Morning Update: Joe Biden Is In

Shady Amazon dealings, critics love Endgame, measles outbreak the worst on record since eradication. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, April 25.

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Measles outbreaks are now the worst on record in the US since the disease was eradicated

Before the vaccination program was set up in 1963, 3 to 4 million people would become infected with the disease. Between 400 and 500 of them died.

Fast forward to 2000, and the vaccination program — typically, two shots before the age of 6 — was a success. That year, only 86 cases were reported, and the disease was declared eradicated in the US.

Fast forward again to the present day, and more people have been infected with measles in 2019 than any other year since the eradication of the disease. It is only April.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed 695 cases of measles have been reported in 22 states. Officials in New York, where an outbreak spread to hundreds, said most of the cases are young children who have not been vaccinated.

The CDC says the outbreaks have been driven by misinformation campaigns about the safety of the vaccines.

Joe Biden is running for president

This morning, after months of speculation, Joe Biden formally launched his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Biden starts his bid sitting at the top of the polls, but his campaign will face immediate tests: Everything from his style (it’s been pointed out that he has made women uncomfortable) to his substance (committed to bipartisanship, at a time when some on the left demand purity) scans as old-fashioned at a time of political transformation.

Further reading: Read Ben Smith on what Biden represents. From the piece: “Biden is, again, the stand-in for a generations of Americans disoriented by changing mores.”


Facebook set aside $3 billion for a penalty. Then the company grew by $40 billion. Facebook will set aside $3 billion to cover expenses associated with a fine from the Federal Trade Commission over its privacy practices. All good here, say investors.

A federal court is considering whether to allow Trump’s policy that forces asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico. The federal government hopes to gain a rare victory to keep in place its latest policy to dissuade would-be asylum-seekers from entering the US.

A woman died after she fell into a meat grinder at work. Jill Greninger, 35, died while on the job at a meat processing plant in northern Pennsylvania. Greninger was standing at the top of the stairs next to the machine when the horrific accident occurred.

Britney Spears has responded to conspiracy theories that say she’s being held in a mental health facility against her will. After months of shunning the spotlight, the singer reappeared on social media to deny the conspiracy theories and plead with fans to not believe everything they read.

Movie critics are going nuts over Avengers: Endgame. The early reviews suggest critics have no chill about this movie. Which is good, because no one else has any chill about the movie.

Some Amazon sellers are paying $10,000 a month to trick their way to the top

To run a successful third-party seller business on Amazon, you need to get positive customer reviews, and you need to rank high in search results.

According to documents we obtained, the intense competition between sellers to get better rankings has led to the emergence of a lucrative black market where agents peddle “black hat” services, sometimes obtained by bribing Amazon employees, that purportedly give sellers an advantage over rivals.

The most prominent companies in this black market offer ways for sellers to manipulate Amazon’s ranking system to promote products. One company charges as much as $10,000 a month to help Amazon sellers appear at the top of product search results.

Read Leticia Miranda’s deep dive into this world.

A 45-year-old man shared his emotional reaction to putting on a bandage in his skin tone for the first time

Dominique Apollon told us he took “45 trips around the sun” before discovering an everyday product that was specifically designed “with someone like me in mind.”

That product is a bandage made to match his skin tone. “As a black person, I'm not used to seeing products geared to me,” he told us.

He bought a box of bandages that came in darker shades, and it sat in his home for months, until he got a cut on his pinkie.

Apollon applied the bandage, and he was struck by how emotional he was over the fact that it perfectly blended with his skin. He shared his overwhelmed reaction on Twitter, where it went viral and people connected with his thoughts.

And here’s the photo Apollon shared, with a barely-visible bandage:

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