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Hello fellow citizens of the internet! Andrew here. Welcome to today’s edition of Internet Insider.
The week has started off with a lot to cover. It has been impossible to ignore all of the online discourse surrounding the Oscars. Don’t worry, our team’s got you covered and breaks it all down.
Meanwhile, in my weekly “Tech Analysis” column, I dig into how Biden’s nominee for the FCC has now become a campaign issue for at least one Republican.
Let’s dive into the news.
BREAK THE INTERNET
OSCARS DISCOURSE: Yeah, the Oscars has been all over your timeline. Luckily, we have several reports that can help you sift through all the noise. Did you see those “reaction” images to the Will Smith-Chris Rock slap? Well, they didn’t actually happen. Meanwhile, our Culture Reporter Gavia breaks down how the “Speed Force” memes defined the surreal tone of the Oscars this year. Finally, we’ve got a report on how a technology podcast host named Will Smith is getting a lot of misdirected criticism coming his way in the wake of the awards show.
DIGITAL DIVIDE: The Federal Communications Commission recently announced that it authorized more than $313 million to increase rural broadband access through its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. Check out our report on how the money will be used to provide underserved Americans with internet speeds of at least 25 Mbps.
THAT ONE SOUND: Our Senior Culture Writer Audra’s “That One Sound” column this week looks at how TikTok has become saturated with the sound of iCarly actress Miranda Cosgrove saying “I actually do cuss a little.” Any guesses on what her favorite curse word is? You probably already know since the sound has become inescapable on your FYP.
The upcoming vote for Biden’s FCC pick has now become a campaign issue
The confirmation process for Gigi Sohn, President Joe Biden’s pick to be the fifth and final commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), became more and more of a partisan spectacle as it dragged on.
Despite generating widespread praise for her qualifications and public interest background, Republicans—pretty much from the get go—claimed she was an “extreme” partisan. That thread continued throughout her bumpy confirmation hearing process, with the GOP claiming that she was biased against conservatives (despite her getting endorsed by right-wing outlets like Newsmax).
Sohn, a long-time supporter of net neutrality, pushed back against these claims repeatedly during her confirmation hearings. She finally got through a Commerce Committee vote, setting her up to be considered by the full Senate.
But the messaging from Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee made its way to social media, with people baselessly claiming that Sohn would censor conservatives.
So perhaps it shouldn’t be shocking that now Republicans hoping to make it to Congress have joined in.
Adam Laxalt, a Nevada Republican vying for the party’s Senate nomination in the upcoming primary later this year, brought up Sohn in a tweet last week.
Laxalt, who would face incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortz Masto (D-N.V.) in a general election if they both win their respective primaries, tweeted about the Fraternal Order of Police opposing Sohn’s nomination (more on that in a second).
“My opponent @CortezMasto does not stand up for our law enforcement,” Laxalt tweeted. “That’s why she is lined up to vote for Gigi Sohn, a far-left radical nominee for the FCC commission, that the Fraternal Order of Police opposes for her history of anti-police sentiment.”
The Fraternal Order of Police sent out its initial opposition to Sohn fairly early on in the confirmation process. It joined a number of groups that piled on to try and delay a Commerce Committee vote on Sohn.
But what made the Fraternal Order of Police’s opposition unique at the time was… it didn’t make much sense.
The organization said it opposed Sohn because she sat on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights group. That connection, the FOP said, caused “serious public safety concerns” because of EFF’s support of end-to-end encryption.
The only problem? The FCC (generally speaking) doesn’t have much to do with end-to-end encryption.
As Harold Feld, the senior vice president at Public Knowledge, told Gizmodo in December: “It’s not even something the FCC does” except in instances like “vehicle-to-vehicle communications, where you know, one of the elements of security is that it’s supposed to be encrypted.”
The Fraternal Order of Police’s latest opposition, released earlier this month, that was shared by Laxalt was a list of likes and retweets showing supposed “anti-police posts” and “criticism of police tactics.” (Sohn’s social media posts were a large part of Republican opposition to her during the confirmation hearings).
The list also included her being a board member of EFF and once again highlighted the organization’s support for end-to-end encryption.
Which, to point out again, wouldn’t factor much if at all into her role at the FCC.
It’s said that the first rule to surviving a horror movie is never, ever, EVER have sex. These knife-wielding lunatics are prudes at heart—who knew?
But some rules are meant to be broken. So gather around the TV screen and ignore that thump from upstairs. These are the best slasher horror movies you can be streaming right now.
In the last two years, TikTok has become a force of nature in the music industry. Read more about how it has become an instrumental force for artists across the board.
A TikToker spent 24 hours on a stair climber to advocate for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The video drew questions and admirers alike.
Bringing the cinema into your living room is as easy as 1, 2, 3…4.*
In “Death on the Internet,” the Daily Dot explores how the digital self can live on in the internet’s memory—even after the actual self has abandoned it.
*The Daily Dot may receive a commission in connection with purchases of products or services featured here.
BEFORE YOU GO
Yikes. A TikToker has gone viral after sharing that her landlord deemed her apartment “dirty” upon move out, except—as she shows—all of the supposedly dirty items were clean. She suspects the landlord was trying to cheat her out of her security deposit.
Now Playing: 🎶 “The Batman” by Michael Giacchino 🎶