Morning Update: I Guess You Can Sit With Us

Facebook is in turmoil, France pushes the brakes on fuel taxes, Neil deGrasse Tyson's accusers speak out. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Dec. 6.

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Three stories about Facebook

A central theme of 2018 has been the tension between how massive digital platforms operate and what users expect from them.

The first story: The protests and riots seizing France right now are largely a response to an increase in fuel prices, but as our reporter Ryan Broderick finds, “they’re a beast born entirely out of Facebook.”

Broderick connects “some of the worst riots in many years — and in Paris, the worst in half a century” to changes that Facebook made to its algorithm this year.

The second: Newly published confidential documents shed light on why Facebook spent a staggering $19 billion to buy WhatsApp in 2014.

As Facebook was making messaging a core service, WhatsApp was putting up numbers that demonstrated it could compete on Facebook’s most important battleground.

And finally: If you think all these stories are getting to people at Facebook, you would be correct. Mark Zuckerberg’s biggest problem is that the company’s internal tensions are reaching a boiling point.

France is scrapping the tax at the heart of the recent protests

After weeks of demonstrations over rising fuel costs, the French government is giving up on trying to push through a new tax on gasoline.

The price hike was intended to help wean French drivers off fossil fuels. After it was met with widespread unrest, the government pledged to delay its implementation by six months. Now, it’s completely off the table.

👉 It’s not a sure thing that the tax’s cancellation will spell the end of the protests.

👉Something to think about: Big, showy climate change conferences are cool, but this episode demonstrates how difficult it can be to enact policies meant to tackle the problem.


President Trump awkwardly sat with all the living ex-presidents and first ladies at George H.W. Bush’s funeral. Trump was seated in a row of people he has repeatedly insulted: Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Jimmy Carter. Watch the tension as he arrived.

A Border Patrol agent has been indicted for capital murder in the deaths of four women. Authorities said Juan David Ortiz confessed to the killings. He’s been jailed since Sept. 15. The charges make him eligible for the death penalty.

A college student in Florida was arrested for threatening to kill a professor for scheduling a 7 a.m. final. Rafael Decomas, 20, has been charged with intimidation after he tweeted he was “gern fucking kill dis professor” because of the early-morning exam. He told police he had no real intent to harm anyone.

A baby tiger that was used in a Logan Paul YouTube video has led to criminal charges. “It’s not a great idea, but it’s definitely entertainment,” Paul said in the video of his pet dog meeting the big cat. Now, a man has been charged with illegally possessing and mistreating the tiger cub.

People are angry the Cut published an article that said Priyanka Chopra is a scam artist. The article's argument is that Chopra's marriage to Nick Jonas is purely a career move. Many argued the piece was xenophobic and racist in its portrayal of South Asian women marrying Western men.

Jessica Simpson called out Natalie Portman on Twitter for what appears to have been a huge misunderstanding. Portman commented on the weird standards of the early ’00s, when she felt women were expected to be both virginal and sexual, citing Simpson as an example. Simpson appears to have taken the remarks personally.

Nobody believed Neil deGrasse Tyson’s accuser. Now there are three more.

When Tchiya Amet said the prominent scientist drugged and raped her in the 1980s, no one took her seriously. There have been a few stories about her claims, but they received little attention.

Now, three more women have come forward with their own stories.

Amet’s story has since spread far and wide, prompting Fox Broadcasting Company, which produces Tyson’s show Cosmos, and National Geographic, which airs it, to announce an official investigation.

Tyson issued a 1,600-word statement on Facebook, confirming many of the details of two allegations. He apologized, and described his behavior as misunderstood displays of affection. However, he denied raping Amet and suggested she’s experiencing a “false memory.”

We spoke with the women who came forward, including one who is going public for the first time. Their stories are well worth your time.

9 YA authors on why Twilight was important

I was a bit floored by the response I received from readers about a throwaway Twilight joke I made a few weeks ago — clearly, more than a decade later, the fandom of the series is alive and well.

Perhaps by way of recompense, we’re revisiting the topic today.

We spoke with nine authors who reflected on the legacy of the massive franchise and how it changed YA forever.

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