The 2023 was full of surprises. From the antics of billionaire Elon Musk to AI fails, dumb 911 calls, and Cineplex fattening its pockets, there was no shortage of WTF moments that made us laugh or rage.
Take a look at some of the WTF moments that MobileSyrup covered in 2023:
Elon Musk tells X advertisers to fuck themselves
Arguably, one of the most WTF stories of the year is about the world’s richest person cursing out advertisers at a live event.
In late November this year, Elon Musk, the unhinged billionaire, lashed out at the advertisers who had withdrawn their ads from his social media platform X, which was rebranded earlier this year.
The withdrawal followed Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory. Musk commented on an X post that promoted an antisemitic replacement theory. The post drew criticism from the White House and resulted in backlash from advertisers who did not want to be associated with Musk and X/Twitter.
whoa — “go fuck yourself,” Elon Musk says to Bob Iger and others who pull advertising from X
at this point it’s almost as if he’s watching the old Iron Man movies and doing a reverse Tony Stark impression pic.twitter.com/csXxeLH2wG
— j.d. durkin (@jd_durkin) November 29, 2023
Musk spoke at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, where he addressed the companies that had halted their ad campaigns on X, including Disney, IBM, Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony, Comcast/NBCUniversal and Lionsgate. “Go f*ck yourself. Go f*ck yourself. Is that clear?” he said. “Don’t advertise. If someone is going to try and blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f*ck yourself.”
Read more here.
Cineplex jacks ticket prices for Barbenheimer
Earlier this year, Cineplex charged Canadians more for Barbenheimer movies because they were immensely popular, but the theatre chain won’t admit it.
Cineplex uses “variable” and “dynamic pricing” to increase ticket prices for Barbie and Oppenheimer, two of the most anticipated films of the summer. The price hike only affected general admission tickets, not premium formats, and varied by location and demand.
For example, Cineplex’s Yonge-Eglinton theatre in Toronto charged $14.50 for Barbie and Oppenheimer, versus $13.50 for Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning — Part One at the same location. However, another Toronto theatre, located in The Beaches, sold tickets for all three films for $12.99. Meanwhile, Barbie was priced at $15.50 at Vancouver’s Scotiabank Theatre, compared to $14.50 for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Cineplex said that this is a normal practice that has been in place for years, and that customers are fully aware of what they are paying. Read more here.
Tim Hortons collected your data without consent and offered free coffee and a donut as compensation
Earlier this year, Tim Hortons offered a not-so-sweet deal to Canadian customers in exchange for their data.
The Canadian chain is offering free coffee and a donut to customers who used its app between April 2019 and September 2020 as part of a settlement for a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit was sparked by a 2020 investigation that revealed Tim Hortons had shared the location data of its app users with a third-party vendor, Radar Labs, without their consent. The privacy watchdogs called this a breach of trust and a violation of personal information.
Timmies agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid further escalation and said it had taken measures to delete the location data from its servers and asked Radar Labs to do the same.
Click here for more information about the settlement.
A botched Timmies order is no reason to dial 911
Some people take their coffee very seriously. So seriously that they are willing to call 911 over a botched order. That’s what happened to a customer who was so unhappy with their iced capp that they decided to dial the emergency number and complain.The Peel Regional Police were not amused by this call, and they shared a recording of it on their Twitter account. In the recording, you can hear the caller saying, “So basically, I bought a iced capp from Tim Hortons.” The 911 operator interrupts the caller and asks, “Is this a life or death emergency?” The caller replies, “Uh…no it’s like, I bought one, but then, they are not giving me a replacement.” The operator then tells the caller to call the non-emergency line instead.
The police used this incident to remind the public that 911 is only for emergencies, not trivial matters. So next time you order an iced capp from Tim Hortons, make sure you check it before you leave. And if you don’t like it, don’t call 911.
Coffee mishaps are brutal, but NOT a 911 emergency! Nor were nearly 125,000 misuse calls & 180,000 hang-ups last year. Our 911 Centre takes a call every 45 seconds. Meanwhile, a person with a real emergency may be waiting on the line and unable to get through. #911AwarenessPeel pic.twitter.com/EthsIpgr6s
— Peel Regional Police (@PeelPolice) September 25, 2023
Read more here.
911 doesn’t offer tech support either
If you’re having trouble with your television, you might be tempted to call 911 and ask for help. After all, what else are you supposed to do when you can’t watch your favourite show or catch up on the news? Right? Nope.
911 is not a tech support service. It’s an emergency line for life-threatening situations, such as fires, crimes, or medical crises.
That’s what a recent caller learned when they called 911 to complain that their TV had “gone crazy” and they couldn’t get any channels. The operator politely informed them that they had reached the wrong number and asked them if there was any emergency. The caller apologized and asked which number to call instead.
Over 40% of all calls to 911 are inappropriate or misuse. When every second counts, our 9-1-1 operators should be responding to critical incidents only. For non-emergencies call 905-453-3311. #EmergencyServices #911AwarenessPeel@DeputyAndrews @DC_Milinovich @DeputyOdoardi pic.twitter.com/edLqFM1Aht
— Chief Nishan Duraiappah (@ChiefNish) October 30, 2023
Some suggested that the caller might have been in a risky situation, such as being with an abusive partner, and might have been trying to signal for help without raising suspicion. However, there is no evidence to support this theory at the moment.
The next time you have a problem with your TV, don’t call 911. Try checking the cables, the batteries, the manual, or the internet for a solution.
Read more here.
Bing AI image creator’s filters were easy to fly over
Microsoft’s Bing AI Image Creator is a powerful tool that can generate realistic images based on textual prompts. However, some users found a disturbing way to abuse this technology. They recreated scenes of beloved fictional characters committing the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Bing AI’s image creator has some filters set in place that prevent the AI from generating sensitive content such as child abuse, hate speech and graphic violence, but they aren’t very effective. For instance, the AI blocks specific terms related to “9/11,” “twin towers,” and “terrorism,” but it can be easily tricked by using vaguer descriptions.
For example, typing “kirby sitting in the cockpit of a plane, flying toward two tall skyscrapers” produced an image of the cute pink Nintendo character heading toward what looks like the World Trade Center’s twin towers. Similar results were yielded when searching for images with other children’s characters, like Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as Breaking Bad‘s Walter White and Neon Genesis Evangelion‘s Eva pilots.
Read more here.
Meta’s AI stickers were a disaster
Earlier this year, Meta was experimenting with a new AI-enabled feature to let users create custom stickers based on text prompts.
While the feature wasn’t widely distributed, the few users who had access to it quickly found it easy to abuse. Like Bing’s image creator, Meta added filters to block out sensitive prompts. However, by typing in prompts with typos, using synonyms of sensitive words or describing the desired content, users could generate offensive, inappropriate, or downright bizarre stickers.
Examples include a rifle-wielding Waluigi, a child soldier, a busty Karl Marx, and a Mickey Mouse toilet. There’s also a sticker of Pikachu being breastfed by a woman, a pregnant Princess Fiona, and, worst of all, a butt-naked Justin Trudeau sticker.
found out that facebook messenger has ai generated stickers now and I don't think anyone involved has thought anything through pic.twitter.com/co987cRhyu
— podesbiens.bsky.social (@Pioldes) October 3, 2023
Rockstar finally drops GTA VI’s trailer after several leaks
After several leaks spoiled the party, Rockstar dropped the GTA VI trailer a day earlier than planned.
Rockstar was slated to show off the highly anticipated title’s trailer on December 5th but decided to drop it on December 4th
Rockstar was the victim of one of the biggest leaks in video game history back in September 2022, when user ‘teapotuberhacker’ uploaded a 3GB file with 90 videos.
Following that, this year, a TikTok user named @I_see_In_4K uploaded two short videos that they claim are from the upcoming Grand Theft Auto VI. They also claim that the source of the video is “some dev’s son.” This claim, however, is yet to be verified.
Then, on December 4th, a seemingly random X user dropped the trailer online. As soon as it went viral, Rockstar acknowledged the leak, and shared the official trailer on YouTube, which you can view below.
Our trailer has leaked so please watch the real thing on YouTube: https://t.co/T0QOBDHwBe
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) December 4, 2023
The trailer broke the 24-hour YouTube record, and since then, it has amassed 155 million views. Read more about it here.
Image credit: Shutterstock