While You Were Offline: Melania Trump Wants to End Cyberbullying. Uhhh…

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Perhaps you’ve not heard, but the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, something that made Bill Murray happy and made this prediction from FiveThirtyEight far more compelling. That news dominated the Internet for the middle of the week, causing us to briefly forget that #DMYourCrushDay was upon us. (Just imagine how tough the last few days have been for lonely Cleveland Indians fans with empty DM inboxes. Poor guys.) It’s been a helluva week, people. And the election isn’t even until Tuesday. If you can hold it together until then, here’s what you might have missed over the last seven days.

Fox Mulder, See What You Have Wrought

What Happened: The online behavior of the FBI might herald something genuinely strange going on behind the scenes, because this year hasn’t been strange enough already.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: It all started with a tweet:

Well, OK; it didn’t start there. This tweet, after all, followed last week’s letter from FBI director James Comey to Congress announcing that new emails that may or may not have something to do with Hillary Clinton’s private server had been discovered while investigating Anthony Weiner, a letter that proved to be controversial in its own right. And, in the interest of fairness, it wasn’t just one tweet that started all of this, but a slew of them.

After being inactive for more than a year, the @FBIRecordsVault Twitter account—an official FBI account connected with files released publicly online relating to Freedom of Information Act requests—burst into unexpected life this past weekend, posting links to a number of newly released files, many of which related to Hillary Clinton. (There was also one declaring that Donald J. Trump’s father, Fred, was a fine human being and a good American, interestingly enough.) And then, two days after that burst of activity, the above tweet appeared on Tuesday… again, an investigation into Clinton.

It was enough to make many media types wonder what was up. And they weren’t the only ones.

Amongst those wondering just what was really behind the whole thing? The FBI itself, which on Thursday announced that the bureau was launching an internal investigation into the release. Because, of course, 2016 wasn’t weird enough already.
The Takeaway: Whether or not the self-investigation will produce anything might depend on the internal partisan civil war that is apparently happening inside the FBI right now, brought on by the current presidential election. Yes, that’s right; the FBI is—if you believe reports—at war with itself over attempts to influence the outcome of this year’s election. Because, again, what the hell is happening with 2016?

Melania Trump Thinks We Need to Do Something About Online Bullying. Yes, Really

What Happened: Potential future First Lady Melania Trump talked about the problem of online bullying in a speech this week, seemingly unaware of her husband’s online behavior. Thankfully, the Internet was there to remind her.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Melania Trump stepped back into the public spotlight this week to deliver a speech that, in part, talked about what she’d do if she became First Lady of the United States of America. Her focus: undoing the coarsening of debate brought about by online anonymity.

“Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers. It is never OK when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied, or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground. And it is absolutely unacceptable when it is done by someone with no name hiding on the Internet,” she said. “We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other.”

It was, unsurprisingly, a speech that received much media much media coverage. Mostly because, well, Melania’s husband is quite well known for his own online bullying tactics.

The irony didn’t escape Twitter:

On the plus side, at least it went better than Melania’s last big speech, which was reportedly plagiarized from a speech by First Lady Michelle Obama. Oh, wait, this one was apparently plagiarized as well from, of all people, Donald Trump’s first wife. Reality really is just laughing at parody and satire this year, isn’t it?
The Takeaway: Well, at least there was one upside to the speech. Ladies and Gentlemen, CNN’s Jake Tapper continues to act as if he is the personification of the American public:

Would You Like Chips, Salad, or Social Media Snark with That?

What Happened: What better way to celebrate National Sandwich Day than by tweeting pictures of your sandwich? Apparently, the Internet didn’t agree with one particular policitian’s choice of snack.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Did you know that November 3 was National Sandwich Day? It was, surprisingly; if you’d known, you could have got yourself a free Subway sandwich to celebrate. One man who was aware—and even took to Twitter to celebrate—was current governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker:

Unfortunately, even these most innocuous tweets caused a Twitter backlash, because of the ever-potent combination of [Twitter] + [Controversial Public Figure]. To wit:

Sadly for Walker, this Twitter pile-on did not go without notice. Thanks, National Sandwich Day. Thanks for nothing.
The Takeaway: Clearly, it was Walker’s week for Twitter faux pas. Just a couple of days earlier, he tweeted what he thought was a sick burn on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton—

—only for it to backfire on him pretty spectacularly:

Note to Governor Walker: Maybe just stay off social media in general.

Who Run the World?

What Happened: It was the team-up American didn’t even know it wanted, but apparently Beyoncé + the Dixie Chicks = Online Bliss.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Even before it happened, the Internet was excited about just the possibility of Beyoncé performing with the Dixie Chicks at this year’s Country Music Awards. It might not have seemed like the most natural of pairings, but seeing them onstage together performing a version of “Daddy Lessons”… Well, it looked a little something like this:

The crowd, as they say, went wild:

It was, unusually for the CMAs, a headline-grabbing combination. The performance provoked much excitement in the media, but it also caused the bad kind of excitement amongst more conservative music fans, which led to the removal of the performance from the CMA site and social media, due to toxic comments. We really can’t have nice things after all, apparently.
The Takeaway: It’s not all bad, thankfully; the performance lives on online via fan videos, and the studio version of the pairing is available for free download. Also, the spirit of co-operation between musical genres could even spread elsewhere after this glorious moment…

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