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How people get sucked into misinformation rabbit holes – and how to get them out

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-booth-715018">Emily Booth</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marian-andrei-rizoiu-850922">Marian-Andrei Rizoiu</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p>As misinformation and radicalisation rise, it’s tempting to look for something to blame: the internet, social media personalities, sensationalised political campaigns, religion, or conspiracy theories. And once we’ve settled on a cause, solutions usually follow: do more fact-checking, regulate advertising, ban YouTubers deemed to have “gone too far”.</p> <p>However, if these strategies were the whole answer, we should already be seeing a decrease in people being drawn into fringe communities and beliefs, and less misinformation in the online environment. We’re not.</p> <p>In new research <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/14407833241231756">published in the Journal of Sociology</a>, we and our colleagues found radicalisation is a process of increasingly intense stages, and only a small number of people progress to the point where they commit violent acts.</p> <p>Our work shows the misinformation radicalisation process is a pathway driven by human emotions rather than the information itself – and this understanding may be a first step in finding solutions.</p> <h2>A feeling of control</h2> <p>We analysed dozens of public statements from newspapers and online in which former radicalised people described their experiences. We identified different levels of intensity in misinformation and its online communities, associated with common recurring behaviours.</p> <p>In the early stages, we found people either encountered misinformation about an anxiety-inducing topic through algorithms or friends, or they went looking for an explanation for something that gave them a “bad feeling”.</p> <p>Regardless, they often reported finding the same things: a new sense of certainty, a new community they could talk to, and feeling they had regained some control of their lives.</p> <p>Once people reached the middle stages of our proposed radicalisation pathway, we considered them to be invested in the new community, its goals, and its values.</p> <h2>Growing intensity</h2> <p>It was during these more intense stages that people began to report more negative impacts on their own lives. This could include the loss of friends and family, health issues caused by too much time spent on screens and too little sleep, and feelings of stress and paranoia. To soothe these pains, they turned again to their fringe communities for support.</p> <p>Most people in our dataset didn’t progress past these middle stages. However, their continued activity in these spaces kept the misinformation ecosystem alive.</p> <p>When people did move further and reach the extreme final stages in our model, they were doing active harm.</p> <p>In their recounting of their experiences at these high levels of intensity, individuals spoke of choosing to break ties with loved ones, participating in public acts of disruption and, in some cases, engaging in violence against other people in the name of their cause.</p> <p>Once people reached this stage, it took pretty strong interventions to get them out of it. The challenge, then, is how to intervene safely and effectively when people are in the earlier stages of being drawn into a fringe community.</p> <h2>Respond with empathy, not shame</h2> <p>We have a few suggestions. For people who are still in the earlier stages, friends and trusted advisers, like a doctor or a nurse, can have a big impact by simply responding with empathy.</p> <p>If a loved one starts voicing possible fringe views, like a fear of vaccines, or animosity against women or other marginalised groups, a calm response that seeks to understand the person’s underlying concern can go a long way.</p> <p>The worst response is one that might leave them feeling ashamed or upset. It may drive them back to their fringe community and accelerate their radicalisation.</p> <p>Even if the person’s views intensify, maintaining your connection with them can turn you into a lifeline that will see them get out sooner rather than later.</p> <p>Once people reached the middle stages, we found third-party online content – not produced by government, but regular users – could reach people without backfiring. Considering that many people in our research sample had their radicalisation instigated by social media, we also suggest the private companies behind such platforms should be held responsible for the effects of their automated tools on society.</p> <p>By the middle stages, arguments on the basis of logic or fact are ineffective. It doesn’t matter whether they are delivered by a friend, a news anchor, or a platform-affiliated fact-checking tool.</p> <p>At the most extreme final stages, we found that only heavy-handed interventions worked, such as family members forcibly hospitalising their radicalised relative, or individuals undergoing government-supported deradicalisation programs.</p> <h2>How not to be radicalised</h2> <p>After all this, you might be wondering: how do you protect <em>yourself</em> from being radicalised?</p> <p>As much of society becomes more dependent on digital technologies, we’re going to get exposed to even more misinformation, and our world is likely going to get smaller through online echo chambers.</p> <p>One strategy is to foster your critical thinking skills by <a href="https://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/abstract/S1364-6613(23)00198-5">reading long-form texts from paper books</a>.</p> <p>Another is to protect yourself from the emotional manipulation of platform algorithms by <a href="https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/10.1521/jscp.2018.37.10.751">limiting your social media use</a> to small, infrequent, purposefully-directed pockets of time.</p> <p>And a third is to sustain connections with other humans, and lead a more analogue life – which has other benefits as well.</p> <p>So in short: log off, read a book, and spend time with people you care about. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223717/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-booth-715018">Emily Booth</a>, Research assistant, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marian-andrei-rizoiu-850922">Marian-Andrei Rizoiu</a>, Associate Professor in Behavioral Data Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-people-get-sucked-into-misinformation-rabbit-holes-and-how-to-get-them-out-223717">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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Mum's list of chores for babysitter divides internet

<p>An American mum and schoolteacher has divided social media after she shared a list of chores that her 17-year-old babysitter could do for extra cash. </p> <p>Katrina Ivan hired a former student, who is now a senior in high school, to babysit her two-year-old son.</p> <p>The busy mum, who had been struggling to maintain her home, left an optional list of chores the babysitter could do for some extra cash. </p> <p>“You are more than welcome to hang out and watch TV but if you want to earn some extra cash these are up for grabs,” the note read.</p> <p>She claimed that her son was already asleep when the babysitter arrived at 7:30pm and she would be looking after him until 11:30pm.</p> <p>The babysitter was being paid $115.45 for the four hours of work.</p> <p>The extra chores included organising the kitchen island, which would earn the student $15, as would cleaning the windows and mirrors in the house and sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor.</p> <p>Cleaning out the fridge would earn the her $23, while vacuuming the couch would earn her $4.</p> <p>A few other optional chores included re-organising the toys, organising the kitchen island, and re-organising the silverware, which were all chores that would earn the student $15. </p> <p>The babysitter earned an extra $92 for the chores she chose, and a few social media users have said that this was a great idea. </p> <p> “I wish they did this when I was a babysitter. Would have loved the opportunity to earn extra," one wrote.</p> <p>“This is a great idea!! Sometimes it’s boring to just to sit and watch TV, this makes time go by quicker and sometimes it’s things I would do to help," another said. </p> <p>“I think since it’s optional or not you can give whatever amounts. It’s still the babysitters choice whether to do it or not,” a third added. </p> <p>However a few others weren't as impressed. </p> <p>“Those are 1990 prices,” one social media user wrote. </p> <p>“$23 for the fridge that’s wild," another added. </p> <p>“I think if you mention it ahead of time ‘oh I left a chore list if you’re interested in any of them it’s extra cash for you!’ Because if I just arrived to this note I might be a little uncomfortable,” a third said. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Woman divides internet after cancelling her brother's wedding

<p>A woman has divided the internet after admitting to cancelling her brother's wedding without telling him, after consistently being treated poorly by her future sister-in-law. </p> <p>The 27-year-old shared that the "extreme" moment came after countless mean comments, wedding planning gone wrong and a selection of financial problems. </p> <p>Writing on Reddit's "Am I The A**hole?" thread, the woman wanted advice on if she was in the wrong. </p> <p>The woman explained that her brother, 30, and his fiancée Ella, 28, had been together three years but the two women were never particularly close.</p> <p>"Honestly, we never got along but I always tried to put up a peaceful front because my brother seemed blissfully happy with her," the poster explained on the online forum.</p> <p>"Ella was mean to me a lot ... She would make comments about my weight, my makeup, and especially my dog. She hated animals and hated that I would bring my lab, Toast, to my parents or my brothers house."</p> <p>After her brother popped the question, she was shocked when Ella asked her to be her Maid of Honour, given their turbulent relationship. </p> <p>Despite this, she agreed to the role, thinking it was the "sisterly" thing to do.</p> <p>"What I failed to realise when I accepted the role was that to her [Maid Of Honour] meant planning the entire wedding. Like I was booking venues, florists, jazz band, everything," the woman wrote.</p> <p>"Even worse she expected me to put my MY credit card down for all of it... Every time I asked Ella about it, she would say that it would all be paid back by her parents before the wedding."</p> <p>It wasn't until three weeks before the wedding that the relationship between the two women took a turn for the worst. </p> <p>"I asked if she had received the updated receipt of everything owed when she exploded," she said.</p> <p>"She called me a whole line of terrible names but the one that stuck out was her saying 'What do you need the money for anyway? Your sick dog is dead now'."</p> <p> </p> <p>"My beautiful Toasty died about a month before this after he fought the bravest battle with cancer. He was my soul dog and I was devastated."</p> <p>Ella's hurtful comments went a step too far, leading the woman to "immediately called the vendors and cancelled any deposit under my card. Every. Single. One."</p> <p>"After almost 20 calls, all that was left of her wedding was the dress and the flower arch."</p> <p>The woman told her brother what she had done, and said she would no longer be attending their wedding if it still went ahead after her revenge plan. </p> <p>She then ignored calls from her future sister-in-law, forcing her to deal with all the wedding fallout. </p> <p>Most people took to the comments in support of the woman's "revenge", saying she would have been saddled with footing the bill.</p> <p>"MOH duties do NOT include planning the whole wedding and they certainly do NOT put down all the deposits and pay for the wedding," one person wrote.</p> <p>"If you ask me, it sounds 100% like they were going to stiff you for the wedding. I don't believe for a minute her parents were paying for it."</p> <p>Another wrote, "You didn't cancel the wedding. You extricated yourself from an abusive and exploitative situation. They're still free to marry, on their own thin dime."</p> <p>While most people supported the woman's actions, there were a handful of comments that believed the woman had gone too far with her revenge, but also agreed her sister-in-law treated her very poorly. </p> <p>After the original post went viral, the poster shared an update that she is now speaking to her brother again and that the couple didn't make it down the aisle.</p> <p>They are currently on a "break" with Ella no longer in possession of an engagement ring.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Relationships

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Readers Respond: What is something you miss about pre-internet times?

<p>Times are changing and in an increasingly digital world, there are a few things that just don't feel the same.</p> <p>We asked our readers what they missed the most about the pre-internet times and while some shared their nostalgia, others believe that the change is for the better. </p> <p><strong>Jeanie Houston </strong>- The joy of getting a letter from loved ones overseas.</p> <p><strong>Tina Karanastasis</strong> - Having pen pals (a fad in my younger years), writing and receiving handwritten letters, building relationships through shared moments and time spent together face to face.</p> <p><strong>Deirdre Hudson </strong>- Being able to go anywhere without someone calling you</p> <p><strong>Lois Parkes</strong> - Going to a library to research the answer</p> <p><strong>Gini Glenn</strong> - Nothing! I love the internet and mobile phones. You can always leave your phone at home or turn it off. Lovely to have choices.</p> <p><strong>Teresa Hamilton Gross</strong> - Having a conversation with someone who is not looking at their cell phone.</p> <p><strong>Jan Gundersen </strong>- Being out at a restaurant & talking to each other!</p> <p><strong>Don Gregor</strong> - Getting lost while driving/traveling. Met the most interesting people and had the most memorable times. </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Ann Hazlewood</strong> - Sitting around talking to family</p> <p><strong>Ellen Clarke</strong> - Sitting around the kitchen table & everyone talking at once, miss it! </p> <p><strong>Christine Armstrong </strong>- Letters! I miss getting letters from friends and family in the mail box</p> <p><strong>Beverley Collison</strong> - Listening to stories of the older generation when I was younger. And telephone conversations.</p> <p>Did we miss anything? Let us know if there are other things that you miss from the pre-internet times!</p>

Retirement Life

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How scammers use psychology to create some of the most convincing internet cons – and what to watch out for

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stacey-wood-473147"><em>Stacey Wood</em></a><em>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/scripps-college-2153">Scripps College</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yaniv-hanoch-1341108">Yaniv Hanoch</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southampton-1093">University of Southampton</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.experian.co.uk/blogs/latest-thinking/fraud-prevention/cybercrime-fraud-most-common-crime-uk/">Online fraud is today’s most common crime</a>. Victims are often told they are foolish for falling for it, but fraudsters use psychological mechanisms to infiltrate the defences of their targets, regardless of how intelligent they are.</p> <p>So it’s important to keep up with the latest scams and understand how they work.</p> <p>Recently, consumer protection magazine Which? <a href="https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/the-4-most-convincing-scams-weve-seen-in-2023-so-far-a7bRP9s0KJvG">identified some of the most convincing scams of 2023</a>. These scams all have one thing in common – they insidiously take advantage of people’s cognitive biases and psychological blind spots.</p> <p>They included “pig butchering” a way of fattening up victims with affection, the missing person scam which involves posting fake content on social media pages, the traditional PayPal scam, and a new scam called the “fake app alert” in which malware is hidden on apps that look legitimate.</p> <h2>Pig butchering</h2> <p>In our work as fraud psychology researchers we have noticed a trend towards hybrid scams, which combine different types of fraud. Hybrid scams often involve crypto investments and <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fraud-crisis/202210/new-scams-committed-forced-trafficked-labor">sometimes use trafficked labour</a> In the US alone, <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/springfield/news/internet-crime-complaint-center-releases-2022-statistics">the FBI recently reported</a> that people lost US $3.3 billion (£2.6 billion) in 2023 to investment fraud.</p> <p>Pig butchering is a long-term deception. <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/02/pig-butchering-scammers-make-billions-convincing-victims-of-love.html">This type of scam</a> combines elements of <a href="https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/romance-scams">romance scams</a> with an investment con. The name comes from the strategy of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2023/may/22/dating-cons-and-dodgy-apps-among-most-common-scams-says-uk-watchdog">“fattening up” a victim with affection before slaughter</a>.</p> <p>It will usually begin with <a href="https://www.which.co.uk/policy-and-insight/article/pig-butchering-among-most-convincing-scams-of-2023-so-far-which-warns-aDRtr4I1UT1R">standard scam approach like a text</a>, social media message, or an introduction at a job board site.</p> <p>Victims may have their guard up at first. However, these scams can unfold over months, with the scammer slowly gaining the victims’ trust and initiating a romantic relationship all the while learning about their vulnerabilities.</p> <p>For example, details of their financial situation, job stresses, and dreams about the life they want. Romance scammers often saturate their targets with affection and almost constant contact. Pig butchering sometimes involves several trafficked people working as a team to create a single persona.</p> <p>Once the victim depends on the scammer for their emotional connection, the scammer introduces the idea of making an investment and uses fake crypto platforms to demonstrate returns. The scammers may use legitimate sounding cryptocoins and platforms. Victims can invest and “see” strong returns online. In reality, their money is going directly to the scammer.</p> <p>Once a victim transfers a substantial amount of money to the con artist, they are less likely to pull out. This phenomenon is known as the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0749597885900494">“sunk cost fallacy”</a>. Research has shown people are likely to carry on investing money, time and effort in activities they have already invested in and ignore signs the endeavour isn’t in their best interests.</p> <p>When the victim runs out of money or tries to withdraw funds, they are blocked.</p> <p>The victim is left with not only financial devastation, but also the loss of what they may imagine to be their most intimate partnership. They are often <a href="https://cloud-platform-e218f50a4812967ba1215eaecede923f.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/sites/6/2021/12/VC-Who-Suffers-Fraud-Report-1.pdf">too embarrassed to discuss the experience</a> with friends and family or to report to the police.</p> <h2>PayPal scams</h2> <p>Fake payment requests are a common attack that works by volume rather than playing the long game. Payment requests appear to come from a genuine PayPal address. Fraudulent messages typically begin with a generic greeting, an urgent request and a fake link.</p> <p>For example, Dear User: You’ve received a payment, or you have paid too much. Please click link below for details. Users are directed to a spoofed website with a legitimate sounding name such as www.paypal.com/SpecialOffers and asked to enter their account information and password.</p> <p>Both of us have received these scam requests – and even we found them difficult to discern from legitimate PayPal request emails. These scams work through mimicry and play on the human tendency to trust authority. Legitimate PayPal correspondence is usually automatic bot language, so it is not difficult to imitate.</p> <p>But remember, genuine messages from PayPal <a href="https://www.paypal.com/ca/for-you/account/security/fraud-dangers#:%7E:text=Any%20email%20from%20PayPal%20will,bank%20account%2C%20or%20credit%20card.">will use your first and last name</a>.</p> <h2>The missing person scam</h2> <p>This seems to be a new scam that exploits a person’s kindness. In the past, charity scams involved posing as charitable organisation responding to a <a href="https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/charity.html">recent, real calamity</a>.</p> <p>The new missing person scam is more sophisticated. The initial plea is a <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/20875699/facebook-fake-missing-child-scam-warning/">fake missing person post</a> that generates likes and shares, increasing its credibility and exposure. Then the fraudster edits the content to create an investment scheme which now has the veneer of legitimacy.</p> <p>This scam may work because the initial consumers are unaware that the content is fraudulent, and there is no obvious request. In psychology, this type of persuasion is known as “<a href="https://thedecisionlab.com/reference-guide/psychology/social-proof">social proof</a>” – the tendency of individuals to follow and copy behaviour of others.</p> <h2>Fake app alerts</h2> <p>People post mobile apps, designed to steal users’ personal information, on the Google Play or Apple app store.</p> <p>The app often has a <a href="https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/crime/another-person-comes-forward-after-banking-app-scam-3584340">legitimate function</a>, which gives it a cover. Consumers unknowingly jeopardise their private information by downloading these apps which use malware to access additional information.</p> <p>Although there has been <a href="https://tech.co/news/fake-android-apps-delete">media coverage of Android security issues</a>, many users assume malware <a href="https://www.ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2020/8/18/app-stores">cannot bypass app store screening</a>. Again, this scam plays on people’s <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0021-9010.92.3.639">trust in authority figures</a> to keep tjem safe.</p> <p>Discuss any investment opportunities with friends, family members or professionals. It’s much easier said than done, but exercising caution one of the best strategies to reduce the chance of becoming a fraud victim.</p> <p>Scammers count on people paying little to no attention to their emails or messages before clicking on them or providing valuable information. When it comes to scams, the devil is in the missing details.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/207759/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stacey-wood-473147">Stacey Wood</a>, Professor of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/scripps-college-2153">Scripps College</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yaniv-hanoch-1341108">Yaniv Hanoch</a>, Professor in Decision Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southampton-1093">University of Southampton</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-scammers-use-psychology-to-create-some-of-the-most-convincing-internet-cons-and-what-to-watch-out-for-207759">original article</a>.</em></p>

Technology

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20 old words that have new meanings since the birth of the internet

<p><a href="../Dictionary.com"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Dictionary.com</strong></span></a> has revealed a list of commonly used words that have seen their definition change considerably in the last couple of decades.</p> <p>The changes have been primarily driven by the increased use of social media. While 1995 may seem like it was just yesterday to some of us, 20 years is actually a really long time. The world has change from dial-up modems and VCRs to unlimited broadband and Netflix streaming.</p> <p>Check out the list of 20 words with new meanings below:</p> <p><strong>1. Bump</strong></p> <p>Then: “to come more or less heavily in contact with.”</p> <p>Now: “to move an online post or thread to the top of the reverse chronological list by adding a new comment or post to the thread.”</p> <p><strong>2. Cloud</strong></p> <p>Then: “a visible collection of particles of water or ice suspended in the air.”</p> <p>Now: “any of several parts of the Internet that allow online processing and storage of documents and data as well as electronic access to software and other resources.”</p> <p><strong>3. Core</strong></p> <p>Then: “the central part of a fleshy fruit, containing the seeds.”</p> <p>Now: “the muscles of the torso, which provide support for the spine and pelvis.”</p> <p><strong>4. Fail</strong></p> <p>Then: “to come short or be wanting in action.”</p> <p>Now: “to make an embarrassing or humorous mistake, be in a humiliating situation, etc., and be subject to ridicule.”</p> <p><strong>5. Footprint</strong></p> <p>Then: “a mark left by the foot.”</p> <p>Now: “a unique set of characteristics, actions, etc., that leave a trace and serve as a means of identification.”</p> <p><strong>6. Friend</strong></p> <p>Then: “someone attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.”</p> <p>Now: “to add a person to one’s list of contacts on a social-networking website.”</p> <p><strong>7. Glance</strong></p> <p>Then: “to look quickly or briefly.”</p> <p>Now: “Information on an electronic screen that can be understood quickly or at a glance.”</p> <p><strong>8. Goldilocks</strong></p> <p>Then: “a person with golden hair.”</p> <p>Now: “Not being extreme or not varying drastically between extremes, especially between hot and cold.”</p> <p><strong>9. Like</strong></p> <p>Then: “having the same or similar qualities or characteristics.”</p> <p>Now: “to indicate one’s enjoyment of, agreement with, or interest in website content, especially in social media.”</p> <p><strong>10. Meme</strong></p> <p>Then: “a cultural element, as a custom or concept.”</p> <p>Now: “A cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.”</p> <p><strong>11. Ping:</strong></p> <p>Then: “to produce a sharp, ringing, high-pitched sound.”</p> <p>Now: “to make contact with someone by sending a brief electronic message, as a text message.”</p> <p><strong>12. Profile:</strong></p> <p>Then: “the outline or contour of the human face, especially as seen from the side.”</p> <p>Now: “the personal details, images, user statistics, social-media timeline, etc., that an individual creates and associates with a username or online account.”</p> <p><strong>13. Sandbox:</strong></p> <p>Then: “a container holding sand, usually located in an outdoors area.”</p> <p>Now: “an environment in which software developers or editors can create and test new content, separate from other content in the project.”</p> <p><strong>14. Swipe</strong></p> <p>Then: “a stroke with full swing of the arms.”</p> <p>Now: “to move the fingers across a touchscreen.”</p> <p><strong>15. Takeaway</strong></p> <p>Then: “food or beverage purchased for consumption elsewhere.”</p> <p>Now: “conclusions, impressions, or action points resulting from a meeting, discussion, roundtable, or the like.”</p> <p><strong>16. Text</strong></p> <p>Then: “the main body of matter in a book or manuscript.”</p> <p>Now: “to send a text message.”</p> <p><strong>17. Timeline</strong></p> <p>Then: “a representation of historical events in the form of a line.”</p> <p>Now:  “a collection of online posts or updates associated with a specific social-media account, in reverse chronological order.”</p> <p><strong>18. Tweet</strong></p> <p>Then: “the weak chirp of a young or small bird.”</p> <p>Now: “a very short message posted on the Twitter website.”</p> <p><strong>19. Unplug</strong></p> <p>Then: “to disconnect by pulling the plug from it or from a power socket.”</p> <p>Now: “to refrain from using digital or electronic devices for a period of time.”</p> <p><strong>20. Viral</strong></p> <p>Then: “relating to or caused by a virus.”</p> <p>Now: “becoming very popular by circulating quickly from person to person, especially through the Internet.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong> </p> <p><a href="../lifestyle/technology/2015/07/eight-tips-for-your-kindle/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>8 great things you can do with your Kindle</strong></em></span></a></p> <p><a href="../news/news/2015/05/new-words-in-merriam-webster-dictionary/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>Can you guess what new words have been added to Merriam-Webster dictionary?</strong></em></span></a></p> <p><a href="../travel/travel-club/2015/05/free-translation-apps/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>3 great FREE translation apps to use when travelling</strong></em></span> </a></p>

Books

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Internet in stitches at one woman’s dog breed blunder

<p dir="ltr">A woman in the US received quite the surprise when she set out to pick up her new furry friend, expecting to find a fluff ball in the form of a Shih-Tzu-cross-Bichon ‘Shichon’ puppy waiting for her.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, Melissa Windsor’s dreams took a turn when she met the mutt destined to capture her heart, and learned that things don’t always look exactly like they did online. </p> <p dir="ltr">Taking to Facebook to share her story, Melissa posted two pictures - one of the caramel teddy bear puppy she’d been seeking, and another of what she’d received, a scruffy little fellow with an alarming case of bedhead. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Little Roosevelt is four-months-old and looks more like a llama than a teddy bear,” she captioned her post, and the image of the sweet-faced Roosevelt in his pyjamas, “but I love him just the same.”</p> <p dir="ltr">According to <em>Daily Paws</em>, ‘shichons’ are generally small and fluffy, although the cross bread has the potential to produce puppies that have “totally different” appearances across just one litter.</p> <p dir="ltr">The post drew in over 1,000 views, and more than 200 other comments from fellow What I Asked For vs What I Got users. And while some took the opportunity to suggest that Melissa had brought the case of ‘dogfishing’ upon herself, most were every bit as amused as the proud new owner, and took to the comments to share their delight at the tale. </p> <p dir="ltr">One spoke for the masses when they declared that “he’s such a cute mess!” </p> <p dir="ltr">“He's awesomely cute,” another agreed, before elaborating that it was “in a manic Einstein kinda way”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“His hair looks like Kramer from Seinfeld,” one remarked.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Looks like he’s been electrocuted,” someone noted. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Poor buddy looks like me when the coffee hasn't kicked in,” another shared, “fighting with four kids.”</p> <p dir="ltr">One user went on to tell Melissa that their dog looked just like her beloved Roosevelt, asking if it was “possible that he's a mini Aussie doodle?” </p> <p dir="ltr">Some groomers, however, suggested that he just didn’t look like Melissa expected as he hadn’t had his fur tended to just yet. </p> <p dir="ltr">Melissa then shared that she was going to get a DNA test for the precious pup, as “at this point anything is possible”, and that she would like to know if her little friend would actually have the traits and qualities expected of his supposed breed.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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10 greatest cats of the internet

<h2>Tardar Sauce aka Grumpy Cat</h2> <p>Look at that face: displeased with life and not impressed with the photoshoot. Grumpy Cat’s face has been the subject of a proliferation of memes, the best and most definitive simply says, NO. Incidentally that’s not what she said to Friskies cat food when they offered her the position of spokescat.</p> <h2>Sam</h2> <p>A touch more difficult to locate by name than by expression, Sam Has Eyebrows is mostly famous for his distinctive paws… Just kidding.</p> <h2>Shironeko</h2> <p>Images of Shironeko are usually of him smiling in his sleep and in a basket, which of course earned him the creative nickname, Basket Cat. You can put him down anywhere, balance anything on his head and…chill. Such a zen pet.</p> <h2>Nala</h2> <p>With over 1.5 millon Instagram followers, Nala’s antics are known the world-over. Mostly posing in bow-ties or doing her perfect OMG face, blue-eyed Nala has risen from orphan cat to sensation!</p> <h2>Colonel Meow</h2> <p>Colonel Meow doesn’t have fans he has ‘minions’. He drinks scotch, swears like a trooper, has his own news channel and has been awarded a spot in the Guinness Book of Records for his nine-inch-long fur! Unfortunately he passed in 2014 but his memory will live on the Internet forever.</p> <h2>Hamilton The Hipster Cat</h2> <p>Just look at that perfectly sculpted handlebar tash! Hamilton has the boys and girls of Shoreditch, Williamsberg, Berlin and all other hipster-hubs on their knees.</p> <h2>Scarface</h2> <p>Oh my. Scarface has seen it all and fought it all. He is now recuperating at a sanctuary after making his own calendar for Singapore’s Cat Welfare Society to help other young tomcats avoid a life of crime.</p> <h2>Maru</h2> <p>Maru is a very hard worker… The Japanese resident has released two books, starred in numerous television commercials and has littered the Internet with hundreds of stunt videos involving him testing the limits of the average cardboard box. What’s next for Maru? Probably a nap!</p> <h2>Nyan Cat</h2> <p>What’s to say about Nyan? Nyan is a poptart with the face of cat. She hurtles through time-space trailing rainbows behind her to the super-cute sounds of Japanese pop, while singing nyan-nyan-nyan (Japanese for meow). A whole industry is based around Nyan; toys, endless memes, smartphone games, oh and a clothing line.</p> <h2>Snoopy babe</h2> <p>Arguably the cutest cat on the whole of the Internet, Snoopy’s fame is rapidly soaring. I have chosen this photo simply to illustrate the cat-in-bread trend now sweeping the internet, but it does not do her justice. I urge you to seek her out.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Facebook / Instagram</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/10-greatest-cats-of-the-internet" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Bride-to-be defends the proposal that divided the internet

<p>When Erica Murphy posted her engagement announcement to social media, she could never have anticipated the response she’d find online, or the wave of vocal criticism over her fiance’s ‘simpler’ approach to the whole affair. </p> <p>Erica had been preparing for a day at work when then-boyfriend Monta Homes proposed - through an all-important question scrawled on a torn sheet of lined paper. </p> <p>The handwritten question had been left on the bathroom counter, alongside a dazzling ring and a lit candle, for Erica to find. She, of course, said yes, and immediately took to social media to share the couples’ happy news. </p> <p>“So it’s been an amazing year with my guy,” she wrote on Twitter. “This morning before I left for work he left this in the bathroom for me to find. I said YES!”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">So it’s been an amazing year with my guy. This morning before I left for work he left this in the bathroom for me to find. I said YES! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FutureMrsHomes?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FutureMrsHomes</a> <a href="https://t.co/Yf5EijKrFz">pic.twitter.com/Yf5EijKrFz</a></p> <p>— Erica Murphy (@EricaMurphyTV) <a href="https://twitter.com/EricaMurphyTV/status/1652839933063692288?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 1, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Many rushed to offer their congratulations, gushing over the love between the two, and Erica’s obvious excitement. However, there were hundreds of critics who stopped by too, all too eager to offer their take on what they considered to be an “underwhelming” proposal from Monta. </p> <p>“Umm…a note? Torn out like that?” one user replied. </p> <p>“Congratulations that's thrilling I don't think anybody's going to accuse your man of being romantic though LOL,” said one, who seemed to be on the fence about it all. </p> <p>“A text message basically as a marriage proposal? Not for me,” shared another. </p> <p>Thankfully, there were those who were more than happy to rise to Monta’s defence, noting that proposals are - at the end of the day - all about the thought and the love behind them, not the spectacle. </p> <p>“That needs to be framed and hung on a wall. Simplicity can be romantic!” one user wrote. </p> <p>“I think this is awesome! There is no wrong way to propose. Humans know they’re human. It’s about the soul and the love! Congratulations!” another said. </p> <p>“Sweet. Sincere. Genuine. Simple. Old Fashion. I love it. I would cherish that paper and have it framed! Congratulations! I wish you and The Mr. the very best!” one said. </p> <p>And as one more put it, “I think this is brilliant and different and truly believe this relationship will last longer than any grand proposal”.</p> <p>The negative take was disappointing for Erica, who admitted to <em>Today </em>that the attention was “one thing when you see someone else go viral and, you know, clicking and laughing and all that kind of stuff. But it's a totally different feeling when it's you”.</p> <p>She took the time to “set the record straight” though, sharing that Monta’s approach had not simply been an after-thought, but instead a very touching gesture that had meant a lot to her. </p> <p>"I had a really rough day the day before,” Erica, who is a journalist, shared. “I've never seen so many Confederate flags in my life. I was just, like, really exhausted.</p> <p>"He had flown in the night before, and he was laying there with his boxers looking so comfortable, and I've just been in the battlefield.</p> <p>"I was just so irritated. It was a carryover irritation from before.”</p> <p>Monta told the publication that he had known Erica would be heading into the bathroom after him that morning, and had opted for his handwritten approach as "this is the type of person I am. I wanted to catch her when she least expected it.</p> <p>"I know other people wanted me to get the blimp with 'the world is yours' and all that other stuff. But that's just, I mean, I could have done that. But I like this better.”</p> <p>And it seems that Erica agreed, with the happy bride-to-be informing <em>Today</em> - and critics all over - that “it was very sweet. I mean, this morning, for instance, I woke up because I still have this piece of paper that everyone's talking so badly about. </p> <p>“I woke up, he's back in Detroit, and I looked at this piece of paper, and I just smiled and said, 'Monta, you're so adorable', because I think it was really heartfelt.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

Relationships

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10 greatest dogs of the internet

<h2>Dog stars of the internet</h2> <p>You know what they say – dogs are a man’s best friend. In fact, with the boom of social media, dogs are celebrities, business moguls, and models too! Are you up to date with the four-legged good boys and girls of the internet? Buckle up because you’re in for an adorable ride.</p> <h2>Jiffpom</h2> <p>Can you believe that this famed Pomeranian has made a guest appearance in a Katy Perry music video? Well, he has. Known as the dog with the most Instagram followers, Jiff is so much more than just a teddy-like dog with neatly-trimmed hair.</p> <p>Jiff has Guinness World Records under his collar for being the fastest dog on two paws: one for the ten-metre run on his hind legs and five-metre run on his front paws. When he isn’t breaking records and filming music videos with celebrities, Jiff dresses up in comfy outfits showcased on his <a href="https://www.instagram.com/jiffpom/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Instagram</a>, adored by all of the internet.</p> <h2>Noodle the Pug</h2> <p>Better known as the “bones or no bones” dog, Noodle gained traction on TikTok. Nearly every morning, his owner, Jonathan Graziano, would wake Noodle by lifting him gently out of his sleeping position. If Noodle wakes up and stands on his paws, it is a “bones” day; if Noodle collapses right back into his bed, it is a “no bones” day.</p> <p>Don’t be shocked, as Noodle’s bones don’t just disappear overnight! Graziano and Noodle’s fanbase have agreed that a “no bones” day is one to lay low, avoid big risks, and treat yourself, whereas a “bones” day is one filled with ambition and determination to tackle your to-do list. Graziano has clarified that we must not mistake a “no bones” day for a bad day.</p> <p>TikTok users would seek out the wise sage of a pug every day to set the daily tone, with some sharing the courageous things they would do on “bones” days, such as proposing to their partners or buying a winning lotto ticket. Unfortunately, Noodle passed in late 2022, but he will be remembered for the joy he spread to millions online.</p> <h2>Doug the Pug</h2> <p>It seems pugs are having a field day with becoming media magnets! If you’re wondering why this gentleman looks so familiar, that’s because he has graced the pages of Cosmopolitan, TIME and Buzzfeed.</p> <p>Doug is no stranger to dressing up, venturing the world, and meeting the likes of Ed Sheeran or John Legend, all while maintaining a down-to-earth, <a href="https://www.instagram.com/itsdougthepug/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">relatable feed</a> for his fans. This pug even had his literary debut titled The King of Pop Culture (though it certainly would’ve been a great opportunity to call the book The King of Pup Culture), a board book serving photos of Doug with hilarious captions.</p> <p>Doug’s owners have also used his platform for good, kickstarting a non-profit foundation supporting children fighting life-threatening diseases.</p> <h2>Kabosu aka Doge</h2> <p>This is the very same doge whose expressive photos went viral as timeless memes and who became the face of a cryptocurrency. The name of this famous Shiba Inu is Kabosu, and she was adopted by a kindergarten teacher from a Japanese animal shelter fifteen years ago.</p> <p>The meme featuring Kabosu gained popularity after it <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/doge/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">surfaced on Reddit</a> in 2010, and people began creating their versions of the meme, further making Kabosu a widely-recognisable face.</p> <p>When two software engineers wanted to satirise the chaotic speculation around cryptocurrencies in 2013, they created Dogecoin featuring Kabosu’s face. Ironically, some began investing in Dogecoin seriously, and with a little help from Reddit, Dogecoin eventually amassed a market capitalisation of over $85 million in 2021.</p> <p>Kabosu, of course, has more to offer than her meme face on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.uk/inspire/animals-pets/10-greatest-dogs-of-the-internet" target="_blank" rel="noopener">her Instagram</a>.</p> <h2>Maya the “Polar Bear”</h2> <p>Maya is a dog that resembles a polar bear and is what would make you say the word “floof”. Indeed, the Samoyed’s white fur will test your urge to hug her across the screen.</p> <p>While Maya doesn’t participate in dress-up like other internet dogs, her owner shares her daily life with fans on the internet. There are various videos of Maya going about her day like we do: celebrating Christmas, going to the vet, being clingy to her owner, and more!</p> <p>If <a href="https://www.instagram.com/mayapolarbear/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">her Instagram</a> doesn’t quench your thirst for wholesome dog content, Maya also has an outstanding <a href="https://www.youtube.com/c/Mayapolarbear" target="_blank" rel="noopener">YouTube channel</a> with 2.68 million subscribers.</p> <h2>Marnie the Shih Tzu</h2> <p>As much as our hearts melt for the big, fluffy dogs, smaller breeds that look like they can fit in a Starbucks cup have a special place in everyone’s hearts. The story of Marnie the rescue dog is a heart-warming one, beginning with the day she was adopted, which Marnie’s owner refers to as her “Gotcha Day”.</p> <p>Marnie’s owner, Shirley, had limited experience with dogs but knew she was fated to have one, and Marnie’s eyes called out to her via a photo on petfinder.com. In an Instagram post, Shirley recalled the distressing state of the shelter when she picked up Marnie in 2012, determined to give the pup a better life.</p> <p>What led to the internet’s fascination with Marnie was her innocent head tilts and a tongue so long that it would habitually hang out of her mouth, as is evident from almost every photograph on Marnie’s social media. Marnie, just like the other famous pets, had opportunities to meet celebrities who mimicked her adorable tongue placement (such as Demi Lovato in the pic above), giving fans wholesome selfies.</p> <p>Marnie led a happy and fulfilling life up to the age of 18, but when you miss her, you can always catch her head tilts and tongue pokes on<a href="https://www.instagram.com/marniethedog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> her Instagram.</a></p> <h2>Manny the Frenchie</h2> <p>It seems dog owners have an affinity for dog names that begin with M; next up on our list of internet sensations is Manny, the world’s most-followed bulldog on Instagram. A quick swipe of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/manny_the_frenchie/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Manny’s Instagram</a> would have everyone saying, “that’s relatable”, as there is a photograph of Manny taking a nap at least once every three rows.</p> <p>When he’s not getting some shut-eye, Manny also has a merchandise line and is quite the philanthro-pup being the face of <a href="https://www.mannyandfriends.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Manny &amp; Friends Foundation</a>, whose mission is to help humans and pets alike. The foundation lends a helping hand to children battling serious illnesses and homeless pets who need saving.</p> <h2>Norbert</h2> <p>Just when you thought things couldn’t get cuter, let me introduce you to Norbert, the therapy dog that weighs under 2kg. If you visit <a href="https://www.facebook.com/NorbertDog" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Norbert on Facebook</a>, you’ll see that this little guy is also a business mastermind, selling a line of enamel pins, playing cards, and wall calendars – you name it, he has it!</p> <p>Like Marnie, Norbert also sticks his tongue out in certain photos, making his one million followers fall head over heels for this pup you can hold in one hand. The best part? Norbert can style a bowtie like no other.</p> <h2>Tuna</h2> <p>No, not the fish. Tuna is a Chiweenie rescued by his current owner from a farmers’ market in California, and now he is an internet sensation with 2 million followers on <a href="https://www.instagram.com/tunameltsmyheart/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Instagram</a>.</p> <p>What sets Tuna apart is his overbite and recessed jawline, which does not stop him from spreading love and joy to netizens. Tuna now encourages his following to adopt animals in need as an ambassador for animal rescue. When he isn’t caught up with his ambassador duties, you can find him travelling around the world via his <a href="https://www.instagram.com/thetravelingtuna/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">second Instagram account</a>.</p> <h2>Shiba-san</h2> <p>We saved the best for last. Did you know there used to be a tobacco shop in Tokyo run by a furry little clerk? Shiba-san ran the store alongside his owner and visitors would drop by to get a glimpse at the extraordinary dog. He would slide open the shop window when customers approached, greeting them with utmost professionalism.</p> <p>Sadly, the keyword here is “used to”. The store was closed in 2015 and Shiba-san has since retired, getting some well-deserved rest with his owner. Luckily, you can still catch the retired clerk on his<a href="https://www.instagram.com/doggy134/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> owner’s Instagram</a> now and then.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on<a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/10-greatest-dogs-of-the-internet" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Family & Pets

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“It's like they hate customers”: Restaurant surcharge ignites the internet

<p>It’s a common experience to look at a restaurant’s menu and find hidden charges laying in the fine print - from service fees to split bill and public holiday costs, it can feel like surcharges are everywhere.</p> <p>And while it’s legal for such establishments to expect as much from their customers, particularly when it comes to public holidays, one particular cafe has ignited a debate over what’s actually reasonable when it comes to such surcharges. </p> <p>An exasperated customer launched the conversation when they <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/brisbane/comments/134a652/how_much_is_too_much_for_a_public_holiday/?utm_source=share&amp;utm_medium=web3x&amp;utm_name=web3xcss&amp;utm_term=1&amp;utm_content=share_button" target="_blank" rel="noopener">posted to Reddit</a>, sharing an image of a menu they’d encountered while dining out in Brisbane, and the 25 per cent surcharge attached to it.</p> <p>“How much is too much for a public holiday surcharge?” they asked, before expanding with “what’s a fair go surcharge for a struggling business owner these days?”</p> <p>The comments flooded in from there, and one thing became clear: 25 per cent was well above what many were willing to pay, unless they could guarantee the extra fees were going directly into the wallets of the staff.</p> <p>One got right to the point when they declared, “25% = I eat elsewhere.”</p> <p>“I can understand [a] public holiday surcharge for 10% or 15%,” another said, “but isn't [it] that [being] open on public holidays often attracts much more business than usual, giving the restaurant an advantage such as higher cash flow?”</p> <p>“10% is fair, 25% is robbery,” one agreed. </p> <p>However, not all were of the opinion that walking away from such a cost was the only option, instead noting that “if I go out on a public holiday I am prepared for it to be exxy, I wouldn't have an issue with 25%.”</p> <p>And for some, the public holiday fee wasn’t the issue. Their problem? The extra 7% just to split a bill. </p> <p>“Even if I'm not split billing, f**k any place that charges extra for split billing, ESPECIALLY 7%,” one complained. “JFC, how are people not more upset about that part?”</p> <p>“25% is outrageous, as is 7% for splitting bills. It's like they hate customers,” said one. </p> <p>Another had a few questions about it, writing “that's higher than normal, but why is there a 7% surcharge for splitting the bill? It takes like an extra 30 seconds tops.”</p> <p>“Because people want it, and if they want anything you find a way to charge for it, even if it costs literally nothing,” came the reply. “Gotta get that hustle … Then they wonder why no-one comes back.”</p> <p>Unfortunately for the Redditors, restaurants and cafes in Australia have the freedom to set whatever surcharges they see fit as long as they don’t try to hide them on their menus. </p> <p>As the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has declared, “restaurants, cafes and bistros that charge a surcharge on certain days do not need to provide a separate menu or price list or have a separate price column with the surcharge factored in.</p> <p>“However, the menu must include the words ‘a surcharge of [percentage] applies on [the specified day or days]’ and these words must be displayed at least as prominently as the most prominent price on the menu. </p> <p>“If the menu does not have prices listed, these words must be displayed in a way that is conspicuous and visible to a reader. These measures apply to pricing for both food and beverages.”</p> <p><em>Images: Reddit</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Influencer divides internet with Steve Irwin stingray costume

<p> An Aussie influencer has issued an apology after posting a video of her dressed up as the stingray that killed Steve Irwin for an Australian-themed costume party.</p> <p>Sophia Begg, 19, divided the internet with her choice of costume, and has since deleted her TikTok that pictured her in the outfit she was wearing for “an Aussie dress-up party in a duo costume”.</p> <p>“They’re going as Steve Irwin and I’m going as a stingray,” she noted in the comment section, after one viewer wrote, “Steve Erwin (sic) could never.”</p> <p>The late and beloved "Crocodile Hunter" was killed on September 4, 2006, when he was pierced in the chest by a stingray barb at Queensland’s Batt Reef.</p> <p>After saying that she loved Irwin and “would never want to offend his family/loved ones”, Begg apologised in a short text video on TikTok.</p> <p>“Hi guys, I just wanted to jump on here to clear up some things,” she wrote.</p> <p>“I love Steve Irwin and would never want to cause disrespect to his family or legacy. He is an iconic aussie and no offence was meant by my costume.</p> <p>“I have thought about and reflected on my costume, and I will not be wearing it, and apologise wholeheartedly to anyone who was offended by it, that was definitely not my intention.</p> <p>“I apologise sincerely.”</p> <p>Followers were divided about whether the 19-year-old’s costume was “fine and funny” or “disrespectful and offensive” to Irwin’s family.</p> <p>“Oh lighten up. It’s been 20 years,” one commented.</p> <p>“Not the people getting offended over a stingray,” a second added.</p> <p>Another TikTok user said, “I think it’s funny and I loved Steve Irwin. Life’s too short to take seriously.”</p> <p>“I feel like Steve would have laughed at this,” someone else added.</p> <p>People in the comments noted that it would’ve been far less “disrespectful” had she “dressed as a crocodile”.</p> <p>Her post sparked more debate after appearing on an influencer watchdog account @influencer.updates.au, “Disrespectful. She could have gone as a crocodile. This is just in poor taste,” one woman said.</p> <p>“There’s dark humour and then there’s mocking how an Aussie icon died, leaving his wife and kids behind.”</p> <p>“I’d just ask myself one question. Would I wear this in front of [Irwin’s kids] Bindi and Robert? No. That’s a huge no,” one person added.</p> <p>One follower pointed out it was unlikely that Begg had “any ill intent… she should have chosen another costume”.</p> <p>“I think it’s just in really bad taste. I think Steve Irwin would have been a bit before her time but for a lot of us ‘older’ Australians, he was an absolute icon and I think it would be upsetting for his wife and children.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: TikTok</em></p>

News

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Bluey toast takes the internet by storm

<p>While some have a hard enough time trying to make toast without setting off the fire alarm, others are always dreaming just that little bit bigger. </p> <p>Like the parents who call themselves the Bluey Mums on Facebook, who have found a source of endless entertainment in the form of Bluey toast - or more specifically, Bluey’s younger sister, Bingo. </p> <p>Their inspiration comes from a cookbook titled <em>Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook: Yummy recipes, for real life</em>. And with an ingredients list that seems simple enough on the surface - toast, some fruit, and a spread of their choice - many set to work trying to spoil their children with a fun-filled breakfast plate. </p> <p>However, as many soon came to learn, it can often be better to stick to what we know. Or at the very least to remember that practice makes perfect, and sometimes our first attempts are better served as a warning. </p> <p>And for the Bluey Mums, sharing became the theme of the day, with members finding bucketloads of amusement in posting their creations with each other. Some were spot on, and others were a little more abstract - but all were valiant efforts, and at the end of the day, came only from the best intentions. </p> <p>“Our ‘attempt’ at Bingo toast,' wrote one mum, Madison, alongside her images of what the toast should have looked like, and what she’d managed to come up with. Her masterpiece wasn’t far off the intended portrait, just a little off in proportion, but it was enough to draw laughter from the crowd, and some good-natured commentary at the shocked character on the plate. </p> <p>“Bingo has seen things,” someone declared.</p> <p>“Looks better than the picture I'd say!” wrote one supportive user. </p> <p>Meanwhile, others were happy just to know what it meant to their children, with one even getting a surprising - and welcome - result out of it all. </p> <p>“I have zero skills to do this stuff! But my daughter loved it and ate all the bread,” she wrote, before adding that her daughter had been “refusing bread for a while”. </p> <p>“My daughter loved it though,” another wrote of her own attempt, “and that’s all that matters.”</p> <p>One parent, who shared her creation to Reddit, was met with similar enthusiasm from commenters, with one writing “expectation vs reality … And the reality ain't that bad! Nice”.</p> <p>“Now do Muffin!” encouraged one, eager for another round of terrific toast.</p> <p><em>Images: Bluey Mums / Facebook, Reddit</em></p>

Food & Wine

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3 reasons you should never view or share videos showing children being assaulted – even if you think it helps ‘raise awareness’

<p>Australians have been shocked by an <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/mar/22/queensland-children-aged-between-12-and-14-charged-after-allegedly-assaulting-girl-over-several-hours">incident</a> on the Sunshine Coast this month in which a 13-year-old girl was imprisoned, assaulted and tortured over many hours, allegedly by three girls aged 12, 13 and 14.</p> <p>The alleged perpetrators also filmed the abuse, which went <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/queensland/crime/three-girls-charged-after-13yearold-allegedly-lured-to-home-and-tortured/news-story/c08af6c838e54fc0d39c449e57f9719a">viral online</a> with photos and videos being shared across news outlets and social media profiles.</p> <p>Some people may think they’re supporting victims by watching the videos and then expressing their outrage at their treatment. Morbid curiosity about the event might also prompt people to view the photos or videos.</p> <p>But there are three key reasons why you should never view, download or share photos or videos of children being assaulted.</p> <h2>1. You may be committing a criminal offence</h2> <p>Photos and videos showing this 13-year-old girl allegedly being assaulted and tortured are unlawful. Content such as this is called child sexual abuse material (CSAM), which has <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-in-a-name-online-child-abuse-material-is-not-pornography-45840">previously been called child pornography</a>.</p> <p>Child sexual abuse material is <a href="https://theconversation.com/virtual-child-sexual-abuse-material-depicts-fictitious-children-but-can-be-used-to-disguise-real-abuse-180248">offensive or sexual online material</a> depicting children. It’s a criminal offence to possess, view, share or create it.</p> <p>It isn’t just pornographic material. These laws extend to material that depicts children being assaulted and tortured, even without a sexual element.</p> <p>Criminal offences exist for possessing, viewing, sharing or creating such material. Each state and territory jurisdiction, and the Commonwealth, has their own legislation which may have a slightly <a href="https://bridges.monash.edu/articles/journal_contribution/Lawful_Acts_Unlawful_Images_The_Problematic_Definition_of_Child_Pornography/10064963/1">different perspective</a> on whether a person has committed an offence.</p> <p>Criminal offences can be committed in the following circumstances:</p> <ol> <li> <p>if someone <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2277239">downloads</a> a child assault photo or video, they are “possessing” child sexual abuse material</p> </li> <li> <p>where someone posts it to their social media page or <a href="https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/utasman40&amp;div=14&amp;id=&amp;page=">sends it</a> via email to others, they are “distributing” or “disseminating” child sexual abuse material</p> </li> <li> <p>when someone <a href="https://www.cdpp.gov.au/crimes-we-prosecute/child-exploitation">watches</a> a child assault video online without downloading, or looks at a photo, they are still “accessing” (viewing) such material, which can be an offence.</p> </li> </ol> <p>It doesn’t matter if the child victim indicates their approval for the material to be promulgated. Children are <a href="https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-05/58-1213-FinalReport.pdf">unable to consent</a> to material depicting their own assault being shared or viewed by others.</p> <h2>2. You are perpetuating the abuse suffered by the victim</h2> <p>Watching and sharing child abuse photos or videos does not support the victim. Every photo and video depicting child abuse <a href="https://theconversation.com/it-is-not-child-pornography-it-is-a-crime-scene-photo-12465">shows a crime scene</a>.</p> <p>A victim’s abuse being captured and shared as a video is a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0145213419303667">regular reminder</a> of their abuse. The photos or videos can cause <a href="https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi653">ongoing harm to a child victim</a>, beyond any physical harm they may have recovered from.</p> <p>US researchers conducted <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0145213418301510?via%3Dihub">a study</a>, published in 2018, to analyse the complex experiences of survivors (adults who, as children, had material of their abuse shared online).</p> <p>The participants described ongoing feelings of guilt and shame, and a feeling of enduring vulnerability because their records of abuse will always be online for others to see.</p> <p>As one survivor, not part of this study, <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/978-1-83982-848-520211053/full/html">said</a> "I have to live with the knowledge that my abuse will never end, and that every second of every day, someone could be – almost certainly is – watching my torture and abuse. Even once I’m dead, my degradation will continue. I will never be able to escape it. This trauma is infinite.</p> <p>Some also described an empowering dimension because the material provided validation of the abuse they suffered, or could be used as evidence in court.</p> <p>While victims may all process their experiences in different ways, it’s important to be mindful of the detrimental and ongoing effects on a child victim of an assault being captured and shared online.</p> <p>As a community, we must do everything we can to support those children, including refusing to watch or share photos or videos of their abuse.</p> <h2>3. You are giving undeserved notoriety to the perpetrators</h2> <p>Some perpetrators use records of their offending to create social media content for notoriety.</p> <p>“Performance crimes” allow perpetrators to use their online platform <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/journals/CICrimJust/2015/21.html">for attention</a>.</p> <p>Terrorism is another example, where terror attacks have been <a href="https://theconversation.com/social-media-create-a-spectacle-society-that-makes-it-easier-for-terrorists-to-achieve-notoriety-113715">livestreamed</a> and media outlets have responded by refusing to name the perpetrators.</p> <p>Do not reward the perpetrators by giving them a platform.</p> <h2>How should we respond?</h2> <p>It’s important we, as a community, acknowledge that children whose assaults are captured in photos and videos have been through a traumatic experience and need support.</p> <p>Watching or sharing their assault only perpetuates the abuse.</p> <p>We must refuse to watch videos of child abuse, and delete them if they’re sent to us.</p> <p>We then need to trust that police will conduct thorough investigations that will result in an appropriate outcome.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/3-reasons-you-should-never-view-or-share-videos-showing-children-being-assaulted-even-if-you-think-it-helps-raise-awareness-202610" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Shutterstock</em></p>

Technology

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Real estate agent divides internet with “sweet gesture” to hopeful homeowner

<p dir="ltr">A real estate agent has divided the internet after sending a hopeful homeowner a scratchie ticket along with a rejection letter. </p> <p dir="ltr">The anonymous wannabe buyer shared a photo of the letter they received from their agent with the scratchie card alongside it on Reddit, explaining how they had missed out on their dream home. </p> <p dir="ltr">The letter begins in capital letters, reading “Really sorry you missed out”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I wanted to personally thank you for your interest in my recent listing and say how sorry we are that you missed out.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I know how keen you were to make it yours, and as much as we love our work, there are parts that are difficult.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Telling someone the bad news that they have missed out on a property they are very keen on, is certainly the worst part of our role.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I wish we had more properties like this one for those who have missed out on this home.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I enclose a scratchie to try and soften the disappointment.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“The agent said they hoped the wannabe homeowner would win some cash so ‘next time you can extend your offer just that little bit more’.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The $1 scratch card gave the unsuccessful applicant the chance to win $100,000 in a game of Tic Tac Toad. </p> <p dir="ltr">The gesture prompted a mixed response from commenters, with most readers calling out the agent for being “condescending”. </p> <p dir="ltr">One comment read, “Might just be poorly worded, but this comes across very condescending and patronising. ‘Lol sorry you’re too poor. Maybe if you win some money we’ll be able to take it from you.’”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another pointed out the agent’s potential grovelling to the buyer, saying “Absolutely no real estate agent is sending anything like this to mere tenants.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another frustrated renter wrote, “Great! Now if I could get a scratchie with every unsuccessful rental application, I wouldn’t need to rent.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A few commenters praised the real estate agent’s actions, believing they had good intentions by including the scratchie. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person wrote, “They didn’t have to give anything but still did. The wording could’ve been better but still, something for nothing.”</p> <p dir="ltr">One other person was shocked by the support for the agent in the comments of the post, putting it blatantly, “They said ‘so next time you can extend your offer just that little bit more’.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Their intention is clear. They’re saying to offer more money. I genuinely am surprised by the comments on this post thinking this is a nice gesture and not blatant manipulation.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Reddit</em></p>

Real Estate

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“Rarest species of feline on Earth”: Unique cat mystifies the internet

<p dir="ltr">A photo of the “rarest species of feline on Earth”, a cat with black and neon yellow stripes, has mystified the internet.</p> <p dir="ltr">The incredible photo of the “Amazon snake cat” is truly unbelievable.</p> <p dir="ltr">The image of the so-called “Serpens Cattus”, a feline with black and neon-yellow stripes resembling a snake, made waves online, with social media posts claiming it was the “rarest species of feline on Earth”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Serpens Cattus is the rarest species of feline on Earth. These Animals live in hard-to-reach regions of the Amazon rainforest, and therefore they are relatively poorly studied,” a Twitter user claimed. “The first images capturing the snake cat appeared only in 2020. Weighs up to 4 stone (25kgs).”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://t.co/rpeMQKCF4I">pic.twitter.com/rpeMQKCF4I</a></p> <p>— Jeff_kamara2 (@Kamara2R) <a href="https://twitter.com/Kamara2R/status/1635669633553367040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 14, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">A now-deleted Reddit post of the “Serpens Cattus” attracted several comments who flagged the feline as not being real. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Obvious fake. No known gene can produce natural hair or fur of those (navy and bright yellow) colours,” one commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Really rough attempt at a fake Latin name,” a second person chimed in. “One google about species naming would have made this a lot less obvious.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The post caught the eye of zoology experts to verify the authenticity of the photo.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, the colours and patterns on the female bare a strong resemblance to the reptilian boiga dendrophila, which is commonly referred to as the “gold-ringed cat snake”.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo &amp; Conservation Biology Institute, the snake is found in the same countries where the “Amazon snake cat” was rumoured to be found. </p> <p dir="ltr">The serpent-like feline slid over to TikTok, where one user claimed that the species lived in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He’s in the next fantastic beasts,” laughed one user referencing the Harry Potter spin-off franchise.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Use this s**t for good not to misinform,” another user wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Stop sharing bulls**t,” a third commented. </p> <p dir="ltr">It's clear to see the mysterious feline has certainly left some in hiss-belief.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-919797d4-7fff-89ab-2d2e-e88b391d041a"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credit: Twitter</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Pub trivia baffles the internet

<p>Social media has been sent into trivia turmoil after one Reddit user uploaded a picture from a pub trivia session, declaring that their “mate left before getting the answer”. </p> <p>The image in question, which appeared on a quiz sheet at Sydney’s Penrith Gaels Club, features the silhouettes of five individuals - two female heads and three male figures, with check marks above the heads of the women. </p> <p>“From pub trivia, mate left before getting the answer,” the Reddit user explained, before posing the question, “any ideas?” </p> <p>According to the user, these kinds of questions are typically either a phrase or a saying, but that was the only clue any of them had when it came to figuring out the bizarre puzzle. </p> <p>The post has since gathered over 9,000 responses, with 2.1k commenters stopping by to share their thoughts on the situation. </p> <p><iframe id="reddit-embed" style="border: none;" src="https://www.redditmedia.com/r/australia/comments/11ezzi0/from_pub_trivia_mate_left_before_getting_the/?ref_source=embed&amp;ref=share&amp;embed=true" width="640" height="468" scrolling="no" sandbox="allow-scripts allow-same-origin allow-popups"></iframe></p> <p>Some took their chance at guessing, some simply marvelled at the entertainment the struggle was providing, and one even had a laugh at the mate’s expense, noting that they’d fled at “Puzzle #1”. </p> <p>The potential answers kept rolling, but with many stellar contenders, no-one could reach an agreement, though amusement was high as the discussion went on. </p> <p>“Behind all great men is a ticked off woman?” wrote one user, to 670 upvotes. </p> <p>“The right men check on ladies first?” suggested one.</p> <p>“The only thing I've got is two's company, three's a crowd,” was another popular guess, with the user adding, “it's a bit weak, though.”</p> <p>“Is it a microphone test?” asked one clever commenter, “check, check. 1-2, 1-2-3.”</p> <p>Eventually, the original poster informed everyone that he’d taken the plunge and reached out to the pub for the answer, “but another Redditer commented saying he was there and that the Trivia Master accepted all answers because no one got it.”</p> <p>And to what should have been the delight of everyone involved, he got an answer - it just wasn’t nearly as funny as anything they’d come up with on the Reddit thread, with the crowd of trivia fans given a new burst of energy is expressing their annoyance with the uninspired solution. </p> <p>“Alright, the pub saw the post and they have found the answer that the Trivia Master was looking for,” he announced, “the answer is ‘Ladies First’. A little bit anticlimactic but at least we have the answer now.” </p> <p><em>Images: Reddit</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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“Please don’t be mad”: British expat’s bone to pick with Australia

<p>British expat Jordana Grace has taken to TikTok to share her three biggest gripes with Australia, with the claim that most Australians don’t bat an eyelid at them.</p> <p>Jordana lives on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast after leaving the United Kingdom behind, and boasts a following of almost 300k on her TikTok where she regularly shares insight into her Australian adventure.</p> <p>“Sorry in advance,” the budding MixFM radio host began, “I’m gonna make Australia mad.”</p> <p>“Three things I don’t like about Australia,” she went on, “that Aussies don’t even realise is a thing.”</p> <p>From there, Jordana went on to list the aspects of life in Australia that were causing her the most trouble, though her claim about Aussies may have missed the mark, with Jordana’s gripes known frustrations across the country.</p> <p>“First up is the slow internet speed - like, what the fudge?” She said, “sorry for the salty language, but it’s like nails on a chalkboard how in some areas in Australia the internet and WiFi is just so slow.”</p> <p>In 2023, the UK ranked 45th in the world for average broadband speed with 145.33 Mbps, while Australia came in at 73rd with an average speed of 88.77 Mbps.</p> <p>“Please don’t be mad,” Jordana continued, “but next is the terrible phone service. There’s like three major providers in Australia, and they all have nicknames like Vodafone is Vodafail, Optus is Optus Droptus, and Telstra … no-one can come up with a clever nickname for but it’s just very inconsistent phone service over here."</p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; vertical-align: baseline; width: 620px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7197724229943446789&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40thejordanagrace%2Fvideo%2F7197724229943446789&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-va.tiktokcdn.com%2Ftos-maliva-p-0068%2Fo0hBIk9tbBrEQhCIsd8xABfiuj1zkbogAuDFjA%7Etplv-dmt-logom%3Atos-useast2a-v-0068%2F0f22bd61bc15443ea1f3e5214fcdd9f3.image%3Fx-expires%3D1676361600%26x-signature%3D1ck2cF1fvQNZsDbJz4kKysELBSg%253D&amp;key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>“And finally, the postage cost and speed," she said. "In the UK I didn’t realise that next day delivery was such a luxury, because over here postage not only can take weeks but the postage cost can cost as much as the item sometimes.”</p> <p>In the United Kingdom, prices to post a parcel begin at £3.95 for 1st class ($6.90). In Australia, 1st class parcel postage begins at $9.70. And as any Australian knows, postage times can span from a couple of days to a couple of weeks in busy periods.</p> <p>“Okay, but that’s it!” Jordana concluded, before pleading for everyone’s understanding, “I love you Australia, please don’t hate me.”</p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How to block app invites on Facebook

<p>Got that one annoying Facebook friend who keeps inviting you to play Candy Crush? And no matter how many times you tell them you want nothing to do with their quest for candy, the invites keeps coming in? Here’s what you can do to put a stop to it (and keep the friendship intact):</p> <p><strong>Blocking an app or game</strong></p> <p>When you block an app or game, it won't be able to access any of your Facebook information or send you any requests. If you no longer want an app or game to contact you, please remove it.</p> <ol> <li>Click the downward arrow icon on the top right of your Facebook page. Select Settings.</li> <li>Click Blocking, located in the left column.</li> <li>In the Block apps section, type the name of the app or game you want to block.</li> </ol> <p>If you ever want to unblock the app or game, click “Unblock” next to the app name.</p> <p><strong>Blocking a specific friend’s invitations</strong></p> <p>If you have a Facebook friend that invites you to so many different games and apps that you’ve often wondered if they spend their entire life on Facebook, you have the option to block all invites from a particular Facebook friend. This automatically ignores all future invites from all games and apps sent by the person.</p> <ol> <li>Click the downward arrow icon on the top right of your Facebook page. Select Settings.</li> <li>Click Blocking, located in the left column.</li> <li>In the Block app invites section, type the name of the friend you want to block invites from.</li> </ol> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Technology

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3 times you should never “accept cookies” on a site

<p><strong>To cookie or not to cookie?</strong></p> <p>Cookie-consent pop-ups are one of the biggest annoyances on the Internet. Almost every site you visit has a notice saying, “This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Do you agree?” or something similar. Typically, we click “yes” or “agree” without even thinking about it because we’re eager to get to the content. But should we? Not necessarily.</p> <p><strong>What are cookies, exactly?</strong></p> <p>Before we delve into the dos and don’ts of cookie consent, here’s a little refresher on this Web tool: Cookies are essentially information collectors and trackers in the form of small text files stored on your browser by the sites you visit. Some are useful. For example, a cookie saved on your browser makes it so you don’t have to re-enter your log-in information every time you visit one of your favourite websites. Cookies can also remember your shopping preferences so that you get a personalised experience when you visit the website. Others, however, track how you use a website, how often you go there, your IP address, your phone number, what types of things you look at and buy, and other information you may not want to share.</p> <p><strong>Do you have to accept cookies?</strong></p> <p>Many companies have you click “yes” so that they’re compliant with current privacy laws. This means that once you click, you’ve given the company permission to use your information as they see fit without the worry of legal backlash. Most of the time, cookies are no big deal. There are a few occasions, though, where you should decline cookies. Don’t worry – if you find yourself in a situation where you need to decline or simply want to decline for whatever reason, most websites will work just fine without collecting your information. With that said, here’s when saying no to the cookies is a good idea.</p> <p><strong>Sketchy sites</strong></p> <p>Beware when you’re on an unencrypted website (these websites will have an unlocked lock icon by the web address) while using a public Wi-Fi network. The information collected by cookies can be intercepted by hackers because there isn’t any security to stop them. Your best bet when borrowing Wi-Fi from your local coffee shop or fast-food joint is to use your browser’s private or incognito mode. While in this mode, cookies aren’t collected by default (though you can manually turn off cookie blocking on some browsers), no matter where your Internet journeys take you.</p> <p><strong>Third-party cookies</strong></p> <p>If the cookie-consent pop-up mentions third-party cookies, click “decline.” Accepting gives the website the right to sell your browsing behaviour to a data broker. The broker then combines your behaviour on one website with information from other websites and builds an extremely detailed profile of you as a consumer. “The broker then sells that profile to other third parties who want to market to people like you,” says Harry Maugans, CEO of Privacy Bee, a proactive privacy management tool for consumers. “As you can imagine, this chain extends infinitely. Once you lose control of your personal data, it gets packaged and repackaged in all kinds of ways. It’s scary but true.”</p> <p>According to Maugans, some third-party cookies are even nefarious. You could become a victim of “cookie stealing” or “session hijacking.” This is when a hacker gains access to a browser and mimics users to be able to steal cookies from that browser. This can put you at risk of identity theft if hackers manage to steal cookies that store your personal information or credit card information.</p> <p>If you’re worried that you might accidentally accept third-party cookies, there’s an easy way to make things fool-proof. Go into your browser and choose to allow only required cookies or “first party” cookies. These cookies are the helpful ones mentioned earlier and are usually only used by the website you’re visiting.</p> <p><strong>When you’re using private information</strong></p> <p>If you don’t feel comfortable sharing the information you’re using or accessing on a website with a stranger, don’t use cookies on that site. According to Jeremy Tillman, president of the privacy company Ghostery, you should avoid cookies on sites where you do your banking, access your medical information, or use other private information.</p> <p>If you’re afraid that you’ve already accepted cookies on websites where you wouldn’t want your information gathered, go into your browser and use the “clear cookies” option. This will prevent sites from collecting your information in the future, as long as you decline the next time a site asks you to accept its cookies.</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-ab23c7bc-7fff-94d0-086f-61fdae71f0de">Written by Alina Bradford. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/science-technology/3-times-you-should-never-accept-cookies-on-a-site" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></span></em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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