OK, a quick show of hands: Who would like to get a kiss from Katy Perry?
Well, perhaps Plugged In readers are not a representative sample of America as a whole. Certainly, plenty of folks would gladly accept a smooch from the singing superstar. And maybe that’s what Perry was thinking when she planted a peck on 19-year-old Benjamin Glaze in the season premiere of ABC’s American Idol. Glaze admitted that he’d never kissed a girl before: “I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship,” he said on the show.
Well, perhaps Perry felt that auditioning in front of her was relationship enough: She beckoned him over and stamped a couple of kisses on the bashful lad. But while Glaze admits that plenty of guys would’ve been thrilled with the peck, he wasn’t. “I wanted to save it for my first relationship,” he told The New York Times. “I wanted it to be special.”
While the presumptive pucker might not strike most as sexual harassment, it was an interesting move by Perry, given the #MeToo movement and all. (Michael Caine, by the way, is the latest celeb to say he’d never work with Woody Allen again, and Susan Sarandon has been speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the movie industry’s tricky relationship with sex. Even Netflix’s superhero show Jessica Jones has a storyline, unintentionally, linked to #MeToo.)
But maybe Perry had other things on her mind. Like the fans blaming the singer for “killing” a nun who was trying to prevent Perry from buying a plot of California land that had belonged to the nun’s convent. (According to Fox News, the 89-year-old nun was arguing her case in court when she collapsed and later died.)
Oh, and then there are those rumors about her being an extra-terrestrial lizard woman …
OK, that last bit I just made up, which means that your friends might hear about it sooner than the true stuff. According to a study by Science, lies spread faster on Twitter than truth does, and by a disturbingly large margin. Seems the study tracked 126,000 fake news stories tweeted by 3 million users, and fake news reaches 1,500 users about six times faster than real news does. And we can’t blame Russian bots for it, either: Fake news goes viral, the study’s authors say, “because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it.”
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why a third of Millennials have closed their Twitter and Facebook accounts for good—even as they have a hard time rejecting Snapchat.
Twitter’s not the only social network where falsehoods thrive, naturally. Case in point: A viral video posted on YouTube, suggests that 17-year-old David Hogg, a survivor of the tragic Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, was in fact an actor. The video became the top-trending clip on YouTube before the service removed it.
While fake news on social media is always bad, fake social media accounts may have a surprising upside—at least according to the teens who create them. Take “fake” Instagram accounts, sometimes referred to as “finstas.” While these accounts can indeed be a parents’ worst nightmare, researcher Joanne Orlando suggests that these finsta accounts are more often online places where users can escape the perfection demanded on Instagram: They reserve their main accounts to showcase a more idyllic version of who they are, while reserving their more private finstas for their close friends where they can be more “real.” And, given that yet another study is suggesting social media posts can lead to an unhealthy body image, a space to be a little more real may not be a bad thing.
Social media may have another unexpected perk connected to it, as well: Through it, teens learn how to stand up for what they believe in.
Teens and young adults are doing more than wiling away their lives standing up for their principles and reading fake news on social network sites, of course. They’re also gaming—and they’re doing it more competitively than ever before. According to a survey by the Washington Post and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, nearly three-quarters of Americans between the ages of 14 to 21 have either played in or watched multiplayer online games or competitions.
A lot of those online video game matches involve, well, violent video games. The current U.S. administration recently resurrected a dialogue on the influence that such games can have on players. Meanwhile, USA Today reminds its readers that the gaming industry has a ratings system in place to help parents choose appropriate games for their kids. (Rumor has it that there’s even some online Christian resources that can be of service, too.)
In other news, the phone crackers at Cellebrite allege that every Apple iPhone—despite its heralded security measures—can be unlocked. Perhaps Cellebrite should contact a poor mother in China, whose 2-year-old son apparently locked Mom out of her iPhone for the next 25 million minutes, which translates to about 47 years.
Maybe that’s why Amazon’s Alexa is laughing so much.