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This is what the internet looks like now

Read to the end for a good Tumblr post

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What’s The End Goal Here?

A few different readers sent me the above video this week. It’s a nonsensical recipe that uses an AI voice for narration and is currently stuck in everyone’s algorithm. It checks a lot of my boxes! It comes from a page called @SuperRecipess, which posted it to TikTok in March 2023. It currently has 24 million views on the app, with millions more on other platforms.

Super Recipes, according to their Facebook page, is a digital media “brand,” owned by Brazilian company called Ls Mota Negocios Digitais LTDA, who run several over similar pages. There’s one called YumMakers, another called SuperGostoso (Supertasty), and another called Recetas de Jefe (Chef’s Recipes). The recipes they’re putting on their Portuguese-language pages are decidedly less disgusting than the ones they’re posting in English — insert Brazilian jokes about American slop food here — but most of what they’re doing is now standard practice. A frying pan, eggs, cheese, hot dogs, more cheese, oil, stuff stuffed with other stuff. As one user on X wrote underneath the video, “Imagine this being the entire internet.” Well, we don’t have to imagine. This is what the internet looks like now.

Across the social web, older forms of low-effort engagement bait are getting a brand new coat of AI paint. Every time I poke around a random TikTok that ends up on my For You Page, I, without fail, find out it’s connected to some weird content farm pumping out AI images on Facebook. I shared a couple little investigations into this on TikTok before I got bored lol. Also, my dumb old person thumbs just cannot figure out how to edit video on a phone and I find the entire process excruciating.

The most interesting page I’ve come across was a TikTok account called @greatmovie05, which has half a million followers on TikTok. Like @SuperRecipess, it takes a well-trod genre of viral content, in this case what I’m going to call “12-year-old boy news” — videos about Russian prisons, cool boat facts, dashcam recordings, stories about guys getting stuck in caves — and uses an AI to narrate and, likely, write and compile them.

I managed to find a Facebook Page with the same user name, sharing the same videos that it’s posting on TikTok. And when it’s not sharing those videos, you know what it’s doing? Generating AI photos of Jesus. And I found another Facebook Page with the same user name, sharing the same videos, which is generating bizarre AI images of children in South Asian villages driving, uh, like go karts made from plastic bottles?

(idk man…)

The question I have, which I wrote above, is what is the end goal with all of this? It’s clear that, for creators, this is just another engagement hack. Something you can quickly spit out to enrage old people and mesmerize iPad babies. But I’m less clear how anyone at Meta, or Youtube, or TikTok can look at this and think that it’s good. To say nothing of those platforms’ advertisers.

Last week, 404 Media coined the term “zombie internet,” to refer to this endless wasteland of algorithmically-regurgitated, and now AI-generated, content filling up Meta platforms and, thus, everywhere else. It’s a problem that has gotten so bad that Instagram’s official account, this week, appears to have fallen for an AI-generated photo of Katy Perry at the Met Gala. Which is especially funny because while Katy Perry was not at the Met Gala this week, Instagram head Adam Mosseri was there taking videos on the red carpet with his Meta Ray-Bans. Can’t really come up with a better indictment of how thoroughly Big Tech has broken our ability to understand the world around us than that.

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This Is How I Feel All The Time Now


Bae caught me slipping into obscurity. #comedy #icespice #filters

Some (Hopefully) Final Kendrick/Drake Updates

The Kendrick/Drake rap beef has reached its inevitable, and very dark, conclusion, with Drake’s security guard being shot in a drive-by outside of the rapper’s mansion. Drake’s store in London was also vandalized. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that the 21st century version of the Tupac/Biggie rap beef of the 90s has devolved into decentralized QAnon-style mob violence and — just to be clear here — still baseless accusations of pedophilia and human trafficking.

There also now a lot of conspiracy theories flying around. The biggest of which is the rumor the Universal Music Group stepped in to stop the feud which, according to TMZ, is not true. Though, on the bright side, creators are making an incredible amount of money thanks to Kendrick Lamar’s decision to not enforce a copyright on his diss tracks.

Chaotic violence and viral conspiracies aside, Lamar’s four diss tracks are smashing streaming records. And it’s likely at least one of them will enter Billboard’s Hot 100 next week. As a rapper named DuffJuice wrote on X, “This means something. This means A LOT actually.”

I am resisting the urge to connect this to Taylor Swift releasing what is essentially also a 31-track diss record about The 1975’s Matty Healy last month and going long here about the new, darker, hyperreal era of pop culture that’s coming into focus right now. But I do think that’s what’s happening.

Apple Has Finally Released, Uh, Slightly Better iPads

Apple released an ad for their new M4 iPad Pro this morning, which features a giant hydraulic press crushing things that people use to create art and express themselves down into slime and goo. Which, I know I just said Adam Mosseri filming metaverse content at the Met Gala while AI images of the event wreak havoc on his platform was the best metaphor you could ask for to describe Where We Are Right Now, but this might be better.

On X, based on the replies to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s tweet, Japanese users seem to be particularly enraged by the ad. But I thought New Republic’s Osita Nwanevu had a good take, writing, “The very existence of this ad ⁠— all the hoops it had to go through in its creation before getting to the point where it was personally promoted by this CEO, all the people who thought 'yes, this is good' — says more than thousands of words could about how tech sees the world.”

But perhaps the worst reaction to this morning’s iPad drop was from Apple superfan Marques Brownlee, who seemed to really struggle to say anything nice about it. Sorry I’m mentioning him a lot lately, but we’re in a real gadget moment right now and it’s literally just him and The Verge covering these rollouts aggressively. (I actually shopped a Garbage Day gadget review column and/or video series around to a couple media outlets a few months ago because it’s not something I can really afford on my own and found that editors weren’t super interested 👀)

Anyways, the new iPad is thin and the pencil can do a barrel roll now, I guess.

X Is Raging Over A New TikTok Woman

I know I shouldn’t take the bait with this stuff, but this morning I decided to look into the new woman that everyone on X is yelling about right now. She posts on TikTok under the name @livingthrulove and, based on her content, it seems like she’s a small creator sharing updates about what it’s like being a new mother. And this, of course, is too much for the average X user to handle.

The main account leading the dog pile on @livingthrulove is called @CatchUpFeed and they’ve been a big winner of the Elon Musk era of X. I see their posts a lot. They’re sort of like a right-wing Pop Crave and I was curious what their whole deal is.

Well, it turns out their Facebook page was launched in 2016, back when it had a different name, “Ian Miles Cheong”. The far-right influencer and president of Musk’s fan club seems to have rebranded the page as Catch Up in 2022. That was also when it launched a YouTube channel that was, for about a year, hosted by Cheong. The Facebook page is now being run by someone out of the UK (Cheong lives in Malaysia) and the YouTube channel has a new host.

Everyone’s Talking About John Pork

(TikTok/John Pork)

TikTok is going nuts for John Pork. As are Vancouver burger joints, apparently. Who is John Pork? Well, it should be obvious, he’s a somewhat horrifying-looking humanoid pig man that all the TikTok girlies can’t get enough of.

But in all seriousness, John Pork is a virtual influencer that launched on Instagram in 2018. Over the last few years, Pork has evolved. First into a piece of creepypasta, with TikTok users writing scary stories about him and, now, inevitably, everyone’s kind of horny for him.

4chan Users Have Overrun A Dating App


The developers of an app called Duolicious dropped their app on 4chan and it has, predictably, turned into a horror show. More than a few folks are now calling it the “femcel dating app,” but, based on the screenshots I’m seeing, it seems like it’s overwhelming popular with 20-year-old guys who own Nazi memorabilia.

It’s worth pointing out here how far the Overton window has moved in the last decade. Ten years ago, if 4chan users set up shop on your site, you’d end up with a dozen cable news packages about how you’re facilitating extremism and, in certain instances, you might even lose your hosting. Now, Duolicious is posting 4chan screenshots on their official site, bragging about their traffic on X, and using Ko-fi to manage donations.

A Very Good Prom Video


so entirely grateful for my lover <3 #hearse #hearsingaround #coffin #vampire @Sylis Williams #prom2024

P.S. here’s a good Tumblr post.

***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***


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