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Krispy Kreme for COVID Shots Raises Twitter Hackles

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March 26, 2021 – Doughnut maker Krispy Kreme thrilled many this week when it announced that anyone in the U.S. who had received a COVID-19 vaccine could receive a free doughnut — as many as one a day, through the end of 2021.

“We all want to get COVID-19 behind us as fast as possible and we want to support everyone doing their part to make the country safe by getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to them,” said David Skena, Krispy Kreme’s chief marketing officer, in a press release earlier this week.

And to confuse the issue further, Krispy Kreme also said that for those who “make the personal decision to not receive the COVID vaccine,” they could still get a free doughnut and coffee on any Monday through May 24. “We’re not here to judge. We’re here to spread joy,” a Krispy Kreme spokesperson said.

Soon after Krispy Kreme tweeted out its offer on Monday, Twitter erupted, and it became clear not everyone was pleased with the iconic brand, famous for its glazed doughnuts and its stores with the bright red signs that light up when a fresh batch comes off the conveyor belt.

Many thanked the company for providing an incentive for vaccination. Naysayers were quick to condemn the Charlotte, NC-based company for promoting poor nutrition, obesity, the ingestion of a sugary treat, and for giving a pass to those who didn’t want to be vaccinated. There were tweets about the nanny state, fat-shaming, and misplaced priorities.

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Others wanted America to just plain chill out.

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N.J. Gym Owner Tries to Change the Narrative

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a gym owner took different tact.

Ian Smith, whose Twitter bio says he is the co-owner of The Atilis Gym, in Bellmawr, said that in response to Krispy Kreme’s generosity, he would offer a free gym membership to “all who don’t get vaccinated.”

“We believe in health – the real way – exercise, good diet, plenty of Vitamin D, Zinc, and an environment to destress, tweeted Smith, whose bio also says he is a “Patriot. FREE MAN. Learner. Toxically Masculine.”

Smith first made news in May, when the state shut down his gym when he refused to do so himself as part of the state’s pandemic procedures.

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Incentivizing Vaccinations With Doughnuts

Meanwhile, in the Krispy Kreme corner of Twitter, Leana Wen, MD, a former Baltimore, MD, city health commissioner, and current media gadfly, helped fire up the storm with her Twitter stream.

She applauded Krispy Kreme for its “out-of-the-box thinking,” but noted that “doughnuts are a treat that’s not good for health if eaten every day.” In addition, if someone ate the Original Glazed daily without changing their diet or exercise regimen, “they’d gain approximately 15 pounds by the end of 2021,” Wen tweeted.

The chief scientific officer of a company that has a weight loss-related program said Wen’s comments weren’t welcome. “Being an expert in medicine and some aspects of health doesn’t make someone an obesity expert,” tweeted Emily Dhurandhar, PhD.

Wen’s tweet was too much for Michelle Villegas, an activist for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “Fat phobia runs rampant in the medical community and it’s a real bummer because odds are this tweet isn’t going to help anyone, or change Krispy Kreme’s policy — it’s just going to trigger disordered eating and feelings of shame in people who are already struggling,” she tweeted.

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Meanwhile, “Some of the responses to the #KrispyKreme doughnut vaccine debate really have me thinking about how paternalistic #publichealth and #medicine can be,” tweeted Uché Blackstock, MD, founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity. “We’re in the midst of a pandemic. Are we really upset over incentivizing vaccinations with doughnuts?”

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Ashish Jha, MD, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, in Providence, RI, and a frequent media personality, agreed that the fuss seemed to be much ado about a doughnut. “Right now, I’d rather not hear about doughnuts and weight gain. Pandemic, people. Pandemic,” he tweeted, adding that he supported the offer.

Peter Hotez, MD, a Baylor College of Medicine pediatrician who has studied anti-vaccine behavior, tweeted, “I’m all in, thank you @krispykreme.”

Moderation Is Key

Many just couldn’t believe that free doughnuts could cause so much controversy.

“I agree too much sugar is bad, but one doughnut is not going to turn anyone into a sugar/doughnut addict,” tweeted Mandana Donoghue, an oral pathologist. She recommended foregoing other sweets on the doughnut day. “Just chill & enjoy. #Moderation is key,” she said.

James Fell, a historian and columnist, tweeted, “Good morning everyone except people who have no understanding of the multifactorial parameters involved in obesity and use the free @krispykreme doughnut campaign as an excuse to fat shame people.”

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Krispy Kreme’s spokesperson told Medscape that its doughnuts “are an occasional indulgence best enjoyed in moderation.”  And the company is “certainly not asking people to get a free Original Glazed doughnut every day, we’re just making it available through the end of the year,” said the spokesperson.

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Elon Musk Says He’ll Pay $11 Billion in Taxes in 2021 But Twitter Wants ‘Proof’

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Elon Musk took to Twitter to clarify once and for all that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes this year.

If the number of times Elon Musk could count when someone has asked him to pay the full taxes, he would be a very rich..wait, never mind. The Tesla boss is rich beyond any private individual has been in history, reports said.

Musk has increasingly been facing criticism from many politicians and many others who insist he has not been paying taxes as compared to the profits his companies have been making. On Sunday, the SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to share that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes.

For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2021

But some of the questions did not stop. One person tweeted how they needed to see Musk’s tax returns while yet another asked how much percentage was that of his total income.

A few were, however scathing of the government who thought they will add that amount to their pockets rather than using it for some proper development.

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Wow that’s enough to give each person in the world almost $2 million but instead the government will just stick it in their pockets— greg (@greg16676935420) December 20, 2021

Why not $200 billion? Asking for a Senator— litquidity (@litcapital) December 20, 2021

Earlier this week, Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren has tweeted to say that Musk should pay taxes and stop “freeloading off everyone else” after Time magazine named him its “person of the year”.

In response, Musk shot four tweets in which he said that the senator reminded him of a friend’s angry mom who yelled at everybody. He tweeted, ““And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.” “Don’t spend it all at once … oh wait you did already.”

He added further, “You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”

Musk responded by saying that he “will pay more taxes than any American in history this year”. This Twitter exchange left netizens divided as even though many supported Warren and agreed that Musk should pay more taxes, others felt that he was already doing enough.

Musk’s Tesla is worth about $1 trillion. Over the last few weeks, he has sold nearly $14 billion worth of Tesla shares.

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The Tesla boss has been pushing for his colonize Mars agenda for years now, and has made it very clear in some occasions that he would rather spend the money on putting humanity on the red planet, than pay his taxes. “My plan,” the SpaceX founder tweeted about his fortune, “is to use the money to get humanity to Mars and preserve the light of consciousness.”

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Twitter Admits Policy ‘Errors’ After Far-Right Abuse Its New Rules of Posting Pictures

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Twitter’s new picture permission policy was aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers said Friday that far-right backers have employed it to protect themselves from scrutiny and to harass opponents.

Even the social network admitted the rollout of the rules, which say anyone can ask Twitter to take down images of themselves posted without their consent, was marred by malicious reports and its teams’ own errors.

It was just the kind of trouble anti-racism advocates worried was coming after the policy was announced this week.

Their concerns were quickly validated, with anti-extremism researcher Kristofer Goldsmith tweeting a screenshot of a far-right call-to-action circulating on Telegram: “Due to the new privacy policy at Twitter, things now unexpectedly work more in our favor.”

“Anyone with a Twitter account should be reporting doxxing posts from the following accounts,” the message said, with a list of dozens of Twitter handles.

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Gwen Snyder, an organizer and researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a report to Twitter about a series of 2019 photos she said showed a local political candidate at a march organized by extreme-right group Proud Boys.

Rather than go through an appeal with Twitter she opted to delete the images and alert others to what was happening.

“Twitter moving to eliminate (my) work from their platform is incredibly dangerous and is going to enable and embolden fascists,” she told AFP.

In announcing the privacy policy on Tuesday, Twitter noted that “sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm.”

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But the rules don’t apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweets are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

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By Friday, Twitter noted the roll out had been rough: “We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately, our enforcement teams made several errors.”

“We’ve corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended,” the firm added.

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Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

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Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

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Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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