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Wednesday is April Fools' Day, but this year it's decidedly the wrong moment for online pranks — even though tech companies have reveled in them for several years now.

The big picture: The genre was getting a bit tired even before the pandemic — and many things that might be funny in ordinary times simply aren't funny right now.

What's happening: Perennial pranksters Google and T-Mobile promised to forgo the jokes this year and many, many people have expressed the fervent hope that others will follow suit.

  • Case in point: A Korean pop star deactivated his Instagram account Wednesday after panicking — and then angering — fans with a prank post claiming he’d contracted coronavirus.

The bottom line: It's probably best to treat online posts you encounter with extra skepticism. That said, it's good to do that every day. So maybe read Twitter every day as if it was April Fools' Day.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Telework's tax mess

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As teleworkers flit from city to city, they're creating a huge tax mess.

Why it matters: Our tax laws aren't built for telecommuting, and this new way of working could have dire implications for city and state budgets.