criticism over how members of the GOP have voiced ideas similar to “replacement theory.”

“Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION. Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington,” Stefanik said in a Facebook ad for her reelection, which launched last August. According to Facebook, the ad, pushed out repeatedly, reached hundreds of thousands of people.

When Stefanik first tweeted condolences to her home state on Saturday, Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger, the only other House Republican to sit on the January 6 select committee with Cheney, said in a tweet, “Did you know: @EliseStefanik pushes white replacement theory?”

Fueling the criticism on social media was a 2021 editorial from Stefanik’s hometown newspaper, The Albany Times Union, which blasted her last September in a piece titled “How low, Miss Stefanik?”

According to the ABC News report, the Times Union editorial board had focused on Stefanik’s “despicable” Facebook ads, which echoed elements of “replacement theory.” Her ads didn’t mention the conspiracy theory by name, but they insisted, in part, that Democrats were looking to grant citizenship to immigrants who entered the country illegally in order to somehow gain an enduring majority—or, in Stefanik’s words, a “permanent election insurrection.”

With the piece recirculating on social media in the wake of the shooting, Stefanik and her team are pushing back on the renewed focus on her campaign ads.

Her office said Monday that making any link between her past comments and the shooting was a “new disgusting low” for Democrats and “Never Trump” Republicans as well as the media.

“Despite sickening and false reporting, Congresswoman Stefanik has never advocated for any racist position or made a racist statement,” Alex DeGrasse, a senior adviser, said in a statement. “The shooting was an act of evil and the criminal should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.

Stefanik, DeGrasse said, “opposes mass amnesty for illegal immigrants …. She strongly supports legal immigration and is one of the national leaders credited with diversifying the Republican Party through candidate recruitment and messaging.”

What’s more, Stefanik isn’t the only House Republican who has claimed there is a movement to “replace” voters. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) delivered an explicit endorsement of the conspiracy last September.

Gaetz tweeted that Fox News host Tucker Carlson—who has said he believes “the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate”—is “CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening to America;” and called the Anti-Defamation League, which called on Carlson to resign, a “racist organization.”

ABC News previously reported that evidence points to the Buffalo shooting being a calculated, racially-motivated execution by the suspect, an 18-year-old white man, according to multiple sources and a review of FBI cases and testimony. The teen gunman allegedly wanted a race war and livestreamed his attack in an apparent effort to spur others to kill minorities, sources said.

The FBI is investigating the mass shooting as a hate crime and a case of “racially motivated violent extremism” after Erie County Sheriff John Garcia described the attack as a “straight-up racially motivated hate crime.”

The suspect has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder and is being held without bail.

Research contact: @abcnews

Are you a lawnmower parent?

April 19, 2022

Lawnmower parents recently have become the talk of the child-rearing sphere—but, like helicopter parents, they are not viewed as in any way exemplary, reports Metro.

In fact, an essay published on Weareteachers.com late last month called out this distinctive parenting style as a “troubling trend.” Penned by an anonymous writer, the post has since gone viral on Facebook.

But what are the traits that lawnmower parents share?

These parents essentially do whatever they can to mow down challenges for their kids. Instead of preparing children for the challenges they may face, lawnmower parents “go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure,” states the We Are Teachers essay entitledLawnmower Parents Are the New Helicopter Parents & We Are Not Here for It.”

It cites a blog post from Duquesne University professor Karen Fancher, who wrote about this phenomenon back in 2016—noting how lawnmower parents differ from helicopter parents.

Helicopter parents are known as people who hover—a lot. They swoop in to “rescue” their kids in crisis situations. By contrast, lawnmower parents take charge when hovering “may be limited,” she wrote. Oftentimes, they intervene before a problem even occurs. 

Fancher gives an example of lawnmower parents in action: An incoming student and her mom enter Fancher’s office to ask for a schedule change.

“The parent walks into my office, with the girl trailing sheepishly behind,” she recalls. “The mother says, ‘My daughter will be starting here in the fall. We’ve got a problem with her class schedule.’”

“Do you see the problem here?” Fancher challenged her readers. “The child has been accepted into a major university and is weeks away from starting a difficult area of study, but it’s her parent who is doing all of the talking to get her problem corrected, while she says nothing and appears to be dragged along against her will.”

Other variations of lawnmower parents include “snowplow parents” and “bulldozer parents.”

Being involved is a good thing—it’s natural. The main concern, Fancher argues, is that these children will grow up with low drive to handle problems on their own.

Stephanie Samar, a clinical psychologist at the Mood Disorders Center of the Child Mind Institute, told ABC News, “If you say, ‘Oh, I took care of this for you,’ it inadvertently gives that message of ‘you can’t do this yourself, you can’t succeed.’”

This, Samar explained, can lead to “increased anxiety, low distressed tolerance — [a] discomfort that comes with having conflict helplessness about [t]heir situation.” They won’t know how to deal with failure moving forward.

If a child of lawnmower parents fails their first college test, they’re less likely to study harder next time, suggested the We Are Teachers writer. Instead, they’ll blame the professor, ask their parents to get involved, or even have a breakdown.

“I know many people who have done this for their kids, all with good intentions, and in most cases the children have grown up to be adults who seem lazy or disinterested in taking any initiative in their lives,” one Metro staffer and mom-to-be says. “They have the attitude, ‘Someone else will handle this problem for me. No need to step up and care.’

As new parents, she and her husband are going to “make an effort not to mow down challenges for our kid. … [I]t’ll be hard, yes, and will go against our instincts to nurture. But I want our child to grow up feeling empowered, confident, and eager to tackle life’s challenges.”

As one Facebook user commented on the We Are Teachers essay, “Our job is to prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.”

Research contact: @MetroUK

Pinterest will remove content deemed climate-change misinformation

April 7, 2022

The social media platform, Pinterest, is rolling out new guidelines prohibiting posts that it says contains misinformation about climate change, as it continues to grapple with curbing the spread of false and misleading information, reports The Wall Street Journal. 

The social-media platform, where users post anything, from photos and links to recipes and home-decor ideas, said on Wednesday, April 6, that, going forward, it will remove content from users or advertisers that it deems as misinformation about the existence or impact of climate change.

Specifically, Pinterest is aiming to eliminate content that it says misrepresents scientific data; and false or misleading findings about public-safety emergencies, including natural disasters.

“For years, we’ve been working on our misinformation policy and defining what type of harmful content does not have a place on Pinterest,” said Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s head of Policy. “Harmful misinformation does not. It is not additive to a positive inspiring experience on the platform.”

Pinterest said it worked with the climate-change experts to develop the policy based on common misinformation themes they’ve seen across media platforms. It will use automated systems and moderators to take action on content that violates the new guidelines, Bromma said. Pinterest will allow users to flag content that will get reviewed as well, she said.

Pinterest, founded in 2010, first focused on photos when it launched. More recently, the company has been pivoting to a focus on video, commerce, and creators. Last year, it was the subject of takeover rumors. PayPal had been in talks to buy the company but ultimately backed off of a potential $40-billion-plus takeover after its shareholders balked.

The policy change at Pinterest follows a report earlier this week by climate experts tapped by the United Nations that found that countries must make major, rapid shifts away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy to meet the goals in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

An earlier report found that greenhouse-gas emissions due to human activity may have irreversibly changed the climate in some ways.

Pinterest joins other tech companies that have taken steps to limit the spread of false information on climate change.

Alphabet’s Google said last October that it would no longer allow digital ads bought on its platform to appear next to online content that denies climate change—a ban that will also apply to YouTubeTwitter launched a program last November that created hubs users can find under various tabs on its messaging platform.

Meta PlatformsFacebook also added new guidelines in November that use fact-checking organizations to determine if climate-change content is false. If it is false, Facebook reduces its distribution so fewer people see it and applies warning labels to the posts.

Research contact: @WSJ

Ducklings hatch in Florida maternity ward

April 6, 2022

An OBGYN office in Florida has shared a video on Facebook of a mother duck leading her ducklings down the hallways of a hospital and out the front door. Apparently, the babies had just hatched in a very convenient place, reports Fox News.

Beaches OBGYN in Jacksonville Beach explains that the ducks had hatched in the nearby hospital’s labor and delivery atrium.

“This smart mama duck found herself at the right place when she delivered her babies in the labor & delivery atrium of Baptist Medical Center Beaches this week!” the post read.

In a follow-up post, the practice acknowledged that the ducklings would have hatched instead of being birthed.

The original post continued, “Mom and her 10 ducklings were safely escorted out of the building by our staff, including our nurse manager Sam; and Loretta, our lactation consultant. We’re still ‘quacking’ up over this sweet story.”

The practice concluded by joking that the ducks would be returning for their six-week follow-up.

Baptist Medical Center Beaches, which is affiliated with Beaches OBGYN, also posted about the ducks on Facebook, joking “all hands on ‘duck’ for our patients.”

They did not explain how the mama duck arrived at the maternity ward.

Research contact: @FoxNews

Chicken sneaks past Pentagon security

February 8, 2022

She was a model of ‘pluckiness,’ but apparently she lacked a top secret clearance: A chicken was apprehended on Monday, January 31, in a high-security zone at the Pentagon—surprising the heavily armed guards who protect the seat of the U.S. military machine, reports Gulf News.

There was no explanation of how the fine-feathered hen got there—but, after being cornered and caught in the sub-freezing weather, she was handed over to local animal control officers.

“Our officers were called to come pick her up,” said the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in its Facebook page.

“Sgt Balaena brought her safely to the shelter where she’ll stay until we find a new home for her!” the organization said, posting a picture of the brown-feathered hen in a plastic carrying cage.

The League asked for suggestions for a name, pulling in numerous ideas—among the, “Henny Penny,” and “Colonel Sanders.”

Pentagon security did not offer any explanation for how the chicken made its way into the compound, or whether it posed any particular threat.

“I would check this chicken for bugs… and not the biological kind,” wrote one person on the League’s Facebook page.

What a clustercluck,” wrote the Military Times.

Research contact: @GulfNewsTabloid

TikTok ousts Google to become world’s favorite online destination

December 29, 2021

Move over Google; TikTok now is the world’s most popular online destination. The viral video app gets more hits than the American search engine, according to Cloudflare, a U.S.-based IT security company.

The rankings show that TikTok knocked Google off the top spot in February, March, and June of this year, and has held the number one position since August, reports the BBC.

Last year Google was first, and a number of sites—among them, TikTok, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Netflix—were in the top ten.

Cloudfare said it tracks data using its tool Cloudflare Radar, which monitors web traffic. The company surmises that one of the reasons for the surge in Tiktok’s popularity is the ongoing worldwide COVID pandemic—as lockdowns meant people were stuck at home and looking for entertainment.

By July this year, TikTok had been downloaded more than three billion times, according to data company San Francisco-based Sensor Tower.

The social network, which is owned by a Chinese company called Bytedance, headquartered in Beijing, now has more than one billion active users across the world, and that number continues to grow.

In China, to comply with the country’s censorship rules, the app is called Douyin, and runs on a different network. Douyin originally was released in September 2016. This year, China ruled that users under the age of 14 would be limited to 40 minutes a day on the platform.

Research contact: @BBC

Iceland takes a swipe at Zuckerberg’s ‘Meta’ announcement in new viral tourism video

November 15, 2021

If the goal was to get people talking about Iceland, a new tourism video is more than succeeding, reports CNBC.

Ineed, a video posted yesterday by Inspired by Iceland as part of a marketing campaign for Icelandic tourism takes aim at a Mark Zuckerberg video released in October announcing Facebook’s name change to Meta. In it, Zuckerberg hypes the so-called “metaverse”—a virtual world that “will be the successor to the mobile Internet.”

The metaverse’s defining quality, said Zuckerberg, is “the feeling of presence … like you’re there with other people.” Icelandic tourism authorities seem to think they can offer something better.

In the new video, a Zuckerberg lookalike—complete with his Caesar cut, minimalist garb and hand gestures—introduces viewers to “Icelandverse,” a place of “enhanced actual reality without silly looking headsets.”

“Today I want to talk about a revolutionary approach on how to connect our world—without being super weird,” the speaker deadpans to the camera.

The video extolls Iceland’s “completely immersive” experiences, such as its real rocks, real humans and “skies you can see with your eyeballs.”

Press materials sent to journalists continue the parody, explaining that Icelandverse was created “after millions of years in development” and that “users can explore and navigate their way through the many different layers of captivating reality, just by visiting.”

Officials, too, are in on the act.

“Icelandverse has been built with experts in government, industry, nature and academia, plus a few volcanoes,” said Sigridur Dogg Gudmundsdottir, head of Visit Iceland, in the video’s press release.

Reactions to the video have been overwhelmingly positive, with people praising the “Olympic-level trolling” by Iceland officials, and many expressing a desire to visit.

It isn’t the first time Iceland has relied on humor to draw attention to the Nordic island nation.

Videos by Inspired by Iceland use comedy to explain why not to wear jeans or high heels to Iceland. Its 2017 video entitled “The Hardest Karaoke Song in the World” has garnered nearly 14.5 million views on YouTube.

Research contact: @CNBC