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YouTuber MrBeast Responds to Criticism of Massive Tree Planting Project

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  • YouTuber MrBeast has launched a campaign to plant 20 million trees in celebration of reaching 20 million YouTube subscribers.
  • The #TeamTrees project was created in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation, and for every $1 donation, the organization will plant one tree.
  • Critics argued there are more immediate ways to address climate change, but MrBeast defended his project and the Arbor Day Foundation explained it was working with partners to plant trees responsibly.

#TeamTrees 

To celebrate reaching 20 million subscribers on YouTube, MrBeast is spearheading a massive campaign to plant 20 million trees.

MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, is well known on YouTube for charitable stunts and crazy challenges involving huge sums of money. Earlier this year, a subscriber came up with the idea for MrBeast to plant 20 million trees, a request that quickly went viral.

In his latest video announcing the project, MrBeast said his fans spammed him with the request so often that he had to take on the challenge. He kicked off the campaign in Oregon by planting hundreds of trees with friends and fans in a large field. YouTuber Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer also joined in by using drones to plant trees. 

But in order to reach his goal, MrBeast has collaborated with the Arbor Day Foundation – one of the largest nonprofit conservation organizations dedicated to planting trees. Together they launched the #TeamTrees website, where supporters can donate to the cause. For every $1 raised, one tree will be planted in an area of high need around the globe. 

#TeamTrees hopes to reach its $20,000,000 goal by January 1, 2020. According to the site’s FAQ section, trees will be planted throughout 2020, with a completion goal of December 2022. 

MrBeast pledged more than $100,000 himself and received support from other huge creators. On October 25 you might have seen dozen and dozens of videos flooding YouTube about the project, dominating the trending page, homepages, and recommendations. 

Videos were shared by creators like Pewdiepie, Jacksepticeye, The Infographics Show, Guava Juice, The Try Guys, and several others. Huge donations were made by influencers like Jeffree Star, Ninja, Simply Nailogical, and Doctor Mike. 

The list of supporters goes on and on, including big names like Safiya Nygard, The Slow Mo Guys, Marquees Brownlee, Jake Paul, and Casey Neitstat. According to The Verge, more than 600 YouTubers have expressed their support. YouTube even confirmed that they would cover all transaction fees for donations made on the platform. 

Criticism of the Project 

Despite massive praise for the campaign, MrBeast has seen some criticism from those who argue he should find more effective ways to fight climate change. 

Some are specifically pointing out that it will take years before these new trees can make a considerable impact. 

MrBeast responded to those comments saying, “Just to be clear we all realize 20 million trees won’t fix climate change. But at the end of the day 20 million more trees is better then 0! We want to take action because doing nothing is how we got here!”

Long term survival is key for trees to have an impact on our planet, so there must also be an effort to protect and nurture these new trees in order for them to help the environment. The Arbor Day Foundation’s director of public relations Danny Cohn said that some of the funds raised will be used to help maintain all of the trees planted. 

“We’re just not planting and walking away,” he said.  He explained to The Verge that the partners who work with the organization are all required to have plans to help their trees thrive.

The organization said that it’s not sure what the survival rate is for its trees since the foundation itself does not do the planting. But they say the US Forest Service, which it partners with, estimates a 3 percent mortality rate per year.

There have also been concerns that too many trees will be planted in the wrong places, which can actually be damaging to some ecosystems  The Arbor Day Foundation addressed those concerns by noting that it partners with agencies like the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the National Association of State Foresters to ensure that they’re planting trees responsibly. 

“That’s the first thing: right tree, right place,” Cohn said. “People are very concerned about invasive species, and we are very concerned about that as well.”

“We know that 20 million trees isn’t going to cure climate change, but the point here is to end this decade on a super strong note,” YouTuber Mark Rober said in a private campaign video to other creators. “It’s a constructive way to send a message to the politicians, ‘it’s freaking time to do something about climate change.’ Plus we just really love trees so this is like a fist pump to mother Earth.”

As of Monday morning, the campaign has earned about $5.7 million to plant trees around the globe, with that number steadily rising. 

See what others are saying: (Insider) (The Verge) (Dextero)

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Twitch Sues Two Users for Creating Hate Raid Bots That Targeted Black and LGBTQ+ Streamers

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Twitch said the two users were so relentless in their racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQ+ hate raids that they forced some creators to stop streaming.


Twitch Sues Two Users

Twitch has filed a lawsuit against two of its users for allegedly creating hate raid bots that targeted Black and LGBTQ+ streamers with racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQ+ content. 

The users named in the lawsuit, filed late Thursday, are CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose. While their legal names are currently unknown, Twitch said it traced one to the Netherlands and the other to Austria. It added that it will amend the suit to include their real names once it learns them. 

Twitch said both users began using bots to flood streamers’ chats with hate-filled messages in August. Despite multiple suspensions and bans, Twitch said the two continually created new accounts to continue their hate raid crusades. 

According to the lawsuit, CruzzControl operated nearly 3,000 bots that were used to spam the discriminatory and harassing content. Meanwhile, CreatineOverdose used “their bot software to demonstrate how it could be used to spam Twitch channels with racial slurs, graphic descriptions of violence against minorities, and claims that the hate raiders are the KKK.”

Twitch didn’t just stop at accusations of hateful actions and rule-breaking. It even claimed the two users were so forceful in their efforts to attack creators that they pressured some to stop streaming altogether, “eliminating an important source of revenue for them.”

Twitch Users Demand Change

Twitch creators have long complained about hate raids, but a number of small creators began organizing a cohesive movement in early August following what appeared to be a growing number of hate raids. 

Many demanded that Twitch address the situation by holding round tables with affected creators and enabling different features that would give them the ability to shut down incoming raids. Critics also called on the platform to provide detailed information about how it plans to protect creators moving forward. While Twitch did promise to implement fixes, a large portion of users weren’t satisfied with its messaging. 

The bulk of users’ efforts culminated on Sep. 1 when various creators participated in #ADayOffTwitch, a one-day walkout designed to reduce traffic on the platform. 

Despite Twitch’s lawsuit, a number of users have still said they won’t be completely satisfied with the platform’s actions until more is accomplished. For now, their primary goal is to have Twitch directly outline what steps it’s taking to prevent hate raids.

In its lawsuit, Twitch does make a cursory mention of several changes it said it’s introduced recently, including “implementing stricter identity controls with accounts, machine learning algorithms to detect bot accounts that are used to engage in harmful chat, and augmenting the banned word list.”

“Twitch mobilized its communications staff to address the community harm flowing from the hate raids and assured its community that it was taking proactive measures to stop them,” it added. “Twitch also worked with impacted streamers to educate them on moderation toolkits for their chats and solicited and responded to streamers’ and users’ comments and concerns.”

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (BuzzFeed News) (Kotaku)

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Streamers Protest Racist and Homophobic Hate Raids With #ADayOffTwitch

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The creators participating in the walkout want Twitch to implement policies that actively combat hate-raiding.


#ADayOffTwitch

Numerous Twitch streamers went dark on the platform Wednesday as part of a movement called #ADayOffTwitch, which participants have described as a way to stand “in solidarity with marginalized creators under attack by botting & hate-raids.” 

The protest was organized last month after a smaller creator by the name of RekItRaven, who is Black and uses they/them pronouns, had their streams flooded with racist messages twice.  

“This channel now belongs to the KKK,” dozens of users commented during the streams. 

Source: @RekItRaven

For RekItRaven, those messages also came at a particularly disparaging time, as they had just finished talking about how several traumatic experiences had shaped their life. 

Following the stream, RekItRaven began using #TwitchDoBetter, saying, “I love Twitch. I love the community that I built there… BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN I HAVE TO ACCEPT BEING TREATED LIKE SHIT ON THE PLATFORM.”

Soon, RekItRaven’s concerns gained traction, prompting a number of other smaller creators to step forward with their experiences about being on the receiving end of hate-raids. Eventually, that morphed into Tuesday’s #ADayOffTwitch protest, which has been spearheaded by RekItRaven and two other small creators known as ShineyPen and Lucia Everblack.

Protesters’ Demands

The protesters are demanding that Twitch make several concessions moving forward. Those demands include the platform:

  • Holding round-tables with affected creators to assist with the creation of tools that combat abuse on the platform.
  • Enabling creators to select the account age for prospective chatters.
  • Allowing creators the ability to deny incoming raids.
  • Removing the ability to attach more than three Twitch accounts to one email address since hate-raiders can currently use a single email to register unlimited accounts. 
  • Providing transparency into the actions being taken to protect creators, including giving a timeframe for that implementation.

For its part, Twitch has already promised to implement fixes, saying on Aug. 20, “Hate spam attacks are the result of highly motivated bad actors, and do not have a simple fix.”

“We’ve been building channel-level ban evasion detection and account improvements to combat this malicious behavior for months,” it added. “However, as we work on solutions, bad actors work in parallel to find ways around them—which is why we can’t always share details.” 

However, for now, creators must still deal with potentially being hate-raided while streaming, which is why their anger toward Twitch has persisted.

Do Small Creators Have a Big Enough Voice?

The protest led by mostly smaller creators is also almost entirely composed of them. Because of this, the vacuum of silence from large creators, who hold a disproportionate amount of influence on the platform, has also led to frustration.

Many have pointed out that large creators will publicly show their support for minority causes during events such as Black History Month and Pride Month, but smaller users said they feel abandoned when those same creators don’t also actively participate in causes that directly combat minority hate. 

“Nobody gives a fuck if you take the day off. Nobody knows who you are That’s the truth,” streamer Asmongold, who has 2.4 million followers on Twitch, on a stream last month. “If people got together and they said, we’re all going to collectively do it, I would do it in a heartbeat. Right, I would do it. I’ve got no problem because I do believe in power in numbers, I absolutely do, which is why I don’t believe in this. Like, you can’t get a bunch of 20 Andy’s together and think that you’re going to do anything. Nobody gives a fuck.”

That said, some influential streamers have added their voices to #ADayOff Twitch. For example, both Rhymestyle and Meg Turney participated in Tuesday’s protest; however, both creators have hundreds of thousands of more followers outside of Twitch rather than on it. 

A number of smaller creators have also argued that it’s not feasible for them to take a day off even though they want to support the cause. For example, taking a day off could jeopardize them keeping their affiliate or partner status, which could, in turn, jeopardize their channels.

Meanwhile, others have argued that outcomes such as those are exactly what hate-raiders want to achieve, so logging off Twitch for a day could be playing into their hands. 

Others still said they wanted to participate but are contractually obligated to stream every day either because of sponsorships or other deals.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Engadget) (NBC News)

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CallMeCarson Announces Return to Streaming Following Grooming Allegations

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In his return announcement, the YouTuber promised to donate 100% of his proceeds to charity in hopes that he can turn a negative situation with a lot of eyes on it into something positive.” 


CallMeCarson Returns

Popular “Minecraft” YouTuber and streamer Carson King, known online as CallMeCarson, announced Wednesday that he will return to streaming following accusations he faced earlier this year of grooming and sexting underage fans.

In a video titled “Moving Forward,” King said he would begin streaming on Twitch again on Sept. 1 as part of what he is calling a “Year of Charity.” For the next 12 months, King plans to donate 100% of his proceeds to different charities, selecting a new one each month. 

“Before you start looking at this as an excuse to sweep things under the rug, that’s not what this is,” he explained in his video. “I’m doing this to turn a negative situation with a lot of eyes on it into something positive that can help a lot of people.” 

King did not address the details of the allegations that have been levied against him. Instead, he said he wanted to focus on what he can do in the future. 

“I’ve learned a lot this past year,” King said. “I’m not seeking forgiveness nor am I looking to make excuses.”

Grooming Allegations Made Against CallMeCarson

In January, members of his YouTube group The Lunch Club told “DramaAlert” that in March of 2020, King had admitted to grooming underage fans. They claimed to not know many details but stated that his confession ultimately led to the group disbanding. One former member, known as “Slimecicle,” even said he reported Carson to authorities.

The victims themselves ended up coming forward online. One, who identified herself as Sam, said Carson sent her sexually suggestive messages in 2019 when he was 19 and she was 17. She also posted Discord messages the two exchanged where King said he could not “control” himself and asked when she turned 18. 

Another girl, who went by CopiiCatt, said King sent her nude photos when she was 17 and he was 20. 

Following this, King took a hiatus online, and now, his return has been met with mixed reactions.

His “Moving Forward” video has been viewed over 1.2 million times, receiving 252,000 likes and just 14,000 dislikes. 

On Twitter, however, more people expressed frustration with his return and were upset by the swell of support for King despite the accusations against him. 

See what others are saying: (Dexerto) (Dot Esports) (HITC)

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