- PewDiePie posted a meme review on Oct. 16 where he discussed the pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong and shared memes about China, including several that compared President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh.
- Three days later, PewDiePie posted a YouTube video saying his content was banned in China.
- Many on Twitter said this ban was an “honor,” as China tries to silence the voices that criticize it and its censorship tactics.
PewDiePie Discusses Chinese Censorship in Meme Review
PewDiePie announced his content was banned in China days after the YouTuber posted a video discussing the long-running Hong Kong protests, which featured memes about President Xi Jinping.
Felix Kjellberg, the platform’s biggest solo creator who is better known as PewDiePie, went over memes about the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in his Wednesday Meme Review. He mentioned that the gaming company Blizzard banned a Hearthstone player earlier this month after the user expressed support for the protestors on a live stream. He said Blizzard made this choice because “obviously China is like that one person on Twitter that can’t take any criticism and just blocks everyone.”
He also shared several memes about the protests, Chinese censorship, and President Xi. Specifically, he shared numerous memes comparing President Xi to Winnie the Pooh and joked that they do share a strong resemblance.
PewDiePie Gets Banned in China
On Saturday, just three days after this video went up, Kjellberg posted a new video titled “PewDiePie is BANNED in China.”
“Well boys, we did it. I’m banned from China,” Kjellberg said at the start of the video. “That’s right. After I spoke about the Hong Kong protests and showed their leader being mocked for looking like Winnie the Pooh, I got banned from China.”
The exact terms and extent of the ban are unclear. He said that if you search his name on Reddit or YouTube related platforms, the results are blank. YouTube is already blocked in China, so the creator was likely referring to other sites that share reuploads of his work.
“I’m laughing but yeah I’m sorry if you are in China and trying to watch my videos,” Kjellberg continued. “That kind of sucks. It’s just kind of funny. Like I knew it was gonna happen.”
After making the announcement, he then discussed creator Bart Baker, who used to make music parodies on YouTube but has recently pivoted to making content for Chinese sites and audiences.
Kjellberg announced the news to Twitter as well, claiming that China already took the copyright of PewDiePie back in 2017.
The news generated a lot of attention online. Many applauded the star for getting banned and thanked him for discussing Hong Kong.
It’s an honor to be blocked by China. Congratulations bro, you made it! pic.twitter.com/8SDphmlsRN— W😷B😷Yeats (@WBYeats1865) October 20, 2019
DJ and producer Zedd also chimed in. He was recently banned in China for liking a tweet from South Park’s account. South Park spoke out against Chinese censorship resulting in content pertaining to the show being censored.
Welcome to the club :/— Zedd (@Zedd) October 20, 2019
Others shared screenshots of what happened when they searched for PewDiePie.
Though some also shared screenshots saying they did find results. Still, however, the majority of users were sharing the error codes and blocked messages they were receiving.
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.