- YouTube has reinstated monetization on conservative commentator Steven Crowder’s channel after banning him from running ads on his videos for 14 months.
- Crowder’s channel was demonetized in June 2019 after he made homophobic and racist remarks against then-Vox writer Carlos Maza.
- Thursday morning, Crowder cheered the decision in a video while also attacking those who had called for his channel to be outright banned, saying, “All of [your] victories are gone.”
- Meanwhile, in a lengthy Twitter post, Maza blasted the decision, arguing against YouTube’s claim that Crowder is no longer posting content that violates the platform’s anti-hate policies.
- Currently, YouTube has monetized a controversial video on Crowder’s channel where he promotes a conspiracy theory that COVID-19 death numbers have been inflated.
YouTube Lifts Crowder Ad Ban
YouTube has lifted its ad ban on conservative commentator Steven Crowder channel after enforcing it for 14 months.
The platform removed monetization from his channel on June 5, 2019, several days after openly gay Vox writer Carlos Maza accused Crowder of making a number of homophobic and racist comments about him on Crowder’s show Louder with Crowder.
In a now-deleted montage posted to Twitter by Maza, Crowder can be seen calling Maza “our favorite lispy sprite from Vox,” “a gay Latino from vox,” and “a tranny.” At the time, Crowder’s channel also linked to a shop that sold shirts with the words: “Socialism is for fags.”
When it banned Crowder, YouTube clarified that the ad ban was likely only temporary. In fact, the platform said it could remonetize his channel once he removed links to a store selling a shirt with a homophobic slur and addressed “all of the issues with his channel.”
On Wednesday, YouTube said that Crowder has complied with those requirements, noting that he took down his videos about Maza in December when a new harassment policy was launched. The platform also said he agreed to no longer link to his controversial shirt.
In a statement to media outlets, a YouTube spokesperson said Crowder has “taken steps to address the behavior that led to his suspension and has demonstrated a track record of policy-compliant behavior.”
“Creators who are suspended from [YouTube Partner Program] can reapply for access, and after careful consideration, we will be reinstating him into the program today. If there are further violations on this channel we will take appropriate action.”
That spokesperson also reiterated that while the platform still believes he posts controversial content, none of that has been found to be policy non-compliant.
Crowder: “All of [your] victories are gone.”
Thursday morning, Crowder cheered the decision on Louder with Crowder while also biting back at his critics.
“I know that the left was furious with the Vox adpocalypse, right?” he said. “You wanted us to be banned. That didn’t happen. You wanted to claim that we violated policies. That didn’t happen.“
“You wanted us to apologize, and that did happen for 26 minutes, I believe, if you watch that whole video. And then, your only win was, ‘At least we made sure that Louder with Crowder, that they will cease to make a living on YouTube.’”
“That was the one win on the scoreboard for you guys. It was, you were one and six. Now, you have to wipe off the one, and put your mouth on the table so all your friends just smack you for misbehaving. That’s about what you got. All of the victories are gone. I understand. I understand that we could be demonetized tomorrow, but we don’t care. Our conversation with YouTube has always been, we just want to have a fair shake on the platform.”
At the time ads were banned from his channel, Crowder had about 3.8 million subscribers. As of August 2019, he has 4.63 million subscribers.
Maza: “YouTube’s policies were never actually meant to be enforced.”
In a lengthy Twitter post, Maza blasted YouTube’s decision to remonetize Crowder’s channel. In fact, even when Maza first accused Crowder of harassment in 2019, he said that his anger was more directed at YouTube’s enforcement of its own policies rather than Crowder himself.
“Demonetizing was already insufficient, but this decision proves that YouTube has no real interest in enforcing its anti-hate policies,” Maza said Wednesday.
Particularly, Maza argued against the idea that Crowder’s videos have been policy compliant recently. To that point, he cited several examples, including a video where Crowder pushes a COVID-19 conspiracy theory of an inflated death count, another where he calls the Black Lives Matter movement a domestic terrorist organization, as well as others he titled “why” and “when transgenders attack.”
“These are all in violation of YouTube’s policies,” Maza said. Not a single one has been removed.”
“YouTube’s anti-hate speech policies clearly and plainly prohibit all of this stuff,” he added. “The fact that Crowder is being re-monetized, despite repeated rule-breaking, shows how YouTube’s policies were never actually meant to be enforced.”
In a statement to Business Insider, a YouTube spokesperson refused to comment on those examples directly; instead, she clarified that not all of Crowder’s videos might qualify to be monetized and that some may remain demonetized if they don’t meet YouTube’s ad policies.
As of Thursday morning, at least one of those videos — the one pushing the idea of inflated COVID-19 death counts — is running ads.
Since May 2019, Maza has openly accused YouTube of making glaring exceptions to policies for its largest creators. The reason? According to Maza, it’s all driven by money.
“I said it last June, and I’ll say it again,” Maza said Wednesday. “YouTube has a tremendous profit incentive to keep hate speech on the platform. Hate performs well and drives up the company’s numbers.”
Still, YouTube has demonetized much bigger creators than Crowder, whether temporarily or indefinitely. For example, Logan Paul was demonetized for two weeks following his suicide forest scandal. Currently, Shane Dawson has been indefinitely demonetized following a series of massive scandals that have rocked the beauty community. In both cases, as well as Crowder’s, demonetization only occurred after heavy public outcry.
In his Twitter thread, Maza went on to say that YouTube won’t change its policies as long as it continues to “lure advertisers with high engagement numbers.”
He then encouraged creators to “refuse to participate in company promo material, speak publicly against the platform at every opportunity, and support a creators’ union,” even saying “Large creators need to unionize and threaten the company’s bottom line.”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Business Insider) (Mashable)
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.