February 25, 2020

When WLOS ABC 13 reporter Justin Hinton went live on the air to warn viewers of snowy conditions, he had on a hat, scarf, warm coat—and googly eyes, a beard, oversized sunglasses, and a wizard hat, too.

The North Carolina reporter seemingly had no idea that he had the Facebook Live Mystery Mask filter turned on during a Facebook Live weather report giving viewers at home a hilarious show purely by accident.

In a video shared by WLOS on its Facebook page, Hinton can be seen solemnly performing his duties reporting about the rare snowfall near Asheville, N.C., while a parade of bizarre accessories pop up on his face and head courtesy of Facebook’s augmented reality filter. There were the oversized googly eyes, a jet pilot helmet straight out of Star Wars, and badger (maybe cat?) mask. At one point he appeared to start lifting imaginary weights and then a fake flashlight appeared under his chin like he was telling spooky stories around the campfire. While viewers were undoubtedly wondering what the local news was up to now, Hinton calmly warned drivers to use caution on the slippery roads.

It wasn’t until the live broadcast was over that Hinton read the comments from viewers who had watched the strange performance unfold on Facebook in real-time did he realize that something strange—and incredibly amusing—had taken place.

Hinton took it all in good humor, later taking to Facebook to explain that he had “somehow activated a filter generator” and when the photographer mentioned something about “the screen having weird faces” he assumed “it would probably go away” and went ahead with his news report. “Needless to say, it did not go away,” Hinton wrote, adding, “If you can’t laugh at yourself, what’s the point of laughter?” One thing is clear though—all local news should be done with googly eyes.

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