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
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

U.S. cities' lagging climate progress

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Reproduced from a Brookings Institution report; Chart: Axios Visuals

A just-published Brookings Institution analysis of U.S. cities' pledges to cut carbon emissions reveals very mixed results.

Why it matters: The potential — and limits — of city and state initiatives have gotten more attention amid President Trump's scuttling of Obama-era national policies.

New state unemployment filings fall to 787,000

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

First-time applications for unemployment fell last week, according to Department of Labor data released on Thursday.

Between the lines: The overall number of Americans relying on unemployment also fell to a still-staggering 23 million. But there are continued signs of labor market strain, with more people shifting to an unemployment program designed for the long-term jobless.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: Many U.S. deaths were avoidable — The pandemic is getting worse again.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.