Google has abruptly killed off one of its April Fools’ Day “jokes” after it caused outrage online, with multiple people claiming that it lost them their jobs.
The premise of the joke was simple. In Gmail, next to the standard “Reply” button, Google added a “Mic drop” button. Using it would reply to the email, archive it — and also add a GIF of a Minion dropping a mic.
“Email’s great, but sometimes you just wanna hit the eject button,”Google wrote in a tongue-and-cheek blog post explaining its purpose. “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).”
But the joke backfired — fast.
Its placement directly next to the default Reply button — replacing the “Send and archive” button — meant it was easy to click by accident, especially if a user didn’t understand what it was. Google’s product forums are full of furious users claiming they pressed the button by accident, often on important professional emails.
Here’s how the mic-drop GIF can look in a wildly inappropriate email:
WHAT A HARMLESS APRIL FOOL'S JOKE, WHAT COULD GO WRONG pic.twitter.com/Maw8a6VUSA
— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) April 1, 2016
Meanwhile, Allan Pashby wrote: “Thanks to Mic Drop 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 “Mic Drop” 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 Mic Drop animation and assumed that I didn’t reply to her because I thought her input was petty (hence the Mic Drop). I just woke up to a very angry voicemail from her which is how I found out about this ‘hilarious’ prank.”
And The Telegraph found a third angry user who claimed: “I just sent off an email with my resume to the first person who wanted to interview me in months … I clicked the wrong button and sent it with the mic drop. Well, I guess I’m not getting that job. Words cannot describe how pissed off I am right now. I’m actually shaking. One click, ONE CLICK and I lost the job. Goddamnit. Not funny, google. I’m going to go cry now.”
Of course, considering it is April Fools’ Day, it’s difficult to verify whether all these stories are true. But even if some are made up, it’s pretty clear there’s anger over the joke. And when you consider the sheer scale of Gmail, it’s not hard to believe that the feature has caused serious problems for some people.
If you think Gmail “Mic Drop” stories of lost jobs/opportunities/etc can’t be true, remember: there are 900m Gmail users. It was live 12hrs.
— Charles Arthur (@charlesarthur) April 1, 2016
Google has pulled the plug, removing the feature from Gmail. In a statement, a company representative said: “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.”