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Morning Update: The Beyhive Will Not Stand For This

The allegations against Joe Biden, an update on the college admissions scandal, an unnoticed scam

Posted on April 4, 2019, at 8:09 a.m. ET

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Dealing with the allegations of inappropriate contact against Joe Biden

Yesterday, Joe Biden said he’ll be more mindful about interactions and personal space going forward, after multiple women in the last week said that he inappropriately touched them.

In a one-minute video, the former VP did not explicitly apologize, but said “social norms have begun to change” and that he will adjust his behaviour to meet them.

Biden, who is said to be eyeing a presidential run, has come under fire from various fronts. Backers of Donald Trump attempted to ignore the president’s many allegations in order to brand Biden “creepy.”

Rumors tying former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to a shared ticket with Biden have given Abrams power over any potential run by the former VP — and many of Abrams’ supporters want her to use it to stop Biden.

The big picture: Read Katherine Miller’s smart take on the Biden allegations. From the piece: “Everybody already knows what they think about Joe Biden putting his hands on people, because we’ve all seen this happen in public. We’ve seen Biden kiss people at public events! We’ve all had years to think about it!”

Britain’s charity regulator is formally investigating WWF over alleged human rights abuses

In March, a BuzzFeed News report revealed that the World Wide Fund for Nature funds, equips, and works directly with paramilitary forces that have been accused of beating, torturing, sexually assaulting, and murdering scores of people.

Now, the UK Charity Commission says it has opened a formal investigation into the beloved charity’s alleged role in human rights abuses.

SNAPSHOTS

A dad is the first to say he’ll plead guilty in the massive college admissions scandal. Peter Jan Sartorio, an organic packaged food entrepreneur from California, became the first parent among the 33 charged to plead guilty, though it’s unclear as of yet what he’s pleading guilty to.

Trump keeps saying wind turbines cause cancer (they don’t) and can stop you from watching TV (they can’t). The fake “wind turbine syndrome” has long been pushed by online conspiracy theorists who blame the technology for all kinds of illnesses. Now the president is advancing false information, too.

A boy found in Kentucky says he escaped from kidnappers after disappearing eight years ago. Timmothy Pitzen was 6 years old when he disappeared in 2011. Yesterday, a 14-year-old boy told authorities he was Pitzen and that he'd escaped from two men who had been keeping him in captivity, according to a police report.

Rapper Nipsey Hussle’s death has become the subject of a baseless conspiracy theory. One hoax that quickly went viral involves tweets and YouTube videos linking his death to a quack celebrity doctor — despite there being no evidence to the claim.

Someone leaked a photo of Beyoncé’s kids, and the BeyHive is terrified. It’s not yet clear who is responsible for the leak. Beyoncé and her well-known rapper husband are notoriously private about their kids, so Bey’s fanbase went into detective mode. We’ve chosen not to republish the image, so please enjoy this non-invasive, regular photo of Beyonce and her family.

Allen Berezovsky / Getty Images

Facebook didn’t notice a page that ran almost 5,000 ads for a fake rebate scam

One of the significant narratives of the past year has been Facebook’s inability to protect people’s privacy.

That same old story has presented itself again, after an ad scam promising a tax rebate for solar panels targeted users and harvested their personal information. The page frunning the ads was active until Wednesday and spent $2.4 million to run 5,000 ads promising people the fake rebate.

Here’s how the scam appears to have worked: the fake rebate ads referred users to websites that prompted them to enter personal information. The practice is called lead generation, and the personal data it harvests is usually sold to other marketing firms by data brokers.

Facebook took down the pages the ads promoted but only after inquiries from the AP.

The “car alarm challenge” is a bunch of delightful people willing to look stupid together

I’m relieved that at this point in internet culture I don’t have to explain to you that the online world is a weird place, because boy, the internet is a weird place.

Today, it’s my duty to tell you all about a new thing called the car alarm challenge, which involves good people like you and me doing their best impressions of a car alarm noise.

Inspired by a supremely viral, supremely talented woman, the challenge took off and now people everywhere are hitting their throats repeatedly, and what wonder have we wrought here?

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