Morning Update: Sri Lanka's Block On Social Media

Latest on Sri Lanka explosions, Elizabeth Warren's student debt plan, getting a handle on climate change. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, April 23.

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Social media was blocked in Sri Lanka after the deadly Easter attacks

The death toll from a series of bombings in Sri Lanka has been revised from 290 to at least 321 people.

As security forces investigate the explosions, the country has instituted a block on social media to prevent the spread of rumor and disinformation. Websites that track blocked platforms said the ban extended to Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Snapchat, and Viber.

Here’s the thing: Banning social media doesn’t make much sense. There is overwhelming evidence that social media blackouts are not an effective solution to the spread of fabricated information in Sri Lanka.

This is because the country has a long history of heavy-handed media controls. Sri Lankans rely on social media for up-to-date information, including posts that debunk false claims circulated on both social and traditional media.

Here and now: these maps show how climate change has already transformed the Earth

Climate change news can be so overwhelming that we immediately put it in an abstract box — yes, the Earth is warming, but what does that have to do with me?

So we put together a map that lets you remove that abstraction and come face to face with reality.

We often think of climate change as a distant threat — something for future generations to worry about. But as the map shows, almost everywhere on the planet has already warmed noticeably since the middle of last century.

Look at the map, and read about the consequences.


President Donald Trump is suing House Democrats to stop a subpoena to his accountant. Trump brought the lawsuit as a private citizen, not as president, which means he's hired outside lawyers to fight the subpoena; the Justice Department isn't involved, and he isn't raising any executive privilege issues.

Elizabeth Warren wants to cancel student loan debt for millions of Americans. Warren’s plan would completely cancel the student loans for 75% of Americans with debt, according to her campaign.

A controversial study claimed teens abruptly change genders due to peer pressure — but a scathing new critique found the study used shoddy science. The paper was widely cited, particularly in conservative media. Now critics have slammed the study’s methods as deeply flawed.

A woman got 30 days in jail for running over her 9-year-old son after he refused to go to school. Julian, who is in third grade, suffered multiple broken bones and a fractured skull. Tiffany Kosakowski pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless driving causing serious injury.

Samsung just delayed the launch of its $2,000 folding phone after its screen kept breaking. After the screens on several Galaxy Fold review units sent to journalists started failing, Samsung pushed back the April 26 release date. The company said it will take “measures to strengthen the display protection.”

The Royal family has released new pictures of Prince Louis on his first birthday. Yes, they are extremely cute. Here’s one:

Inside the San Diego church where ICE and Border Patrol bring pregnant women

Most people crossing the border into the US have a plan for where they will go. Those who don’t, or don’t have the money to get there, end up staying at a place like Christ Ministry Center.

Christ Ministry is the only long-term shelter in San Diego for people seeking asylum, despite the city’s proximity to one of the busiest border crossings.

For years, ICE and Border Patrol dropped off pregnant women there. The ministry’s founder and reverend, Pastor Bill Jenkins, says 24 babies have been born to women seeking asylum living in the church in the past year — about one every two weeks.

Now, as a record number of families are overwhelming the border, the church is overcrowded and being shut down. Read Ema O’Connor’s excellent piece on losing Christ Ministry.

Here are the best, thirstiest, and most accurate captions to that picture of Andy Samberg, because you deserve it

If I could crack the code for the things that’ll get people on the internet excited, I would be a billionaire. But I am not. I am a mere mortal, always in awe of what makes yer engine fires.

Last week, Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg shared an extraordinarily normal, spectacularly regular photo of himself, with one T-shirt sleeve cuffed, a scruffy beard, and a...nice smile?

Anyway, for some reason, reactions to the photo have been predominantly a forceful thirst; a ravenous attraction to Samberg. You should read the captions.

Meanwhile, here’s the photo:

Hey, how are ya? You caught me just as I was about to watch a new hashtag brooklyn99 tonight on NBC. Oh this shirt? Just something my pal Jorma made me.

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