Discover more from Garbage Day
Unlocking the mystery of the McDonald's ice cream hack
Read to the end for the weirdest Barbie of all
I’m off on vacation next week. I’ll be in the woods completely unplugged, finally at peace. Expect a guest post on Wednesday. I’m also sending out today’s Weekend Edition to everyone for free. If you like this, I send it to paying readers every week for $5 a month or $45 a year. Click here to subscribe if you want more of this.
Also today tickets for Garbage Day Live officially go on sale. I set aside a limited amount of discounted tickets for readers. Use the code TOUCHGRASS and get one before they run out. 👉🏻👉🏻👉🏻 Head over here to grab one.
Welcome to Garbage Weekend. It’s the internet garbage you know and love, but in a format that’s easier to read while you start daydreaming about fall.
A bunch of big verified meme accounts are running a softcore porn tweetdecking operation. And Twitter’s Community Notes, er, community is revolting against it. Basically, some of the largest accounts on the app have built a little link-sharing cabal to promote OnlyFans models. And this is a complicated topic because I think a lot of the accounts calling out the OnlyFans tweetdeckers are horrible redpilled losers who are doing it because they’re addicted to porn and resent women because of it. But at the same time, Twitter is an app that I like to use in public and regardless of my own feelings about sex work online (it’s cool and fine), the influx of viral lewds on the site has made the app extremely difficult to open up on the subway or in line for coffee. But beyond the lewds, it seems pretty clear that Elon Musk’s new monetization features will absolutely result in large-scale tweetdecking operations farming engagement for money. Who could have predicted that?!
The Reddit brain drain post-API protests is very real. The piece I linked to is specifically about r/malefashionadvice, which sucks now. But I’ve noticed that a lot of the subreddits I lurk on have also lost a certain level of organization. It turns out if you replace a bunch of long-term moderators overnight the vibes start to shift a bit.
My relationship with Twitter has shifted dramatically in the last week. It recently reached what I’ll call the “scanning a 4chan screenshot to see if it contains slurs or porn or extremist material before sharing it” stage of social network degradation. What I mean is that when I see a funny 4chan screenshot somewhere, I typically really scour the thing for any bad stuff before sharing it. Because 4chan is now, by default, a no-go zone. I have found myself in the last week having to do that with Twitter, as well. Before I retweet a user I don’t know, I have to click over to their page to make sure they aren’t a white nationalist farming clicks for ad revenue. I think it’s the result of two things. First, my personal network on Twitter is mostly gone. Almost no one I follow on there is really posting anymore. And two, the site is just overrun with extremists. Which I have to imagine the average user — and advertiser — is noticing, as well.
I’m not sure I get the point of Bluesky main characters. A huge shoutout to the Garbage Day Discord which has recently gone all in on documenting the many micro-dramas of Bluesky. Yesterday, the main conversation on the site was about whether or not it was ok to tell jokes about 9/11. One user said it wasn’t and got dogpiled for hours. What I don’t totally understand is why that’s interesting. I had never heard of this user, they aren’t famous or notable, and they were expressing an opinion that isn’t really interesting or even all that cringe. And this is the same dynamic for pretty much all of the daily dramas on the site. My best guess is that Bluesky is still so small that the early adopters feel total ownership of it and have turned into content cops. And I think the site needs to open up the invites and sort this out fast before they miss their chance to fix this.
OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS
There’s an AI model built on MrBeast now. It feels slightly more human than MrBeast. MrBeast has seen the AI, tweeting, “What in god’s name is this,” lmao.
So this is a weird story about AI and fears of AI. There was a pretty dumb tool called Prosecraft, which crawled the web for books, analyzed them for different attributes and then spit out little reports for users. So you could ask it things like how many adverbs are in Lord Of The Rings, etc. The raw text of these books was never provided to users, only the data. And there wasn’t any generative AI involved that I can see. But authors discovered it this week, freaked out, and accused its creator Benji Smith of “harvesting” their books for his AI (which he doesn’t have). This week, Smith shut down Prosecraft, which he explained never made any money anyways. As AI becomes more pervasive I think we’ll see a lot more of this, with anything that smells like AI getting serious backlash. I’ve even seen users recently cheering on Sarah Silverman’s anti-AI lawsuit, hoping it takes down Google Search, as well. I actually think that would be bad, frankly.
Is machine translation a good indicator of the singularity? It’s an interesting argument. This was sent to me by a reader named Aaron. The idea is you use a metric called Time to Edit to measure the speed and quality of machine translation and, thus, AI development. The “edit” in the Time to Edit metric refers to the amount of work a human translator would have to do after a machine translation.
Pro-GeoGuessr player Rainbolt climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Apparently he did so while also reciting every US area code. Cool!
Post Malone tried to get Joe Rogan to play Magic: The Gathering. You can watch a clip of the conversation here. If you missed this, Post Malone recently purchased a $2 million Magic card. The interesting thing I learned from this weirdly wholesome interview is that Rogan doesn’t gamble or play cards because he’s afraid of developing a gambling addiction. But I do agree with Post Malone that if Rogan did play Magic he’d probably get pretty into it.
YouTube Watch History is now all or nothing. I guess I didn’t realize that people turn off their watch history. I use mine all the time. One of the things I really like about YouTube and come back to often is my history because it means anything I watch on the platform is recorded there and I have a terrible memory and a job that consists almost entirely of bookmarking things I see on the internet. Now, if you turn off your history, the app won’t give you any recommendations at all which, honestly, for some users, is probably a good thing.
Twisted Metal set some kind of record for something on Peacock, apparently. There are, of course, no hard numbers about Twisted Metal’s viewership, but NBCUniversal is saying it’s their “most-binged” comedy. According to Nielsen, it was one of the more popular shows on streaming at the end of July. Fascinating. I do not know a single person irl who has seen it or mentioned it.
Marvel’s VFX workers have voted to unionize. This is a very good thing and a long time coming. It’s a small step to unionizing the entire VFX industry, but it’s an important one. And I am willing to bet that as more of the VFX world unionizes we’ll actually see less CGI gray sludge as studios realize they can’t run effects artists into the ground to fill gaps in bad storytelling.
MEMES AND TRENDS
We found out how Bobbi Althoff did a podcast with Drake. Althoff is a momfluencer who recently pivoted into being a dead-voiced white woman podcaster who is awkward and rude to rappers in interviews. She said she got her Drake interview by paying people $300 to connect her to richer and more connected people who she then also paid $300 so she could then get connected with Drake. Which feels like the final form of the content industry, just paying people hundreds of dollars until you can DM a real celebrity. Interestingly enough, she says she’s still waiting for a payout from the TikTok creator fund and is now in deep credit card debt.
Neopets has officially relaunched. It’s now being run by a team of long-time users and is finally free from the clutches of both weird cults and private equity. We’re all rooting for you, Neopets!
Let’s play a game of Real Or Bait. A reader named Johannes asked me if this video of a McDonalds ice cream hack was real or bait. The video went viral on Twitter without a TikTok watermark, but I found the original. It was posted last month by a TikTok account called @janelleandkate and you can see it here. The account then posted a second video with the same hack two days later. The “Janelle” in the name is Janelle Flom who went viral in 2020 after making Spaghetti’O pie and she is married to Josh Flom, who is related to Justin Flom, who co-produced a magic-themed competition show called Wizard Wars with king of Facebook bait content and magician Rick Lax. So verdict: Yeah, it’s bait.
Twitch streamer xQc accidentally streamed a housecleaner picking up his gamer nest. xQc, real name Félix Lengyel, is a former Overwatch player who is now a full-time reaction streamer, which is kind of like the Gen Z version of those desktop buddies you’d install on your computer in the mid-2000s. They’d dance and say stuff and fill your computer with spyware. Reaction streamers like xQC are similar, you watch them watch viral videos of people fighting in Walmarts and instead of filling your computer with spyware they convince you that you need to spend $5,000 on a custom mechanical keyboard.
The Lil Tay story feels like a real coming of age moment for the Pop Crave knock offs. As of right now, it seems like the 14-year-old viral celebrity and rapper Lil Tay, also known as Tay Tian and Claire Hope, is not dead. The story broke after Lil Tay’s Instagram announced she had died. The post was screenshot and then blasted across all of the various Pop Crave-style accounts. These accounts have become incredibly powerful lately now that most social media platforms have completely choked out third-party links. And the Lil Tay story feels like the moment we saw exactly how influential they are now.
AROUND THE WORLD
Worldcoin has entered Kenya’s crypto black market. As I wrote last week, Worldcoin was such a big hit in Kenya that it was shut down by the government because the lines were getting out of control. For the folks who did manage to get their iris scanned and got their $50 worth of Worldcoin, the problem is withdrawing it, which Worldcoin apparently doesn’t support. So services popped up to help people cash in their Worldcoin. And, well, we can all guess what happened next.
An Indian YouTube channel was publishing super viral scripted videos that were inciting violence against Muslims. After an investigation by the BBC, the channel was pulled down, but it had over a million subscribers and had published hundreds of videos. The videos all looked like real CCTV footage. Many of the videos focused on the idea of Hindu women being harassed by Muslim men and were framed as if they had been leaked from the security cameras of real shops. The channel is off YouTube now, but, of course clips from the videos are all over Twitter and the site doesn’t seem to care.
The UK’s internexit is becoming dangerously real. The UK is debating a bill that could compromise encrypted messaging apps. And the companies behind those apps have already said that they will pull out of the British market if the bill goes through. This would be a huge blow to cybersecurity and personal freedom in the UK, but I guess it would be a little funny if post-Brexit, the UK lost WhatsApp, an app that effectively runs the whole country.
SOME FUN STUFF
P.S. here’s the weirdest Barbie of all.
***Any typos in this email are purpose actually, but with more of carefree weekend vibe***