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TikTok Users Are Trying to Put an End to the “Autism Challenge”

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  • Some TikTok users have posted videos of themselves performing a dance that mocks people with disabilities in a trend known as the “Autism Challenge.” 
  • But others have been quick to slam the behavior, including parents of special needs children.
  • Most of the videos are now starting to disappear from the app, though it’s unclear if TikTok itself has removed them, if users took them down themselves after a flood of backlash, or if it’s a combination of the two.  

New Trend Emerges 

Yet another offensive TikTok trend has appeared on the app and it’s being referred to as the “Autism Challenge,” but this time around it seems like the majority of users agree that these posts are totally unacceptable. 

As part of this challenge, users make hand gestures and facial expressions that mock people with disabilities while dancing along to a “parody” song called “Let’s Get Retarded.” The good news is that most of the videos have received instant backlash, prompting many to get deleted.

@urgirladrie

#duet with @secretbarbie7 this entire sound is disappointing but not as much as this whole mom.

♬ original sound – zanayasligh

Angry Users Take Over the Audio 

It’s unclear if posts were removed by TikTok or the creators themselves, but the hashtag #AutismChallenge has also disappeared from the app. Now, when you click on the audio used for the challenge, you’ll see that is been taken over by a flood of people slamming the trend. 

A lot of posts are from people pretending they’re going to do the dance, then actually lecturing people about how disgusting it is.

@morganpowel.l

this one speaks for itself! i hate it here!

♬ original sound – zanayasligh
@alluringskull

S T O P I T ✨ Get some help 💞 #foryou #fyp

♬ original sound – zanayasligh

Other posts are from parents of children with special needs trying to show people who exactly they’re mocking when they do this. 

@_samantha.nicole_

This audio absolutely disgusting just as the videos on it are. My beautiful brother actually looked like that and I don’t find this funny. #stop

♬ original sound – zanayasligh

Calls for Take Downs 

Another video criticizing the trend that has picked up a lot of attention was posted to Facebook Tuesday by a parent named Kate Swenson. Swenson is the blogger behind “Finding Cooper’s Voice”, a site where she shares her journey about raising a son with severe, non-verbal autism. 

In her video, she takes a second to speak directly to one of the people who participated in the trend saying, “Do you need help? Do you need a hug? Do you need love? Do you need support? Are you not getting what you need from your parents? What is it? Because anyone that would do that is so low and so messed up I am flabbergasted.”

She also specifically expressed frustration about the fact that parents have been filming these videos with their kids.

 “What are you teaching your children?” she asked. “And I bet, you know, when you’re making that video, you’re thinking momma… ‘Thank God I don’t have a child with a disability.’ You know what? I am the luckiest mom in the world compared to you because I would never ever teach my children to hate, to discriminate, to embarrass, to tease.”

“You know what I’m doing? I’m raising my children and the children in my neighborhood and the advocating that I am doing to stand up to people like you. You’re sick,” she added.

Swenson called for TikTok to take down any of these existing posts, and many Twitter users have been doing the same. 

The organization Autism Speaks also issued a statement Wednesday saying it was “shocked and disturbed” by the trend. It added, “In a world where we could all use a little more kindness, we’re committed to doing our part. We urge @tiktok_us to do the same by removing this offensive content, which we’ve reported on the platform.”

As of now, TikTok hasn’t made a statement about the trend. As mentioned before, most of the original videos are now starting to disappear, but it’s not clear if TikTok had anything to do with that or if all the outrage pushed users to remove their own posts. It could be a combination of the two, but regardless, it’s pretty powerful to see TikTok users coming together to take a strong stand against this type of behavior on the app. 

See what others are saying: (Daily Dot) (HITC) (Distractify)  

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YouTuber Myka Stauffer Slammed for Placing Autistic 4-Year-Old With New Adoptive Family

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  • YouTuber Myka Stauffer and her husband James, who adopted an autistic boy from China in 2017, announced that they have decided to permanently place the toddler with a new adoptive family.
  • In their announcement video, the couple said medical professionals and the adoption agency felt it was best to find a better fit for the boy after several evaluations.  
  • However, many people are outraged by the decision, accusing the family of exploiting the child and his story for sponsorships and monetized videos, then giving up on him because of his special needs.

The Stauffer’s Announcement 

A YouTube couple has been flooded with criticism since announcing that they have permanently placed their autistic 4-year-old in another home, after adopting him from china years ago. 

Myka Stauffer runs a YouTube channel with over 700,000 subscribers where she posts videos about home organization, her experience as a mother, and more. She also posts vlogs on a separate family channel that has over 300,000 subscribers.

For years Myka and her husband James have shared intimate details about their lives as parents, from pregnancies to births and beyond. One of the most emotional experiences they’ve shared has been their international adoption journey. But the couple shocked fans Tuesday when they confirmed that their 4-year-old son Huxley had been placed with a new adoptive family. 

The Stauffer’s adopted Huxley from China in October 2017, and the video of him being brought home is actually the most viewed video on Myka’s channel, with over 5.5 million views.   

But in their tearful video update, James said that Huxley has been in numerous therapy treatments over the last few years to help with his severe special needs. Myka has previously said he has reactive attachment disorder and level 3 autism, though the adoption agency initially told her he had brain damage and a brain tumor.

According to James, over the last year specifically, Huxley’s therapy sessions have been more intense. 

“After multiple assessments, after multiple evaluations, multiple medical professionals had felt that he needed a different fit and that his medical needs…he needed more,” Myka explained.

Fans have been asking about Huxley for months, as he hasn’t appeared on any of their social media posts. Some have even made Instagram accounts dedicated to finding answers about his whereabouts. 

So as far as why they have waited to announce the news, James said, “It’s because we’ve been trying to protect his privacy, his rights, and also just try to not mess up his future that was laid out in front of us. We’re trying to just make sure we don’t impact that at all when making this video.”

Myka also explained that she tried to share as little as she could about Huxley’s situation because of this. “Anything that happened in the home that was hard for Hux, that’s not fair for me to put there publicly. That’s his privacy. So we’re not going to talk about that. It’s not appropriate and it’ll never be appropriate. I didn’t adopt a little boy to share these things publicly.”

She also said that they’ve waited to talk about this because medical professionals have been allowing Huxley to spend time with different people to help him find his “new forever family.” Based on the updates they’ve received, it appears that Huxley is now in a home that the adoption agency feels is the best fit, with a parent who has medical professional training. 

Still, the couple said they’re grieving and tried to help him as much as possible because they never wanted to be in this position. “Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like 500 percent,” Myka said.

“So when I get like insidious, hurtful comments, it just really makes it hurt worse. It’s not about me at all, but it’s just like this journey, the last couple months, has been like the hardest thing I could’ve ever imagine going to – choosing to do.”

The couple closed by asking their followers to respect their privacy and understand that they are hurting, even if they are seen on social media in positive spirits. 

Backlash

So after this news was announced, many people took to the comments section and social media sites to expressed sadness for Huxley. However, plenty of people also slammed the couple for their decision.

“I’m sorry but you did fail as a mum. You wouldn’t have given up your own child,” one commenter wrote.

“Autistic children aren’t puppies. They don’t have ‘forever families.’ They don’t get ‘rehomed.’ They get abandoned,” another Twitter user said. 

On top of that, there are a ton of people who feel that the couple exploited Huxley for their channel, pointing to the fact that they monetized adoption videos and took sponsorships for them. 

Now, some are calling for the family to take all videos of Huxley down, while others are sharing a change.org petition asking YouTube to remove monetization from those videos. 

According to Myka’s channel, she has shared 27 videos about their adoption journey, which included updates and Q&A about the process. The vlog channel currently has no content on it, though it’s unclear if videos were recently changed to private following all of the outrage.

To understand what people are now questioning the family’s ethics for, some are pointing to a sponsored video where proceeds were supposed to be “going towards bringing our SON home from China!”

In other videos, Myka promoted a fundraiser for helping Huxley’s needs. And in a 2017 video, she said every person who donated $5 would unlock a different piece of a 1,000-piece puzzle, which would, at the end, be a photo of Huxley that she would reveal to the world. She also said she would write the names of all donors in his baby book.

Others have slammed Myka because she was viewed as an adoption advocate who wrote for parenting blogs and magazines.

Meanwhile, others noted she regularly posted things suggesting she wouldn’t trade Huxley for anything.

Unconfirmed Response

There is a screenshot of a pinned YouTube comment that was allegedly written by Myka circulating online, however, that comment is not currently pinned under her video so it cannot be confirmed as real.

But it says that the family, “would never just give up a child with special needs, this is a personal matter to Hux it had nothing to do with he just had Autism.”

“Multiple scary things happened inside the home towards our other children, if these events happened with one of my biological kids, after all the help and after the behaviors we witnessed sadly we would have no other choice then to seek help and get their needs met.”

The comment claims that Huxley “wanted this decision 100%,” adding, “We sat that in family time with other people, he constantly choose them and signed and showed tons of emotion to show us and let us know he wanted this.”

As of now, there have been no further statements about the announcement, and the adoption videos still appear on Myka’s YouTube channel. Myka has not returned Rogue Rocket’s request for a comment on the issue.

See what others are saying: (People) (EOnline) (BBC)

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Trump Threatens to “Close Down” Twitter After It Fact-Checks Him for the First Time Ever

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  • Twitter slapped President Donald Trump with a fact check warning on Tuesday after he falsely claimed that increased access to mail-in voting will lead to extensive voter fraud.
  • This is the first time Twitter has labeled a tweet from the president with a warning, despite facing pressure to do so for years. 
  • By Wednesday morning, Trump threatened to “close down” Twitter and other social media sites, though it is unclear how he would involve the federal government or if this is simply meant to put pressure on the platform.

Twitter Slaps Trump With Fact-Check Warning

President Donald Trump is threatening to involve the federal government and potentially “close down” social media sites like Twitter after the platform issued a fact-check label on a post he made regarding mail-in voting.

While Twitter has been increasing its usage of fact-check warnings ahead of the 2020 presidential elections, this is the first time Twitter has directly labeled a tweet from the president. 

“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” Trump said in the first of two tweets on Tuesday. “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…..”

“….living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one,” he continued in the second tweet. “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!”

Near the bottom of both of those tweets, Twitter has issued the hyperlinked warning: “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” Clicking that link redirects users to a page featuring a series of related articles from outlets like CNN, The Hill, and The Washington Post.

Additionally, in a bulleted section above that, Twitter issued several statements highlighting why it decided to include the warning:

  • “Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to ‘a Rigged Election.’ However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.”
  • “Trump falsely claimed that California will send mail-in ballots to ‘anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.’ In fact, only registered voters will receive ballots.”
  • “Five states already vote entirely by mail and all states offer some form of mail-in absentee voting, according to NBC News.”

While it’s nothing new to see the president making claims that mail-in voting is going to lead to voter fraud (even though experts say voter fraud is incredibly rare), Twitter’s move represents a major new step for the platform. For years, it has faced criticism over how to handle Trump’s tweets.

In the past, Twitter argued that users would jump into the debate and expose false information themselves; however, it has recently increased its steps to outright label misleading or false content.

In March, the Trump campaign posted an out-of-context clip of Joe Biden, which Twitter labeled as “manipulated media.”

Notably, Trump posted the exact same content on Facebook, but Facebook has said it doesn’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,” a spokesperson said, echoing Twitter’s previous reasoning for not implementing fact-checking.

Trump Rails Against Twitter for Fact-Checking Him

Unsurprisingly, Trump was less than thrilled with Twitter’s fact check.

Tuesday afternoon, Trump accused the platform of interfering in the 2020 Presidential elections, going on to criticize it by saying, “….Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”

Trump stepped up his threat Wednesday morning by saying he planned to either strongly regulate” or “close down” not only Twitter but social media platforms as a whole. 

“Twitter has now shown that everything we have been saying about them (and their other compatriots) is correct,” Trump added a few hours later. “Big action to follow!” 

Currently, it’s unknown specifically how Trump would want the federal government to crack down on Twitter. It’s also unclear if this was nothing more than an empty threat meant to pressure Twitter and other social media platforms to back off. In fact, such threats aren’t completely unknown for Trump to make. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump reportedly worked to take action against social media platforms by floating the idea of forming a panel to review complaints of anti-conservative bias. 

As far as Twitter’s response to Trump’s backlash, a spokesperson for the company has said in a statement to a number of media outlets that Trump’s tweets “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots.”

Twitter Doesn’t Plan to Censor the Scarborough Tweets

While Twitter issued a warning on Trump’s mail-in voting tweets, it has refused to remove tweets Trump has made promoting a false conspiracy theory.

Those tweets involve Lori Klausutis, a woman who died in 2001 from complications of an undiagnosed heart condition while working for then-Representative Joe Scarborough. In those tweets, Trump has suggested Scarborough was behind her death.

On Tuesday, a letter from Klausutis’ widower went public. In it, he urged Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to delete Trump’s tweets about her, calling them “horrifying lies.” 

Publicly, Twitter has told CNN Business that it doesn’t plan to take action against the Scarborough tweets; however, according to an anonymous source who spoke to The Washington Post, Twitter is debating whether to take action on them.

See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Washington Post) (Fox Business)

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David Dobrik Gives $10,000 to Fan Who Found His $1 Bill

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  • In a TikTok posted last week, YouTuber David Dobrik signed his name on a $1 bill and wrote a secret message on the back.
  • He spent the money at an undisclosed location and promised to give $10,000 to whoever found it. 
  • It only took a few days for someone to come forward, and Dobrik hand-delivered the winner a check himself. 
  • This is just the lastest giveaway he has conducted since taking a break from his regular posting scheduling during the coronavirus pandemic.

David Dobrik’s Latest Giveaway

David Dobrik hasn’t returned to his regular YouTube posting schedule yet, but that hasn’t stopped him from shocking fans with yet another generous giveaway. 

The 23-year old vlogger has taken a break from uploading his regular content, which often includes crazy stunts, heartwarming giveaways, celebrity appearances, and fun moments with all of his friends. That’s because those videos have basically been impossible to film during the coronavirus pandemic given widespread social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders.

Dobrik did break his hiatus once last month for an upload that just brought so much joy to both fans and fellow creators. In that video, he and his team partnered with EA to give out stacks of iPads, Playstation 4’s, and Xbox One X’s, cash, merch, $10,000 checks, and – in true David Dobrik fashion– some brand new cars.

Now Dobrik seems to have been focusing more of his attention on TikTok as a way to connect with his fanbase.

On May 19, he posted a video to the platform announcing his latest giveaway.

In the post, he signed a $1 bill and wrote a secret message on the back that only he knows. He then promised to give whoever found that bill $10,000.

But this wasn’t a normal scavenger hunt. Rather than hide the bill somewhere himself, he made a purchase with it at an undisclosed store, making it even harder to track down. 

@daviddobrik

Hahaha im curious where this will end up!! First one to duet me with the dollar wins $10,000!!

♬ original sound – daviddobrik

Winner Comes Forward 

The secret message actually ended up being a really important piece of this giveaway because, as you can imagine, a few people started forging his signature on dollar bills for TikToks. 

Screenshots of TikTok’s by @_justinjimenez, @kevinxanthony, and @jessandcoop

However, some people did so to make playful jabs at him, revealing fake secret messages on their bills like “I miss Liza,” a reference to his ex-girlfriend and massive creator Liza Koshy. 

It turns out it actually didn’t take too long for someone to come forward with the real bill because a few days later, Dobrik uploaded a duet featuring his lucky winner: a fan named Hailey. 

@daviddobrik

You found my dollar soooo quickly!! Can i trade you for this check?? Congrats Hailey!!!! @hailey_3025

♬ original sound – ketamimesandwich

In that video, he confirmed that the secret message was “Cherry Cola.” Then, he wrote out a check for $10,000, which he dated May 25.

By Tuesday, Dobrik uploaded a video of himself visiting Hailey in person to trade her the $10,000 check for his $1 bill. 

@daviddobrik

Trading $10,000 for my lucky dollar bill!! Congrats Hailey!!! @hailey_3025 @imthatlauren

♬ original sound – daviddobrik

Fans, of course, loved the giveaway and are anxiously awaiting Dobrik’s return to YouTube. Those fans aren’t alone because it seems like fellow creators as missing Dobrik’s presence on the platform as well.

On May 25, Logan Paul uploaded a video to YouTube that opened with a parody of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” which he called “Logan Paul Vlogs: The Last YouTuber.”

His version featured Dobrik as the Avatar, and the four nations of the show as James Charles, PewDiePie, Ryan from Ryan’s World, and Mr Beast. It also referenced the coronavirus and poked fun at ongoing drama between YouTubers Keemstar and Ethan Kilen.

Paul, of course, made himself the new Avatar, but opened by saying “Where are you David Dobrik? I need you. I miss you David. I want your videos back in my life and that’s not even me being sarcastic. Being the YouTube avatar is hard and it’s not the same without you David.”  

All jokes aside, Dobrik’s vlogs have been missed by millions of fans who, in the meantime, are enjoying the efforts he’s made to entertain them off his main platform. 

See what others are saying:(Dexerto)

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