Last week, NBC News reporter Ben Collins published a story on a disturbing problem with the Twitter search bar. For unknown reasons, the autocomplete suggestions started serving up terms like “cat in a blender” if you simply typed “cat.” (There were also violent suggestions for “dog.”) Not only that, but the results included actual videos of animal cruelty that were freely available to all users, including children. A parent flagged this concern to Twitter’s safety team, which never responded.
However, after Collins reached out to Twitter for his reporting, the social media company refused to comment, but it did make the notable move of turning off autocomplete suggestions. Again, this occurred last week, and if you’re able to understand how time and dates work, congratulations, you’re several steps ahead of Jesse Watters.
On Wednesday night, the Fox News host attempted to “fact check” Collins’ reporting by attempting to replicate the animal cruelty search results. Obviously, Watters experiment didn’t work because Twitter had already fixed the problem last week. However, that didn’t stop Watters from calling Collins’ reporting a hoax, which prompted the NBC News reporter to make a Twitter video explaining to Watters the “literal passage of time.”
Here’s a brief explainer on the concept of “the linear passage of time” and also “basic reporting techniques” for my friends over at Fox News.
I can’t believe this is necessary. pic.twitter.com/KocOQvvjyR
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) May 19, 2023
Using a hand-drawn calendar as a visual aid, Collins notes that he reached out to Twitter for comment on May 11. (He also included video proof that the issue existed.) On May 12, Twitter turned off the search results. Five days later on May 17, Watters ran his report, which failed to replicate the animal cruelty results because, again, the problem was fixed the week before.
“So that’s how the linear passage of time works,” Collins quipped. “I hope they understand the linear passage of time but it’s really hard to know nowadays.”
(Via Ben Collins on Twitter)