Reconsidering pseudonymity and what it means to “be yourself” online

Photo: Matt Flores

By John Herrman

In early July, when England’s soccer team lost the European Championship final to Italy on its home turf, the crushing defeat was followed by a torrent of racist abuse on social media directed at the team’s Black players. The messages — part of an ongoing pattern of social media bigotry — were condemned by politicians, platforms, teammates and fans.

They were also blamed, in part, on a familiar figure: the masked troll. He has been popping up a lot lately. Depending who you are, he may be the source of all political disinformation; one of an army…


The White House has teamed up with TikTok stars, while some states are paying “local micro influencers” for pro-vaccine campaigns

Ellie Zeiler, 17, a TikTok creator, at her home in Escondido, Calif. Photo: Maggie Shannon for The New York Times

By Taylor Lorenz

LOS ANGELES — Ellie Zeiler, 17, a TikTok creator with over 10 million followers, received an email in June from Village Marketing, an influencer marketing agency. It said it was reaching out on behalf of another party: the White House.

Would Zeiler, a high school senior who usually posts short fashion and lifestyle videos, be willing, the agency wondered, to participate in a White House-backed campaign encouraging her audience to get vaccinated against the coronavirus?

“There is a massive need to grow awareness within the 12–18 age range,” Village Marketing wrote to Zeiler’s business email. …


Dan Brown has a lesser-known advice book. The trouble is, it seems impossible to buy.

Illustration: Lina Müller/The New York Times

By Caity Weaver

Chloe Gordon, a 32-year-old filmmaker, describes herself as “a person who somewhat ironically engages” with the work of novelist Dan Brown. She has read all but one of the eight books Brown has published under his name.

So when she stumbled upon an internet rumor that identified Brown as the author of a tongue-in-cheek dating guide from 1995 called “187 Men to Avoid: A Survival Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman,” she immediately ordered it on Amazon.

The 96-page novelty book, originally published under the name Danielle Brown, promised very short descriptions of men the author considered…


People who once rejected the vaccine or simply waited too long are now grappling with the consequences, often in raw, public ways

Glen Arnell, right, and Mindy Greene visited her husband, Russ Greene, at Utah Valley Specialty Hospital. Mr. Greene was hospitalized with complications from Covid-19 after choosing not to receive a vaccination for the virus. Photo: Kim Raff for The New York Times

By Jack Healy

PROVO, Utah — As Mindy Greene spent another day in the COVID intensive care unit, listening to the whirring machines that now breathed for her 42-year-old husband, Russ, she opened her phone and tapped out a message.

“We did not get the vaccine,” she wrote on Facebook. “I read all kinds of things about the vaccine and it scared me. So I made the decision and prayed about it and got the impression that we would be ok.”

They were not.

Her husband, the father to their four children, was now hovering between life and death, tentacles…


The discovery of multiple nooses has set off heated debates about the responsibility of companies and the ability of workers to speak their mind

The construction site for an Amazon warehouse in Windsor, Conn. It is due to open next spring. Yehyun Kim for The New York Times

By Davey Alba

WINDSOR, Conn. — The town of Windsor has developed a niche in the world of warehouses and manufacturing, taking advantage of wide open spaces and crisscrossing interstates in nearby Hartford. Walgreens has a large facility here, as does Dollar Tree.

So when Amazon approached the town last year with a proposal to add a large distribution center — adding up to 1,000 jobs — local officials considered it a great opportunity.

“There are other mayors and selectmen that would give their left arm to have Amazon in their town,” Mayor Donald Trinks said. …


Smaller brands are working with athletes in different ways, like giving them equity or roles in developing products, and are paying more attention to their personal stories

“As athletes we’re always going to struggle with that sense that we only have value if we can run fast, jump far or throw far,” the steeplechaser Colleen Quigley said. Photo: Leah Nash for The New York Times

By Sapna Maheshwari

Athleta, the activewear brand for women and girls owned by Gap Inc., had never sponsored an athlete when it approached six-time Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix in 2019, shortly after she took Nike to task for its pay practices for pregnant runners.

The smaller company was interested in supporting Felix’s career, and said it would not penalize her for losing races or choosing to have more children. (Nike changed its policy for pregnant athletes after the criticism by Felix, whose contract with the company ended in 2017.) …


More than 1,500 employees for the video game giant, which is facing an explosive state lawsuit, have called for executives to take sexual harassment seriously

Photo: Fábio Silva

By Kellen Browning and Mike Isaac

More than 1,500 workers for video game maker Activision Blizzard walked out from their jobs this week. Thousands signed a letter rebuking their employer. And even as the CEO apologized, current and former employees said they would not stop raising a ruckus.

Shay Stein, who used to work at Activision, said it was “heartbreaking.” Lisa Welch, a former vice president, said she felt “profound disappointment.” Others took to Twitter or waved signs outside one of the company’s offices Wednesday to share their anger.

Activision, known for its hugely popular “Call of Duty,” “World of…


The CDC’s new masking advice was based in part on unpublished data showing that the virus can thrive in the airways of vaccinated people

A salon in Los Angeles this week, where indoor mask mandates were reinstated on July 15. Photo: Alex Welsh for The New York Times

By Apoorva Mandavilli

The recommendation that vaccinated people in some parts of the country dust off their masks was based largely on one troublesome finding, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New research showed that vaccinated people infected with the delta variant carry tremendous amounts of the virus in the nose and throat, she said in an email responding to questions from The New York Times.

The finding contradicts what scientists had observed in vaccinated people infected with previous versions of the virus, who mostly seemed incapable of infecting others.

That conclusion…


The lunar rovers of Apollo 15, 16 and 17 parked American automotive culture on the lunar surface, and expanded the scientific range of the missions’ astronaut explorers

Jim Irwin with the lunar roving vehicle on the moon on July 31, 1971. The Apollo 15 astronauts spent 18 and a half hours on the moon’s surface and traveled a distance of about 17 miles using the lunar rover. Photo: NASA via The New York Times

By Rebecca Boyle

David R. Scott was not about to pass by an interesting rock without stopping. It was July 31, 1971, and he and James B. Irwin, his fellow Apollo 15 astronaut, were the first people to drive on the moon. After a six-hour inaugural jaunt in the new lunar rover, the two were heading back to their lander, the Falcon, when Scott made an unscheduled pit stop.

West of a crater called Rhysling, Scott scrambled out of the rover and quickly picked up a black lava rock, full of holes formed by escaping gas. Scott and Irwin had…


Policing women’s bodies via dress code is nothing new in sports. The difference is now women are doing something about it.

Both the U.S. (left) and Chinese (right) women’s beach volleyball teams opted for bikinis in their Olympic preliminary match; men generally wear shorts and tank tops in the same sport. Photo: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

By Vanessa Friedman

In the end, the midsleeved, long-legged unitard didn’t make it to the gymnastics team final at the Olympics. The German women who wore it to combat the “sexualization” of their sport were eliminated during the qualifying rounds. Instead, the usual crystal-strewn leotards cut high on the thigh were worn by the medaling teams.

The earlier shock over the Norwegian female beach handball players being fined for daring to declare that they felt better in tiny spandex shorts rather than tinier bikini bottoms (and act on their own desires) was not revisited because handball is only an Olympics…

The New York Times

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store