While You Were Offline: Cats Caused the Facebook Outage (jkjk) – WIRED


It’s been a seven-day seesaw that has seen Fox News host Tucker Carlson complain of bullying, actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin indicted in a college bribery scandal, North Korea threaten to suspend talks with the US, climate change officially claim the Arctic, a terrible mass shooting in New Zealand, Paul Manafort getting an additional 43 months and then charged with 16 more crimes, Congress voting unanimously to release the Mueller report publicly only for Lindsey Graham to singlehandedly shut it down in the Senate and, of course, yet another Democratic candidate for President of the United States announce themselves. But that’s nowhere near all that people were talking about online over the last week, as you’re about to discover. What’s the buzz? Here’s what’s happening.

Not Everything Is an Emergency, According to the Senate

What Happened: In a surprising twist, Republican senators decide not to toe the party line when it comes to the president declaring that his whims constitute a national emergency whenever he says so.

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports

What Really Happened: You might remember that President Trump declared a national emergency to fund his pet border wall a month ago as a way of saving face after the government shutdown standoff ended with him gaining absolutely nothing that he’d wanted. You may also remember that Congress then voted to block the declaration, pushing the whole thing to the Republican-controlled Senate to vote on. This week, that vote finally came up in the Senate, and if the Trump administration was hoping that it would have an easy time of making sure that it went away, it was in for a rude awakening.

With Democrats in the Senate minority, the bill would need some Republican support to pass; what no one had seemed to seriously consider was just how many Republicans would cross the aisle to vote against their president. Ahead of Thursday’s vote, a lot of headcounting was going on, and it wasn’t looking good for the White House.

Despite—or perhaps because of—some obvious threats from President Trump ahead of the vote, it really didn’t go his way, in the end.

As the Senate voted to reject the national emergency, people wondered just how the president would react. The answer was … well, pretty much what you’d expect, really.

For those playing along at home: No, the resolution would most definitely not “OPEN BORDERS,” never mind increase “Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country.” But, you know, who needs facts when you have hyperbole? That first response got a lot of attention, however.

There’s no denying that President Trump is, if nothing else, very memeful.

The Takeaway: One way or another, the Senate vote will go down as a historic one. Not only because it was the first time the Senate had opposed a national emergency declaration by the President of the United States, but also because it put a lot of people on record on where they stood on the matter of presidential overreach. That won’t be forgotten quickly.

ALSO READ   Apple Clears New Entry, Joining These 2 FANG Stocks In Buy Range

What In This Day And Age Is Worth It?

What Happened: Is it possible that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi isn’t taking Donald Trump seriously enough? An interview this week raised the possibility when she addressed the idea of impeachment more seriously than she’d ever done before.

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports

What Really Happened: It’s the subject a lot of people have been thinking about for the last two years, so when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi broached the subject of impeaching Trump, it was something sure to get attention. It’s arguable that most of the people who’ve been thinking about the subject would have been disappointed by what she had to say.

Pelosi clearly knew what she was doing. In the full interview, she even says, “I’m going to give you some news right now,” before saying that Trump isn’t worth impeaching, well aware that her comments would get a lot of play. (No, really; a lot a lot. Seriously.) The response on social media was both immediate and passionate. Some were disappointed:

—while others were just plain angry:

It should perhaps be noted, before we go any further, that the headline version of what was said wasn’t exactly what Pelosi actually said, and that there was some additional nuance that wasn’t getting widely shared.

As should only be expected, there was a lot of analysis of what Pelosi said, with some people believing that they had an idea what was really behind the comment.

As it was, Pelosi wasn’t alone in terms of Democratic leadership.

And, as it was, it’s not like she really changed many minds inside her own party with the comments. But perhaps all of this was just one big feint …

The Takeaway: For all the outrage about the idea that Pelosi was caving in some way (or just being politically expedient), it’s possible that her ambitions were far more simple.

In Case of Emergency, Keep Your Feet On The Ground

What Happened: After a plane crash last weekend, the world moved to make sure unsafe planes weren’t in the air—except, at least initially, for the US. Apparently, one phone call can have powerful consequences.

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports

What Really Happened: On Sunday, 157 people died when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed just after takeoff. As was noted almost immediately, it was the second time a Boeing 737 MAX flight had crashed in the past six months. In the wake of the accident, authorities across the world started grounding the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft out of concern for safety.

There was one noticeable absence from the list … and it wasn’t because the US just hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

This decision seemed even more nonsensical when more information started to appear.

ALSO READ   Microsoft To Allow Unlimited Devices, More Users For Office 365 Subscriptions

Why did the FAA not ground the planes? If only there was some insight into the oddness surrounding this issue …

Yes, Boeing’s CEO had asked the president personally to keep his planes in the air. Quelle surprise, as they say. Still, at least you know that the president would be able to talk his way out of this awkward situation on Twitter. You see, according to President Trump, the problem wasn’t Boeing’s planes, it was … all planes … ?

That theory was well-received by the internet:

After this line of attack didn’t, ahem, fly, Canada joined the list of countries banning the Boeing 737—

—and the US couldn’t hold back any longer:

How big a deal was this? Pretty big.

For all those wondering how passengers were affected by the decision, it could be worse; you could be in the FAA, which is now facing new scrutiny from lawmakers for not acting sooner. Whatever happened to those friendly skies, huh?

The Takeaway: Some people have already started to take note about what this has done to Boeing’s stock price.

When it comes to plummeting, though, better its shares than actual planes full of people, surely.

Brexit Status: SNAFU As Ever

What Happened: For everyone wondering just how preparations for the United Kingdom leaving the European Union are going, the answer is very simple: very badly indeed. That’s about all that is clear about the current state of Brexit.

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports

What Really Happened: Let’s turn our attention, for a brief moment, across the Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom, where everything is going horribly, terribly wrong. Why? Well, it’s that pesky Brexit thing, which is currently scheduled to take place in (looks at calendar) less than two weeks from now, as of writing. With it looming that close, surely everyone has worked out all the details and it’s just last-minute prep, right … ?

Maybe not. After all, this week started with British Prime Minister Theresa May finally getting some key agreements in place with the European Union over just what to do with the Ireland/Northern Ireland border—the so-called “backstop agreement”—which meant that there actually was a plan in place for the first time in a long time. The president of the EU certainly seemed happy this had happened, and not frustrated by the whole process at all.

Nonetheless, with this backstop agreement newly minted, the British parliament could finally have what is called a “meaningful vote,” which was essentially a vote to approve of the deal the government had done to ensure that Brexit actually happened in a manner that wasn’t literally “the UK isn’t part of Europe anymore, see you!” (That’s called “No Deal Brexit,” which no one really wants.) It was the second time there had been a meaningful vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal; the first, in January, had led to a historic defeat for her government. How did the second one go?

ALSO READ   Facebook Is Just Below A Buy, But Should You 'Like' This Stock?: S&P 500, Dow Jones Futures

Well, that was embarrassing. But it could have been worse.

The defeat of the meaningful vote meant that Plan B had to be rolled out pretty quickly. (Technically, “Plan We Don’t Have Any Alphabet Left,” but let’s simplify for the sake of this story.) Thankfully, Plan B was … somewhat apocalyptic and melodramatic.

Yes, it was a parliamentary version of “You don’t like my toys? What if there’s no toys? What will you play with then?” And so, Tuesday’s votes were followed by Wednesday’s, which went similarly well.

So, how did that go down? Well, it depends who you ask.

And how did the Thursday votes to respectively delay and/or re-referendum Brexit turn out? As should only be expected, confusingly and contradictorily.

So will the EU agree to a delay? It’s still not entirely clear, as the European Union are basically playing it very close to the collective chest.

As for everyone in Britain, did this week’s events change what was happening in any appreciable way? Apparently not.

The Takeaway: This has generally been the theme of the British political intelligentsia over the last seven days. If not much, much longer, at least when it comes to Brexit.

What’s On Your Mind, Internet?

What Happened: What happens when one of the biggest social media platforms—which powers another of the biggest social media platforms—goes down? This week, we got an 11-hour preview.

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports

What Really Happened: Wednesday was a bad day for anyone looking to post anything on Instagram or Facebook, as everything Facebook-related went down for hours unexpectedly. Well, maybe not everything.

The outage was, at least, enough to trigger some public statements from Facebook about what was happening. Not that they really cleared anything up.

So what was actually going on? Facebook wasn’t saying, except to say what wasn’t going on.

The reason for that might have been that even Facebook didn’t actually know what was actually happening at the time.

Suddenly robbed of the ability to check up on elderly relatives or post Insta stories, the internet wasn’t quite sure what to do with itself, but some people had some suggestions. (On Twitter, natch.)

Don’t worry, though—at least one meme crossed platforms as the outage stretched across 11 hours.

The lack of information about the cause of the outage didn’t stop some impressively wacky suggestions from emerging.

So, what actually happened? Turns out, it wasn’t anything as nefarious as people had feared.

Or, at least, that’s what they want you to believe.

The Takeaway: Never mind the Official Line. One day the truth about what actually happened will emerge.


More Great WIRED Stories





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply