The web site whose members harass trans activists around the world

I hadn’t even heard of Kiwi Farms until last week, but they are some bad, bad dudes, according to this article in The Guardian by Alex Hern:

You don’t need to know much about the online hate forum Kiwi Farms. In my first draft of this newsletter, I included a full history of the site, from its days as a spinoff of the far-right message board 8chan that was dedicated to the full-time harassment of a single internet micro-celebrity, to its involvement in the Christchurch shootings and multiple targets who went on to take their own lives. I discussed the detail of whether the site has an ideology that can be pinned down: the extent to which it is far-right, white supremacist, radically transphobic – or simply nihilistic and nasty.

But you don’t actually need to know the grimy details. Suffice to say that Kiwi Farms is, like a long list of similar forums before and after it, somewhere that proudly fights for the label of “the worst place on the internet”.

Over the last year, the forum has focused on one person in particular: Twitch streamer Clara Sorrenti, who attracted its ire for using her platform to discuss the wave of anti-transgender legislation sweeping across the US. Sorrenti, who streams as Keffals, was subject to a growing wave of harassment, as Kiwi Farms coordinated takedown requests to Twitch, shared her personal information and contrived to get her “swatted”. A fake shooting threat, sent to police in London, Ontario, where she lived, led to an armed response unit being sent to her house.

Similar attacks have ended in disaster before, and Sorrenti was only arrested and held for questioning. After, she fled to a nearby hotel, and posted a picture of her cat on the bed to reassure followers that she was OK. Forum users meticulously compared the sheets in the photo with those of every single hotel in the area, finding a match through online booking sites and resuming the onslaught of harassment, sending endless pizzas to her, by name, to let her know she’d been found.

I think the tendency is to ridicule these guys — and it is always guys — as a bunch of shut-in incels living in their mothers’ basements.

But this movement has escalated from online harassment, which is bad enough. Once you start stalking someone by tracking their locations from country to country, and then sharing those details with your mentally unbalanced followers, it’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed.

If they were doing this to me, I’d be tempted to buy a gun.

Which just plays into the long-term game plan of the gun lobby, I know. (Flood the world with guns so that people feel unsafe and buy more guns.)

But I’d still might do it.

Incidentally, that previous in-depth article that Alex Hern mentions can be found here.

BTW, pity the poor company in New Zealand called Kiwi Farms, an agricultural company.

TikTok, Facebook, Instagram ban notorious woman-hater Andrew Tate

The big question: why the hell did it take so long?

In videos splashed across the internet, Andrew Tate, a onetime kickboxing champion turned self-styled men’s-help guru, has argued that women are the property of their husbands and should “have kids, sit at home, be quiet and make coffee.”

He has claimed that he needs authority over the women he dates, saying, “You can’t be responsible for a dog if it doesn’t obey you.” He has said he would attack a woman who accused him of cheating and described himself as “absolutely a misogynist.”

His fans have called him the king of toxic masculinity.

Tate’s content has rapidly spread across social media this summer, racking up millions of views and raising concerns about the impact on boys and young men who come across it. After seeing his popularity spike in recent months, he has bragged about his reach.

Now, Tate has been barred from TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.

In a statement to The Washington Post, a TikTok representative said Tate’s account was removed for violating the company’s policies that bar “content that attacks, threatens, incites violence against, or otherwise dehumanizes an individual or a group” based on attributes including sex. Meta said it had removed Tate’s official accounts on Facebook and Instagram, pointing to policies against dangerous organizations and individuals.

You can read the rest of the WaPo article here.

Tate, in scenes from when he was on Big Brother UK.

French physicist apologizes for tweeting a fake James Webb telescope image that was actually a slice of chorizo

In a world where scientists and their reliability are under constant attack by right-wing forces to the point that even the public, which doesn’t understand the scientific method anyway, also distrusts them, this is a really stupid stunt.

A senior French scientist has apologised after tweeting a picture which he said was from the James Webb Space Telescope — but which was not quite what it seemed.

Etienne Klein, a director at France’s Atomic Energy Commission, posted a picture purportedly showing Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun.

“This level of detail … a new world is revealed every day”, he enthused in the tweet, sent to more than 90,000 followers on Monday.

However, Professor Klein has now admitted that the glowing celestial body shown was in fact nothing more than a slice of Spanish chorizo sausage.

Apologising for what he described as “a scientist’s joke”, he said his aim had been to remind people to “be wary of arguments from people in positions of authority”.

What a crank.

I did a bit of checking on Klein and found this on his Wikipedia page:

In December 2016, Science magazine, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, reported that Popular French physicist Étienne Klein was responsible of a plagiarism, his work was said to be plagiarizing the novelist Stefan Zweig and other authors.

Seems as if Klein has a bit of experience in fake scientific authority.

You can read the rest of the article at this link.

His tweet is below.

I’ll bet this is the first time “special forces” and “mini golden doodle” have been used together in a headline

I love how the guy who submitted this video managed to work that he is a member of Special Forces (“Thank you for your service!”) into it.

Because, as we all know, any father who was not Special Forces would have tossed the dog to the bear and then run away helplessly.

Facebook snuck some changes in that you may or may not have noticed

Think your Facebook feed has been acting wonky lately? You’re not alone.

The changes have actually been made by Facebook and they didn’t even tell you about it.

If you’ve logged into Facebook recently, as almost 2 billion people around the world do each day, you may have noticed something new in your feed: more strangers. Last week, the social-media giant introduced two new different versions of your Facebook feed. While the familiar main page, formerly known as the News Feed, used to be where family, friends, and other accounts you follow have long shared humblebrags, dubious headlines, and slices of everyday life, the new Home page combines those things with posts from strangers it suggests based on your past Facebook activity. When I logged on last week, that meant a video of a man rescuing a sloth from the road and a screenshot of a meme from Twitter about introverts.

A separate new tab, Feeds, will show you only the people you’ve chosen to follow. But with Home, Meta—the parent company of Facebook and Instagram—is clearly steering its users to an experience that emphasizes posts from pages and people you don’t know: viral content selected by an algorithm for maximum entertainment value and slack-jawed viewing time. In other words, Facebook now wants to be TikTok.

TikTok is a short-form video platform that became famous for viral dances performed by the likes of fresh-faced tweens and teens whose queen was Charli D’Amelio. (Part of that DNA comes from Musical.ly, a lip-synching app that TikTok swallowed up in 2018.) But it truly exploded in the early days of the pandemic, when much of life moved online. Last fall, the app hit 1 billion active users. An estimated 25 percent of TikTok’s users in the U.S. are 10-to-19-years old—a demographic that Meta is hoping to win back.

As do so many people, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.

I love that it keeps me in contact with so many people whom I would otherwise know nothing about, including friends in the hometown from which I escaped when I turned 19.

I hate how it keeps illustrating to me how many people I thought had normal, fully functioning intellects clearly do not have two brain cells to rub together.

My block list is now over 2,500 people.

I’ve found Facebook to be tolerable only if I can block anyone who exhibits any number of annoying traits, most of which have nothing to do with their politics.

Meanwhile, I have a passion for dogs, so I’m sure I annoy countless people because I primarily use Facebook to post dog videos.

I use this space to post about politics.

Anyway, we’ll see if these Facebook changes make it more or less enjoyable.

You can read the rest of Kate Lindsay’s article in The Atlantic at this link.

This adorably evil nerd, Mark Zuckerberg, is to blame for the latest changes to your news feed.

Calamine lotion craze invades TikTok

These things are funny until you think about how we’ve not even begun to scratch the surface of the stupid things people will do in the future because they saw it on TikTok:

Women around the world are smearing calamine lotion all over their faces before applying makeup — a “beauty hack” that’s gone viral on TikTok that they say helps dry out oily skin, repair acne scars and keep their makeup in place for hours on end.

Some are using a sponge or a makeup brush to dab on the over-the-counter product commonly used to soothe rashes and other skin conditions that cause itching, such as chickenpox. Others wasted no time, pouring the pink lotion directly onto their face and rubbing it in with their bare hands before applying foundation and other makeup right on top of the thin crust.

“I cannot see my pores anywhere,” one TikToker said in approval, claiming the product made her skin appear “super matte.” Other beauty enthusiasts on the platform have hailed calamine as a primer — claiming it helps their makeup stay put in the summer sun and throughout 12-hour workdays.

TikTokers say they are “obsessed” with the discovery and the hashtag #calamineprimer has about 3.5 million views on the platform. But dermatologists and makeup experts are warning that those jumping on the trend could risk worsening skin conditions and long-term damage.

“It just doesn’t make sense to use calamine lotion and risk drying out the skin and damaging the skin barrier,” Azadeh Shirazi, a dermatologist practicing in the San Diego area, told The Washington Post.

You can read the rest of the Washington Post article by Jennifer Hassan by clicking here.

I feel sorry for kids today.

When I was in school the only things you had to worry about were not farting in class, not tripping going up the stairs in school and sending your books flying, and trying to fit in somewhere during school and on weekends.

Now, for many kids anyway, being a kid is suddenly a 24-7 job of thinking of ways to do funny or cool things on social media.

It must be exhausting and crazy-making.