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Morning Update: June Is The End Of May

Factoring electability into the Democratic race, Facebook's bad content, your weekend longreads. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, May 24.

Posted on May 24, 2019, at 6:33 a.m. ET

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will step down as Tory leader on June 7

After one of the shortest and most turbulent premierships in modern history, Theresa May is stepping aside now that her mission to deliver on the results of the Brexit referendum has ended in failure.

May ran out of runway after her speech this week setting out “bold” terms for her withdrawal agreement was received poorly by members of her own party and the opposition. It was the latest — and last — in a series of escalating defeats.

The prime minister will host President Donald Trump in the first week of June, and will remain in Downing Street until her party elects a successor. Her exit triggers a leadership race with more than 20 candidates expected to vie to be her replacement.

Recommended reading: May was once hailed as “the new Iron Lady.” She leaves office as the leader who “betrayed Brexit.” Read our deep-dive into how she gradually lost authority and control.

Isabel Infantes / AFP / Getty Images

Two stories about the Democratic candidate race

There’s so much focus on the idea of “electability” in the race to be the next presidential candidate for the Democrats: the question of who can beat Donald Trump reigns supreme. In that light:

The first story: Democrats like the idea of a gay president, but they are quietly worried about Mayor Pete. There is evidence that anti-gay bias is likely to be a strong force in the 2020 election.

The second story: Julián Castro, the only Latino running for president, thinks the “electability” fight is missing the point. Castro says it would be a mistake to assume that a white man is the best person to beat Trump in 2020.


Tony Robbins was filmed using racial slurs. The video shows a young Robbins making a presentation to a small crowd in the 1980s, repeatedly using the n-word. He also described how he shocked a woman fan by kissing her after she said his techniques didn’t work.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing more criminal charges in the United States. A grand jury returned a new indictment against Assange adding charges related to his alleged conspiracy with Chelsea Manning to solicit and publish classified government information. Press freedom groups say the charges against Assange are a threat to all journalists.

Congress reached a $19.1 billion disaster aid deal after Trump caved on border funding. The last-minute emergency aid funding deal includes close to $1 billion for Puerto Rico that Trump had objected to. The Senate passed the bill and Trump is expected to sign it by the end of the week.

Amazon filed a patent to record you before you even say “Alexa.” The patent describes a technology that would allow devices to possibly capture, process, and record audio spoken before the wake word for commands like “Play some music, Alexa.”

There’s so much more garbage on Facebook than you even realize, and it’s impossible to keep up

The social media giant released its third Community Standards Enforcement report, and the numbers are staggering.

The company is now tracking metrics for nine policies across the content on its website, including adult nudity and sexual activity, bullying and harassment, child nudity and sexual exploitation of children, fake accounts and hate speech.

Just a few of the numbers:

  • The site has 1.56 billion daily active users and 2.38 billion monthly active users. The company disabled 2.19 billion fake accounts in Q1 2019.

  • Facebook took down 4 million hate speech posts in the same quarter. It says it cannot share the “prevalence” of hate speech yet.

  • There were at least 21 million instances of child nudity and sexual exploitation on Facebook during the last three quarters.

Read Davey Alba’s closer look at the garbage content on Facebook — there’s so much more.

Some longreads for your long weekend

How Carly Rae Jepsen Became The Queen Of Niche Pop. Have you heard Dedicated, CRJ’s new album? I haven’t stopped playing it all week. DJ Louie XIV wrote a great piece on Jepsen’s evolution as an artist: “Jepsen’s devotion to making top-grade classic pop might not have made her an arena headliner, but it granted her something valuable that often eludes far bigger stars: respect.”

Aladdin Is Bad!!! Look, I am still going to see the live-action Aladdin, I’m not going to lie to you about this. But Scaachi Koul’s essay on the movie’s failures doesn’t make me feel very good about it: “Kids love trash, they love being pandered to, they love a catchy song and bright colors, so surely enough of them will like Aladdin just fine. But adults — adults know that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.”

The Jonas Brothers Joke About Their Purity Rings Now. Why Can’t I? The Jonas Brothers are as famous for their bops as they are for the fact that they wore purity rings when they were younger. Now, they joke about it. Leah Johnson explains why it’s not funny to her: “It was understood: Good girls waited. Good girls eventually married good men (who never had to wait) and started good, God-fearing families.”

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.