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Americans 'unlike' social media, Brexit extension and a DNA discovery: The Morning Rundown

A sizable majority say Facebook and Twitter does more to divide the country than unite it.
Americans give social media a clear thumbs-down
Eighty-two percent of those polled say social media sites waste people’s time. But those numbers come as seven-in-10 Americans say they use social media at least once a day, according to the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.NBC News

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The missing boy story we highlighted yesterday sure took a bizarre turn thanks to some DNA results.

Here's more on that and what else we're looking at today.

Americans have soured on social media, poll finds

President Donald Trump may love Twitter, but most Americans don't.

A sizable majority say Facebook and Twitter spread falsehoods rather than news and do more to divide the country than unite it, according to results from the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The negative attitudes about social media are shared by Democrats, Republicans, men, women, urban residents and rural ones.

“If America was giving social media a Yelp review, a majority would give it zero stars,” said Micah Roberts, a pollster who worked on the survey.

'People are mad': Trump's border threats have El Paso on edge

Trump relented on his threats to close the southern border with Mexico on Thursday. The president said he'd give the country one year to stop the flow of illegal drugs and migrants entering the U.S. before imposing tariffs or closing the southern border.

But the threats and the slowdown of border crossings have already had a negative impact on residents, business people and advocates working with immigrants.

"It’s causing stress because you don’t know what’s going to happen," said one El Paso resident.

Image: Drivers and commuters wait in line to cross to El Paso, Texas, on the international border crossing bridge Paso del Norte, in Ciudad Juarez
Cars sit in traffic waiting to cross to El Paso, Texas, on the international border crossing bridge Paso del Norte, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. But a vendor says all the traffic hasn't helped his bottom line. "They wait, but they don't eat," he said. Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters

'I am afraid of being discovered — then I would be killed'

Those were the whispered words of Fadi, a 23-year-old in Baghdad. He does not believe in God, and he is terrified.

After the Islamic State conquered huge swaths of Iraqi territory and enslaved, raped and killed thousands in the name of God, some are turning away from religion.

But many atheists in Iraq have been forced underground as religious hard-liners battle for control of the young democracy, which is struggling to balance the demands of both Sunnis and Shiites, plus smaller ethnic and religious communities.

He claimed he was a boy who vanished in 2011. His DNA said otherwise.

The person who turned up earlier in the week claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen — a boy who went missing at six years old in 2011 — is not him after all.

He is actually a 23-year-old who was recently released from jail after serving an 18-month sentence.

The Week in Pictures

Image: Fans Pay Respect At Scene Where Hip Hop Musician Nipsey Hussle Was Fatally Shot In Los Angeles
A photo of rapper Nipsey Hussle, 33, is seen among candles as people gathered to mourn the slain musician in Los Angeles earlier this week.David McNew / Getty Images

The suspect accused of fatally shooting Hussle plead not guilty in a California courtroom on Thursday.

See more of the most compelling images from the last week.

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  • 'I've told my folks that that's the man': Trump has recommended Herman Cain, a former pizza company executive and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, for the Federal Reserve Board.
  • Y2K19? There's a chance your GPS system could go haywire this weekend. Here's why.

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THINK about it

The NRA says guns — not the Violence Against Women Act — can keep women safe. Susan B. Sorenson, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, argues that's a dangerous misconception.

Science + Tech = MACH

Israel has joined an elite club: It just became the seventh nation to orbit the moon.


"I started small": How walking every day helped this woman lose 50 pounds.

Quote of the day

"We used to hear that Islam is the religion of peace, but ISIS behaved like monsters, barbarians and even worse."

An Iraqi atheist reflecting on ISIS' reign of terror.

In memoriam

Dan Robbins, the artist who created the first paint-by-numbers pictures and helped turn the kits into an American sensation during the 1950s, has died. He was 93.

He said his inspiration came from Leonardo da Vinci.

"I remembered hearing that Leonardo used numbered background patterns for his students and apprentices, and I decided to try something like that," Robbins said in 2004.

Although the kits were panned by some critics, he went on to sell millions of them.

Image: Dan Robbins
A paint-by-numbers portrait of Dan Robbins. Larry Robbins / AP

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

Were you a paint by numbers fan? Might be time to give them another try.

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Thanks, Petra