- A YouTube channel called Coffee Break released a video accusing prominent science channel Kurzgesagt of being untrustworthy and released one-sided emails of his conversations with its founder, Philipp Dettmer.
- Coffee Break says Dettmer deleted videos off the Kurzgesagt channel that had misinformation in them, but only after he knew Coffee break was working on a project that would criticize one video.
- Dettmer responded to questions in an AMA on Reddit explaining his side of the story and allowed for the full emails to be released.
Popular YouTube channel Kurzgesagt has been accused of being untrustworthy by smaller YouTuber who was preparing to release a video critical of Kurzgesagts “Addiction” video.
Kurzgesagt is a well-known science channel with over 8 million subscribers. The channel is most known for its“In a Nutshell” videos, which take complex topics and break them down into more digestible pieces.
On Tuesday, a YouTuber named Stephen, from the channel Coffee Break, posted a video where he breaks down an experience he had communicating with Philipp Dettmer, Kurzgesagt’s founder.
Stephen starts his video with the question, “Can you trust Kurzgesagt videos?” to which he responded, “No. And, ironically, the reason you can’t trust them is that this video exists at all.”
He goes on to say he is working on a series about the “pop-science” genre, and how the simplification of complicated topics can lead to misinformation.
He specifically sites a TED Talk by Johann Hari called “Everything you know about addiction is wrong,” and Kurzgesagt’s 2015 adaptation of the TED Talk called “Addiction.”
Stephen said he reached out to both Hari and Dettmer to talk about the video and ask questions about possible errors in it. He said Dettmer responded almost immediately and requested to not be quoted. As a result, Stephen only shares his half of the emails in his video and gives paraphrased versions of Dettmer’s emails.
After the Coffee Break video was uploaded, Dettmer posted an “Ask Me Anything” post on Kurzgesagt’s subreddit, so people could ask him questions regarding the video.
In the thread, Dettmer authorized the release of his half of the emails, which were uploaded into an imgur file almost immediately by Stephen.
Stephen shows his first email to Dettmer, saying that he emailed him on Feb. 2 with “some tough questions about the video on Addiction that Kurzgesagt did.”
He continued that because the video was one of Kurzgesagt’s most popular, he was “worried that some of the major claims in that video are vastly simplified, if not outright incorrect.”
Stephen also asked: “Did Kurzgesagt conduct an independent fact-checking of Johann Hari’s book before agreeing to this?”
Stephen then paraphrases Dettmer’s first email in response: “Essentially he’s not thrilled about the interview or video idea, he was worried that the video might be a call out. He basically says ‘hey the addiction video wasn’t perfect, but I feel it was good enough.'”
However, in the actual email, Dettmer directly says he would “not make a video like that today for obvious reasons.” He acknowledged that “it’s not difficult to find criqitue of Hari’s work nowadays,” but said it was not common when the video was made.
Dettmer then says that he has received “countless messages” from people who told him the video helped them, and so he could not bring himself to take it down. He concludes his email by saying while addiction is a complicated topic, he believes the video can exist as a helpful opinion.
It’s also important to note the criticisms of Hari. Hari’s argument is that addiction is largely psychological, and not chemical, a theory that has received pushed back from many experts.
The main thing to note here is a question posed by Stephen in his original email, where he askes if Dettmer was aware of a public scandal Hari had that “threw his credibility in question.”
The scandal Dettmer is referring to was from back in 2011, when Hari was accused of plagiarizing other journalists work, and then anonymously editing Wikipedia pages to discredit people who criticized him.
Stephen then describes the next two email interactions with Dettmer, saying he shared his idea and some criticism. He said that Dettmer responded by saying he was busy traveling, and told him to wait until early March for an interview.
However, there are important parts of these emails that Stephen does not talk about in the video.
In Stephen’s email, he does explain his project, but he also challenges Dettmer’s claim that criticisms of Hari’s work were not available at the time, writing: “There are problems with Hari’s work, not just looking back from 2015, but holes in his research that were easily available at the time.”
Dettmer responded in his email that he did confront Hari about the critique, but that he was not comfortable discussing it with Stephen, because he felt Stephen’s project was a gotcha video.
After showing the emails, Stephen launches into the main accusations he’s making:
“And March 3 was the day I found what Philipp had been really busy doing, too busy to answer my questions. He had been busy making my video, for me, for his channel. He even did me the favor and interviewed himself by answering all my questions.”
Stephen goes on to show clips from the video and how they correspond with the questions in his emails. He then goes on to show clips from the video where it talks about how oversimplification can be distorting and provides a brief clip where Kurzgesagt says they deleted the addiction video.
However, in Kurzgesagt’s full video, they actually go in depth as to how they conduct research and how that system has evolved over the years.
They say that some older videos do not live up to current standards and that they have been trying to figure out what to do with them for a while. The video then says they were not proud of the video about addiction and another about refugees, and so they removed them.
Stephen then accuses Dettmer of preempting his own research and stalling the interview so he could get ahead of the criticism. He adds that it is unfair for larger creators to steal content from smaller creators and goes on to say that there is no way this could be a coincidence.
However, Dettmer refutes this in the AMA.
When asked if he removed the addiction video because of the Coffee Break video, Dettmer says that he had been working on script regarding the addiction video and removing it for two years, but did not want to tell Stephon because he believed his video was going to be a “hostile takedown.”
Finally, Stephen talks about Johann Hari.
He shows a clip from “Can You Trust Kurzgesagt Videos?” which said: “The addiction video was based on only one source that has amassed a lot of criticism over the years, that addiction is purely physiological and based on the life circumstances of the individual.”
Stephen explains that Hari does not believe that addiction is purely psychological and that that idea was only a simplification that came from condensing his book into a 15 minute TED Talk.
He says if you look at Hari’s book and any interview’s he’s done, he does not actually hold such a simplified view and assets that Dettmer never read Hari’s book.
Stephen then plays a clip of a phone conversation he had with Hari, where he essentially says no one believes that addiction is purely environmental or purely chemical, and accuses Dettmer of scapegoating Hari and portraying him as crazy.
Dettmer refuted this as well on the AMA. When asked if he did read Hari’s book, Dettmer wrote: “Of course I did. After reading it, I very enthusiastically emailed him and asked him to collaborate on the video.”
Dettmer also noted that Hari wrote most of the script, “Which is the reason why it has such a big overlap with his Ted Talk.”
The Two Email’s Not Discussed
There were also two emails included in the imgur file that Stephen did not talk about in his video.
In the last of Stephen’s emails that he released, he says that he spoke to Hari, and that his story changed considerably after their conversation.
That conversation might explain why Stephen starts defending Hari’s work later in the video. Stephen also does not discuss the controversies he claimed discredit Hari and prove that his work could be considered “false information.” A fact that is worth noting because the discussion of the factual basis of Hari’s work was a huge talking point in the emails between Stephen and Dettmer.
The final email was actually from Dettmer on Feb. 21. He asked Stephen to send him questions and tells him he can talk to him the next week.
Stephen never responded to Dettmer’s email asking him for questions and trying to schedule the interview.
This fact was pointed out in a Reddit thread and Stephen responded by saying the only day he could have done the interview was March 1. He says that day he was busy polishing a video and before that he was on vacation.
The timeline here is odd because one of Stephen’s biggest complaints is that he was never given an interview before Kurzgesagt’s video was released.
However, it seems like he was given an interview, and he was just busy.
It is also clear that he never even sent the questions to Dettmer, which could indicate the interview was not actually a top priority for him.
Finally, Stephen concludes the video by saying you can only trust Kurzgesagt to do what’s best for himself and his channel and to make him look good, even if it means taking other people’s research, saying: “Simply put, I don’t think you can trust him to do the right thing when no one’s watching.”
Rogue Rocket reached out to Dettmer for comment and he responded with the following statement:
I didn’t stall him with malice in mind, but I also didn’t motivate him to work faster. Of
See what others are saying: (Johann Hari TED Talk) (Kurzgesagt “Addiction”) (Reddit AMA)
Instagram Couple Faces Backlash After Admitting Mother Works 2 Jobs to Fund Their Trips
- A German couple that runs the Instagram account “Another Beautiful Day,” created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for a trip to Africa.
- In a now-deleted Facebook post promoting the campaign, one of the influencers admitted that they do not work and said his mother has funded their trips in the past, despite not having much herself.
- Social media users have slammed them in their comment sections, telling them to get jobs and criticizing them for using their mother to pay for their lifestyle.
A German influencer couple is getting dragged on social media after revealing that one of their mothers works two jobs to pay for their lifestyle.
Catalin Onc and Elena Engelhardt run the account “Another Beautiful Day,” which documents their travels to places like Bali, Indonesia, Nepal, France, and more. The pair, who have more than 47,000 followers, have recently set their sights on a trip to Africa.
They even created a GoFundMe page that seeks to raise 10,000 euros, which is a little over $11,000, for the journey. They say that the money will be used to cover things like bikes, SIM cards, places to say, and more.
As far as why they want to go, they wrote: “We could write a long text about mental health or global warming. We could tell you about following your dreams, or how important stepping out of your comfort zone is. We could tell you how beautiful traveling is, and it’s benefits, or the fact that most news don’t match reality.”
“But we’re going to show you!” they added.
“We want to take you all on this huge adventure. A celebration of life, as we ride freely across mountains, by the sea and through metropolitans. We will show the beauty of this planet and it’s inhabitants, but also the ugliness. But we can not do this on our own.”
View this post on Instagram
We could write a long text about mental health or global warming. We could tell you about following your dreams, or how important stepping out of your comfort zone is. We could tell you how beautiful traveling is, and it’s benefits, or the fact that most news don’t match reality. But we’re going to show you! Less talking more action. Starting on the 20th of July in the middle of Germany, on a tandem, me and Eli will cycle towards Africa, and hopefully beyond. We want to take you all on this huge adventure. A celebration of life, as we ride freely across mountains, by the sea and through metropolitans. We will show the beauty of this planet and it’s inhabitants, but also the ugliness. But we can not do this on our own. We need you! The funds we raise will go towards the bike and gear, food and accommodation (when needed), internet and SIM cards in every country to keep you up to date, insurance, emergencies. We need funds now for preparation as well as throughout our trip. Every dollar, every message, every couch or garden for our tent, any help you can offer will help us go further. We hope you all enjoy and learn with us. TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE another beautiful day with love Cat and Eli Link in bio Or paypal Abd_cat@hotmail.com
Mother Funds Trips
The couple then shared their GoFundMe campaign on Facebook, where Onc admitted that they didn’t work or fund their own trips. Instead, Onc said his mom works two jobs to pay for them.
“Some will tell us to get jobs, like everyone else and stop begging. But when you have the impact we do on others life, getting a job is not an option,” he wrote in a now-deleted post seen by BuzzFeed News.
“We could model and make fast money, but we don’t want to advertise consumerism. A normal job at this point would be detrimental,” he continued. Onc also reportedly notes in the post that his mother funds their trips despite the fact that she “has not much herself.”
Fans were outraged after learning this news and have been speaking out all over the comments of the couple’s Instagram posts.
Couple Responds to Backlash
The reactions prompted the couple to issue a response. In a follow-up post, which features photos of Engelhardt drinking wine in bed and doing yoga by a pool, they wrote: “Having tattoos, a pretty girlfriend and followers on Instagram opens doors for us, it’s true.”
“We could live a lavish lifestyle and only show that, like most people on social media do. We choose not to. We have seen how people are around us when we have money and when we don’t,” the post continued.
“Some people are quick to judge and speak. At this very moment we don’t have much, we are accepting money from my mother and also donations but we don’t hide that.”
View this post on Instagram
This is how I feel when people make money the biggest topic. Having tattoos, a pretty girlfriend and followers on Instagram opens doors for us, it’s true. We could live a lavish lifestyle and only show that, like most people on social media do. We choose not to. We have seen how people are around us when we have money and when we don’t. #grateful that we get to see both sides of the spectrum. I wish you all could experience this. Some people are quick to judge and speak. At this very moment we don’t have much, we are accepting money from my mother and also donations but we don’t hide that. This situation is teaching us a lot. #tryingtodosomethingbigger
Onc later announced he would be taking a break from social media for a short while. “I am going on a walk. I will walk as long as I possibly can. No sleep, No social media, No distractions. Just me and my brain out there,” the caption of his announcement post reads.
“Try walking to a job interview,” one of the top replies says.
A few days later he returned with a post where he simply wrote, “SOMETIMES IT’S BETTER TO SAY NOTHING,” on a sheet of paper.
Cosplay Instagram Star Belle Delphine Trolls Followers With PornHub Account
- Instagrammer Belle Delphine posted a photo saying she would create a Pornhub account if the post reached one million likes.
- The post hit the goal and as promised she created an account.
- However, internet users were surprised to find trolling videos instead of the porn they expected.
- Some found her prank to be funny, while others were upset they did not get the content they felt they were promised.
Delphine’s Instagram Promise
Belle Delphine’s 3.5 million Instagram followers know her for her racy cosplay. But now, her most recent claim to fame is being a troll.
On Sunday, Delphine posted a photo of herself in an even more scantily clad ensemble than usual. She paired it with a high-stakes caption.
“If this photo gets 1 MILLION likes I’ll actually make a pornhub account,” she wrote in her post, which coincided with Father’s Day. “The time has officially come. Tag Ur friends/dad to help out!”
Naturally, thirsty internet users flocked to Instagram to eagerly double-tap the picture. The post reached well over the required likes and currently sits at over 1.8 million.
Pornhub even commented on the post saying, “This is the best news I’ve heard all year.”
The next day, Delphine congratulated her followers for rising to the challenge and assured them that content was on the way. On Thursday, she announced that she had followed through with her promise.
Delphine Creates Troll Pornhub Account
However, once fans arrived at Delphine’s Pornhub page, they quickly realized that they had been pranked. While each video has a provocative title, none of them were the porn videos people expected to see.
One video called “PEWDIEPIE goes all the way INSIDE Belle Delphine” depicts Delphine biting and chewing a picture of the famous YouTuber. She appears to spit most of it back out and it is unclear if she actually eats any of the photo.
Another video called “BELLE DELPHINE GETS SCISSORED” shows the Instagrammer cutting a piece of paper while making sexually suggestive noises.
Internet Users React
Many users were upset with the content Delphine uploaded. Each of the twelve videos is disliked somewhere between 66 to 77 percent.
“I’m disappointed, blue balled and deceived,” one user commented on her Instagram.
“Can we get massive unfollow boys,” another said. “She doesn’t deserve it plus you can just view her content without following.”
On the other hand, others found humor in her prank.
“Seeing people beeing [sic] mad because a girl decides to not doing porn is hilarious,” one user wrote. “Good joke, Delphine. I had a good laugh.”
Another compared her to the seminal modern American artist Andy Warhol.
Both Delphine and Pornhub seemed to find the fun in her prank. The two tweeted at each other in reference to the video where she “eats” PewDiePie.
FTC Investigating YouTube Over Child Privacy Concerns
- The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly in late stages of a probe into YouTube for allegedly violating children’s privacy and improperly collecting their data, following multiple complaints from privacy advocates.
- The Washington Post, who first reported the news, says the investigation could result in fines and has already pushed YouTube to speed up discussions about how it handles child content and users.
- The news follows reports that suggest YouTube is considering moving all children’s content over to the YouTube Kids app, which critics and YouTube insiders have since suggested is unlikely.
YouTube’s ongoing issues with child content has sparked an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, according to a report by the Washington Post.
On Wednesday the Post reported that the FTC was in the advanced stages of an investigation into YouTube for allegedly violating children’s privacy. The news outlet cites four anonymous sources familiar with the investigation and says that the probe could potentially result in a fine.
The investigation was reportedly launched after several complaints from privacy advocates and consumer groups. Those complaints said that the Google-owned company failed to protect kids who use the service and improperly collected their data, which is a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The 1996 law known as COPPA bars companies from tracking and targetting users under 13.
The probe also follows numerous reports from users and publications that say YouTube’s recommendation feature has allowed predators to abuse the system to prey on children.
The Post says the FTC investigation has pushed YouTube to accelerate internal discussions and changes in regards to how the platform handles child content.
The platform has already recently disabled comments on videos featuring minors and banned minors from live-streaming video without an adult present in the video. It has also limited its algorithms from recommending content that features minors in a sexualized or violent situation, even if that content does not violate the company’s policies.
Moving Content to YouTube Kids
Earlier this week, reports from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal suggested that the company is looking at taking stronger measures to address its issues.
On Wednesday the Journal reported that YouTube was considering moving all children’s content over to its standalone YouTube Kids app. However, such a change would be hard to implement because of the overwhelming amount of content uploaded to YouTube and because it would potentially cost the company a huge loss in advertising revenue.
On top of that, Bloomberg’s report cited internal sources at YouTube who said that kids “tend to shift over to YouTube’s main site before they hit 13.” Bloomberg also pointed out that the Kids app only gets a small fraction of the audience the main platform brings in, which is sure to affect the content creators who would be forced to shift over.
Content featuring children is a huge part of YouTube that isn’t just toy unboxings, nursery rhyme videos, and skits. Family vloggers on the platform are becoming more and more massive and as the Verge pointed out, some creators often release collaborations with children. Jake Paul for instance often releases videos featuring five-year-old Tydus Talbott, who is also known online as “Mini Jake Paul.”
The Kids app has also faced a ton of backlash in the past for moderation issues in a controversy often known as “Eslagate.” At the time, YouTube was criticized for allowing content on the Kids app that included sexual situations or language, discussions of suicide, and dangerous behaviors in cartoons and skits created for children.
A person close to YouTube suggested moving all content featuring children to the Kids app is unlikely, but said other changes were being discussed.
“We consider lots of ideas for improving YouTube, and some remain just that — ideas. Others, we develop and launch, like our restrictions to minors live streaming or updated hate speech policy,” Andrea Faville, a YouTube spokeswoman, said in a statement to various outlets.
Policymakers Call for More Action
However, many are still unsatisfied with how the platform is dealing with these issues. Some policymakers have already begun responding to news of the investigation. In a press release issued Wednesday, Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) said the investigation “into YouTube’s treatment of children online overdue.”
“It is no secret that kids flock to YouTube every day, but the company has yet to take the necessary steps to protect its youngest users. I am pleased to see reports that the FTC is working to hold YouTube accountable for its actions.”
One of the biggest requests that YouTube has received from critics and policymakers is to stop recommending videos that contain children altogether. However, YouTube has hit back against that idea.
Earlier this month a spokesperson told the New York Times that a move like that would hurt creators. Instead, the company chose to limit “recommendations on videos that it deems as putting children at risk,” the Times reported.
It’s unclear as of now what types of penalties YouTube could face if the FTC finds issues with its current data collection practices. However, the FTC has placed a bigger focus on child privacy in recent years. This past February, the agency fined the app TikTok, formerly known as Music.ly, a record $5.7 million for violating child privacy laws. In that case, the FTC found that the app had allowed children under 13 to use the site with little enforcement of its age minimum requirement.