TikTok Twitter

Twitter, TikTok Have Held Preliminary Talks About Possible Combination – The Wall Street Journal

Twitter Inc. has had preliminary talks about a potential combination with TikTok, the popular video-sharing app that the Trump administration has declared a national-security threat due to its Chinese ownership, according to people familiar with the matter.

It is unclear whether Twitter will pursue a deal with TikTok, which would face significant challenges. A deal would involve TikTok’s U.S. operations, the people said.

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Revives Twitter

Twitter Hack Revives Concerns Over Its Data Security – The Wall Street Journal

The hack last week that exposed Twitter Inc.’s longstanding security issues started with a process familiar to almost every internet user: the password reset.

In part by manipulating Twitter employees via a technique known as social engineering, hackers were able to change the passwords on 45 accounts without the owners being aware, according to the company, security experts and a business associate of the hacker. The hourslong attack enabled the hackers to control accounts of prominent figures, including former Vice President…

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Sorry Twitter

Twitter: Sorry for Putting Covid-19 Misinformation Labels on Your ‘Oxygen’ Tweets – Gizmodo

To reign in false claims about covid-19, Twitter put misinformation labels on tweets with the words “5G” and “oxygen” this week.

To reign in false claims about covid-19, Twitter put misinformation labels on tweets with the words “5G” and “oxygen” this week.
Photo: Alastair Pike (AFP via Getty Images)

It’s not always easy to do the right thing in tech, and it can lead to some embarrassing (and funny) mistakes. Just ask Twitter.

As you all probably know, Twitter has been trying to stop misinformation about covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, from spreading wildly on its platform. One way it does this is by sticking misinformation labels on tweets with false information about covid-19, such as posts talking about a cure for the disease (there is unfortunately no cure yet although scientists all over the world are working on a vaccine).

In recent weeks, Twitter has begun adding these labels to tweets that link the rollout of 5G to the spread of covid-19, a topic that has prompted multiple conspiracy theories. Some conspiracy theorists, for example, claim that radiation from 5G towers weakens immune systems and makes people more susceptible to getting covid-19. There is no scientific evidence to support this. However, misinformation about 5G towers has led people to burn cellphone towers in the UK.

Flagging tweets that spit out 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories sounds like a good thing, right? No doubt about that, except when the filtering system you use gets confused.

G/O Media may get a commission

Many Twitter users noticed on Friday that Twitter was apparently sticking labels on any tweet that mentioned “5G,” “oxygen,” and “frequency” for some strange reason, even if those tweets were not about harmful 5G conspiracy theories. The label links to a Twitter Moment titled “No, 5G isn’t causing coronavirus,” and includes information from reputable sources debunking the claims.

The end result, of course, was Twitter users posting endless combinations with the words to see if their tweets would get flagged. These types of tweets were obviously not meant to be harmful and were just an attempt to have fun, but Twitter’s filter didn’t have a way of knowing that.

When it comes to why Twitter singled out “oxygen” and “frequency,” the folks at The Week theorize that it’s probably because of a conspiracy theory that claims that 5G is a dangerous frequency that sucks the oxygen out of the atmosphere, thereby disrupting our bodies’ normal functions. This is, of course, false. Twitter hasn’t confirmed that this is the reason why its system started flagging the tweets.

Nonetheless, it’s important to note that this type of “moderation by algorithm” can lead to other issues.

“One of the flaws of attempting moderation at scale by algorithm, a problem that has no bearing on 5G, is that it lets tech companies suck the oxygen out of efforts at reform & regulation, as they shrug & turn ‘we tried one thing with code and it did not work’ into ‘can’t be done,’” defense technology writer Kelsey D. Atherton pointed out in a tweet, which also got slapped with a covid-19 misinformation label.

As the day went on, Twitter eventually stopped labeling the tweets with the keywords we mentioned. A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard this weekend that the company’s algorithm is “imperfect and constantly changing” based on what’s happening on Twitter. The spokeswoman added that Twitter prioritized over-labeling to err on the side of caution and reduce harm while providing the necessary context.

“In the last few weeks, you may have seen tweets with labels linking to additional info about covid-19. Not all of those tweets had potentially misleading content associating covid-19 and 5G. We apologize for any confusion and we’re working to improve our labeling process,” Twitter Support tweeted on Saturday. “As we improve this process to be more precise, our goal is to show fewer la
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flagged Twitter

Twitter flagged another Trump tweet for violating its policies – CNBC

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office before signing an executive order related to regulating social media on May 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump’s executive order could lead to attempts to punish companies such as Twitter and Google for attempting to point out factual inconsistencies in social media posts by politicians.

Doug Mills | Pool | Getty Images

Twitter on Tuesday once again placed a label over one of President Donald Trump’s tweets, claiming he violated the platform’s policies against abusive behavior.

Trump’s tweet said that those who try to create an “Autonomous Zone” in Washington, D.C., “will be met with serious force.” Twitter claims the tweet violates its rules because it includes a “threat of harm against an identifiable group.”

The tweet came after a group of protesters on Monday unsuccessfully attempted to pull down a statute of former President Andrew Jackson near the White House. The protesters later tried to claim an area near Black Lives Matter Plaza as a “Black House Autonomous Zone,” The Washington Post reported, before police removed them.

Protesters in Seattle began occupying an autonomous zone in the city earlier this month as the police department pulled officers out of a local precinct. 

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany responded on Twitter, “Let’s be clear about what just happened. Twitter labeled it ‘abusive behavior’ for the President of the United States to say that he will enforce the law. Twitter says it is ‘abusive’ to prevent rioters from forcibly seizing territory to set up a lawless zone in our capital.”

Recently, Twitter has been more actively enforcing its content policies against the president. Those policies include a special carve-out that allows Twitter to flag tweets from world leaders that violate its standards while leaving the tweets intact so they can be seen by the public.

Twitter usually removes similar tweets if they’re posted by other users. The company has said it believes messages from world leaders are in the public interest, so it places a warning obscuring the message to users until they click through.

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on two of Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots for the first time last month. Shortly after, Twitter placed a warning label over another tweet that it said violated its policies about glorifying violence.

Trump lashed out against Twitter for the initial fact-check label, introducing an executive order a couple days later that would seek to weaken the liability shield protecting Twitter and other platforms from legal responsibility for their users’ posts. Though the executive order is highly limited in power without legislative change, the move was widely seen as retaliation for Twitter’s actions on Trump’s tweets.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

WATCH: Seattle protesters set up ‘autonomous zone’—Here’s what it’s like

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audio Twitter

Twitter’s audio tweets revealed an accessibility miss, and now the company wants to fix it – The Verge

Twitter doesn’t have a team dedicated to accessibility, instead relying on employees who volunteer their time above and beyond their usual duties, and the company may have already realized that’s a mistake — after taking flak for the lack of captions in Twitter’s brand-new audio tweet feature, the company tells The Verge that it’s exploring how to build a “more dedicated group” to focus on accessibility problems.

The lack of a dedicated team was revealed by Twitter software engineer Andrew Hayward, following complaints from accessibility advocates. He later clarified that the group wasn’t unpaid, but were regular Twitter employees who dedicated some of their time to accessibility issues.

Just to clarify, given that this seems to have gained some traction… we are volunteers in so much as the work we do is notionally on top of our regular roles, rather than being full time.

We are all otherwise paid employees – Twitter is not outsourcing unpaid labour!

— Andrew Hayward (⌀4.5m) (@arhayward) June 18, 2020

The audio tweets, which are available to a limited number of users on iOS, can capture up to 140 seconds of audio per tweet. A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge that the feature was an early audio test, and “we’re still exploring the best ways to meet the needs of people with different abilities.”

With the greatest of respect, Twitter, describing this version of the feature as ‘early’ to make up for the fact that it currently isn’t accessible (but may well be in a later version) isn’t good enough.

Accessibility should be considered from the start, not as an afterthought.

— Liam O’Dell (@LiamODellUK) June 17, 2020

“I do worry that if this becomes a prominent feature, deaf users will be left out,” tweeted Liam O’Dell, a UK-based deaf journalist. Other commenters pointed out that other social platforms have captions, so the excuse that this was a new feature didn’t really hold water. For the record, YouTube, Facebook videos, Zoom, and Snapchat Discover videos all offer captioning.

Following Hayward’s tweets, a Twitter spokesperson tells The Verge the company is working on improving its accessibility review and exploring the possibility of building that “more dedicated group” to focus on the problem.

Here’s Twitter’s full statement:

Right now, there are groups and individuals across the company that support our accessibility work. See @TwitterA11y and @TwitterAble. We’re looking at how we can build out a more dedicated group to focus on accessibility tooling and advocacy across all products. We missed around voice Tweets, and we are committed to doing better – making this feature more accessible and also all features in the future. We’re constantly reviewing both the functionality of our products and the internal processes that inform them; we’ll share progress in this area.

Twitter also pointed to a public statement from Dantley Davis, the company’s head of design and research, who said he will advocate for accessibility to be a part of product design from the beginning in the future.

I appreciate the feedback and direct conversation about #a11y from our passionate community. It’s clear we have a lot of work ahead to make Twitter more inclusive for people with disabilities. I will advocate for a11y to be part of our design from the beginning of all projects.

— Dantley Davis (@dantley) June 18, 2020

Twitter doesn’t seem to be promising any structural changes for certain, but the company has heard advocates loud and clear.

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hides Twitter

Twitter hides Donald Trump tweet for ‘glorifying violence’ – The Guardian

Twitter has hidden one of Donald Trumps tweets behind a warning that it glorifies violence, further escalating the social media companys row with the US president.
The US presidents tweet, posted on…
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labels Twitter

Twitter labels Trump’s tweets with a fact check for the first time – The Washington Post

Twitter on Tuesday slapped a fact-check label on President Trump’s tweets for the first time, a response to long-standing criticism that the company is too hands-off when it comes to policing misinformation and falsehoods from world leaders.

The move, which escalates tensions between Washington and Silicon Valley in an election year, was made in response to two Trump tweets over the past 24 hours. The tweets falsely claimed that mail-in ballots are fraudulent. Twitter’s label says, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” and redirects users to news articles about Trump’s unsubstantiated claim.

There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020

The tweets, said Twitter spokeswoman Katie Rosborough, “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots.”

….living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020

The label directs users to articles by CNN, The Washington Post and the Hill, along with selections from the articles and a page summarizing the findings of fact-checkers.

Twitter’s action quickly drew backlash from Trump and his supporters. Twitter “is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election,” the president tweeted. “They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post.”

For its 14-year existence, Twitter has allowed misinformation by world leaders and everyday citizens to spread virtually unchecked. Its leaders have long said users would engage in debate on the platform and correct false information on their own.

But Trump has made many false claims on social media, particularly on his preferred medium of Twitter, and has also attacked people in ways that critics have argued could violate company policies on harassment and bullying.

For example, Twitter faced a barrage of criticism earlier Tuesday over another set of Trump tweets. The widower of a former staffer to then-Rep. Joe Scarborough asked Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey to delete tweets by Trump furthering a baseless conspiracy theory about the staffer’s wife’s death. Those tweets are still up, a reflection of social media companies’ approach to policing content that can appear inconsistent even as they have stepped up their enforcement.

Twitter is debating whether to take action on the Scarborough tweets, said a person familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Its much larger rival Facebook, by contrast, launched a fact-checking program several years ago. Facebook funds an army of third-party fact-checkers to investigate content, which then gets labeled on the site and demoted in its reach. However, Trump posted the same content about mail-in ballots on Facebook.

Facebook said it didn’t plan to label or remove the post. “We believe that people should be able to have a robust debate about the electoral process, which is why we have crafted our policies to focus on misrepresentations that would interfere with the vote,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said.

Twitter, which has roughly 330 million users compared to Facebook’s 2.6 billion, has not had the resources or the institutional will to engage fact-checkers.

But Twitter has changed its approach during the pandemic. In March, the company revised its terms of service to say it would remove posts by anyone, even world leaders, if such posts went “against guidance from authoritative sources of global and public health information.” That includes comments claiming social distancing is ineffective or essential oils can be used to cure the disease, for example.

Soon after, for the first time, Twitter applied the policy to world leaders, removing tweets by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, arguing that the tweets about breaking social distancing orders and touting false cures had such potential for harm that labeling them would be insufficient.

In March, Twitter labeled a manipulated video of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden that was retweeted by Trump. That same month, Facebook took down a misleading ad about the U.S. census, one of two times that Facebook has taken action against the Trump campaign.

Then earlier this month, Twitter rolled out a policy saying that it would label or provide warning messages about coronavirus-related misinformation, even when that information is not a direct contradiction of health authorities and does not violate the company’s policies. The company said at the time that it may expand the labels to other issue areas, such as other types of health-related hoaxes or other situations where there is a risk of harm. Tuesday’s tweets on elections represent an expansion into a new area of election-related misinformation.

“It’s clear that social networking sites have a critical role to play in disseminating democratic speech and therefore in helping to police the boundaries of that speech,” said Joshua Pasek, an associate professor of communication and media at the University of Michigan. “The fact that Twitter felt the need to take this action suggests that there is a point at which the preservation of democracy in their view overshadows the importance of remaining non-partisan.”

As a matter of policy, Twitter and other tech companies hold world leaders to different standards than everyday users. The content of world leaders is kept up by Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube, even when it violates company policies, a practice known as the “newsworthiness exemption.”

That policy has long been subject to criticism because comments by world leaders can have massive impacts on people’s behavior and the potential to cause harm. Trump’s recent promotion of the drug hydroxychloroquine as an experimental treatment for the novel coronavirus, for example, caused prescriptions and sales to soar.

If Trump had instructed people to take the drug outright, the statement would probably have been taken down by both Facebook and Twitter, according to people who work there who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Instead the president walked a fine line, promoting the benefits of the drug and saying he was taking it himself.

The World Health Organization has halted studies of the drug out of concern that it causes more harm than good.

Cat Zakrzewski contributed to this report.

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Facebook Twitter

How to Set Your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to Control Who Sees What – WIRED

Social media can bring us together, and even distract us sometimes from our troubles—but it also can expose us to scammers, hackers, and…less than pleasant experiences.

Don’t panic though: you can keep the balance towards the positive with just a few common-sense steps, and we have some of the most vital ones below. When it comes to staying safe on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, a lot of it is common sense, with a sprinkling of extra awareness.

1. Set Your Audience

Facebook is the social network with the most granular control when it comes to the visibility of your posts: whenever you’re about to post something to your timeline, you’ll see a drop-down menu that lets you choose who can actually see it.

You can set some posts to be visible to your family, for example, and other posts visible to colleagues from work—just make sure you’ve checked. Be wary of using the Public option, which means anyone can see the post online (even people without Facebook accounts).

2. Choose Public or Private

Instagram and Twitter aren’t as nuanced as Facebook. Your main feed of photos or tweets is either private (so only approved friends can see it), or public (so anyone can see it, with or without an Instagram or Twitter account). That’s something to consider before posting, or even signing up for an account if you don’t have one already.

You can change your accounts back and forth between public and private if you need to. In Twitter settings in the app or on the web, head to Privacy and safety and then Protect your Tweets. From the Instagram settings screen in the app or on the web, select Privacy and Security then Private Account.

3. Lock Down Your Stories

There is an exception to this public or private choice on Instagram. You can opt to hide your stories from certain people, even while your main photo feed is public. In addition, you can also post stories to a preselected group of close friends rather than all of your followers.

In the Instagram mobile app, open your profile page, then tap the menu icon (top right) and Settings. Tap Privacy then Story and you can choose contacts who you don’t want to see your story, as well as set up your list of close friends (if you’ve configured a list, you’ll see a Close friends option when you come to post).

You can tidy up comments on your own posts.

Screenshot: David Nield 

4. Protect Your Posts

Once a new post is out in the wild, you have a few ways to protect it. Twitter lets you hide certain replies to your tweets—click or tap the arrow next to a reply to one of your tweets, then choose Hide reply. The author of the reply won’t know it’s been hidden.

On Instagram, you can block comments on both your public photo feed and your stories. From settings in the app, tab either Comments or Story to do this—you can, for example, only allow people you are following on Instagram to leave comments. You can also automatically mute comments that Instagram thinks are offensive, or turn on the Manual Filter to set specific words that you don’t want to appear. What’s more, comments that have already been left on your posts can be deleted too, by either swiping left on them (iOS) or pressing and holding on them (Android).

On your Facebook posts, click the three dots next to any comment (on the web) or long-press any comment (in the app) to hide or delete it. As on Twitter, the author behind the comment won’t get a notification about this, but they might notice their comment has been erased if they open up your post and check it again.

5. Block Problematic Users

You can block other users who are causing you trouble—it means they can no longer interact with anything you do on the social network, or send you messages, though the exact rules vary between each platform. On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, open up someone’s profile, then tap the three dots and choose Block.

Instagram gives you an extra option: Restrict. It’s not a full block, but it does mean any comments that this person leaves on your posts will have to be approved by you before they appear, and it also means they can’t see when you’re online. Instagram explains more about the feature here.

6. Mute Other Users

If you need to hide someone from your feeds, but can’t actually block them for whatever reason (old family ties, perhaps), you can mute them instead—they won’t know they’ve been muted, but their posts and comments won’t appear to you.

On Twitter, go to the relevant profile, tap the three dots to bring up the menu, and then choose Mute. On Instagram, you open up a profile, then tap Following and Mute (you can mute either posts or stories, or both). On Facebook, the equivalent move is to open someone’s profile, then tap the Friends button, then Unfollow—you’ll stay friends but you’ll no longer be following their posts.

Take a break from people with the mute function.

Screenshot: David Nield

7. Remember the Reply and Comment Rules

Always be wary of replying to someone or commenting on one of their posts, because it might increase your exposure more than you expect, especially if they’re running a public Instagram or Twitter profile, or a Facebook account with a lot of friends.

The exact rules vary between social networks, but the general rule is this: replies and comments on a post can be seen by anyone who has access to that post, regardless of whether you are personally connected to them or not. Your comment’s visibility usually won’t be limited to your friends, or the mutual friends you have with the author of the original post.

8. Stop People from Tagging You

Not everyone is comfortable with being tagged in posts, comments, and photos, but luckily the big social networks all have ways to limit this.

For Facebook, you need to go to the Timeline and tagging page in your settings on the web or in the app. Here you get to review posts that you’re tagged in before they appear on your timeline, and limit the wider audience of those posts too. You can’t actually stop people from tagging you completely, though you can go to a post or photo after it’s been uploaded and remove a tag.

On Instagram, open up the settings menu inside the app, then choose Tags and Manually approve tags to stop tags appearing before you’ve approved them. On Twitter, you can’t stop mentions, but you can stop getting tagged in photos—tap Privacy and safety then Photo tagging from the settings in the app.

9. Be Careful with Your Location

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all let you tag posts with a location, which is great for showing off where you are, and not so great for your privacy. Be especially wary of sharing locations close to where you live or where you work—anything that could be used by someone who wants to pretend to be you, or someone who wants to find you.

We’re not saying you should never check into places, but use the feature sparingly (it’s easy to turn on and off, whatever app you’re using). As an added bonus, it gives online marketers less data to work with when trying to target you with advertising, too.

Think twice before revealing where you are on social media.

Screenshot: David Nield

10. Be Careful with Your Personal Information

On a related note, think carefully about what you include in your posts, with the tips we’ve mentioned about post visibility in mind. You’re no doubt sensible enough not to share your credit card details with the world, but revealing any sort of personal or sensitive information—like an innocent photo of a boarding pass, say—might leave you exposed, especially if your posts are public.

Are you repeatedly sharing the name of your pet, a name which also happens to be the password to your social media accounts? Can your social followers work out when your birthday is—perhaps the same birthday that’s used as a PIN code for your phone? Are you revealing your phone carrier or bank of choice, opening the door for someone else to pretend to be you?

11. Protect Your Logins

Keeping your accounts secure is also important. Avoid using the same password across multiple accounts, or passwords that can easily be guessed (perhaps by the information you’re sharing on your actual feeds). If you’re struggling to stay on top of all your username and password combinations, use a password manager.

Secondly, make sure two-factor authentication (2FA) is switched on for all your accounts (it’s supported on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other digital services). 2FA means that when your username and password is used to log in on a new device, a third piece of information is required (usually a code from your phone)—so if your username and password leak out, your account is still safe until you can change your password.

12. Disconnect Third-Party Apps

You probably use your social media accounts to log into other areas of your digital life, and you might also have added various add-ons and plug-ins on top of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook too. There’s nothing inherently bad in this, but each extra connection increases the risk of your security and privacy being compromised, if only a little.

Be cautious of connecting too many apps and services to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and be selective about what you add. When you no longer use a third-party app, disconnect it—just in case that quiz app you once signed into using Facebook gets taken over by a malware company.

Seeing the apps you’ve got connected and breaking those connections isn’t too difficult, and you can do it by logging into your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts. We’ve written more about this in our guide here.

More Great WIRED Stories

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testing Twitter

Twitter is testing a new threaded conversation layout on iOS and the web – Engadget

Twitter has started testing a new threaded conversation layout that’s meant to make it more obvious who’s talking to whom. Based on the GIF posted by the Twitter Support account, the new layout makes use of lines and indentations to clearly indicate that a reply is meant for a specific tweet. As TechCrunch notes, it looks particularly useful for longer threads where participants go back-and-forth and where people post responses to several separate tweets.

Your conversations are the 💙 of Twitter, so we’re testing ways to make them easier to read and follow.

Some of you on iOS and web will see a new layout for replies with lines and indentations that make it clearer who is talking to whom and to fit more of the convo in one view.

— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) May 5, 2020

The platform has been experimenting with this layout over the past year on its prototype app twttr, TC says, and app researcher Jane Manchun Wong posted a demo on her account in early April. Wong’s demo shows that clicking on a tweet in the threaded layout expands it and gives you an easy way to post a response to it.

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response Twitter

The Twitter response to J.Crew filing for bankruptcy has been savage — but it has a point – MarketWatch

The Margin

Many tweets note that the retailer’s problems were terminal long before the coronavirus hit

J.Crew filed for bankruptcy — and shoppers on Twitter have thoughts.

Getty Images

The unraveling of J.Crew has spun many Twitter threads, from fans mourning the possible end of an iconic American brand to those dancing on the preppy New York label’s grave.

J.Crew Group Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, saddled with $1.65 billion in debt (which is being converted into equity) and claiming that store closures during the COVID-19 pandemic will cost it $900 million in sales.

The news led J.Crew to top Google

searches and to go viral on Twitter

as one of the first major retail casualties of the coronavirus outbreak that has essentially shut down the U.S. economy.

And, as should be expected, many Twitter users had snarky reactions to the news, including posts mocking the brand’s signature preppy aesthetic, or tweets arguing that the countless small, family-owned businesses which are hanging on by a thread right now should be considered the bigger tragedy.

Still others posted memes about gleefully waiting for potential J.Crew going-out-of-business sales, since they claim that they couldn’t afford the retailer’s clothes otherwise. Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us held liquidation sales when their stores closed in 2018, after all.

But many of the Twitter responses, while humorous and savage, actually have a point.

Several noted that J.Crew’s financial troubles were terminal long before the pandemic struck.

The company barely avoided bankruptcy in 2017 when creative director Jenna Lyons and CEO Mickey Drexler stepped down, even as sales plummeted and debt mounted at that time.

From the MarketWatch archives (June 2017): J.Crew has a new CEO, but that won’t fix its debt problem

In fact, Eric Snyder, a partner at Wilk Auslander and chairman of the firm’s bankruptcy department, told MarketWatch on Monday that “Even if there were no pandemic, it wouldn’t have changed anything.” It also missed the athleisure fashion trend entirely.

Read more:J.Crew was in trouble even before COVID-19 due to a big debt burden and failure to keep up with trends

Others called out the high prices of many J.Crew pieces at a time when Americans are strapped for cash and turning to more affordable items from fast-fashion retailers like the Inditex-owned

Zara and H&M Hennes and Mauritz
budget-friendly box stores like Walmart

and Target
and online sellers such as Amazon

But it’s also not surprising that the retailer’s struggle has inspired so much chatter.

J.Crew has been woven in pop culture since it began rolling out its mail-order catalog collection of preppy chinos, pocket tees and sweaters in the mid-1980s before becoming a shopping-mall staple. And many shoppers bought into its mixing of formal and informal pieces. First Lady Michelle Obama, who became a fashion icon during her husband’s presidential campaign and presidency, frequently dressed herself and her daughters in the brand. “Ladies, we know J.Crew. You can get some good stuff online!” she said while wearing a silk blouse, gold skirt and cardigan on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” in October 2008, for example.

And former J.Crew creative director Lyons became a style icon in her own right with her signature chunky black glasses, and even made a cameo on HBO’s

hit series “Girls” in 2014.

So, many J.Crew fans mourned the downfall of their beloved brand on social media, as well.

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