Illustration of a golden jester hat.
Cath Virginia / The Verge | Photos by Getty Images

The holiday we didn’t ask for is back.

Welcome to the worst day on the internet! As Chaim Gartenberg pointed out in 2021, brands and a holiday dedicated to hoaxes are rarely a winning combo. If you’re a company with any kind of social media presence in 2024, you really, truly only have four options on April Fools’ Day:

  1. Don’t do an April Fools’ joke. Put the time and energy into doing something productive that will materially benefit the world (or, less idealistically, your business) instead. Or just don’t do anything. Abstaining entirely would still be a net positive over the drain of resources and mental energy.
  2. Do an April Fools’ “joke,” but actually follow through on your stunt. This is arguably not a prank since you’ve actually created a video game skin or a real product that people can buy — but it doesn’t really hurt anyone.
  3. Do an April Fools’ joke, but be extremely clear from the start that this is a dumb joke and you have no intention of doing the thing that you are “humorously” pretending to do. Does this defeat the purpose of doing an April Fools’ joke because you’re not “fooling” anyone anymore? Absolutely. (Please see my first two points.)
  4. Lie to your customers, successfully tricking them into believing you are making some product, rebranding, or service you are not. By doing so, you will almost certainly annoy everyone once your deceit is made plain for the extremely small gain of pointless PR. The aphorism goes that there is no such thing as bad publicity; the seemingly endless line of companies willing to make fools out of themselves has proven this false time and time again.

Luckily, most companies seem to have gone with Option 1 this year. It’s a very quiet April Fools’ Day on the internet so far today, with a prank related to the Pokémon sleep tracker app and a couple of other harmless jibes. It’s also typically a bad day to launch a new product, even after Asus launched the (very real) ROG Ally handheld gaming PC last year.

Also, Gmail, which is perhaps Google’s longest-running April Fools’ Joke, turns 20 today. However, Google’s homepage seems to be prank-free for now.

If you see anything that particularly sticks out for good, bad, or just unusual reasons, send it to us.