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While You Were Offline: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Royal Retirement

For many people, the biggest news of the last seven days was the release of the first material from BTS’s new album. For others, it was the wildfires still burning in Australia, causing untold, unbelievable damage to wildlife and exposing just how information is controlled in Australian media. Also, there was a plane crash in Tehran that seems to have been the result of a missile strike. In the US, President Trump proposed big changes to a key environmental law while his impeachment continues to be loom. All in all, it’s safe to say the world has had less eventful first weeks of the year. But, hey. What else have people been talking about on the internet over the last week? Let’s take a look.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Retreat From Royal Duties

What Happened: The UK's Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle—aka the Duke and Duchess of Sussex—announced that they will be stepping down as senior members of the royal family. You can do that?

What Really Happened: Last week brought some unexpected news for folks who thought that being a member of the British royal family was, you know, kind of a lifetime gig.

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Yes, that’s right—in a move that no one saw coming, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex essentially resigned as members of the royal family, which is apparently possible. For the most part, the general response from the internet seemed to be one of surprised admiration.

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Some people were far from thrilled.

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Perhaps the biggest surprise of the whole thing wasn’t that Harry and Meghan were going it alone but, instead, that they announced it seemingly without telling the rest of the royal family.

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That’s going to make the next big family reunion awkward. Well, at least they waited until after the holidays to tell everyone.

The Takeaway: Thankfully, everyone had their eye on the ball when it came to the important facts of this particular story.

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Aftermath of the Death of Qasem Soleimani

What Happened: After the death of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US air strike two weeks ago, many anxiously awaited Iran’s response. It wasn’t as dramatic as some feared.

What Really Happened: The first week of the new year ended with the shocking news that the US had killed Qasem Soleimani, a highranking commander in the Iranian military. The killing provoked concern about an escalation in violence, abuse of presidential power and, of course, widespread mourning inside Iran. What there wasn’t, at least in the first few days after the killing, was an Iranian military response.

That arrived on Tuesday.

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As preliminary reports started to come in, there was a lot of misinformation and, ahem, fake news being shared, with a noticeable lack of updates from US authorities, much to the frustration of those wanting to know what was actually going on.

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There might've been a reason for that.

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But President Trump eventually did share some updates.

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There was a very good reason for the lack of US casualties, as it turned out.

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Many also wondered if Iran had intentionally avoided any potential US casualties. Let’s not forget this fact, however.

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In the immediate wake of the missile strikes, Iran’s foreign minister took to Twitter to comment on what was happening.

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He wasn’t alone in speaking out about what was unfolding, as multiple Iranian figures were giving statements about what could possibly lie ahead.

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In the face of all of this, President Trump held a press conference the next day to address the nation.

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That evening, the world got to see just how accurate the president’s comments abut Iran “standing down” actually were.

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Meanwhile, an Iranian commander has been talking about what else might be coming, while US politicians are complaining about the lack of information they’re receiving. In other words, 2020 is off to a rough start.

The Takeaway: How'd the American people feel about this whole scenario? See below.

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Facebook's Deepfake Debacle

What Happened: Facebook wants you to know that, when it comes to its social media platform, you’ll definitely be able to believe your eyes, unless what you're looking at is either meant to be funny or has a political purpose that might be controversial to try to block.

What Really Happened: Facebook's latest issue started with the company's attempt to solve a problem—namely, its new policy surrounding deepfakes.

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Well, that seems like a particularly noticeable loophole—and, sure enough, plenty of people noticed, as the story went viral. So what, exactly, was the problem with the new policy? The short answer: Those that it wouldn’t affect, which seemed to be those at whom it should be targeted.

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The idea that politicians can post deepfakes without fear of the posts being removed was something that struck many as troublesome. It certainly didn’t please many people, politicians included.

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It turns out, the actual carveout was more nuanced than it first seemed, but only slightly.

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The Takeaway: But perhaps we’re focusing too much on the political angle of all of this. After all, other people are going to be affected by Facebook’s policy as well. Let’s take a minute to think about those who’ll truly feel the pain.

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Live and Direct From the Crotch of One Very Uncomfortable Cartoon Woman

What Happened: When it comes to the forthcoming television incarnation of Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand Goop, Netflix knew exactly where it was aiming its promotional efforts: Fans of gynocentric design choices.

What Really Happened: Look, we’ve been focusing on bad news too much already this week. (In our defense, there’s a lot of negative to focus on.) Let’s just relax and see what’s on Netflix.

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Oh. Oh. That’s … a choice. A very strange, unfortunate choice. If that piece of graphic design seems a little … well, graphic to you, don’t worry; you're not alone.

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In fact, there were even stories about how unfortunate the poster was, which probably says something. What, we're not quite sure, but at least Paltrow can be happy the publicity for the show is certainly reaching people.

Don’t forget, there are other reasons to look askance at The Goop Lab. After all, Goop is … not exactly known for its scientific rigor.

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…Look, if this is all a plan on Netflix’s behalf to convince us that The Witcher isn’t as bad as it looks, it’s working.

The Takeaway: Let’s not allow this terrible poster and people's opinions of Goop products take away from the real problem here: "Goop" is a terrible, terrible name.

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