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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

Has your Twitter account been hacked by ISIS?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) ISIS is using Twitter, as always, to spread propaganda, but are they using *your* account to do it? Maybe.

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twitter accounts hacked by ISIS

Hackers aligned with the Islamic State are hijacking dormant Twitter accounts to spread jihadist propaganda online. Is your account vulnerable to ISIS?

TechCrunch reports that the breach is the result of a well-known loophole in Twitter’s security protocols. For more than a decade, the platform did not require email confirmation for new accounts. As a result, an unknown number of dormant accounts are easy targets for hackers. Last June, in attempt the curb the growth of automated spam accounts on the platform, Twitter instituted mandatory email confirmation for all new accounts, but millions of older accounts remain unverified. Now, it appears that those accounts are being targeted by the Islamic State and its supporters.

To complicate matters, Twitter is only partly to blame.

According to the Washington Post, Twitters boasted more than 330 million monthly active users in the second quarter of 2018, but the platform is home to another 500 million dead or dormant accounts, and many of those dormant accounts were created using email addresses that no longer exist.

Popular email providers like Hotmail and Yahoo regularly delete and recycle dormant accounts after a period of just 12-18 months of inactivity. If your Twitter account was created using an email address that has been recycled, then an enterprising hacker only needs to reactivate your old email address to gain access to your username.
Enter Islamic State.

Also known as IS or ISIS, Islamic State is a terrorist organization that uses revenue from oil smuggling, extortion, and kidnappings to fund religious violence. From 2014 to 2018, Islamic State conducted or inspired more than 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries.

Since its inception, ISIS has used social media platforms including Twitter and YouTube to recruit new members and promote sectarian violence. In 2014, IS announced the death of American journalist and hostage James Foley by releasing a video of Foley’s beheading on YouTube. Two years later, an account associated with IS reportedly used the hashtag #JustinBieber to troll the pop star’s fans with a graphic video that included scenes of four men being executed.

Twitter has suspended or deleted more than 1 million terrorist accounts since 2015, and more than 200,000 of those accounts were removed in the first half of 2018 alone. So should you be worried about the security of your Twitter handles? That all depends on whether or not your accounts are linked to an active email address.

Log on. Check your setting. Delete any accounts that are linked to dead email addresses.

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Social Media

The FBI has a new division to investigate leaks to the media

(MEDIA) The FBI has launched a division dedicated completely to investigating leaks, and the stats of their progress and formation are pretty surprising…

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Expanding its capability to investigate potential governmental leaks to the media, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) created a new unit to address those threats in 2018.

Documents obtained by TYT as a part of their investigation identify the need for the unit as being due to a “rapid” increase in the number of leaks to the media from governmental sources.

“The complicated nature of — and rapid growth in — unauthorized disclosure and media leak threats and investigations has necessitated the establishment of a new Unit,” one of the released and heavily redacted documents reads.

The FBI appeared to create accounting functions to support the new division, with one document dated in May 2018 revealing that a cost code for the new unit was approved by the FBI’s Resource Analysis Unit.

In August 2017, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions had stated that such a unit had already been formed to address such types of investigations, which he had deemed as being too few in number shortly after taking office in February 2017.

By November of the same year, Sessions claimed that the number of investigations by the Justice Department had increased by 800%, as the Trump administration sought to put an end to the barrage of leaks regarding both personnel and policy that appeared to come from within the ranks of the federal government.

The investigation and prosecution of leaks to the media from government reached a zenith under the Obama administration, using a United States law that originated over 100 years ago in 1917, and was long unused for such purposes.

The Espionage Act treats the unauthorized release of information deemed to be secret in the interests of national security and could be used to harm the interests of the United States or aid an enemy as a criminal act. While controversial in application, the administration used it to prosecute more than twice as many alleged leakers than had been addressed by all previous administrations combined, a total of 10 leak-related prosecutions.

In July 2018, Reality Winner, pled guilty to one felony count of leaking classified information in 2016, representing the first successful prosecution of those who leaked governmental secrets to the media under the Trump administration.

Winner, a former member of the Air Force and a contractor for the National Security Agency at the time of her arrest, was accused of sharing a classified report regarding alleged Russian involvement with the election of 2016 with the news media. Her agreed-upon sentence of 63 months in prison was longer than the average of those convicted for similar crimes, with the typical sentence ranging from one to three and a half years.

Defendants charged under the Espionage Act by the FBI are challenged in mounting their case by the fact that they are prohibited of using a defense of disclosure in the public interest as a defense to their actions.

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Social Media

MeWe – the social network for your inner Ron Swanson

MeWe, a new social media site, seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

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Let’s face it: Facebook is kind of creepy. Between facial recognition technology, demanding your real name, and mining your accounts for data, social media is becoming increasingly invasive. Users have looked for alternatives to mainstream social media that genuinely value privacy, but the alternatives to Facebook have been lackluster.

MeWe is poised to change all of that, if it can muster up a network strong enough to compete with Facebook. On paper, the new social media site seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

MeWe prioritizes privacy in every aspect of the site, and in fact, users are protected by a “Privacy Bill of Rights.” MeWe does not track, mine, or share your data, and does not use facial recognition software or cookies. (In fact, you can take a survey on MeWe to estimate how many cookies are currently tracking you – apparently I have 18 cookies spying on me!)

ron swanson

You don’t have to share that “as of [DATE] my content belongs to me” status anymore.

Everything you post on MeWe belongs to you – the site does not try to claim ownership over your content – and you can download your profile in its entirety at any time. MeWe doesn’t even pester you with advertising. Instead of making money by selling your data (hence the hashtag #Not4Sale) or advertising, the site plans to profit by offering additional paid services, like extra data and bonus apps.

So what does MeWe do? Everything Facebook does, and more. You can share photos and videos, send messages or live chat. You can also attach voice messages to any of your posts, photos, or videos, and you can create Snapchat-like disappearing content.

You can also sync your profile to stash content in your personal storage cloud. Everything you post is protected, and you can fine-tune the permission controls so that you can decide exactly who gets to see your content and who doesn’t – “no creepy stalkers or strangers.”

MeWe is available for Android, iOS, desktops, and tablets.

This story was originally published in January 2016, but the social network suddenly appears to be gaining traction.

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