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News station’s good deed turns into a social media disaster when they omit one crucial detail

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A local news station’s attempt at a good deed completely backfired on them in a social media disaster because they omitted one crucial fact of the story.

ABC 13 News in Lynchburg, Virginia, tweeted about the “AWESOME” gift that they granted to a woman who had experienced two emotional disasters in a row.

“This is AWESOME! @gflickinger surprised a Halifax County woman who lost her sister in an accident AND her home in a fire on the same night with a new ABC13 umbrella,” they tweeted, adding an umbrella emoji.

The station sent their chief meteorologist George Flickinger to present the umbrella to Mary and record the momentous gift.

“We have an umbrella,” said Flickinger, “and I’ve actually never signed one of these before!”

“You have your own ABC 13 umbrella, to you, bringing you sunshine on a rainy day,” he added.

“Ok!” said Mary.

Social media response was… not positive

The station and the meteorologist were pilloried on social media for what appeared to be a thoughtless gift out of proportion with the tragedy.

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“Hey, sorry about the tragedies that killed your sister and burnt down your home. Here’s a cheap umbrella with our logo on it. Smile at the camera so we can post it on social media to take advantage of your pain,” read one sarcastic tweet. “You really should just stick to the weather.”

“This is so outstandingly tone deaf I has to check your account to see if it’s a satire account. Oh my g*d go stick that umbrella up your a**,” responded another.

“Hello @ABC13News I lost my family in a boating accident, can I have a new tape dispenser?” joked another account.

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The news station account compounded their error by not responding well to the online mockery. They deleted the original tweet, and scrubbed the story from their website.

Here’s what was left out of the story

The station responded by clarifying a crucial detail left out of their tweet, and the video posted: the woman had lost her ABC 13 umbrella in the fire and her daughter had specifically asked the station to bring her another umbrella.

“The family was okay with it. They had already been on TV previously about the fire,” explained Flickinger to one angry tweeted. “My visiting the family in South Boston was a welcomed surprise to Mary (who lost her home) and the family made a large gathering of it.”

They posted a copy of the email to prove it:

But it appears too late as they continue to face criticism from snarky commenters on social media.

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“The original story headline should have been worded better,” admitted Flickinger.

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Elon Musk’s Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

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Elon Musk's Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

Okay, let’s just check in on the latest with the Twitter/Elon Musk takeover saga, and where things are placed to close out the week.

According to the latest reports, Musk’s team recently asked Twitter for more tweet info, in order to help it make an accurate assessment of bot activity in the app. This comes after Musk questioned Twitter’s claim that bots and fake accounts make up only 5% of its active user base, and said that his Twitter takeover deal could not go ahead unless Twitter could produce more evidence to support this figure.

Which Twitter did, by providing Musk with access to its ‘full firehose’ of tweets over a given period, which it shared with Musk’s team back on June 8th. Musk’s group has now had that data for a couple of weeks, but this week, it said that this info is not enough to go on, and that it needs even more insight from Twitter to make its judgment.

And after initially resisting calls for more data access, Twitter has now reportedly relented and handed over more tweet data access to Musk’s team.

Which may or may not be a concern, depending on how you see it.

In its initial data dump, Twitter reportedly gave Musk’s team info on:

  • Total user tweets (within a given time period)
  • Data on which devices were used

As noted, Musk’s team says that this has not provided it with the insight that it needs to conduct an accurate analysis of potential bot activity, so Twitter has now provided Musk with more ‘real-time API data’.

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It’s not clear whether that means that Twitter has provided everything that its API systems can provide, but that could mean that Musk’s team can now access:

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  • Real-time info on tweet text and visual elements/attachments
  • Data on retweets, replies, and quote Tweets for each
  • Data on tweet author, mentioned users, tagged locations, hashtag and cashtag symbols, etc
  • Date, time, location, device info

That should satisfy any analytical needs to uncover potential bot trends, and get a better handle on Twitter’s bot problem, though it also means that Musk has all your tweet info – which, again, it’s worth noting, Twitter up till now had been hesitant to provide.

I’m sure it’s fine. Musk’s team is beholden to disclosure laws around such, so it’s not like they can do anything much with that info anyway, in a legal sense. But the idea that the sometimes erratic Elon Musk now has all the tweets could be a little concerning for some.

But Twitter likely had to provide what it can, and if Musk is going to become CEO of the app soon anyway, he’s going to have access to all of that data either way.

But still, given Musk and Co’s past history of undermining and attacking critics, sacking trouble maker employees and digging up potential dirt on rivals, it sits a little uneasy.

Should be fine. No problems – no need to go deleting all your DMs (which are likely not included in the data that Twitter has provided at this stage).

According to reports, Musk’s team says that it now has the info it needs to make its assessment of bot activity, which should see the deal move forward (or not) sometime soon.

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Of course, no one knows what exactly is going to happen next, and whether Musk’s team will look to renegotiate, or even back out of the deal entirely as a result of its bot analysis. But it does seem like, one way or another, Musk will be forced to go ahead with the $44 billion transaction, with Twitter’s past bot reporting methodology already accepted by the SEC, giving it legal grounding to argue that it’s acted in good faith, regardless of what Musk’s team finds.

The next steps then, according to Musk, would be securing debt financing and gaining Twitter shareholder approval, clearing the last hurdles for Musk to change the app’s name to ‘Telsla Social’, and add a million references to ‘420’ into the platforms various terms and conditions.

Because of the memes, because weed jokes are still funny to the richest man in the world – because he vacillates between inspired genius and a massive nerd who now gets to play out some fantasy of being cool.

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Or something. Who knows what goes on in Elon Musk’s head – which is also why most are hesitant to bet against him, as nobody knows if and how he might be able to fix Twitter, and whether this is a great investment or a massive disaster.

It seems like we may soon find out. Maybe. Who knows. Either way, the memes should be great.



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