Google’s April Fools’ Day prank went horribly wrong, leaving the company no choice but to pull the plug on it altogether.
The joke was actually harmless in nature. In Gmail next to the “Reply” button Google added a “MicDrop” button which would allow users to reply to messages and archive them, but would also include a silly GIF of an animated minion from the film “Despicable Me” dropping a microphone.
The action of “dropping the mic” symbolizes that you are done talking — or in this case, typing — but it’s also somewhat disrespectful as it implies you’ve gotten the last word and there’s nothing more to be said.
"Email's great, but sometimes you just wanna hit the eject button," Google wrote in a tongue-and-cheek blog post explaining the GIF. "Like those heated threads at work, when everyone's wrong except you (obviously). Or those times when someone's seeking group approval, but your opinion is the only one that matters (amirite?). Or maybe you just nailed it, and there's nothing more to say (bam)."
The issue arose when users began pressing the button by mistake and sending the GIF attached to professional and serious messages. People became outraged and furious, claiming they lost their jobs among other negative unintended effects of the joke.
WHAT A HARMLESS APRIL FOOL'S JOKE, WHAT COULD GO WRONG pic.twitter.com/Maw8a6VUSA— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) April 1, 2016
According to Business Insider, Allan Pashby is one user who is now jobless because of the Mic dropping minion:
"Thanks to MicDrop I just lost my job. I am a writer and had a deadline to meet. I sent my articles to my boss and never heard back from her. I inadvertently sent the email using the "MicDrop" send button. There were corrections that needed to be made on my articles and I never received her replies. My boss took offense to the MicDrop animation and assumed that I didn't reply to her because I thought her input was petty (hence the MicDrop). I just woke up to a very angry voicemail from her which is how I found out about this 'hilarious' prank."
Others detailed similar accounts, including folks who were applying to potential jobs and accidentally submitted resumes with the GIF attached.
Considering it is April Fools’ Day, it’s highly plausible that some of the complaints were fabricated in order to trick Google into thinking they ruined peoples’ lives — giving the company a taste of its own medicine.
However, with the approximately 900 million Gmail users out there, it is likely the GIF was truly used by accident in some not-so-funny ways.
Google has since disabled the MicDrop button and released a statement apologizing for the blunder and any turmoil it caused.
“Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year?? Due to a bug, the MicDrop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry. The feature has been turned off. If you are still seeing it, please reload your Gmail page.”
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Danny Moloshok