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YouTube Joins Facebook and Twitter in Saying Politicians Are Exempt From Some Content Rules

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  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced the platform would not remove politicians’ posts that would normally violate community standards.
  • The move follows another recent and similar announcement by Facebook, which said it will grant exemptions to politicians because it considers political speech “newsworthy.”
  • Both moves are largely seen as attempts to remain politically neutral ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections as well as to address and adapt to concerns pertaining to hate speech and violence.

YouTube’s Exemptions Announced

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced Wednesday that the video platform will allow some posts by politicians to remain on the site even if those posts would normally violate community standards.

“When you have a political officer that is making information that is really important for their constituents to see, or for other global leaders to see,” Wojcicki said while speaking at The Atlantic Festival, “that is content that we would leave up because we think it’s important for other people to see.” 

Wojcicki continued, arguing that even if YouTube took down a video by a politician, the media would still cover it and give context to it. 

A YouTube spokesperson later told Politico that politicians are still subject to its community guidelines but clarified that it will grant exemptions to political speech if it deems it to be educational, scientific, or artistic. It will also grant exceptions to their speech in documentaries. Those exceptions, however, reportedly apply to other videos, as well.

Facebook’s Previous Announcement

Wojcicki’s announcement follows a similar decision made Tuesday by Facebook.

Also speaking at The Atlantic Festival on Tuesday, Nick Clegg——Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications—clarified his company’s stance on posts made by politicians, saying the platform considers political speech “newsworthy.” 

“It is not our role to intervene when politicians speak,” he said.

“I know some people will say we should go further, that we are wrong to allow politicians to use our platform to say nasty things or make false claims,” he continued. “But imagine the reverse. “Would it be acceptable to society at large to have a private company in effect become a self-appointed referee for everything that politicians say? I don’t believe it would be.”

On top of this, Facebook had already made politicians exempt from its fact-checking program. For example, that includes not flagging clips from debates where a politician makes an inaccurate or incorrect claim.

Clegg did note, however, that the exceptions may not extend to speech that could incite violence. They also do not extend to ads. 

Twitter’s June Announcement

Both moves follow an announcement by Twitter in June that it would demote posts from politicians if those posts violated community standards; however, the platform said it would still allow the posts and would include a warning.

“The Twitter Rules about [specific rule] apply to this Tweet,” the generalized warning reads. “However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available.”

Why Does Any of This Matter?

The announcements by each of these platforms have generally been seen as an attempt to adapt their policies concerning hate speech or speech that incites real-world violence. 

Essentially, the moves have been seen as an answer to critics who have accused the platforms of not taking a hard enough stance on politicians who break their rules.

Another major reason why these platforms are making such announcements may be to keep from being accused of bias ahead of the 2020 elections. 

Facebook, a frequent target of Democrats and Republicans, has been subject to intense scrutiny since the 2016 elections, both over concerns of Russian interference and political bias. 

“We are champions of free speech and defend it in the face of attempts to restrict it,” Clegg said in a blog post. “Censoring or stifling political discourse would be at odds with what we are about.”

By standardizing how these platforms deal with posts by politicians, it would seemingly keep them outside of any political disputes.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Forbes) (Politico)

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Following Ninja Deal, Gamers Flock to Mixer but Viewership Falls, According to New Data

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  • Following Mixer’s exclusive acquisition of Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a new report shows that the number of unique channels on the platform has nearly doubled, but viewership has fallen.
  • In contrast, Blevins’ former platform Twitch has gained viewership but seen a decrease in channels and number of hours streamed.
  • Last week, Blevins’ wife and manager, said he made the decision to move to Mixer because his chatroom on Twitch became “toxic” and because Twitch’s contract with him would have limited his licensing deals. 

Mixer’s Growth Since Ninja Deal

A new report shows some of the contributions Ninja’s exclusive streaming deal with Mixer may have generated, including a major increase in the number of streamers and content on the platform, though overall views have decreased.

Ninja — whose real name is Tyler Blevins — joined the platform in August after leaving Twitch, a move that sent shockwaves through the gaming community, with many wondering how the switch would affect not only Blevins’ career but also Twitch and Mixer.

The report, published by Streamlabs and Newzoo, found that the number of unique channels on Mixer had doubled from 1.96 million in the second quarter to 3.92 million when Blevins joined in the third quarter.

Source: Streamlabs

Streamlabs attributed the massive gain to Blevins’s relocation to the platform, which it said likely encouraged other gamers to make a similar switch.

Because of the influx of new streamers, the number of hours users streamed on Mixer tripled from 11 million hours to just under 33 million.

Source: Streamlabs

Even though the number of streamers skyrocketed, Streamlabs actually reported that Mixer lost viewership in its third quarter, dropping from 100 million hours watched to 90 million hours watched. 

Source: Streamlabs

Since 2018, Mixer has consistently risen in viewership, with this quarter tracking the only dropoff within the past two years. Nonetheless, the yearly growth for Mixer has more than doubled. Experts have also noted the third quarter is usually the weakest part of the year for streaming platforms.

Metrics for Twitch and YouTube Gaming

Conversely, the Streamlabs report found that Twitch suffered the opposite problem: gaining viewership but losing streamers and content. 

Many have attributed Twitch’s loss of streamers in Q3 partially to those users moving to Mixer following its deal with Blevins; however, Twitch has been losing users for two quarters now. Since Q1, Twitch has actually lost about 2 million streamers and now sits below Mixer at 3.77 million users.

Twitch currently still dominates the streaming community, however, logging 2,551 million hours viewed for Q3.

Regarding users and hours streamed, YouTube Gaming has also seen a dropoff since Mixer’s acquisition of Blevins, but the number of hours viewed on the platform remained relatively unaffected between quarters. 

Source: Streamlabs

The Mixer-Ninja Deal

While the report indicates Blevins may not have had a substantial impact on bringing viewers to Mixer, it is unlikely his deal with the platform will change because of that. 

In an interview with Business Insider last week, Ninja’s wife and manager — Jessica Blevins — discussed why he decided to move to Mixer. She said part of his decision stemmed from toxicity in Blevins’ chatroom while streaming.

“I could tell, as his wife, the last few months on Twitch, he just didn’t seem like the Ninja that I knew,” she told the news agency, “He didn’t seem as enthusiastic, as loud, as hyped-up about wins and motivated to stream. It really seemed like he was kind of losing himself and his love for streaming.”

She also said they had tried to make a deal with Twitch but said they felt like they weren’t being listened to. She specifically pointed to the fact that Twitch’s contract would have limited Ninja’s licensing deals.

She then went on to say that Microsoft aligned with their ideals, calling it a warm and friendly environment. 

See what others are saying: (Dexerto) (Digital Trends) (The Esports Observer)

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Trisha Paytas Accused of Exploiting Transgender Community

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  • Trisha Paytas posted a vlog titled “I AM TRANSGENDER (FEMALE TO MALE)” and specifically claimed to identify as a gay man. In the video, Paytas said: “So do I think I’m transgender? Yes. 1,000 percent. Do I identify with my natural-born gender? 1,000 percent.” 
  • Among the reasons listed for coming to this realization, Paytas included not wearing makeup every day, not having a ton of female friends, being attracted to gay men, and having “penis envy.”
  • Paytas received backlash from people who said the video dangerously equated gender stereotypes to gender identity and accused the YouTuber of trolling people for clicks.
  • Paytas apologized for the wording in the video, and added that the intent behind it was sincere. The YouTuber claimed that this has been an ongoing journey since childhood and that a therapist is currently helping with it. 

Paytas Posts Video

Trisha Paytas’ latest vlog titled “I AM TRANSGENDER (FEMALE TO MALE)” has landed the YouTuber into a pool of criticism, with many saying the video exploits the transgender community for attention.

Paytas opened Monday’s video by talking about being called names in school for having masculine features. The YouTube star also claimed to never love being a woman and described feeling most empowered when wearing masculine clothes and short hair. Paytas then claimed to identify as a man, specifically, a gay man. 

“Here’s the thing, I identify with men better,” Paytas said. “People always think there’s something wrong with me because I don’t have that many girlfriends. Like, I love girls, I do love girls and I love their sensitivity and stuff like that but that’s why identify more as a gay man because I like guys  but I also identify as a guy if that makes sense.” 

Paytas added that the one hang up in coming to this conclusion was loving glam and getting dolled up. Paytas then compared this identity to that of a drag queen. 

“So, in my head, I feel like I am a transgender female to male, but also a drag queen. That’s how I’ve rationalized it in my head,” Paytas added

Paytas then listed several reasons for making the announcement. This list included not loving being the center of attention unless specifically seeking it, not wanting to wear make-up on a day-to-day basis, being attracted to gay men, and having a distaste for straight men’s masculinity.

Paytas also talked about feeling “penis envy.”

“And then the final thing that kind of brings it full, I feel transgender almost is I’ve always had penis envy,” Paytas explained. “Like, this sounds so crazy to say out loud. I just always thought my life would be easier if I had that part. That if I asserted myself I wouldn’t be a bitch, but like, a man.” 

As far as pronouns, Paytas never specifically declared what to use going forward. However, Paytas did say that they/them pronouns are “confusing.” 

“That sounds like plural people,” Paytas commented. “And while people think I am schizophrenic or have multiple personalities, I choose not to identify as multiple personalities.”

The YouTuber continued to talk about gender fluidity and the idea that someone can feel male one day and a female the next, noting that this should be more widely accepted. Paytas also added that the intent behind this video is sincere and not to offend the trans community.

“I know that’s such a misconception, that transgender people are confused,” Paytas said. “And it’s not that I’m confused it’s that I identify as both. I just don’t necessarily like the term they or them.”

“So do I think I’m transgender? Yes. 1000% Do I identify with my natural-born gender? 1000%,” Paytas added.  

Video Gets Backlash

This video generated widespread backlash because people thought it could do a lot of harm to the trans community. Some were worried that Paytas was trolling to get more views, while others were just upset with the way the video presented the idea of being trans. 

Pride.com wrote a piece on the video, noting some of the specific ways Paytas’ rational could be dangerous. 

“While we’re always happy to support someone’s coming out journey, there’s a lot of problematic things to unpack with Trisha’s latest vlog,” the post read.

“The likes of which include: The fact that they don’t wear makeup or do their hair every day, which must mean they’re trans; That they’re “not catty” like “most women; Their attraction to gay men must mean they themselves are a gay man.”

“As many of us know, there’s more to being transgender than hair and makeup,” the article continues. 

Many others were also afraid that Paytas was equating gender-based stereotypes to gender identity, and conflating this idea with a sexual attraction to gay men. 

“Every single reason she gave for being trans was 100% invalid, offensive, & stereotype driven,” one user wrote. 

“Just because you were a tomboy, don’t wear makeup, and have a fetish for gay men doesn’t mean your trans,” said another. 

Drag queen Vicky Vox accused Paytas of using gender identity for clickbait. 

Others did attempt to be more sympathetic with their criticism. YouTuber Jake Edwards acknowledged that some of Paytas’ language could be harmful, but said people should still not turn to sending hate. 

This should be met with allowing Trisha the space to learn,” Edwards wrote. 

YouTuber Gigi Gorgeous said she talked on the phone with Paytas after being incredibly confused by the video. While Gigi did think some of the comments were problematic, she still said she wanted to respect Paytas’ identity, transition, and journey.

“I firmly believe that someone tells you who they are, what their label is, how they want to be identified, you have to believe that person,” she said in a response video.

Trisha Responds to Backlash

Paytas did respond to some of the backlash that the video received. 

“You don’t know me, my journey , my struggle, my transition,” Paytas wrote in response to Vox. “I’ve been with a gender identity therapy specialist for the past 6 months cause I hated who I was since I was 3.”

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Paytas also clarified that this was not meant to be a joke.

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Paytas also took to Instagram to further address the widespread responses. 

Screenshot via Instagram @trishapaytas

“I’m sorry that offended you but that is my truth and my reality that I have been facing,” Paytas wrote in an Instagram story. “It’s honest and it’s the difficulty I’m facing while transitioning. People don’t have the right to be offended by my truth. Men reject me because I’m too feminine. It’s not fair but it’s my reality and it’s my struggle that I’m going through.”

It has put me in a severe depression. I’m sorry,” Paytas added. “You don’t know my struggle. What I face may not be the same for other [female to male] but its what I have to hear and deal with on the regular for years.”

Paytas Posts Apology Video

On Tuesday morning Paytas posted another video called “apology.” In it, the YouTuber mentioned Gigi and her video, and said that their phone call was very impactful. Paytas also added that the backlash the video received was not expected, as the intent behind it was genuine. Paytas claimed that this has been an ongoing struggle since childhood that a therapist has been helping with. 

“I hated my breasts. I hated my vagina,” Paytas explained. “I hated going into the female bathroom. I hated being classified as a female. I hated being told to play with barbies and stuff like that.” 

Paytas then apologized for any offense the video may have caused. 

“I’m sorry if I offended people with my language and the way I said things,” Paytas said. “I’m so new to all of this. I’m so new to it.” 

“I would never mock a community that I’ve loved and has loved me and has been so open and accepting to me,” Paytas added. “I would never mock them, I would never do that disservice to myself.”

See what others are saying: (Pride.com) (Cosmopolitan) (Insider)

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Dobre Brothers Apologize After Underwhelming Meet and Greet Clip Goes Viral

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  • YouTube creators and social media users are slamming the Dobre Brothers for their lack of enthusiasm during a fan meet and greet. 
  • Critics noted that fans paid and waited months to meet the social media stars, only to be disappointed by their interaction with them.
  • Lucas Dobre apologized in a tweet saying that the brothers had endured “a long 48 hours of restless filming and touring” without sleep.

Meet and Greet Video Goes Viral

Four social media personalities known as the Dobre Brothers faced heavy criticism online this week after a viral video showed a fan meet and greet that some called “awkward” and “uncomfortable.”

The video, which seemed to have originally been posted to TIkTok, was reshared on Twitter where it has been viewed millions of times. In it, a fan approaches Lucas, Marcus, Darius, and Cyrus Dobre, for her turn to meet and take a photo with them. However, when she walks over to the group, the fan is met with some pretty unenthusiastic attitudes. 

The brothers have a massive following online. On YouTube alone, the Dobre Brothers have 7.7 million subscribers, while Lucas and Marcus – The Dobre Twins– have over 17 million subscribers on their separate channel. 

The creators, known for their stunts, sibling pranks, and music, are currently on a 21-stop live tour. Internet users pointed out that meeting the brothers for photos is a perk featured in special packages that fans must pay extra for.

According to the group’s website, General Admission is $29.99. Admission plus a meet and greet goes for $75.99. The next tier, “All Access VIP + Admission,” is sold for $199.99. Finally, their highest and most expensive tier, “Dobre Army Ultimate Fan Experience,” costs $599.99. 

It is unclear at this time what package the fan in the video paid for, but it had to have been higher than the general admission price. 

Outrage

After seeing the video, many took to Twitter to slam the group for their attitudes. “The dobre brothers do no desrve to have fans [if] this is how they are going to treat them,” one user wrote. 

Defense

Despite the backlash, many have come to the groups’ defense and said that the brothers could have been having a long day.

“Yo we don’t know what’s really going on in this though. They could have been there for hours and hours and maybe they got some bad news just before,” one user wrote.

Another said, “they work extremely hard to make their fans happy and if u guys were in the same position as they are u will be twice as exhausted…”

Apology

On Monday, Lucas Dobre apologized on the group’s behalf, writing, “After a long 48 hours of restless filming and touring then meeting thousands of fans with no sleep we were exhausted by the end of our show.”

The post was then retweeted by other members of the group. While some fans accepted the apology, others said the brothers should have canceled meet and greets if they were that tired. 

The brothers even saw comments and criticism from fellow internet stars. Beauty YouTuber James Charles, who has in the past been slammed for selling $500 tour tickets, tweeted, “what the actual fuck is this,” later adding, “Being tired is NOT an excuse to not smile and give a hug to people who pay to meet you.” 

YouTuber JC Caylen also tweeted “yo this is actually hella sad,” before noting that the fan probably waited months for this moment.

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