Top YouTube influencers canceled

Taylor Lorentz is chronicling internet drama brilliantly for the New York Times, and her latest report is on the quasi-downfall of two high-flying YouTubers, Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star. They exemplify the stereotype of YouTube influencers--vacuous narcissists, tireless producers, canny businessmen--facing ruin after years of attention-seeking at the borders of racism, sexism and general abuse. The internet is a permanent record and the ground is liquefying underfoot.

Dawson has racked up billions of views on YouTube, often by engaging in offensive humor. He has posted several videos in blackface, mocked those with disabilities, joked about bestiality, sexualized minors, and once spoke about “figuratively murdering someone.” On June 26, Mr. Dawson posted a teary apology to his channel, in which he tried to make amends for his past, declaring that he deserved to “lose everything.”

No sooner had his apology video posted than a clip of him pretending to sexually gratify himself to a photo of Willow Smith, then 11 years old, resurfaced and began to get shared widely.

That's just one of the most ostentatiously repulsive acts. The catalog of backstabbing, blackmail, and insider grossness is quite extensive and Lorentz packs in the links for anyone wanting to take a deep dive. What I like most about her work at the Times is how it illustrates a growing dissatisfaction at what social media companies actually did to the internet. They reinstituted the old hierarchies, then stocked them with all these perma-adolescent psychos.

YouTube's tolerance for abuse caused two knock-on problems: YouTube (especially its comment platform) was ignored by media except as a video hosting site, the culture growing there was ignored as a result, and the people emerging from that culture were (temporarily, it turns out) able to quietly ignore their own earlier work after gaining broader exposure. Read the rest

Iranian Instagram celeb (in)famous for extreme cosmetic surgery was arrested for blasphemy

Iranian cosmetic surgery enthusiast Sahar Tabar, 22, has reportedly been arrested for blasphemy. Tabar is known for her creepy selfies in which she augments her surgically-edited face with makeup and digital effects. From BBC News:

Judicial authorities arrested Tabar after members of the public reportedly made complaints about her, Tasnim reported.

She is accused of blasphemy, instigating violence, illegally acquiring property, insulting the country's dress code and encouraging young people to commit corruption.

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Social media "influencer" sent gunman to steal domain name

Rossi Lorathio Adams II, a social media "influencer", built a brand around "State Snaps." Telling people to "Do it for State" became a catchphrase in the comments. The owner of doitforstate.com was not interested in selling the domain, however, so Adams sent his cousin to force the owner to transfer the domain at gunpoint. The owner disarmed the intruder, shot him several times with the weapon, then called the police. Now Adams and his cousin are going to jail.

"Between 2015 and 2017, Adams repeatedly tried to obtain 'doitforstate.com,' but the owner of the domain would not sell it. Adams also threatened one of the domain owner's friends with gun emojis after the friend used the domain to promote concerts," court records show. Then he had an idea: Why not take it by force?

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Generation Z in their own words

The New York Times asked youngsters what they liked and what they wanted. The results — perhaps as is to be expected — are unexpectedly insightful, uncannily familiar, and disturbingly unready for the consequences. [via Choire]

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The Weinstein Effect is already taking a readership toll on the lefty blogosphere

The crackdown on "influencers" engaging in undisclosed paid endorsement roiled Instagram last year, but now the crackdown on sexual misconduct on influencers is affecting readership at Mic, Upworthy, GOOD, and Slate, who quietly paid influencers like George Takei to promote their articles on their personal accounts. Read the rest