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Russia Is Investigating Fidget Spinners After Reports Claim They 'Zombify' Youth (theverge.com) 202

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: In a recent report, Russia-24, a state-owned news channel, suggests that fidget spinners are being used by Russian opposition parties in order to recruit young people. As reported by The New York Times, the reporters in Russia-24's initial story say, "It is a mystery why it has become so popular in Russia right now. Who is promoting this to the masses so actively?" The video segment says the toys were being distributed at a rally for opposition leader Alexei Navalny and in online ads that direct viewers to YouTube channels that promote opposition politicians. The reporters said that while the toy's popularity was declining in the West, fidget spinners are more popular than ever in Russia. "As you can see here there is only writing in English, on the other side there is not a word in Russian," says one of the show's anchors during the report, presenting a new spinner in its packaging to the camera. According to Newsweek, a second report on Russia-24 also aired on July 12th, directly saying fidget spinners were an "object for zombifying" and a form of "hypnosis." The program featured a report from psychologist Svetlana Filatova, claiming that the spinners could help dexterity in children but otherwise "dulls" people's minds. The reports spurred Russia's consumer protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor, into action, saying on Tuesday they would launch an investigation into the toy.
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Russia Is Investigating Fidget Spinners After Reports Claim They 'Zombify' Youth

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  • Imagine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @05:28PM (#54842209) Journal

    Imagine a country where all the media is basically Breitbart

    • Re: Imagine (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @05:38PM (#54842271) Homepage
      Or far worse, one where the supposed leader tried desperately to convince the masses Brietbart is the one honest media source and the rest are "fake news", and has a scary amount of success with the approach.
      • Re: Imagine (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Verdatum ( 1257828 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @06:09PM (#54842461)
        Sorry, no, not far worse; not until the criticized reporters start turning up dead.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GLMDesigns ( 2044134 )
      Where's that?

      And is Breitbart worse than CNN?

      Wouldn't a rational person read / watch CNN, NYT, Breitbart, HuffPost, Reason, Zero Hedge, Mother Jones, Infowars, Final Call, etc...

      Scary when Alex Jones says there were mass rapes and gropes on New Years in Germany and the NYTs (which you read daily) doesn't mention anything. You dismiss it as Alex Jones hysteria - and then months later it comes out that Alex Jones was right and the NYTs hid something horrible.

      The moral of the story is read a litt
      • Re:Imagine (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @05:57PM (#54842407) Journal

        Where's that?

        And is Breitbart worse than CNN?

        Wouldn't a rational person read / watch CNN, NYT, Breitbart, HuffPost, Reason, Zero Hedge, Mother Jones, Infowars, Final Call, etc...

        Scary when Alex Jones says there were mass rapes and gropes on New Years in Germany and the NYTs (which you read daily) doesn't mention anything. You dismiss it as Alex Jones hysteria - and then months later it comes out that Alex Jones was right and the NYTs hid something horrible.

        The moral of the story is read a little bit of everything and not get locked into a self-referencing echo chamber.

        Translation: "We must strike a balance between truth and lies."

        • Re:Imagine (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @06:20PM (#54842513) Journal
          No, he is right, and it's what I do as well. It's nice if you could find a news source that is the truth, the whole truth and no lies, but let's be honest: even the news outlets that aspire to this (and many of them don't) fail to achieve it. So it's not about a compromise between truth and lies; it's about getting viewpoints from different perspectives. Shake up your faith in those unshakable truths a little, and read opposing opinions and sources that will cast doubt on those so called truths. You need to be able to filter crap from credible sources, though.

          Once I started reading publications from all parts of the political spectrum instead of just my favorite newspaper and a blog or 2, I realised what a myopic view on the world such a limited set of sources resulted in.
          • Re:Imagine (Score:5, Insightful)

            by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @06:34PM (#54842593)

            i'd wager that a fair number of people do not read the news to stay informed, but to reinforce the views they already hold.

            • i'd wager that a fair number of people do not read the news to stay informed, but to reinforce the views they already hold.

              That means exactly what I said above, that Journalism is dead. Journalism isn't supposed to be just presenting your opinion, or the opinion someone wants you to present. Journalism is supposed to be primarily obtaining and presenting the fullest set of facts possible so that the reader/listener can make up their own mind about an opinion with all of the facts journalism made available.

              Even in the age of the video recorder everywhere catching people in media lying, we have very little real journalism. We

              • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

                Journalism is supposed to be primarily obtaining and presenting the fullest set of facts possible so that the reader/listener can make up their own mind about an opinion with all of the facts journalism made available.

                The problem is the reader doesn't want to think. Reading sources and analyzing requires a level of thought and effort that most people don't want to put in. Hence such things as "soundbites" where you try to convey what you're trying to say in 2 seconds because to spend any more time takes too

                • by s.petry ( 762400 )

                  The problem is the reader doesn't want to think.

                  Really? And you know this because Aliens whispered in your ear? You regularly commune with mushrooms and have gained deity status? Those voices in your head keep telling you so?

                  When you begin your opinion with a false generalization, anything else you say should be dismissed. _YOU_ may not want to think, but don't project your virtues (or lack thereof) onto everyone else.

              • A newspaper has lots of room for print, but even so it can't report everything of interest. Other media are more limited.

                Therefore, all you can possibly get from any news source is a curated collection of facts, which have been selected by biased human beings. Connections between facts shade into opinion, which needs to be included to make the facts more digestible. All news sources will be, and always have been, biased.

                The big difference between now and fifty years ago is that we now have many more

          • Re:Imagine (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @11:42PM (#54843969)

            Be careful that when you try to read opposing viewpoints that you're not reading crazy conspiracy theories. Fox is so overtly biased and with editorials masquerading as news stories, that you can't take all of it seriously and you have to sift through it very carefully. You don't balance a slight liberal bent with an overt conservative approach that is constantly on the attack. You cannot put Fox as an equal balance to the BBC for example. But Fox is sane here compared to the wackos like Breitbart or Infowars or World Net Daily.

            Sure, listen to different views, but do not give them all equal weight! It is very useful to know what some of the extremist views are, and useful to know if those views are gaining popularity, but you should not treat those views as part of the balance with the truth residing at the average of it all.

            A good viewpoint to get is from foreign or international sources. BBC, AFP, Al Jazeera, The Economist, etc.

            • Anytime I read an article and there isn't a quote or explanation of the feelings one specific person has expressed or an interviewed group has expressed, and it has words like disgusting, apprehensive, hopeful, amazing, or something like that I know it probably is more opinion than fact, or a review of a product.
            • Can't help but notice how carefully you're avoiding mentioning MSNBC, CNN, and the rest of the high-profile partisan ax-grinders who are caught routinely lying. Not just editorializing, or slanting their coverage to their known demographic, but actually lying. I know, it's only fun when some crazy right wing blog does it. But lefty media outlets with VASTLY larger audiences have become completely unhinged, and you know it (or should).
          • So it's not about a compromise between truth and lies; it's about getting viewpoints from different perspectives

            Well, it is a compromise between truth and lies if you choose to include news outlets that clearly and obviously have no regard for the truth and that's one of the problems here. (It's not as if the right doesn't have honest media either, why is it everyone says "Well, I read Brietbart and watch CNN to get a rounded picture"? Brietbart are liars. What about NewsMax? They're not perfect but I've

            • by s.petry ( 762400 )

              The other problem is the "both sides" narrative doesn't work with the current media. Right wingers keep claiming NBC, CNN, The Washington Post, et al, are "left wing". Those of us on the left just don't see it.

              No kidding? Does anyone really need to explain that to you? see "Confirmation Bias" and "Cognitive Dissonance".

              A big problem today is that Fox does not usually present a "right" opinion either. They claim the left is wrong on some stuff, but the left wing opinion is the only one in play. This is called "Hegelian Dialectic" and Hegelism, which was employed by Germany, USSR, China, etc...

              Simply thinking the current President is terrible does not make you the counter to the right wing media. Hell, the intelligent side of the right thinks he's a moron too, they just don't say it in public.

              The intelligent people on the right don't call him a moron because that is not true. Just like the far left's claim of

              • Could you rephrase that argument to make sense? You claimed that Trump is not a moron, which I do understand. You also claimed he has philosophies, which I've been unable to perceive. As far as the rest....

                The US media is, for the most part, considerably to the right of my political positions. They may, in general, be left of yours. This is stuff we can see without any sort of bias or cognitive dissonance. However, you don't get to define the left to the exclusion of those of us who are leftists, a

                • by s.petry ( 762400 )

                  Could you rephrase that argument to make sense? You claimed that Trump is not a moron, which I do understand. You also claimed he has philosophies, which I've been unable to perceive. As far as the rest....

                  Simplest way is by example: Trump "We need to protect our borders!" Opposition "He's a racist!"

                  There is no argument, just an ad hominem attack. Instead of discussing the actual issues that have been around since the 1960s and coming to a solution, the Left continues to proclaim "Racist" and cherry picks anything they can to support their claim of racism, and the Right spends all it's time saying "no, it's not racist" and trying to demonstrate how the cherry picking is not correct.

                  I don't know where your

                  • I see. You do believe the left is monolithic, that the right is synonymous with individual liberty, and cannot perceive right-wing ideas in current media. In other words, you can't be reasoned with.

                    • by s.petry ( 762400 )

                      Huh? I can surely be reasoned with, but reason requires facts. Show me where any media talks about actual issues from a right wing position. I gave a couple examples where a person can find them. You can't find facts so claim I can't be reasoned with because I don't believe in fairy tales?

                      It is a _FACT_ that none of those sources are related to or even mentioned by CNN, *NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, or any other TV media company. None of those TV media channels express a right-wing position, they primarily exp

          • No he is not. It's true that some outlets are more left wing and others are more right wing. But it's also true that some outlets are more reputable and some are not. Breitbart's website is not a "balance" to CNN.

        • >Translation: "We must strike a balance between truth and lies."

          Is that what you got from his post? It was actually pretty insightful ( no mod points, sorry ), and it's precisely what I do. It helps counter the bias inherent in each source where you result in actual information.

          Do it long enough the weasel words media outlets like to use really start jumping out at you.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Ahem. Breitbart and Infowars are set up on the business model of selling advertising space on shocking lies. I don't know about those other ones.

            CNN, NYT, HuffPost, (notice how there were only three of these) are long established news sources presenting a balanced viewpoint. Mother Jones presents a balanced viewpoint. You could include the Atlantic, the Guardian, the Times (no, not the New York one, the actual Times), the Telegraph, Le Monde, Die Welt, even the BBC. These all present balanced viewpoints.

            If

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by grasshoppa ( 657393 )

              CNN has already retracted..what? One story about Trump and Russia? Yes, you can argue that by retracting it they are maintaining their integrity, but that they published it in the first place kind of gives lie to it.

              Huffpo is no better than Breitbart in my book, it's laughable you'd include it even the same sentence as CNN.

              Point being, no news source is balanced. Accepting a 'balanced viewpoint' is effectively surrendering your own critical thinking skills in favor of theirs. That's why you read all of

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by skam240 ( 789197 )

                So CNN has had to retract a single story about Russia? What's your point? News agencies make mistakes.

                Now if they made a habbit of doing that then the case could be made that they're biasly running fake news as far fewer people generally see a retraction then who saw the offending article. Making a single retraction means something though? Gimme a break

                • That it was even published should be a huge indication that they're biased, just like the rest.

                  It's a requirement to be suspicious of any news source as a rational human being. What's most amusing about that to me is that it's so far outside people's "normal experience" that they simply can't fathom what that means. Take the most biased news source you can imagine. Now read an article that wildly disagrees with something you believe to be true. Feel that skepticism? That disbelief? That's how I read a

                • CNN had to make a major retraction and had 3 journalists resign over the most recent retraction, but they have had numerous retractions and have numerous lawsuits pending for libel and slander. This is not including those that have been settled out of court, and resulted in other "journalist" resignations. CNN repeatedly quote stories from NYT and WAPO which have their own long list of retractions, and libel/slander cases.

                  CNN has also staged election questions, self admitted promoted politicians they like

                  • by skam240 ( 789197 )

                    So they're different from other news organizations how?

                    • by s.petry ( 762400 )
                      If you look for other posts in this thread, they are different because they have been caught more.
                  • by skam240 ( 789197 )

                    Wait a second. Sorry I'm super tired because i work 40 hours a week and take care of my dad 40+

                    Lets talk about your post. You dump a bunch of very specific accusations out there and the only sources you provide are two very generic wilipedia articles that doesnt help with any of it. Sorry but I have neither the time nor the interest in doing all the leg work on this.

              • CNN is going downhill. However it's not going downhill because it's turning radically liberal. It's going downhill because it's focusing on the sensational stories, sticking with the pointless stories for months in order to keep the eyeballs.

              • Re: Imagine (Score:2, Insightful)

                It's so amazing that after everything that's happened, CNN is still trusted by some people. That's just astounding. They've been caught broadcasting fake news so many times it's not funny. They outright became part of the Clinton campaign. This is verifiable fact. The truth came out and Wikileaks confirms it.
              • Point being, no news source is balanced.

                True. But there are some that are so unbalanced that even the drunks who can't stand without support from a wall are laughing at them.

            • Re:Imagine (Score:4, Insightful)

              by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @02:05AM (#54844273) Homepage Journal

              >CNN, NYT, HuffPost, (notice how there were only three of these) are long established news sources presenting a balanced viewpoint.

              Hah. No. I don't even think that any of these three would even pretend they're presenting a balanced viewpoint these days. CNN has been caught running the Russia story just for ratings, despite thinking there's nothing actually there, NYT had a complete meltdown on election night (want to see a screenshot? I took a screenshot), and the HuffPo is described as a "politically liberal American news and opinion website."

              If you don't believe me, here's Harvard on the matter -

              https://shorensteincenter.org/... [shorensteincenter.org]

            • by mjwx ( 966435 )

              Ahem. Breitbart and Infowars are set up on the business model of selling advertising space on shocking lies. I don't know about those other ones.

              That is also the business model of most Murdoch news establishments, The Australian, Fox News, The Daily Mail. All of them are click-bait turned to 11 and employ the kind of tactics that Buzzfeed can only dream of.

              Their business models depend on people not thinking rationally because irrational people are more susceptible to advertising (by associating it with a strong emotion).

              CNN, NYT, et al. are following an advertising business model, but not the same one. They're relying on numbers. When you star

        • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @10:18PM (#54843601)

          Pretty damn obvious when a post saying "one should read them all" gets moderated troll, and the name calling posts against Breitbart get moderated +5 insightful. Facts may hurt on occasion, but they are facts.

          All of media today lies, plain and simple. CNN, and NBC have both been caught repeatedly fabricating, staging, and editing content to promote a narrative instead of performing actual journalism. Watch either of those 2 stations and you hear the half a set of fact they need to support the narrative they want you to hear and believe. Nothing more. Not unique to them, just the most obvious offenders.

          It is the information vacuum which gives rise to sites like Infowars. They lie too! If you want to see how bad US media has become with propaganda, just read about the same topic on NYT and Breitbart and compare. Watch CNN and Fox and compare. Same subject, two separate sets of facts being discussed, and two completely different opinions being presented. Amazingly, they both tend to favor the leftist agenda.

          Journalism in the US is dead, and has been for quite a while. The only difference between today and 10 years ago is that it's easier to see media caught in the act. Trust in Journalism is the only thing lower than approval for politicians.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Pretty damn obvious when a post saying "one should read them all" gets moderated troll, and the name calling posts against Breitbart get moderated +5 insightful.

            Yes, that GLMDesigns, is, like yourself, recognized as a troll, and the community also realizes that Breitbart is a steaming pile of shit.

            So a non-genuine bit of sophistry gets modded down, and you, a fellow traveler, get upset over it. Because, admit to it or not, you really are desperate for affirmation?

            Facts may hurt on occasion, but they are facts.

            Facts are slippery things, and well-suited to misrepresentations and deceits. You should know that yourself. You do make quite a considerable effort to build your house of lies on a slim foundation of t

        • Re:Imagine (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @11:26PM (#54843891)

          No. A rational person would cut out the Breitbart and Infowars for sure. They're known to be full of fake news, sensationalism, and an overt bias that is flaunted. A rational person would seek out news sources that attempt to play fair, be honest, be accurate, and make a good faith attempt to reduce bias.

          Yes, a reporter who parrots whatever random gossip that is overheard will sometimes be right. That does not mean the reporter has special insights and should be followed. Did Alex Jones actualy investigate this story, or just repeat it? When 99% is provably crap then you'd better be sure that 1% is a diamond before you go fishing it out with your fingers.

      • by spun ( 1352 )

        For that to be a good analogy, you would have to have included something left wing as well as the centrist, libertarian, and right wing sources you mentioned. No, Huffpost and Mother Jones are not leftist, they are both pro-corporate centrist organizations.

      • Wouldn't a rational person read / watch CNN, NYT, Breitbart, HuffPost, Reason, Zero Hedge, Mother Jones, Infowars, Final Call, etc...

        A person who did that would have their brain turned to marshmallow. Most of those aren't worth reading the vast majority of days. They are entertainment that emphasizes the adversarial nature of politics. Like watching a sports team, their goal isn't to be accurate and watching the other side doesn't help.

        It's better to find some sources that are a step above CNN or InfoWars in terms of trying to convey accurate information. Remember the media can't change your opinion easily, but they can get you to talk

      • And is Breitbart worse than CNN?

        Yes.

        Next question?

      • Alex Jones reports news? That's funny. Why do mass rapes, and gropes; interest you?
        • Because this sort of behavior ought not be covered up by the mainstream media. Does it make sense to you to NOT report news because it may cast a negative light on a group of people?

          If the KKK was throwing acid on black women's faces wouldn't you find it outrageous if it was not reported by the NYTs?
      • by fazig ( 2909523 )
        Yeah, you hear this logic a lot: "The biggest lie of all is the things they don't tell you."
        It's unsound logic, if you consider that you can't possibly cover everything all the time. First and foremost, not mentioning something is not the same as deliberately withholding or hiding information. That is an allegation that requires some proof in itself. Even withholding information only really becomes a lie when the deliberate lack of specifics is meant to deceive by altering the 'big picture' of the topic a
        • "First and foremost, not mentioning something is not the same as deliberately withholding or hiding information."

          Correct but in this case, in my judgement, it most certainly is a deliberate call. Add to that more than one article and interview in which organizations say that they don't want to release information for just such a reason.

          One of the latest (not CNN but an example of deliberate information withholding)

          BART Withholding Surveillance Videos Of Crime To Avoid ...
          sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/
      • Re:Imagine (Score:4, Informative)

        by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @04:18AM (#54844569)

        Where's that?

        Russia for example, China for another.

        And is Breitbart worse than CNN?

        Yes

        Wouldn't a rational person read / watch CNN, NYT, Breitbart, HuffPost, Reason, Zero Hedge, Mother Jones, Infowars, Final Call, etc...

        No

        Scary when Alex Jones says there were mass rapes and gropes on New Years in Germany and the NYTs (which you read daily) doesn't mention anything. You dismiss it as Alex Jones hysteria - and then months later it comes out that Alex Jones was right and the NYTs hid something horrible.

        Here's one link to just one of NYT's stories covering the gropings: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/0... [nytimes.com]

        The moral of the story is read a little bit of everything and not get locked into a self-referencing echo chamber.

        Not everything is worth reading nor does it need to be read to get completely unbiased views. Hateful lies, shock stories, and conspiracy theories do not make news "balanced".

        Are there any other questions I can help you with?

    • "It is a mystery why it has become so popular in Russia right now. Who is promoting this to the masses so actively?"

      It's almost hilarious that they have this imagined foe, covertly marketing stringless yoyos. And in reality it's just kids, talking. The forum is likely school, or after school. Teachers will be blamed. After school activities will be investigated, and youth leaders will be blamed. Parents, likely, will be blamed.

      It says a lot about them. It's projection. They are the ones promoting damaging l

    • Russia and the US really are sister countries. Their populations are prone to believing the exact same texture and smell of bullshit. The only difference is some of the lettering is Roman and some is Cyrillic.

      • Russia is worse, though - they are also marching towards absolutist monarchy and while USA certainly has its fair share of vocal conspiracy, right wing and religious nutters, in Russia they sit in the government and make one crazy law after another.

  • Don't worry, Chief. I'm always on duty!
  • 'Fidget spinners' are basically toys that would captivate someone who is stoned, so what do you expect? It's right up there with things like Candy Crush.
    • by mikael ( 484 )

      I'm sure there are some science fair projects that you could do with them, especially those with the polychromatic rainbow colors:

      1. Why does polychromatic metal have different colours?
      2. Why is there resistance to a spinner changing axis?
      3. Which ones have the greatest angular momentum?
      4. Which are the easiest to accelerate?

  • when you've got unlimited resources and no morals you can do petty crap like this.
  • Wait.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @05:40PM (#54842281)

    Aren't these the folks that gave us Tetris?

  • a second report on Russia-24 also aired on July 12th, directly saying fidget spinners were an "object for zombifying" and a form of "hypnosis."

    So do you smoke or snort them?

    • You hit yourself round the head with them.

      They're not so heavy, I hear you say.

      You do it before unloading them from the shipping container.

  • ... sleepy ...

    You want to meet the U.S. president's son ...

  • Gyroscopes... How do they work? What the hell are they really up to?

    https://xkcd.com/332/ [xkcd.com]

  • Another evidence for the complete bias of the capitalistic West against Russia.
    They are investigating the Fidget spinners after Reports claim that they gayify youth.
    The legitimate threat of the homofication of a whole generation prompted our dear and belived Czar Putin to act on behelf of this glorious nation.

  • Fucking hell, Russia, keep up. No one plays with Fidget Spinners anymore, those were last term's toy, and now it's the Summer holidays.

    By the time you publish your report, it'll be September and the kids will be back at school obsessing over the thing that starting trending during the break.

    Personally my money's on the app that lets you link loads of phones together do you can all play a massive game of Simon Says.

  • Two takeaways from TFA: (1) Russia has junk news too. (2) Glad to see J Wraps found somewhere to dump their excess product.

  • In post-Soviet Russia, The East has moral panics.

    I heard that if you spin them backwards, they play Stairway to Heaven.

  • It's the decadent west trying to corrupt the youth. It's that rock and roll problem all over again.

  • We all know extremes are bad but the fad is already dying down and people will probably lose interest as individuals at least in the current capacity

    Why is this seen as a crisis?

  • Smelling fish, that's been in the sun for 3 days.
    • by skam240 ( 789197 )

      Of course if you follow the sources you end up with a youtube clip of a russian news broadcast that can be translated by youtube for you.

      But then again it's much easier to just have an oppinion about something you know nothing about...

  • What could be better at doubling as a listening device than a fidget spinner? It could even generate its own electricity, and nobody would be the wiser about that innocent looking toy the guy at the end of the conference room table is playing with!

Too much of everything is just enough. -- Bob Wier

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