April Fools Day
Today is April Fools Day, a day of merriment and pranks, especially the people with too much time on their hands. It is a day a reporter dreads. After all, I do not need to risk my job writing about a fake story that seemed too good to pass up. I get in enough trouble as it is with mistake-ridden sources. Fortunately, misery loves company, and I am not the only one upset this year.
Some people can go a little bit too far when playing a joke, as #Google themselves proved with a prank they pulled with their email system, or Gmail. The strangest part, however, is that they got the Minions, the yellow creatures from cartoons, involved.
You remember how those Minions got their own movie a while back? Well, Google made use of a scene from their recent movie, showing one of them dropping a microphone. According to reports, for the holiday, Google gave users a "mic drop" button, that would allow users to insert a gif of the aforementioned Minion dropping a microphone into the email. The video above shows how the prank would play out. Unfortunately, the joke confused a lot of Google users, as the new button replaced their traditional “send and archive button,” causing various mix-ups involving people accidentally using the gif in inappropriate situations, such as work emails.
One poor soul claims to have lost his job over the incident. “Thanks to Mic Drop I just lost my job. I am a writer and had a deadline to meet. I sent my articles to my boss and never heard back from her. I inadvertently sent the email using the ‘Mic Drop’ send button,” said one Allan Pashby in a message to Google asking if they could possibly hire him, “There were corrections that needed to be made on my articles and I never received her replies. My boss took offense to the Mic Drop animation and assumed that I didn't reply to her because I thought her input was petty (hence the Mic Drop). I just woke up to a very angry voicemail from her which is how I found out about this ‘hilarious’ prank.” One hopes his boss gets wind of the prank and changes her mind. Something tells me that this is not going to be good PR for his higher-ups. On the other hand, it still is April 1st as of this writing, maybe Pashby is having a little joke with us, too.
If you think Gmail “Mic Drop” stories of lost jobs/opportunities/etc can’t be true, remember: there are 900m Gmail users. It was live 12hrs.— Charles Arthur (@charlesarthur) April 1, 2016
Prank a no laughing matter for some
The scary thing here is that this is the only confirmed case of someone losing their livelihood over the joke. As the above Tweet points out, there were a lot of potential users who could have gotten themselves in hot water over this. Let's not kid ourselves, technology is always changing, and there are plenty of hard-working people who are already less than tech-savvy.
Google, to their credit, has a least tried to apologize over the incident. According to a released statement,“Due to a bug, the Mic Drop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry. The feature has been turned off. If you are still seeing it, please reload your Gmail page." I'm not sure if they are really going to save face here by blaming it all on a bug, but it will probably help those who feel for the joke to save face if they say it was just a bug. Hopefully, this public statement might also help anyone who lost their jobs already. #Hollywood #Buzz