Last week, the internet was rocked with the announcements that popular online news outlets Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post would be laying off members of their respective teams. While some believe the layoffs come as the parent companies realize that their traditional models of building a massive audience and attracting digital advertisers are no longer acceptably profitable, others point to a rejection of clickbait headlines and patently false stories by the public as the key reason for falling revenue streams.

Recently, both outlets have come under fire for publishing ‘fake news’: On January 17th, Buzzfeed ran a damning story regarding former Trump attorney Michael Cohen lying to congress about a Trump-tower project in Moscow, only for Special counsel Robert Mueller’s regularly silent office to issue a statement categorically denying the accuracy of the Buzzfeed report. Following the now infamous events of the January 18th anti-abortion event March for Life, The Huffington Post ran numerous articles attacking the Covington Catholic High School students for being racist, disrespectful, and bigots, and even in the face of exonerating video evidence, doubled down on their condemnation by continuing to denigrate the students based on their own false narratives.

Following the announcements of these layoffs, a multitude of journalists who had been laid off took to Twitter to announce their unemployment and promote their services. Users across the internet quickly began to respond to these announcements with the phrase ‘Learn to Code.’ This phrase is in reference to the derision and condescension from journalists who advised that coal miners facing the extinction of their livelihood should just accept it and ‘learn to code’ if they truly wanted to remain relevant in the economic landscape.

As more and more journalists were met with ‘learn to code’ in response to their lamentations, some began to grow aggrieved with the phrase:

Some even became convinced that the growing frequency of the use of the phrase was a 4chan trolling campaign, despite provided screenshots only showing that 4chan was celebrating the announcements:

Mere days after journalists took issue with the three word phrase, The Wrap media editor Jon Levine revealed that use of the phrase was soon to be classified as ‘abusive behavior’,

Another user replied to Levine with proof that one of their tweets containing the phrase had violated Twitter rules:

However, within hours Twitter had responded to this development with a spokesperson clarifying the specifics of the policy change to The Daily Beast reporter Max Tani:

Levine also issued an update to his original tweet:

Despite this clarification, many users feel that Twitter’s policy shift is hypocritical at best. Users cite the fact that tweets urging people to ‘fire on any of these red hat b****** when you see them’, comparing the Jewish people to termites, or directing the very same phrase of ‘Learn to Code’ at blue collar workers had no action taken against the tweets or the accounts posting them, while Twitter instantly sought to protect the litany of unemployed journalists against a three word piece of advice by taking direct action.

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About The Author

Spencer is a contributing reporter for Bounding Into Comics. Unabashed anime fan, life-long comic book reader, avid video game player, and in need of a separate house for all of his figures. Trying to sift through the noise to bring the readers the facts.

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