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Newsletter: Putin’s deep state soccer ball conspiracies

In today’s ‘Internet Insider’ newsletter, we also look at Discord being plagued by hacking.


Andrew Wyrich


Mikael Thalen

Internet Culture

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Hey everyone! Andrew here. Welcome to the Monday edition of Internet Insider

We start off our week with our Tech Reporter Mikael’s “One Dumb Conspiracy” column. This week, he looks at how a conspiracy involving the deep state and a soccer ball has been reignited in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Also, we hope you’ve been enjoying our special edition SXSW emails over the weekend. Be sure to check your inbox later today for more reporting from the conference. 

Let’s dive into the news. 



Discord hacking: The popular chatting platform Discord has been plagued with hacking in recent months and users are criticizing the company for not doing anything about it. Robert Locklear, a contributing writer to the Daily Dot, dives into the issue here. Be sure to check it out. 

Russia: Twitter recently deleted a tweets from the Russian Embassy that claimed images of a bombed hospital in Ukraine were faked. The deletion of the tweets mark a significant escalation for Twitter, which has taken a more lackadaisical approach than other social media toward limiting Russia’s reach amid the invasion. 

‘The Batman’ and male privilege: Hopefully you’ve all had the chance to see The Batman. If you have, our Culture Reporter Gavia has a great look into how the film tackles Bruce Wayne’s male privilege, specifically how the film presents the character as a man who has figured out what he wants to do in his life, but hasn’t come to terms with his own blind spots and biases that stem from his privileged background.


In Body Image
In Body Image

Ukraine invasion reignites a conspiracy theory about a soccer ball that could bring down the Deep State

laughable conspiracy theory alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave former President Donald Trump a soccer ball full of secrets about the “Deep State” has resurfaced following the invasion of Ukraine.

Attention on the conspiracy theory was renewed last week after Channel 5 with Andrew Callaghan, a wildly popular YouTube show that focuses on America’s most bizarre subcultures, interviewed a man who believed in the false claim.

clip from the more than one-hour-long video, in which Callaghan interviews attendees of the anti-vaccine trucker protest known as “The People’s Convoy,” begins with the man attempting to explain why conservatives in America have become so enamored with a former KGB officer out of the Soviet era.

“The Deep State has always made Putin to look like the bad guy but he’s the good guy,” the man says. “He’s taken out all the biolabs, child-trafficking areas, adrenochrome harvesting areas…”

The reference to biolabs refers to the claim that the U.S. government is secretly manufacturing biological weapons in Ukraine. In reality, Ukraine has biological research facilities, which are not the same.

As noted by Robert Pope, director of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program at the DOD’s Threat Reduction Agency, the U.S. merely assists Ukraine with ensuring the safety of its labs.

The claim that Putin has secretly taken out Deep State-run “child-trafficking areas” and “adrenochrome harvesting areas,” a reference to the debunked claim that the adrenaline of babies is a hallucinogenic drug used by the global elite, are straight out of QAnon lore.

That’s when the man went on to claim that a soccer ball gifted to Trump by Putin during a 2018 meeting in Helsinki, Finland was filled with the world’s biggest secrets.

“If people would have watched when Trump came into office right at the beginning, when you saw them hand that soccer ball off, that soccer ball had so much information in it to take down everybody that Putin has been getting all the intel on for years,” the man said. “It had a lot of data in it.”

Of course there’s zero evidence whatsoever that the soccer ball was filled with anything other than air. Ironically, however, the specific soccer ball that Putin gave to Trump was actually a model from Adidas that contains a transmitter chip.

Either way, the U.S. Secret Service thoroughly inspects all gifts given to the president and cybersecurity experts said that the chip would not be useful for espionage purposes.

Trump supporters have constantly claimed for years that the former president will bring down their enemies in a biblical event that never actually comes.

In other words, Trump and his soccer ball are unlikely to usher in the utopian society that many conservatives still believe is just around the corner.

Mikael Thalen


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One TikToker in Canada shared a job description for a company called Cabela’s asking for “legendary customer service”… while apparently paying federal minimum wage.

A recently viral TikTok reminded viewers that it’s important to check whether you’re on mute or not before engaging in conversations that aren’t intended for the Zoom group.

Your guide to no leaks and no waste.*

To mark the fourth anniversary of the very first QAnon drop on 4chan, the Daily Dot put together six stories about the conspiracy theory that haven’t been told or looked at. Check out the coverage here

*The Daily Dot may receive a commission in connection with purchases of products or services featured here.


In a viral TikTok video a user said they discovered a screw inside of their cookie from Crumbl Cookies, a Utah-based business that sells desserts

TikToker says they found screw in Crumbl cookie.
@sadlyoku/TikTok Tada Images/Shutterstock (Licensed) Kris Seavers

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