Gmail April Fools' prank yanked after Minion mic drop GIFs wreak havoc on people's lives
It's all fun and games until someone loses their job on April Fools' Day.
The only thing Google loves more than creating doodles on random anniversaries is April Fools’ Day. Google went too far with one Gmail prank during the 2016 online laugh-fest, however. Before you could said “April fools!” Google had to pull the joke after people complained of missed business opportunities and lost jobs.
Drop the mic
It all started out innocently enough. Who doesn’t love a good “drop the mic” joke—like this one featuring Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston? So Google thought it would be a good idea to create a send button that automatically inserted an animated GIF featuring a Minion (from the Despicable Me and Minions movies) dropping a microphone.
The idea was a fun way to close a conversation that would also automatically archive the conversation.
The only problem was Google decided to swap out an actual button that did something similar. So instead of a Send + archive button, users saw a Send and drop the mic button.
Now, to be fair, Google put the button in a different spot than the Send and archive button and displayed a pop-up telling users what was about to happen. But apparently that just wasn’t enough. Soon people were unintentionally dropping mics on customers, potential employers, and actual employers often with negative consequences.
“Thanks to Mic Drop I just lost my job. I am a writer and had a deadline to meet...I inadvertently sent the email using the “Mic Drop” send button,” one Gmail user complained on Google’s help forums. “There were corrections that needed to be made on my articles...My boss took offense to the Mic Drop animation and assumed that I didn’t reply to her because I thought her input was petty.”
“This stupid creation made me sound so rude to one important customer when I made a mistake to click this stupid button,” another user complained.
Despite the complaints, Google said it had to pull the prank because of a coding problem. “Due to a bug, the Mic Drop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs,” the company said on the Official Gmail Blog. “We’re truly sorry.”