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What's Going On In The News Today?

To some Democrats, “President Mike Pence” doesn’t sound quite so bad. Why some women went on strike, and why others didn’t, for International Women’s Day yesterday. And how long do you think it takes for a blank Facebook News Feed to become radicalized?

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International Women’s Day 2017.

  • Here’s why women went on strike — and why others didn’t — on Wednesday. “My action for today is to declare that I have value,” one woman told BuzzFeed News’ Anne Helen Petersen.

  • At least 13 demonstrators were arrested at the march in New York, including a primary organizer of January's Women’s March.

  • A group of Russian women climbed the Kremlin to hang feminist banners, while thousands of people marched through Dublin to demand that the government repeals its highly restrictive abortion laws.


“President Mike Pence” doesn’t sound quite so bad, some Democrats say.

According to a new poll, 62% of Democrats now say that they would prefer Mike Pence in the Oval Office. But don’t mistake this sentiment for enthusiasm.

Pence stands for everything the contemporary Democratic Party hates, a combination of assertive religious conservatism and anti-government zeal. His signature issue has long been opposition to abortion rights.

On Tuesday, no elected Democrat would concede on the record that there’s any difference between Trump and Pence. “Both are terrible” was a standard response. But ask many members on background and you’ll get an emphatic “Yes, Pence would be 100% better.”

And a little extra US news

  • Two Californian school districts are launching campaigns to help protect undocumented students and their families from deportation.

  • FBI Director James Comey said, “There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America.”

  • People are dragging Bill O’Reilly for calling veteran NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell “unruly.” She had the best response.

  • People can’t stop making fun of the suggestion that Americans should choose between an iPhone and healthcare.

WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON

The scandal surrounding this presidential candidate may just be the most French thing.

Meet François Fillon. He’s the Republican candidate in France’s presidential election, one of a whole bunch of — or, you know, five main — candidates.

Everything was looking good for Fillon. He was ahead in the polls and was predicted to comfortably defeat Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate, in the final round of voting.

But then, plot twist: The newspaper Le Canard enchaîné revealed that Penelope Fillon, his Welsh-born wife, had been paid as his parliamentary assistant — despite having never worked at the National Assembly, France’s version of Congress. We’ve got the full explanation for you right here.


DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

“I made a Facebook profile, started liking right-wing pages, and radicalized my News Feed in four days.”

Last week, BuzzFeed News’ Ryan Broderick made a brand new Facebook profile, without any friends, which is not how most people use Facebook.

With the experiment, Broderick wanted to see how Facebook’s recommendation algorithms worked in a purely friendless vacuum. What kind of content would it suggest if all it had to go on was what he liked, rather than who?

“At one point, my entire feed was photos of scantily clad women with racist meme text written over them. Then it shifted and it was all negative write-ups of the Oscars,” Broderick writes.

A spokesperson for Facebook told BuzzFeed News that trying to use the News Feed without friends doesn’t make any sense. Getting a handle on how Facebook’s algorithm works is hard, but here are some of Broderick’s key takeaways.

“After three days, I started seeing white power memes and was asked to join a Vladimir Putin fan page. By Friday, my News Feed included an article from the Daily Stormer, an actual neo-Nazi website.”

QUICK THINGS TO KNOW

For the latest news and updates, download the BuzzFeed News app for iOS and Android (available in Canadian, UK, Australian, and US app stores).

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