Check out these awesome stories you might have missed over Labor Day weekend.
Mr. Beast Giving Away 1 Million Subscribers
For the first bit of awesome, YouTuber Mr. Beast ‘giving’ away 1 million subscribers to a smaller creator. He invited four small YouTubers o keep their hand on a box with his diamond play button inside, with the last one standing being declared the winner.
He then proceeded to torture the creators by adding other challenges to try and get someone to remove their hand. It took nearly 33 hours before a winner was announced. One creator failed on accident after swinging a bat at a car for a challenge, another left after a $10,000 bribe, and the second to last did a challenge to win $10,000… but then accidentally disqualified himself.
During the entire challenge, Mr. Beast censored any mention of the creators’ channels, until the final winner was announced. That winner, who has a channel called Zealous, went from just over 50,000 subscribers on Saturday, before the video was posted, to gaining 970,000 by the end of the day.
As of Tuesday morning, he currently is sitting at 1.76 million subscribers, meaning Mr. Beast’s fans kept his promise and subscribed en masse to Zealous.
Broxh Gets a Visit From Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
In other online awesome, arguably the most wholesome streamer on Twitch, Broxh, got a visit from New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Broxh is known as a shy woodcarver, specializing in whakairo, who blew up after clips of him refusing donations from viewers went viral. On Sunday, his fans were met with a big surprise when Prime Minister Ardern decided to visit him in the middle of a stream while visiting in the Maori city of Rotorua.
The heartwarming moment consisted of Arden just interacting with Twitch Chat while also talking to Broxh about his work. At one point, she joined Twitch Chat’s demand that he do a hair flip – something that he was extremely embarrassed to do.
Minecraft Fans Find Sought-After Map Seed
Mankind has done some amazing feats in its history. From exploring the entirety of the globe, going to the moon, managing to not destroy itself (yet) with nuclear weapons, the list goes on and on.
This weekend another accolade was added to that list by SalC1 and thousands of other Minecraft players: finding the lost seed of pack.png. Pack.png holds a nostalgic spot in players’ hearts as the default thumbnail to world servers, but the image is just 128×128 pixels and is so degraded that it was hard to tell what world it came from.
In Minecraft, each world is generated according to a seed. There are trillions of possible seeds that dictate everything about a world, so SalC1 and other players were hoping to figure out exactly which seed this image came from to be able to visit it. It took months of calculations to render the image with enough detail to even start the project, then many more months to narrow down the list of possible seeds from over 2^48 possible seeds to one.
This weekend that feat was finally achieved, securing SalC1’s place among humanities greatest minds like DaVinci or Einstein. If you play Minecraft and want to check out the spot for yourself, here are the coordinates and the world seed.
Coordinates: x=49, z=0
Jokes aside, this work did take months and involved thousands of players offering their GPUs to help crunch the trillions of possibilities. For Minecraft players, this is actually just the latest in a series of efforts to find where and in what world certain historical landscapes have been. Before pack.png was found, players also managed to find where the long-time main-menu screen for Minecraft was, allowing players to visit that as well.
Xbox Series… S?
The last bit of awesome comes from Microsoft. On Monday, there were a ton of leaks and rumors surrounding the new Xbox.
Initial reports indicated that Microsoft was not only planning on releasing the Xbox Series X by the end of the year but also a cheaper Series S. Microsoft decided the cat was out of the bag and officially announced the device, saying the rumors were true and it’d be cheap for a next-gen console.
👀 Let’s make it official!— Xbox (@Xbox) September 8, 2020
Xbox Series S | Next-gen performance in the ˢᵐᵃˡˡᵉˢᵗ Xbox ever. $299 (ERP).
Looking forward to sharing more! Soon. Promise. pic.twitter.com/8wIEpLPVEq
Next-Gen consoles are expected to be well over $500, but the Series S – which is a smaller version of the Series X that lacks an optical drive, is just going to be $299. After accounting for inflation, that means the Series S will be cheaper than what previous Xbox’s were on their debut.
For gamers, 2020 is shaping up to be a major year for gaming tech, with new video cards from Nvidia, possibly new ones from AMD, along with the new Xbox and PS5 releases.
Bruce Willis Denies Rumors He Sold His Likeness For Deepfake Use
Deepfakes face criticism from Hollywood to social media.
Willis Debunks Rumors
Actor Bruce Willis denied rumors over the weekend that he sold his likeness to the deepfake company DeepCake.
Willis agreed last year for his face to be used in a commercial for a Russian telecoms company. For this commercial, DeepCake digitally edited Willis’ face onto a Russian actor. This sparked rumors that Willis had sold the rights to his likeness for the company to use in future projects.
However, both management for Willis and DeepCake itself denied any partnership or agreement for these rights.
“Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” DeepCake said.
Agreements for the AI generation of actors have been heard of before, however. Recently, actor James Earl Jones agreed for his voice to be technologically generated for the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise.
This comes as deepfakes are facing mounting criticism online, including from prominent YouTube personality and author, Hank Green. He recently tweeted about a channel that uses similar deepfake technology and AI-voice generation to parody popular YouTube creators. He stressed his concern that while the channel in question may not be nefarious, this technology could end up being harmful.
“There are ways to do this that would be much worse, more mean spirited, and more exploitative than this,” Green said. “And I’m very worried about what that will look like, because if this is working (and allowed), people will do it.”
Among other issues, Green mentioned these videos could abuse monetization and sponsorship opportunities while exploiting someone else’s face and brand. Green even implored YouTube to evaluate its terms of service as the popularity of deepfakes rise.
See what others are saying: (BBC) (Mashable) (The Telegraph)
Twitch Faces Backlash After Booking Megan Thee Stallion At TwitchCon Amid Creator Pay Cuts
The cut in revenue share has ignited severe backlash on Twitch, where users argue pay for creators should be increased, not slashed.
Revenue Share Shake Up
Twitch users are criticizing the company for hiring artist Megan Thee Stallion to perform at TwitchCon just one week after announcing cutbacks to top creator pay.
Last week, the video and streaming platform said that starting in June of next year, some creators will receive less revenue from their subscriptions. While the standard split for subscription revenue is 50/50, some major streamers previously received a more favorable 70/30 share in premium agreement terms.
Many creators have long argued that everyone should get that 70/30 share, but Twitch took a step in the opposite direction. In the future, streamers with premium terms will only get the 70/30 slice for their first $100,000 from subscription revenue. After that, they will get bumped down to the regular 50/50 cut.
The company argued the move was necessary as the premium terms previously lacked transparency and consistency, insisting it tried to modify the policy in a way that impacted the least amount of creators. According to Twitch’s statement, 90% of streamers on standard agreements will not even be impacted by the change.
Still, this move outraged Twitch users who were furious the company was not investing more in the creators that bring so many viewers to its platform. Those frustrations were exacerbated on Wednesday when the company announced Megan Thee Stallion would make an appearance at TwitchCon, a weekend-long event set to take place in San Diego in early October.
Backlash Continues to Mount
While no details of Megan Thee Stallion’s agreement to perform have been disclosed, one can assume she charges a pretty penny to book at an event of this nature. Critics argued that if Twitch is willing to spend money on her, it should be willing to spend it on its own streamers.
“So Twitch can’t afford to pay their creators 70/30, can’t fix their media player that crashes after each ad, can’t enforce their policies so people aren’t doing inappropriate things on stream, but they can afford paying celebrities to promote their streaming site?” one person wrote.
“It’s weird that a company that just announced a bunch of budget cuts due to infrastructure costs goes out and grabs an A-list musician instead of promoting their own musicians that run on their platform,” another person claimed.
“Instead of giving your creators a cut they deserve when they do so much work, this is what you do…?” one user asked. “Maybe give your creators a better deal instead of wasting their hard earned money on things we don’t even want.”
Twitch has not responded to the outrage, but Megan Thee Stallion was not the only music act the Amazon-owned service booked for the event. Kim Petras and Meet Me at the Altar will also take the stage at TwitchCon.
The backlash comes as concerns have been mounting against Twitch for a plethora of reasons including creator pay, gambling streams, and more.
In recent months, some of the platform’s biggest names have left Twitch in favor of rival services like YouTube Gaming.
“Dahmer” Series Breaks Netflix Records Amid Backlash For Exploiting Victims’ Stories
Family members of some of the murderer’s victims say the program is “retraumatizing.”
“Dahmer” Lands Successful Week on Netflix
While criticisms mount against “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” the true crime series broke Netflix’s record as the most-watched first week for a series debut.
According to data provided by the streaming giant, the Evan Peters-led show was watched for over 196 million hours between its release on Sept. 21 and Sept. 25.
“Dahmer” is the newest of several pieces of fiction and media based on the famous serial killer. Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, the series quickly generated a lot of attention online, primarily from those concerned the show is exploiting a gruesome true story.
Critics have echoed those fears, giving the show a mixed 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The “Critic’s Consensus” blurb on the site states that while the show is “seemingly self-aware of the peril in glorifying Jeffrey Dahmer” the story still “tilts this horror story into the realm of queasy exploitation.”
Victims’ Families Speak Out
The family of Errol Lindsey, one of Dahmer’s victims, has also spoken out against the series. In a viral tweet, Lindsey’s cousin Eric Perry said his family is “pissed about the show.”
“It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what?” he wrote. “How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”
In much of the promotion for the series, Netflix claimed it would be told from the perspective of the victims. Perry slammed that narrative, noting that his family was never even contacted by the streamer about the project.
“So when they say they’re doing this ‘with respect to the victims’ or ‘honoring the dignity of the families’, no one contacts them,” he wrote. “My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show. It’s cruel.”
Lindsey’s sister, Rita Isbell, echoed that claim in an essay she wrote for Insider, noting that Netflix did not notify her of the show, or ask her any questions about her brother.
She said that watching the show “felt like reliving it all over again.”
“It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then,” she wrote.
“It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed,” she continued.
Obsession With Dahmer
Controversy has also grown from some of the responses to the series, as many viewers have posted fan edits of the show that romanticize Dahmer. Some pair clips of Peters’ Dahmer with his victims to love songs or pop ballads, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who do not understand why someone would make content glorifying the killer.
Others have responded to the show by calling Dahmer “hot” or posting thirst tweets about his mug shot. This has resulted in a backlash of its own.
“Jeffrey Dahmer molested and murdered people, mostly black men and boys,” one person wrote. “So to see people making edits and thirst traps of him is a little off putting.”
“if I see anyone tweeting thirst tweets about Jeffrey Dahmer I’m immediately unfollowing,” another person said. “That’s so fuckin nasty.”
Concerns that this kind of media results in more people admiring Dahmer are also mounting in Milwaukee, where many of his crimes took place. According to TMZ, the city is considering creating something to honor the victims, but officials fear a physical memorial would turn into a “mecca” for Dahmer’s fans.