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Why rising star PewDiePie is falling, stands to lose millions of dollars

(SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS) Controversial humor isn’t a concept lost on us as a people, but dynamics are important. PewDiePie pushed the envelope too far.

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Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall

YouTuber PewDiePie is in all kinds of hot water after a recent video of his was labeled anti-Semitic. Since the video went live, he has lost his Disney sponsorship and an original series deal with YouTube Red. Does the punishment match the crime?

For those who don’t know (but somehow care anyway): PewDiePie is the YouTube moniker for Felix Kjellberg, who is currently the most subscribed-to person on YouTube. He creates a wide variety of content, though the majority of his videos are based in gaming and vlogging.

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PewDiePie has occupied the spotlight since 2011. His channel was chosen for a YouTube original series called “Scare PewDiePie” (since cancelled), and his channel was sponsored by Disney until recently.
TLDR: He’s kind of a big deal.

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall

With great fame comes great responsibility, however. Responsibility, as it were, tends to encompass things like not making anti-Semitic jokes (regardless of the context) or using the infamous “n-word” as a white person (seriously, it’s 2017).

Regrettably, PewDiePie is guilty of both of the above offenses. What pushed Disney to drop him and YouTube to cancel his original series was a video in which the YouTuber paid various people on Fiverr to perform random tasks. One such task involved holding up a sign that read “Death to all Jews”.

Whoa, what?

PewDiePie’s sense of humor has been described as “divisive” or “controversial” by nearly everyone to come across it. Controversial humor isn’t a concept lost on us as a people. We often welcome the Bill Burrs and Dave Chappelles who are brave enough to conquer the comedic categories we dare not touch.

Unfortunately for PewDiePie–though fortunately for humanity in general–very few people seemed to think a sign promoting violence towards Jewish people fit into the “humor” designation.

YouTube news commentators Phillip DeFranco and h3h3Productions both made points of defending the unfair angle at which this controversy was forced onto PewDiePie. Instead of the context of the video and Felix’s channel in general being taken into account, the YouTube personality was slammed by headline after screaming headline proclaiming his anti-Semitism and calling for his removal from the platform.

Humor isn’t an Excuse

In an era where fake or exaggerated news is becoming increasingly difficult to weed out, their analyses make sense. No, PewDiePie didn’t say “Death to all Jews” in a video. He did, however, decide to upload a video with that slogan in it to YouTube, and that’s the real problem. Is Felix anti-Semitic? Maybe, maybe not-—but that’s not really the point here.

The point is that anything associated with your brand, whether it’s endorsed by you or not, eventually is perceived as a component of your brand.Click To Tweet

In this case, intolerance, or, at the very least, profound irreverence for one of the most persecuted groups of people in world history became a part of PewDiePie’s brand.

That’s why PewDiePie lost subscribers, sponsors, and video deals: not because he made an insensitive comment, but because he allowed one to appear alongside his face.

#pewdiebye

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove’s Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. compass96

    February 17, 2017 at 3:16 am

    He hasn’t actually lost subscribers though. He’s gaining more in fact.

    • Jack Lloyd

      February 23, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      You’re absolutely right–I was more referring to the people who unsubscribed because of his comments than to his overall subscriber base. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Terry

    February 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    You’re a complete idiot if you think Pewdiepie is “falling”… he will make more money than ever! SMH

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Social Media

Facebook wants your nudes now to protect you from revenge porn later

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook, attempting to get in front of revenge porn, is requesting that users send in all of their nudes.

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In a heroic and totally innovative attempt to combat revenge porn, Facebook has come up with the following solution: “PM US UR NUDEZ.”

No seriously. They want your nudes.

But don’t worry, they’re only going to be viewed by a small group of people for manual confirmation of said nudes, and then stored temporarily… for reasons.

That part gets a little fuzzy. Some sources report that Facebook isn’t actually storing the images, just the links. This is meant to convert the image to a digital footprint, known as a hash, which is supposed to prevent the content from being upload to Facebook again.

Others say Facebook only stores the images for a short period of time and then deletes them.

What we do know, is this is a new program being tested in Australia where Facebook has partnered with a small government agency known as e-Safety and is requesting intimate or nude photos that could potentially be used for revenge porn in an effort to pre-emptively prevent such an incident.

Revenge porn is basically when someone uploads your personal and private photos online without your consent. Rather than address the issue of whether or not it’s such a good idea to take photos on a mobile, hackable device, it’s better to just send a large corporation all your nudes… through their Messenger app. /sarcasm

For your protection.

According to the commissioner of the e-Safety office, Julie Inman Grant, however, they’re using artificial intelligence and photo-matching technologies… and storing the links!

If this isn’t convincing enough, British law firm Mishcon de Reya LLP wrote in a statement to Newsweek, “We would expect that Facebook has absolutely watertight systems to guard the privacy of victims. It is quite counter-intuitive to send such intimate images to an unknown recipient.”

Oh, she wasn’t joking.

I’m not sure how many people still hold onto old intimate photos of themselves, but I am doubtful that it’s enough for this to really be effective as it only prevents intimate photos from being shared on Facebook. At least that’s the plan.

Reactions to this announcement have largely been met with amusement and criticism ranging from commentary on Mark Zuckerberg and Co. being total pervs, and theories of shared Facebook memories: “”Happy Memories: It’s been 1 Year since you uploaded 47 pictures of you in your birthday suit”!

Either way, I can only imagine someone’s inbox is flooded with crotch shots right now, and Zuckerberg has a potential new industry in the works.

Just sayin’.

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Social Media

Twitter might make a profit for the first time… ever

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter seems to be very popular but it may surprise you to know that this is the very first time they might make a profit.

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Twitter reports that after a year of slashing expenses and putting itself in a position to sell data to other companies, it’s expected to be profitable. What’s surprising (considering how #huge Twitter is) is that this the first time that it will be profitable based on “generally accepted accounting principles” – #GAAP!.

In the 11 years since Twitter took to the field, it has never once met this standard, operating at a loss of nearly 2.5 billion dollars since its inception.

Twitter has struggled of a number of reasons, but particularly after going public in 2013 it suffered declining user growth, the rise of the #twittertrolls (coincidentally, Troll’s are discussed in my favorite TIME piece about the internet – located here), and competition from Facebook for the tough realm of advertising.

Since 2013, shares fell steadily, but things have increased thanks to some optimistic changes – the promise to crack down on harassment and abuse, a feed arranged by algorithm instead of time, and Twitter’s most vocal fan of late, President Donald Trump.

For the numbers fans, Reuters provides some input: Twitter’s loss narrowed to about 21 million down from 103 million this year. They have worked to cut a great deal of expenses -16 percent across the board broadly impacting sales, marketing, and R&D.

This kind of focused core improvement (can) help tip the balance sheet on the expenses side – but generating revenues remains a challenge due to slow growth. Twitter hopes to relieve this by working out some deals to sell data – the currency of the 21st century.

Several months ago, TechCrunch made perhaps the most important observation – that despite the fact Twitter has changed the world, changed our marketing, and empowered us to connect with other people, it has remained unprofitable. Many small and large businesses profit from Twitter, but in these 11 years the company hasn’t #sharedinthewealth.

Twitter is touching every realm of business and for American’s, is touching every aspect of their lives given its new form as the preferred medium of the political sphere. Given that, they have much to do to change.

Facebook commands an audience five times the size of Twitter – and their ability to reach success for the future seems #questionable. And how Twitter’s success changes the scape of influence, outreach, and entrepreneurship is something else to be seen.

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Is Facebook a potential Slack killer?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook’s steady ascent from social networking into the business world is giving Slack a run for their money.

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When it comes to the business realm, Facebook has steadily been increasing their reputation. Though Facebook is pinned as the social network, they are now proving to everyone that they can dominate in the professional sector as well.

Last year, Facebook launched an ad-free version of the site meant for the office called Workplace. Initially, 1,000 companies were signed on to try out this “Facebook for the office” in its starter phase.

As of last week, Facebook announced that 30,000 organizations currently use Workplace. These aren’t just small time companies. Some of Workplace’s users include Starbucks, Lyft, Spotify, Heineken, Delta and most recently Walmart.

It seems that overnight it grew from another side project to a valid rival for other professional communication tools like Slack.

Slack is the go-to site for business professionals. With over 6 million users and acquiring more every day, Slack is the place for teams to collaborate in real-time. It has virtually replaced email and external software when it comes to internal communication.

Slack has been successful at acquiring small corporations to use their service.

The problem is that Slack has yet to join forces with larger clients that have now turned to other applications. Just last year, Uber left Slack because they could not handle their large-scale communication needs.

In addition to being able to handle the needs of large companies, Facebook also offers cheaper services than Slack. A premium account with Workplace costs $3 per user each month while Slack charges double at $6.67 per user each month.

With the rapid growth and major reputation of Facebook behind it, many predict that Workplace will replace Slack, and other sites like it, in the not so distant future.

Recently, Facebook also launched the Workplace desktop app and plan to include group video chat. The biggest obstacle Workplace faces is the association with Facebook. It is ironic, since it is also their greatest strength.

The truth remains that many people think of Facebook solely as a social media network. Many companies forbid the use of it at work so the transition from the personal to the professional realm is still an uphill battle.

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