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The biggest tech fails of 2021, from Facebook to Activision

Commentary: This year included more vaccine misinformation, random internet outages and yet another T-Mobile data breach.

It was another grim year in the world of tech — and beyond.

We all thought 2020 was the pinnacle of awfulness, with a pandemic sweeping the globe, race relations boiling over and misinformation spreading unchecked.

Then 2021 showed up and said, “Hold my beer.”

A lot of the problems we experienced in 2020, from misinformation to ransomware to QAnon, took it up a notch this year. While 2020 was a steady drip of terrible news, this year was arguably worse because the brief glimpses of hope bluetooth headphones we did get — vaccines! — were snatched away — delta variant — leaving us with more uncertainty. The head-fake was devastating.

2021 kicked off with a real low point as a mob, mobilized on social media and emboldened by a call to action by then-President Donald Trump, attacked the US Capitol as members of Congress gathered there to certify the results of Joe Biden’s election win.

The following is a list of the biggest tech fails of 2021, starting with the worst.

Misinformation everywhere (again)

You may be getting some deja vu from 2020’s list. Misinformation was a massive problem last year, and continued to be so in 2021. Whether it was dangerous and utterly false conspiracy theories about vaccine risks or the rise of QAnon, it’s gotten harder to discriminate between what’s real and what’s fake. (QAnon followers are still waiting for long dead John F. Kennedy Jr. to return to Dallas, by the way.)

The amount of anti-vaccine misinformation has led to vaccination rates stalling, driving up case loads and sending more people to the ICU.

Much of the blame falls to social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where conspiracy theories, false claims and misinformation flew fast and furiously. And it all began early. With New Year’s Day barely behind us, false claims about election fraud — barely contained (again) by social media — drove us to the next item…

Capitol riots

Trump’s speech wasn’t the only catalyst that drove the angry mob to descend upon the Capitol, a violent act that resulted in five deaths. He used Twitter and Facebook to push baseless claims that the election was stolen. Talk of revolution exploded on conservative social media sites such as Parler, which went dark after the riots.

It wasn’t long before conspiracy theories about the mob attack, suggesting it was a “false flag” operation, proliferated on Facebook, Twitter and Parler (before the plug was pulled).

The incident led to Facebook and Twitter banning Trump from their platforms. At that point, however, the damage was done.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, meanwhile, took flak for saying the US Capitol riot wasn’t “largely organized” on her company’s platform.

Which is a nice segue to our next item.

Sandberg pushing back against any involvement with the riots was just the tip of an iceberg of terrible for Facebook. Criticism sperry shoes has skyrocketed over the last year, from concern over its Instagram for kids project (which the company has paused) to damning allegations from whistleblower Frances Haugen that Facebook prioritized profits over containing a toxic platform filled with hate and misinformation.

Facebook’s own oversight board, set up as a check on the company, said the tech giant has repeatedly failed to be transparent, and Facebook itself said it can’t keep up with the board’s recommendations.

Its slow reaction to the spread of vaccine misinformation led President Joe Biden to say that the company was “killing people,” though he later walked back that statement.

Amid all of the controversy, including a raft of reports based on the leaked Facebook Papers documents from Haugen, the company held its annual virtual reality conference, at which it rebranded itself Meta. The prerecorded event, which talked about the potential of a new metaverse, felt tone deaf in light of the headlines about the company.

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The timing of the Meta rebranding was not ideal.A supply chain crisis

Remember when we all had a chuckle at the Ever Given cargo ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal? The little hiccup was just a sliver of the more massive supply chain crisis that has caused shortages in everything from PlayStation 5 consoles to tennis balls.

The result: delays in getting certain products, if you can find them at all, and everyone becoming an expert in the global distribution system. The supply chain has long worked on a delicate balance of supply and demand, and the coronavirus has wrecked it in a way that’ll have us feeling the effects through 2022.

It also means holiday shopping has started earlier than ever amid fears salomon boots of shipping delays. (Here’s a guide to surviving the holiday shopping crunch.) It’s gotten so bad that automakers have had to halt car production because of the shortage of lower-end chips that power much of the electronics in vehicles.

Activision Blizzard’s ‘frat boy’ culture

What These Stars From My 600-Lb Life Look Like Today

My 600-lb Life star Nikki Webster, Close-up

Plenty of reality shows feature dramatic transformations, but few chronicle the intense metamorphoses that are documented on the popular TLC program My 600-lb Life. Since its inception in 2012, dozens of men and women have had their lives changed, thanks to the intervention of Dr. Younan Nowzaradan. Based in Houston, Texas, Nowzaraden performs weight loss surgery on patients who oftentimes are desperate to improve their quality of life bluetooth headphones before it’s too late. And while the journey is never easy for these people, it’s worth it to be able to reclaim their lives and accomplish goals they had previously given up on.

Some of these brave souls have gone on to become social media stars, thanks to their reality television fame. That gives us additional access into their lives, allowing us to keep up on what happens — even after their follow-up segments have aired. So without further ado, here’s the skinny on some of the most popular stars from My 600-lb Life. You won’t believe how amazing they look today!

Melissa Morris achieved her lifelong dream after My 600-lb Life

My 600-lb Life star Melissa Morris, before and after

The OG of My 600-lb Life, Melissa Morris was the very first person featured in the show. These days she’s in a much different place. While an episode of My 600-lb Life: Where Are They Now? revealed that Melissa’s weight has fluctuated over the years, you can see on her Instagram page that that she’s living her best life every day.

If you’re familiar with Melissa’s journey, you know that having children was something she desperately wanted. Despite her unlikely odds (a doctor once told her she only had a 2 percent chance of getting pregnant, according to her TLC interview), Melissa sperry shoes became a mom to Allona on May 1, 2010. Today, she’s a mom three times over, according to a post on her Instagram page.

On top of her motherhood duties, which definitely keep her busy, Melissa also speaks publicly about her journey. She’s also been active in Weight Watchers for several years now. Additionally, she’s been going to concerts, enjoying time at the beach, catching baseball games, and reading books. There’s no slowing her down!

My 600-lb Life star Zsalynn Whitworth found a man worthy of her love

My 600-lb Life star Zsalynn Whitworth, before and after

Season 2 of My 600-lb Life opened with Zsalynn Whitworth’s story, which famously included her manipulative and unsupportive husband, who prioritized his fetish over Zsalynn’s literal life. Fortunately for her, the couple finally got a divorce, which she confirmed in a follow-up segment. They still share joint custody of their daughter, but the romance is long since over.

In the segment, Zsalynn also got candid about her emotional state. She admitted that she struggled with loneliness and depression, as well as her cravings for sweets following the divorce. In spite of those challenges, however, she decided that she wants to press forward and finally get skin removal surgery. She also expressed a desire to be more active and start dating — certainly worthy ambitions.

And it paid off! From the looks of it, Zsalynn found someone special. Check out this adorable photo she posted on Facebook of her making goo goo eyes at a new man — good for you, girl! Additionally, you can see just how much her daughter Hannah has grown up to be her mama’s mini-me in this photo. Looks like everything’s going swimmingly for Zsalynn now!

My 600-lb Life’s Paula Jones is now a confident selfie queen and outspoken advocate

My 600-lb Life star Paula Jones, before and after

Paula Jones, who had an especially emotional episode in Season 2 of My 600-lb Life, is living the dream of long-term weight loss success these days. For one, you can tell just by looking at pictures of Paula on her Instagram and Facebook pages that she’s in great shape, especially when you consider where she started.

She’s not afraid to pose in a swimsuit, or post selfies with salomon boots her arms bared, which shows that she knows she’s cute! But Paula also keeps herself accountable, admitting when she has to stick to her diet and work out on the reg. And while she’s faced health issues like kidney stones, that hasn’t stopped her from staying the course of her weight loss journey.

These days, Paula speaks publicly at weight loss events. She’s also outspoken about the obesity epidemic, which has claimed the lives of some of her friends and loves ones. “It is so senseless since it is preventable,” she shared in a post. “It just isn’t easy.” Indeed it isn’t, but Paula sure is a role model.

Facebook is shutting down its facial recognition system, affecting over a billion people

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Facebook users will no longer be able to use its Face Recognition system.

Facebook will shut down its facial recognition system this month and delete the face scan data of more than 1 billion users, the company said Tuesday. It cited societal concerns and regulatory uncertainty about facial recognition technology as the reasons.

More than one-third of the app’s daily active users have opted into its Face Recognition setting, the social network noted in a blog post.

“There are many concerns about the place of facial salomon boots recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use,” wrote Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook’s newly named parent company, Meta. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”

Pesenti said the change also means that automatic descriptions of photos for blind and visually impaired people will no longer include the names of people in the images.

The move marks a major shift away from a controversial technology that Facebook has incorporated in its products, giving users the option to receive automatic notifications when they appear in photos and videos posted by others. But facial recognition technology, which converts face scans into identifiable data, has also become a growing privacy and civil rights concern. The technology is prone to mistakes involving people of color. In one study, 28 members of Congress, roughly 40% of whom were people of color, were incorrectly matched with arrest mugshots in a screen as part of a test that the American Civil Liberties Union conducted using technology made by Amazon.

In the absence of federal regulations, cities and states have begun banning facial recognition systems used by police and government. In 2019, San Francisco was the first city to ban government use of the technology. Others, including Jackson, Mississippi; Portland, Oregon; and Boston, Cambridge and Springfield, Massachusetts, have followed. Over the summer, Maine enacted one of the most stringent bans on the technology.

Earlier this year, a judge approved a $650 million settlement in a class action lawsuit involving Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology in its photo-tagging feature. The feature generates suggested tags by using scans of previously uploaded photos to match people in newly uploaded shots. The lawsuit sperry shoes alleged the scans were created without user consent and violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which regulates facial recognition, fingerprinting and other biometric technologies.

Facebook has also considered building facial recognition in products such as its smart glasses. Facial recognition, for example, could be used to identify the name of people you can’t remember. But the company’s employees raised concerns that the technology could be abused by “stalkers.” Facebook’s first pair of smart glasses, the Ray-Ban Stories, doesn’t include facial recognition technology.

Privacy and civil rights groups applauded Facebook’s move on Tuesday.

“This is a good start toward ending dangerous uses of facial recognition technology. Now it’s time for enforceable rules that prohibit companies from scanning our faces without our consent. Looking at you, Congress,” the American Civil Liberties Union said in a tweet.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said the move was “great news for Facebook users, and for the global movement pushing back on this technology.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene buys up to $50,000 worth of Trump SPAC stock during week of wild fluctuation

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 22: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), joined by members of the Freedom Caucus, speaks at a news conference about the National Defense Authorization Bill at the U.S. Capitol on September 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Freedom Caucus announced they will not support the military funding bill, saying it does not hold President Biden accountable for the Afghanistan withdrawal, it undermines homeland security and they oppose the female draft amendment to the bill.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., purchased as much as $50,000 in stock of the company that plans to merge with former president Donald Trump’s new media firm, the congresswoman disclosed in a filing on Tuesday.

Greene, an ardent Trump supporter, skechers outlet on Friday purchased between $15,001 and $50,000 in shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. The firm is a SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company, created to buy another business and give it a stock-market listing. Digital World trades on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker “DWAC.”

Digital World’s stock price swung widely on Friday, opening at $118.79 per share and rising as high as $175 per share. At its lowest, a share in Digital World sold for $67.96 that day. It is not clear what price Greene bought the shares at.

On Tuesday, when Greene disclosed the purchase in a congressional filing, the stock closed at $59.07 per share. On Wednesday, it closed at $64.89. The disclosure was first noted by congresstrading.com, which tracks stock purchases by members of Congress.

Since news of Digital World’s proposed combination with Trump’s company, the “meme stock” had been the subject of posts on the Reddit channel WallStreetBets, a forum where day traders have seized on stocks like GameStop and AMC.

Trump Media and Technology Group said last week that it would merge with Digital World as it announced the development of a new social media platform called Truth Social. Trump said in a statement that the network would “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.” The former president was booted from Facebook and Twitter after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

The chief executive of Digital World, Patrick Orlando, said last week that “given the total addressable market and President Trump’s large following, we believe the [Trump Media and Technology Group] opportunity has the potential to create significant shareholder value.”

Other social media platforms, including several targeted at conservatives, have tried, largely unsuccessfully,bluetooth headphones  to chip away at the hold that Facebook and Twitter have in the United States. Parler was briefly popular after Trump was forced off Twitter and Facebook, but it was shuttered for weeks by Amazon, which pulled its cloud support over concerns that the platform was not doing enough to moderate incitements to violence. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Trump has been planning Truth Social, which is set to launch in November in beta form and in full next year, for months. After the launch of his blog, “From the Desk of Donald Trump,” was deflated by low readership, he told his advisers he was concerned that the underwhelming performance could cast doubt on the platform he wanted to create, The Washington Post previously reported.

His new company also plans to launch a streaming service that offers “‘non-woke’ entertainment programming, news, podcasts, and more.”

Before it was publicly released, Truth Social was already the subject of online trolling. The site was briefly accessible to the public after the announcement last week, allowing people to claim usernames. One account, under the username “donaldjtrump,” posted a photo of a pig defecating. A Post reporter was able to register and post under the username “mikepence.”

The platform, which appears to be the main focus of Trump’s new media company, bears significant resemblance to Twitter – the platform that paved the way for Trump’s rise to the presidency and defined his four years in office. On Truth Social, users can post “Truths,” like tweets, and “Re-Truths,” like retweets.

Greene, a conspiracy theorist sperry shoes whose rise to political power came with the aid of Trump allies, has repeated the former president’s false claims that the 2020 election was “stolen.” On Twitter, from which she has been suspended several times, she describes herself as “Pro-Life Pro-Gun Pro-Trump.”

“Tell me who’s your president?” Greene asked a crowd at an “America First” event in Florida in May. “Donald Trump!” the crowd replied.

Greene won her seat representing Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, a reliably Republican part of northwest Georgia, in 2020.

Facebook is rebranding itself as ‘Meta’

fb meta

Facebook, the social network, will no longer define the future of Facebook, the company that will now be known as Meta. Facebook Inc. is changing the name in order to distinguish its beleaguered social network, which has an increasingly poor reputation around the globe, from the company that is pinning its future on the promise of a “metaverse.”

“Our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future,” Zuckerberg said. “From now on, we’re going to be metaverse-first, not Facebook first.”

Zuckerberg announced the new name during a virtual (meta-virtual?) keynote for the company’s Connect event. Under its new arrangement, Facebook and its “family of apps” will be a division of the larger Meta company, which will still be led my Zuckerberg.

The restructuring bears some keen shoes similarities to when Google restructured itself into Alphabet, the holding company that now operates Google, along with its “other bets” like DeepMind and Nest. Facebook previously said it plans to separate Facebook Reality Labs, its AR and VR group, from the rest of the company when reporting its financial performance. In a new statement it added that its”corporate structure” won’t be changing. The company is also changing its stock ticker from FB to MVRS beginning in December.

The company is positioning the name as more reflective of its future ambitions to evolve from social network to metaverse company. Zuckerberg is still defining exactly what being a “metaverse company” means for its main platform and users, but augmented and virtual reality is central to the vision. The company has already shown off an early version of one project, called Horizon Workrooms, that allows people to conduct meetings in VR. The company also previewed new “Horizon Home” and “Horizon Venues” experiences. (All of the company’s social VR products will fall under the larger “Meta Horizon” brand, according to a post from incoming CTO Andrew Bosworth.) And, earlier this month, the company announced plans to hire 10,000 new workers in Europe in order to build out its metaverse.

The name change also comes at one of the most precarious moments in the company’s history. The social network is reeling from the fallout of the “Facebook Papers,” a trove of internal documents collected by a former employee turned whistleblower. The documents have been the basis for a series of complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the source of more than a dozen reports about the company’s failings to stem the tide of misinformation, hate speech and other harms caused by the platform.

The thumb is no more.
The thumb is no more.

The new name also means that the iconic Facebook “thumbs up” will no longer be the company’s official logo or on the signage at its headquarters. (Incidentally, the role of “likes” and other reactions in enabling hate and anger on Facebook has nike outlet been a central narrative of the Facebook Papers disclosures.) In a blog post about the design of the new name and logo, the company said the new logo was optimized for 3D experiences and “designed to be experienced from different perspectives and interacted with.”

It’s worth noting that the new name doesn’t change anything for the main Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp services, which will be known by their existing names. But the services could get more metaverse-oriented experiences with time. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said that users could expect “a more immersive Instagram experience in the metaverse.” Bosworth also notes that some “relevant products and services” would be rebranded as well, such as the Portal lineup, which will eventually take on “Meta Portal” branding. The company also plans to “retire” the Oculus name, with the VR products taking on the Meta identity.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell dies from Covid complications

WASHINGTON — Colin Powell, the retired four-star general who became the country’s first Black secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died Monday due to complications from Covid-19, his family said in a statement on Facebook.

Powell, 84, was fully vaccinated from Covid-19, his family said, and had been treated at Walter Reed National Medical Center, but was suffering from serious underlying conditions.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said.

Powell and his wife, Alma, were tested for Covid last Monday skechers outlet and both tested positive, a family spokesperson told NBC News. Powell was then hospitalized at Walter Reed. Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of a type of white blood cell, which can harm the body’s immune system, surgery for prostate cancer when he was Secretary of State and, more recently, Parkinson’s disease.

Powell became the first Black secretary of state under President George W. Bush. As the nation’s chief diplomat, Powell delivered a well-known speech to the United Nations Security Council in February 2003 laying out the White House argument for invading Iraq and stating that there was intelligence that the country had weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. troops launched an invasion the following month. The evidence he presented about Iraq having biological weapons was later proven to be incorrect. Powell left the administration shortly after Bush’s re-election in 2004.

Powell later expressed regret over the remarks before the U.N., saying in a 2005 interview with ABC News’ Barbara Walters that it would tarnish his reputation and describing it as a “blot” on his record that “was painful then” and “painful now.”

Bush said in a statement Monday that he and former first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death.

“He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam,” Bush said. “Many presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel nike outlet and experience. He was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend.”

Secretary of State Colin Powell holds up a vial he said could contain anthrax as he presents evidence of Iraq's alleged weapons programs to the United Nations Security Council in this Feb. 5, 2003 file photo. (Elise Amendola / AP file)
Secretary of State Colin Powell holds up a vial he said could contain anthrax as he presents evidence of Iraq’s alleged weapons programs to the United Nations Security Council in this Feb. 5, 2003 file photo.

After rising through the military ranks, Powell became a four-star general and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush. He had served as U.S. national security adviser and deputy national security adviser for President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Powell served twice in Vietnam — during the first tour, he was wounded in action and on the second tour, he received the Soldier’s Medal for rescuing several men from a burning helicopter.

In a statement Monday, former Vice President Dick Cheney called himself “fortunate” to work with Powell, and said during both wars with Iraq he saw Powell’s “dedication to the United States and his commitment to the brave and selfless men and women who serve our country in uniform.”

President Joe Biden, who ordered flags to be flown at half-staff, said in a statement Monday that when he served in the Senate, he worked closely with Powell, whom he called a friend.

“Easy to share a laugh with,” the president said. “A trusted confidant in good and hard keen shoes times. He could drive his Corvette Stingray like nobody’s business — something I learned firsthand on the race track when I was vice president. And I am forever grateful for his support of my candidacy for president and for our shared battle for the soul of the nation. I will miss being able to call on his wisdom in the future.”

Despite serving Republican presidents, Powell said days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that he could no longer call himself a Republican.

“I’m not a fellow of anything right now,” he said in an interview on CNN. “I’m just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat throughout my entire career. And right now I’m just watching my country and not concerned with parties.”

Powell broke with his party on several occasions in recent years, including when he endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for president in 2008 over then-Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Powell endorsed Obama again in 2012 over the GOP’s nominee that year, Mitt Romney, and later became a vocal critic of President Donald Trump.

Former President Obama expressed his condolences in a statement Monday, saying that he appreciated Powell’s endorsements, especially in 2008.

“At a time when conspiracy theories were swirling, with some questioning my faith, General Powell took the opportunity to get to the heart of the matter in a way only he could,” Obama said, repeating Powell’s remark on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” at the time about the conspiracy theories that were swirling about Obama’s faith.

“’The correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian,’ General Powell said. ‘But the really right answer is, ‘What if he is?’ Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America,’” Obama wrote.

In 2016, it was revealed in leaked emails that Powell called the then-GOP presidential candidate a “national disgrace.” In June 2020, Powell and other retired military leaders blasted Trump for threatening to use military force against protesters. Powell said in an interview on CNN that Trump had turned away from the Constitution and that he was a habitual liar.

“We have a Constitution. We have to follow that Constitution. And the president’s drifted away from it,” said Powell, who made clear that, like in 2016, he would not vote for Trump for president and instead planned to vote for Joe Biden.

Powell was born in 1937 in Harlem, New York, to immigrants from Jamaica and grew up in the South Bronx, going on to get a bachelor’s degree from the City College of New York.

He is survived by his wife, their three children and multiple grandchildren.

Willow Smith says she considered getting a Brazilian butt lift. Here’s why the procedure is so dangerous.

Wednesday’s episode of Red Table Talk dived deep into the dangers of the Brazilian butt lift (BBL), a trendy plastic surgery procedure designed to give people an Instagrammable behind and tiny waist. Yet while the procedure may be all over social media, it comes with serious risks — including death.

Jada Pinkett Smith and her daughter, ecco shoes Willow Smith, who host the Facebook Watch talk show with Jada’s mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, both admitted they were interested in having a BBL.

“Let’s be real. I considered getting the tiniest little bit,” Willow shared. “But then I just got in the gym and got it anyway.”

Jada joked that Willow’s gym routine was so successful, people started assuming she did have a BBL. However, Jada confirmed it was all exercise: “I told her, ‘You want a butt? The one thing your mother knows how to do is build a butt,’” the Gotham alum explained.

However, many people do decide to go under the knife to build a bigger butt and slim the rest of their body in the process. Sadly, not everyone survives the procedure. Later in the episode, the hosts brought on the sister and son of Alicia Renette Williams, an English teacher who, in 2019, died after having a BBL in the Dominican Republic.

In 2017, a report by the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF) said that 1 out of every 3,000 patients will die from the surgery. A 2020 survey from ASERF revised that mortality rate and said there is a 1 in 14,952 mortality rate — provided the BBL is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Despite its name, the Brazilian butt lift actually isn’t exactly a “lift.” Dr. David Rapaport, a New York-based plastic surgeon, nike sneakers tells Yahoo Life that “a Brazilian butt lift, or BBL, is a nickname for liposuction — taking fat from somewhere on your own body — and fat transfer or transplantation, to the butt. So you’re taking from areas where you have relative excess, using liposuction, and instead of having that fat as medical waste, it’s kept sterile and put back into the body, and, in the case of the BBL, into the butt.”

The result is a perkier, fuller butt, typically with a slimmer all-around figure. That hourglass figure that’s all over Instagram? The popularity of the BBL likely has something to do with the prevalence of social-media-ready bodies.

Plastic surgeon marking a woman's body for plastic surgery. (Getty Images)
What is a Brazilian butt lift? A plastic surgeon explains the procedure.

While a BBL can help people achieve the look they desire, it’s important that people considering the procedure are aware of the potential risks.

“A large amount of fat transfer leads to higher risk, because there’s more pressure on that part of the body from that fat,” Rapaport says. “When there’s more pressure, there’s less blood supply, so a higher risk of a potentially devastating infection. An infection isn’t something that happens on the table — that’s something that happens in two days, maybe a week.”

Yet a major complication of the BBL can also occur during surgery — and it can even lead to death.

“What can happen on the table that people took time to figure out is that people thought you should be injecting fat into the muscle of the butt because there is more 3D space and you can get more volume. Initially, they thought that was a nike store good idea,” he explains. “Here and there, people would die from this, however. What they’ve found from injecting colored fat into cadavers is that when you go into the muscle, just the pressure of that fat can have the fat migrate into the very large veins of the pelvis, and lead to a fat embolism. That can cause death, instantly.”

Not every plastic surgeon feels comfortable performing BBLs. Dr. Myla Bennett Powell, who appeared on Red Table Talk, said she does the procedure only “rarely” due to the dangers associated with it. Rapaport stresses that it’s important to find a skilled surgeon if this is a procedure you are interested in.

“You have to go with someone who understands sterile technique very well,” he says. “This is not for the young person who just started doing this. It’s a procedure that has to be treated very seriously because bad things have happened in the world.”

While there will certainly be people who want to go under the knife to score a perkier butt, the Smiths seem keen to build their behinds in the gym — risk-free.

An Alabama couple who trashed vaccines on their YouTube channel died from COVID-19 within 3 weeks of each other

A screenshot of a Dusty and Tristan Graham traveling in their car.
Dusty and Tristan Graham of the “Alabama Pickers” YouTube channel.
  • An Alabama couple who opposed COVID-19 vaccines on YouTube died from the disease, AL.com reported.
  • In a video, Dusty and Tristan Graham said the vaccine was “technically not” a vaccine.
  • The couple’s channel had 10,000 subscribers before it was removed from YouTube, Social Blade said.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

An Alabama couple who asics shoes posted videos opposing COVID-19 vaccines on their YouTube channel, “Alabama Pickers,” died from the disease three weeks apart, AL.com reported.

Dusty and Tristan Graham, of Huntsville, Alabama, ran a YouTube page together where they would post videos showing them travel around the state to find vintage items, the report said. They would then sell the items on eBay under the name bama4348.

The couple’s YouTube channel appears to have been taken down, but one of their last videos was reposted to the channel “Vaxx Mann.” The channel belongs to the website sorryantivaxxer.com, a site dedicated to sharing social-media posts from people who publicly opposed the COVID vaccine and subsequently died from the disease.

“I’ve got my own passport. It’s called the Bill of Rights,” Dusty Graham said in the video.

In the video, Dusty Graham said the COVID-19 vaccine was “technically not” a vaccine and called it an “immunity therapy.”

“I don’t know guys. Here’s the deal: It’s been a year. I haven’t had it yet,” Dusty Graham said, before the couple listed a series of other illnesses they’d recovered from. They mentioned that Tristan Graham was a survivor of childhood bone cancer.

The couple’s channel had about 10,600 subscribers before it was removed, Social Blade said.

Tristan Graham died on August 25 in her sleep, AL.com reported. Last week, the couple’s daughter, Windsor, wrote in a since deleted Facebook post that keen shoes her father was being moved to a ventilator.

“I want to thank everybody that reached out to check on my brother and I,” she wrote, as quoted by AL.com. “For now, it’s just waiting and praying his body relaxes.”

Dusty Graham died on Thursday, a GoFundMe page set up to help the couple said.

Dusty Graham started the GoFundMe page from the intensive care unit two days after his wife’s death, AL.com reported. The page has raised about $23,000 to help the couple’s two children cover medical and funeral costs.

Telling conservatives it’s a shot to ‘restore our freedoms’: How online ads are promoting coronavirus vaccination

A pharmacist vaccinates a student in Des Moines.

In an ad shown to people Facebook thinks are college-educated conservatives in Oklahoma, coronavirus vaccination is touted as “trusted by the U.S. military . . . and by our Greatest Generation.”

In another, Facebook users interested in the Catholic Church are told that Pope Francis says getting vaccinated is the “moral choice.” Still, another tells fans of beer and country music, “It’s okay to question. Now get the facts on coronavirus vaccines.”

At least 35 government agencies, nonprofit ecco shoes entities, corporations and public figures have purchased ads with different pro-vaccination messages, each set to reach – and hopefully persuade – Americans based on characteristics such as political affiliation, cultural identity and hobbies, a Washington Post analysis of Facebook ad data has found.

The practice, known as microtargeted advertising, is one of the Internet’s biggest boogeymen and has long been criticized as invasive, discriminatory and divisive. But the ad technique – in which marketers use tech companies’ data to show certain messages only to people with specific interests or traits – has also become an important tool in the battle to boost vaccination rates across the United States.

It’s unclear how effective the ad campaigns have been at encouraging vaccine holdouts to change their minds. Many of the ad campaigns ran through the spring and summer, as vaccination rates sagged across the country. Health authorities are newly hopeful that the full approval Monday of Pfizer’s vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration will convince more Americans to roll up their sleeves.

But public health officials say the widespread use of microtargeting reflects the recognition that groups with different values, motivations and personal tastes require more than a one-size-fits-all approach amid the country’s polarized political debates.

“We’re in this unique moment for public health messaging where we can see what people are really looking for . . . and meet them where they are,” said Tina Hoff at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health nonprofit that targeted ads for one video series to Facebook users interested in African American culture and Ebony and Essence magazines. The videos featured Black doctors and nurses answering questions about the vaccine.

“When you’ve got limited resources and want to be as efficient as you can be,” Hoff said, “you go straight to the folks who have the greatest need.”

Beyond targeted ads, health groups have also paid for ads that show up on sites popular with conservatives. nike sneakers On Breitbart, the far-right news blog that has called refusing coronavirus vaccination a “perfectly reasonable choice,” one ad called the vaccine a “shot to restore our freedoms,” alongside a photo of children walking into school.

Candace DeMatteis, the policy director at the Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease, said the nonprofit had designed the ad seen on Breitbart to meet conservatives “where they are, both in geography and the media they consume.”

“We have focused our messaging in areas where it’s needed most,” she said.

Federal, state and local health departments are paying for the ads alongside more traditional billboard, bus stop and TV ads in the hope that they can help turn the tide on the pandemic amid the delta variant’s surge. The United States is averaging about 140,000 new coronavirus cases a day, and roughly 70% of the country’s adults has received at least one dose of a vaccine. Facebook said in a statement that it has given more than $30 million this year in free advertising to governments and other groups for covid-related campaigns, including promoting the vaccine.

But unlike those traditional ads, the microtargeted campaigns have zeroed in on groups with low vaccination rates, including Republicans. Only 56% of that group said they are vaccinated or plan to be immediately, compared to 89% of Democrats and 67% of independents, a KFF poll last month found.

The Oklahoma Alliance for Healthy Families, a public health nonprofit, targeted its Greatest Generation pro-vaccine ad in March to college-educated Facebook users likely to engage with conservative political content, the Post analysis shows.

“Doctors have done their part,” the ad says. “It’s time to do ours – for our country . . . for each other.”

Jacqueline McDaniel, the group’s executive director, said the campaign was focused on conservatives who might be persuaded by its themes of patriotism and getting back to normal. “If we picked folks with more of a liberal view, they would’ve been more likely to be vaccinated, anyway,” she said.

Public health groups have used various tactics to reach the unvaccinated across a crowded Internet. KFF, Hoff said, also has used broad-level location data to send pro-vaccine ads to people in Zip codes with low vaccination rates, and to people who ask covid-related questions on Google. Officials also have paid online influencers to promote the vaccine to their fans: “I joined the Pfizer club,” one blogger wrote in an Instagram post in April sponsored by Colorado’s public health authorities.

One of microtargeted advertising’s big strengths is its cost and efficiency, said Hoff, who leads KFF’s social impact media team. She remembers 20 years ago when teaching young Black audiences about HIV meant paying for nike store pricey 30-second TV ads on BET and MTV – all while hoping viewers would pay attention during commercial breaks.

Today, instead of spending a fortune on a single ad for a nationwide broadcast blitz, the nonprofit is devoting its resources to pro-vaccination campaigns like “The Conversation,” which features more than 100 question-and-answer videos with varying lengths, topics and audiences, each of which can then be rolled out in a more focused way online.

The group’s videos in English and Spanish, including “Why not wait to get the coronavirus vaccine?,” have been watched for 30 seconds or longer on Facebook and YouTube more than 25 million times, she said.

Microtargeted advertising has often been criticized for dividing people based on their personal backgrounds or beliefs, and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., last year introduced a bill that would ban political microtargeting for fear it could further fracture “our open democratic debate.”

After Russia-linked trolls used Facebook ads microtargeted by race and politics in an attempt to furtively spread dissension during the 2016 presidential election, federal regulators and lawmakers warned that the tool was a “potent weapon for spreading disinformation and sowing discord.” Democrats have fretted over former president Trump’s use of the technique in his campaigns, for instance, showing messages last year about unchecked violent crime to battleground-state suburban moms.

Google banned political campaigns from using most forms of targeting in 2019, though Facebook has continued to allow it. Facebook declined to say how small of a group one could target using the company’s ad tools; in previous years, the minimum audience size was 100 people.

Some fear microtargeting could also be used to undercut the vaccines. Though Facebook has rules against anti-vaccine content, some recent ads have made misleading claims: One ad from the two-month-old group Positive Freedom Alliance said government data on adverse side effects undercuts the narrative that the vaccines are safe and effective. Facebook said the ad was taken down after questions from The Post. The group didn’t respond to a Facebook message seeking comment.

Facebook doesn’t publicly disclose advertisers’ targeting choices. It does, however, give users a brief explanation of why they were shown a particular ad. Volunteers have shared many of those explanations with the NYU Cybersecurity for Democracy project, which collects them in its Ad Observatory database that The Post used for this analysis (and which Facebook has pushed to shut down).

The database offers a glimpse of how groups have crafted different pro-vaccine messages, depending on who they’re talking to. Facebook users interested in the Catholic Church, for instance, were shown an ad from Ready to Vaccinate featuring the pope calling vaccination “the moral choice.” Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former California governor and “Terminator” star, targeted a video ad showing himself getting vaccinated (“Come with me if you want to live!”) to Facebook users interested in bodybuilding or physical exercise.

Facebook doesn’t offer the ability to target ads based on race or ethnicity. But public health authorities, like many corporate advertisers, often selected categories that they expected would include the audience they want to reach.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services targeted ads to Facebook users interested in “Native American culture” that featured a woman wearing a mask decorated with Native American symbols and a pledge to “do my part for all our people.” And Arkansas’ Department of Health targeted ads featuring Matt Dillion, the owner of popular barbershops around Little Rock, to Facebook users interested in hip-hop, gospel music and Black comedy.

Early research into these newer advertising methods’ effectiveness offer some encouraging signs. In June, the health nonprofit Public Good Projects analyzed how people responded to influencers popular with Black and Hispanic audiences when they pushed their followers to get flu shots. Though older large-scale campaigns were typically flooded with anti-vaccine trolls, the researchers found that the targeted effort received an overwhelmingly positive response and reached millions of people they might otherwise have missed.

Joe Smyser, the group’s chief executive, said public health officials are only now starting to catch on to how a more modern approach could lead to major changes in a life-or-death matter. Some public health attempts to increase vaccination rates for the coronavirus – and before that, the flu – have resorted mostly to “shotgun-blasting messages we know are not very effective.”

In the past, “one person in a public health organization was permitted to speak to reporters and the public, and the framing was one of risk mitigation, not engagement, and it was not a conversation – it was carefully selected talking points in front of an American flag,” he said.

“We’ve been using these traditional advertising techniques forever,” he added, and the country’s immunization rates for the coronavirus and the flu aren’t “anywhere close to the levels we want. We need to make sure people are seeing the things that will resonate with them. Every dollar needs to count.”

Waiter receives $4,500 tip after incident with homophobic diners: ‘There’s more love out there than hate’

A waiter — like the one pictured here — received a crowdfunded tip.
A waiter — like the one pictured here — received a crowdfunded tip.

A Wisconsin waiter who received no gratuity simply because, according to a nasty note scrawled on the receipt, “service was good, but we don’t tip sinfull [sic] homosexuals,” has gotten kindness — and cash — returned to him in spades.

“To the folks who brooks shoes felt it was necessary to write this hateful note and not tip…don’t worry me and about 250 others will cover the tip for you,” wrote Eric Salzwedel in a Facebook post displaying the first receipt and a second, for a $45 meal that he had at the same Madison restaurant with the same (requested) server — and a whopping $4,500 tip.

It was the collective donations from about 250 people around the country who responded with grace and generosity to Salzwedel’s Venmo challenge, to right the wrong, which he blasted across social media through his Do Good Wisconsin organization, which aims to promote the vast amounts of good done by both businesses and individuals across the state.

Salzwedel, who works as a consultant for for-profit companies on community outreach and charitable giving, tells Yahoo Life that he learned about the first receipt through a mutual friend of the server’s and that he knew immediately that he wanted to respond.

“I’m always big into just treating people right, with respect and being kind to one another,” he explains. Seeing the receipt, he thought, “this just isn’t right… and I skechers uk wanted to show there’s more love than hate out there.”

He adds, “This really upset me that someone would do something like this. To go to the extent of saying it was good service, but because of their sexual orientation, they decided not to give them a tip.”

Through his organization, Salzwedel spent much of 2020 doing Venmo challenges to raise big tips for servers and delivery drivers struggling amidst the pandemic, giving out a total of $20,000 thanks to all the donations.

So, returning to that model to crowdsource for this waiter was second nature — although he was still happily surprised by how swiftly people responded, amassing the $4,500 within just 36 hours.

“Probably half the people that had contributed were people who I didn’t even know who they were — and from around the country, giving usually $5 to $20… but as little as $2 and [up to] $100,” Salzwedel reports, “and with messages like ‘love is love’ and ‘give him a hug for me.’”

When he presented the waiter — who has requested anonymity throughout this process — with the tip, explaining that it was the sum of more than 250 contributors, he was overwhelmed.

“Just super grateful,” Salzwedel says, adding that he was so moved by the gesture that he decided to pay it forward — donating a portion of the huge tip to the Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services hey dude shoes to LGBTQ youth, along with all the donations, totaling around $300, that have come in since.

And that, says Salzwedel, is exactly the response he always wishes for when spreading good — that it moves others to follow suit.

“At the end of the day, I just hope it will inspire others to do this, too, to say, ‘I can do that,’” he says. “We’re going through so much right now. It’s important to be nice to each other.”