- Twitter issued verifications to a number of large-scale gamers and streamers on Wednesday, including Corpse Husband, whose content has recently seen a massive surge in popularity because of his Among Us plays.
- Still, it left out many other figures, such as Dream and CallMeCarson, who have millions of followers each.
- In a notable blunder, Twitter also accidentally verified the wrong Karl Jacobs. The correct Karl Jacobs, a Twitch streamer with nearly 800,000 followers, was later given verification. Until Thursday afternoon, the incorrect Jacobs retained verification.
- The confusion over this wave of verifications follows Twitter’s recent pledge to relaunch applications for verifications after pausing the program in 2017 when it verified a white supremacist.
Twitter Verifies the Wrong Account
On Wednesday, Twitter verified Twitch streamer Karl Jacobs, who has nearly 800,000 followers on the platform and has frequently appeared in videos with mega-creator Mr.Beast. Or rather, Twitter tried to verify him.
It actually ended up verifying a different Karl Jacobs, the owner of a seemingly random account that only had about 200 followers at the time.
“THEY VERIFIED THE WRONG KARL JACOBS,” streamer Karl Jacobs said in a tweet that was soon followed up by a response from Mr.Beast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson.
“LMAO THATS THE FUNNIEST THING IVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE,” Donaldson said.
About 30 minutes later, Jacobs confirmed that Twitter had partially corrected its mistake and verified his account by giving it a blue checkmark. Twitter did not fully rectify their mistake until Thursday afternoon when it finally removed the verification for the account for the random Karl Jacobs.
Jacob’s verification was part of a mass verification of gamers and other streamers on Wednesday. While the platform gave blue checkmarks to a number of top creators (such as fast-growing creator Corpse Husband), it also seemingly skipped over several other major creators with millions of followers each.
Some fans were upset that streamers such as Sykkuno, who has 1.8 million followers on Twitch and almost 750,000 of Twitter, appeared to be ignored in the wave of verifications. They argued that he should already meet Twitter’s standards for being verified, as he’s an account of “public interest.”
Both Corpse Husband and Twitch Streamer Valkyrae also expressed disappointment that Sykkuno wasn’t included.
Other notable creators left out of the fold included CallMeCarson and Dream. On Twitter, both joked about the situation.
CallMeCarson, whose real name is Carson King, currently has over 3 million followers on YouTube. Dream, whose real identity is anonymous, has over 13 million followers. His Minecraft plays on YouTube average tens of millions of views with each upload.
Twitter’s Verification Problem
In 2017, Twitter paused its application-based verification system after it faced backlash for verifying a white supremacist and reported neo-Nazi who had organized the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. During that rally, counterprotester Heather Heyer was killed after a vehicle rammed into her.
“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance,” the Twitter Support account said following backlash. “We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon.”
In a quote tweet, CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that “the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered.”
In 2018, Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour said the company was shifting focus from updating that verification process to election integrity.
During that announcement, he also addressed confusion that had arisen because, despite the pause of Twitter’s public verification system, some accounts were still actively receiving blue checkmarks.
“Despite that goal,” he said, “we still verify accounts ad hoc when we think it serves the public conversation & is in line with our policy. But this has led to frustration b/c our process remains opaque & inconsistent with our [intended] pause. This is far from ideal & we still intend to fix.”
That likely explains Wednesday’s set of verifications, as well as verifications earlier this year for a number of public health officials who have authority to speak on the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Will Public Verification Come Back?
Despite that application process being missing for three years now, public verification is still expected to come back. In fact, last week, Twitter announced that it expects to re-introduce the feature early next year.
In a draft policy, it said eligible accounts include government entities, companies, brands, nonprofits, news media accounts, activists, and organizers. The list also includes businesses and individuals in entertainment and sports, as well as a more general category listed as “other influential individuals.”
Beykpour added that the company’s “goal is to bring clarity to what verification on Twitter means, the criteria we’ll use for assessing verification, and how to apply.”
Indeed, the draft policy lays out some very specific rules for how to get that oh-so-coveted blue checkmark. For example, one avenue for an actor to receive verification includes obtaining at least five production credits on their IMDB profile.
Qualifying media outlets must also adhere to standards set forth by multiple organizations focusing on ethics in journalism.
Twitter said it will refuse to hand out verifications to any accounts that “have had a 12-hour or 7-day lockout for violating the Twitter Rules in the past six months.”
“You may lose your badge if you change your account name (@handle), if your account becomes inactive or incomplete, or if you are no longer in the position you initially were verified for—such as an elected government official who leaves office—and you do not otherwise meet our criteria for verification,” the draft says.
That clause could potentially leave the door open for Twitter to remove President Donald Trump’s verification once he leaves the White House in January. Since May, Twitter has placed warning labels on a bevy of Trump’s tweets. That fact-checking process ramped up in November as Trump made false claims about election fraud in dozens of tweets.
If Trump continues to tweet false information after his presidency, Twitter may be forced to address that question. In either event that Twitter removes his verification or gives him a special exemption, the company will undoubtedly face criticism.
Twitter said it will publish a finalized version of this policy on Dec. 17, but at least one major question remains: If Twitter has worked for three years to make its verification process transparent, will users have confidence in the platform if it continues to accidentally give verifications — a symbol of authority — to random accounts?
TikTok and Twitter Are Now Deleting Videos That Expose Closeted Olympians on Grindr
On top of outing people who may not be ready to have their sexuality revealed to the world, these videos could have endangered LGBTQ+ athletes from countries where homosexuality is illegal.
Closeted Olympians Being Doxxed
Openly LGBTQ+ Olympians are currently more visible than they have ever been before, but unfortunately, so are closeted ones.
That’s because some people have been using the LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr to try and find Olympians. They’ve been doing so by using the app’s “Explore” feature, which allows people to search and see users in specific locations (ie. Olympic Village).
But some aren’t content with just discovering which athletes belong to the LGBTQ+ community. They’re also sharing that information on platforms like TikTok and Twitter.
“I used Grindr’s explore feature to find myself [an] Olympian boyfriend,” one TikTok user said in a post that had been viewed 140,000 times, according to Insider.
That video reportedly went on to show the poster scrolling through Grindr to expose over 30 users’ full faces.
As many have argued, not only does this potentially out already-stressed Olympians who may not yet be comfortable sharing their sexuality, it also could put some users at serious risk if they live in countries where being LGBTQ+ is illegal.
In fact, the video cited by Insider seemingly did just that, as it reportedly shows the face of a user who appears to be from a country “known for its anti-LGBTQ policies.”
Grindr Responds, TikTok and Twitter Take Action
In response, Grindr said the posts violate its rules against “publicly displaying, publishing, or otherwise distributing any content or information” from the app. It then asked the posters to remove the content.
Ultimately, it was TikTok and Twitter themselves that largely took action, with the two deleting at least 14 posts scattered across their platforms.
Twitter says it’s taking steps to remove the posts flagged by Insider showing Grindr’s explore page at the Olympic Village. TikTok has yet to give an on the record response. pic.twitter.com/r11pNL6Lwu— Benjamin Goggin (@BenjaminGoggin) July 28, 2021
A Highly-Visible LGBTQ+ Presence at the Games
According to Outsports, at least 172 of around 11,000 Olympians are openly LGBTQ+. While that number is still well below the statistical average, it’s triple the number of LGBTQ+ athletes that attended Rio’s 2016 Games.
In fact, if they were their own country, openly LGBTQ+ athletes would reportedly rank 11th in medals, according to an Outsports report published Tuesday.
Among those winners is British diver Tom Daley, who secured his first gold medal on Monday and used his platform to send a hopeful message to LGBTQ+ youth by telling them, “You are not alone.”
After winning a silver medal on Wednesday, U.S. swimmer Erica Sullivan talked about her experience as both a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a person of color.
Still, the Olympics has faced criticism for its exclusion of intersex individuals, particularly those like South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, who won gold medals in both 2012 and 2016. Rules implemented in 2019 now prevent Semenya from competing as a woman without the use of medication to suppress her testosterone levels.
Jake Paul Launches Anti-Bullying Charity
The charity, called Boxing Bullies, aims to use the sport to give kids confidence and courage.
Jake Paul Launches Boxing Bullies Foundation
YouTuber Jake Paul — best known as the platform’s boxer, wreckless partier, and general troublemaker — has seemingly launched a non-profit to combat bullying.
The charity is called Boxing Bullies. According to a mission statement posted on Instagram, it aims to “instill self confidence, leadership, and courage within the youth through the sport of boxing while using our platform, voice, and social media to fight back against bullying.”
If the notion of a Paul-founded anti-bullying charity called “Boxing Bullies” was not already begging to be compared to former First Lady Melania Trump’s “Best Best” initiative, maybe the group’s “Boxing Bullies Commandments” will help connect the dots. Those commandments use an acronym for the word “BOX” to spell out the charity’s golden rules.
“Be kind to everyone; Only defend, never initiate; X-out bullying.”
Paul Hopes To “Inspire” Kids To Stand Up For Themselves
Paul first said he was launching Boxing Bullies during a July 13 interview following a press conference for his upcoming fight against Tyron Woodley.
“I know who I am at the end of the day, which is a good person,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to change this sport, bring more eyeballs. I’m trying to support other fighters, increase fighter pay. I’m starting my charity, I’m launching that in 12 days here called Boxing Bullies and we’re helping to fight against cyberbullying.”
It has not been quite 12 days since the interview, so it’s likely that more information about the organization will be coming soon. Currently, the group has been the most active on Instagram, where it boasts a following of just around 1,200 followers. It has posted once to Twitter, where it has 32 followers; and has a TikTok account that has yet to publish any content. It also has a website, though there is not too much on it as of yet.
On its Instagram, one post introducing Paul as the founder claims the rowdy YouTuber started this charity because he has been on the receiving end of bullying.
“Having been a victim of bullying himself, Jake experienced firsthand the impact it has on a person’s life,” the post says. “Jake believes that this is a prevailing issue in society that isn’t talked about enough. Boxing gave Jake the confidence to not care about what others think and he wants to share the sport and the welfare it‘s had on him with as many kids as possible.”
It adds that he hopes his group can“inspire the next generation of kids to be leaders, be athletes, and to fight back against bullying.”
Paul Previously Accused of Being a Bully
While fighting against bullying is a noble cause, it is an ironic project for Paul to start, as he has faced no shortage of bullying accusations. While Paul previously sang about “stopping kids from getting bullied” in the lunchroom, some have alleged he himself was actually a classic high school bully who threw kids’ backpacks into garbage cans.
This behavior allegedly continued into his adulthood, as a New York Times report from earlier this year claimed he ran his Team 10 house with a culture of toxicity and bullying. Among other things, sources said he involved others in violent pranks, pressured people into doing dangerous stunts, and destroyed peoples’ personal property to make content.
See what others are saying: (Dexerto)
Director Defends Recreating Anthony Bourdain’s Voice With AI in New Documentary
The film’s director claims he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent, but on Thursday, Bourdain’s widow publicly denied ever giving that permission.
Bourdain’s Voice Recreated
“You are successful, and I am successful, and I’m wondering: Are you happy?” Anthony Bourdain says in a voiceover featured in “Roadrunnner,” a newly released documentary about the late chef — except Bourdain never actually said those words aloud.
Instead, it’s one of three lines in the film, which features frequent voiceovers from Bourdain, that were created through the use of artificial intelligence technology.
That said, the words are Bourdain’s own. In fact, they come from an email Bourdain reportedly wrote to a friend prior to his 2018 suicide. Nonetheless, many have now questioned whether recreating Bourdain’s voice was ethical, especially since documentaries are meant to reflect reality.
Director Defends Use of AI Voice
The film’s director, Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, has defended his use of the synthetic voice, telling Variety that he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent before inserting the lines into the film.
“There were a few sentences that Tony wrote that he never spoke aloud,” Neville said. “It was a modern storytelling technique that I used in a few places where I thought it was important to make Tony’s words come alive.”
Bourdain’s widow — Ottavia Bourdain, who is the executor of his estate — later denied Neville’s claim on Twitter, saying, “I certainly was NOT the one who said Tony would have been cool with that.”
In another interview with GQ, Neville described the process, saying the film’s creators “fed more than ten hours of Tony’s voice into an AI model.”
“The bigger the quantity, the better the result,” he added. “We worked with four companies before settling on the best.”
“If you watch the film,” Neville told The New Yorker, “you probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the AI, and you’re not going to know. We can have a documentary-ethics panel about it later.”
The Ethics Debate Isn’t Being Tabled
But many want to have that discussion now.
Boston-based film critic Sean Burns, who gave the film a rare negative review, later criticized it again for its unannounced use of AI, saying he wasn’t aware that Bourdain’s voice had been recreated until after he watched the documentary.
Meanwhile, The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner wrote that the “seamlessness of the effect is eerie.”
“If it had been a human voice double I think the reaction would be “huh, ok,” but there’s something truly unsettling about the idea of it coming from a computer,” Rosner later tweeted.
Online, many others have criticized the film’s use of AI, with some labeling it as a “deepfake.”
Others have offered more mixed criticism, saying that while the documentary highlights the need for posthumous AI use to be disclosed, it should not be ruled out altogether.
“In a world where the living could consent to using AI to reproduce their voices posthumously, and where people were made aware that such a technology was being used, up front and in advance, one could envision that this kind of application might serve useful documentary purposes,” David Leslie, ethics lead at the Alan Turing Institute, told the BBC.
Celebrities Recreated After Death
The posthumous use of celebrity likeness in media is not a new debate. In 2012, a hologram of Tupac took the stage 15 years after his death. In 2014, the Billboard Music Awards brought a hologram of Michael Jackson onstage five years after his death. Meanwhile, the Star Wars franchise digitally recreated actor Peter Cushing in 2016’s “Rogue One,” and unused footage of actress Carrie Fisher was later translated into “The Rise of Skywalker,” though a digital version of Fisher was never used.
In recent years, it has become almost standard for filmmakers to say that they will not create digital versions of characters whose actors die unexpectedly. For example, several months after Chadwick Boseman’s death last year, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” executive producer Victoria Alonso confirmed Boseman would not be digitally recreated for his iconic role as King T’Challa.