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YouTube Star PewDiePie “Sickened” By New Zealand Shooter Reference During Massacre

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YouTube content star PewDiePie has issued a response to having his name attached to the New Zealand mosque massacre, saying he was “sickened” by any connection to the incident.
The shooter reportedly said, “Subscribe to PewDiePie” during th…

Inside Facebook, YouTube and Twitter’s Struggle to Purge Video of the New Zealand Mosque Attacks

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The daunting, near-impossible challenge of purging violent attacks from major tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube was made clear on Friday in the minutes and hours after the horrifying mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques that killed 49 people and left dozens of others wounded.

The attack, and others like it, isn’t something that can be proactively blocked from social media. Instead, the shooting, which the shooting suspect livestreamed using Facebook Live and then recirculated on other platforms, is something that forces human moderators and artificial intelligence tools to act quickly to block. But the reaction isn’t instantaneous or flawless.

The responses of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube underscore the whack-a-mole nature of policing massive social media platforms — with massive audiences. Facebook has more than 2 billion users. YouTube pulls in more than 1 billion views each day and has hundreds of hours of content uploaded each minute. Twitter has 321 million users.

Entirely eradicating the video is immensely difficult, if not impossible. While the platforms are busy deleting posts, some users are working to share the attack. It’s the digital equivalent of capping a busted fire hydrant.

Also Read: Facebook’s Top-Secret Content Moderators Smoke Marijuana to ‘Numb Their Emotions,’ Report Says

The attacker, a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Tarrant, may have known this would be the case. By livestreaming the bloodshed as he entered a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and opened fire, he was able to maximize the anguish while allowing a faction of the internet to pick up where he left off, re-sharing the attack and thereby searing it into the memory of anyone that watches it.

And as one person familiar with Facebook’s review process told TheWrap, taking the draconian measure of banning new uploads that mention keywords like “mosque” or “shooting” isn’t feasible. Not only would it fail to block all uploads of the attack video, it would stifle innocuous reports and commentary on the tragedy.

The livestream, which captured the anguished cries pierce the brief moments between gun shots, remained up for nearly 20 minutes before Facebook was alerted by New Zealand police officers that the attack was being broadcast.

Also Read: Death Toll in New Zealand Mosque Shootings Rises to 49

Facebook spokesperson Mia Garlick said the company then “immediately removed” the livestream and deleted both the suspected shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Facebook is also “removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters,” Garlick said, adding that the social media giant is continuing to work with police on its investigation of the case.

TheWrap has been unable to find video of the livestreamed attack on Facebook on Friday. That’s largely due to the measures Facebook took after removing the livestream — which include producing a scan of the video that allowed the company to detect new uploads that include the same scenes as the livestream.

According to one Facebook rep, the company’s AI technology is also able to spot blood and gore from the livestream — enabling Facebook to immediately remove uploads showing the most gruesome aspects of the livestream while allowing news reports on the massacre (which are unlikely to include graphic footage). The company is actively looking for links to the livestream on other sites, then alerting those sites to take the video down, the rep added.

But the recorded shooting continues to linger on other platforms, despite a unified push to remove it.

A person familiar with Twitter’s review process said the company is using a combination of AI and an international team of moderators to scan the platform and remove the offending video. This process hasn’t been foolproof, however; several tweets sharing video of the attack have remained easily findable on Twitter on Friday, with many of the tweets remaining up for hours at a time. An individual familiar with Twitter’s moderation team said the company strongly encourages users to flag tweets sharing the video so that its moderators can more quickly remove the clips. (Sharing the video violates Twitter’s rule against “glorification of violence.”)

Twitter declined to share how many tweets of the video it has removed.

Also Read: PewDiePie Is ‘Sickened’ After New Zealand Mosque Shooter Names Him in Attack Video

YouTube, the biggest video hub on the planet, has run into similar issues keeping the video off its site. A person familiar with YouTube’s response said it has removed thousands of uploads of the shooting on Friday. News reports showing segments of the attack will not be removed from YouTube, as the company allows exceptions to its ban on graphic content if it contains news value. But the company, like Facebook and Twitter, is leaning on machine-learning tools and its human moderation team to remove uploads of the raw video.

Our hearts are broken over today’s terrible tragedy in New Zealand. Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage.

— YouTube (@YouTube) March 15, 2019

Even after thousands of uploads have been removed, a constant stream of new uploads are added each hour by users looking to skirt YouTube’s enforcement mechanisms. Most are quickly caught and taken down, as a YouTube search of the last hour of uploads showed, but some slip through the cracks and allow viewers to watch the attack.

Right now, these tech giants are left with an imperfect solution — a reliance on flawed technology and moderators with a finite amount of time and energy —  to the problem of completely blocking video of violent attacks from spreading.

Jon Levine contributed to this report. 

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New Zealand Shooting Videos Ricochet Around Online World As Facebook, YouTube And Twitter Scramble To Remove Them

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PewDiePie Is ‘Sickened’ After New Zealand Mosque Shooter Names Him in Attack Video

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

YouTube star PewDiePie expressed his remorse on Friday morning over the lives lost in the New Zealand mosque massacre after he was mentioned by the shooter in video of the attack.

As the man identifying himself as Brenton Tarrant walked onto a Christchurch street following a shooting rampage inside one of the two mosques he targeted, he can be heard saying, “Remember lads, subscribe to PewDiePie,” according to Newsweek. He then opened fire on passersby.

The death toll currently stands at 49 with another 48 people injured, making it in the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history.

Also Read: PewDiePie Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Jokes: ‘I Admit the Joke Itself Went Too Far’ (Video)

PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, soon tweeted: “Just heard news of the devastating reports from New Zealand Christchurch. I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person. My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

The Swedish national, who currently lives in England, boasts more than 89 million YouTube subscribers, thanks in part to a viral “Subscribe to PewDiePie” meme.

However, Kjellberg has suffered backlash in the past after being accused of making anti-Semitic jokes and racial slurs.

Also Read: YouTuber PewDiePie Comes Under Fire Again for Using Racial Slur in Stream

Australian-born Tarrant, 28, filmed the attack on social media and was taken into custody, according to the U.K.’s Telegraph. Three other people, two men and a woman, were also taken into custody. Police say explosives were also found attached to vehicles they stopped.

The suspect, dressed in a military-style, camouflage outfit, and carrying an automatic rifle, started randomly shooting people in the Al Noor mosque shortly after 1:40 p.m. local time on Friday.

Also Read: Candace Owens Ripped for ‘LOL’ Reaction After New Zealand Massacre Suspect Named Her Biggest Influence

The New York Times reported that shortly before the attacks began, a man claiming responsibility posted links on Twitter and 8chan to an anti-immigrant manifesto.

The 8chan posting also linked to a Facebook page where, according to the Times, a 17-minute video, taken with what appears to be a helmet camera, showed a man attacking two mosques and shooting an unspecified number of people.

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YouTube Founders, Once TV Pariahs, To Get Emmys For Lifetime Achievement

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The trailer for Cobra Kai season 2 is all about the fight

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‘Cobra Kai’ Season 2 Trailer: Daniel Opens His Own Dojo – and Johnny Is Less Than Thrilled (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Yes, sensei! The official teaser trailer for Season 2 of YouTube’s “Cobra Kai” has arrived and don’t you worry, because the rivalry between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) is still very much alive when the “Karate Kid” sequel series returns this April.

Here’s the official description for the next batch of episodes:

Season 2 brings fans back into the action with Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) after the shocking Season 1 cliffhanger featuring the return of John Kreese (Martin Kove). When a new rivalry between opposing dojos is born in the aftermath of Cobra Kai’s controversial win at the All Valley Championships, Daniel realizes his next countermove is to open his own karate training school called Miyagi-Do, in honor of his mentor Mr. Miyagi. What was once a personal feud between Daniel and Johnny escalates beyond their differences to engulf their students, who as teenagers, are already challenged to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Which path will they follow – Cobra Kai or Miyagi-Do?

“Cobra Kai” is written and executive produced by Josh Heald (“Hot Tub Time Machine”), and Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (the “Harold & Kumar” film series, “American Reunion”), who conceived the new “Karate Kid” storyline that picks-up decades after the original film ends.

Also Read: Yes, Sensei! ‘Cobra Kai’ to Bring New Characters to the Dojo for Season 2

Hurwitz and Schlossberg directed much of the series. Will Smith, James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett are executive producing for Overbrook Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television Studios. Susan Ekins also executive produces.

Watch the trailer above.

“Cobra Kai” Season 2 launches April 24 on YouTube.

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Comedy Central to Premiere Five Original Shows Exclusively on YouTube

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

After finding success on YouTube with short-form clips from “Key & Peele” and “Chappelle’s Show,” Comedy Central is doubling down on digital with the launch of five new digital shows and a fresh YouTube page: Comedy Central Originals.

Like the name suggests, the YouTube channel will house a slate of original content made specifically for a digital audience. In the past, the network has produced original content for digital viewers but the content was mixed in the network’s main Comedy Central YouTube page. Going forward, old and new original digital series will live on the new channel.

“Comedy Central Originals is your one-stop destination for comedy made for the internet,” reads a description of the YouTube channel. “From series like ‘Mini-Mocks’ and ‘The Foley Artist’ to curated classics from partners like Above Average to new series like ‘Comedians Solve World Problems,’ this channel has everything you need to put off that work you should be doing. You’re welcome.”

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Comedy Central did not respond to request for comment on the new service.

The launch of the new channel comes seven months after Comedy Central launched a YouTube channel for its large catalogue of stand-up performances. Comedy Central also plans to produce original content for the channel, starting with a one-hour special — “Emily Heller: Ice Thickeners” —  that will premiere exclusively on the channel on March 8.

The new slate of shows to launch on Comedy Central Originals include: “wellRED Comedy,” a sketch series from the perspective of millennials and progressives who grew up in the South;  “Comedians Solve World Problems,” where comedians try to solve issues such as racism, sexism, overpopulation and politics; “Shane Torres Conquers Your Fears,”  where comedians try to overcome their fears by participating in a series of immersion-therapy steps led by comedian Shane Torres; “Unsend,”  a series hosted by Joel Kim Booster (“Conan,” “The Other Two”) and Patti Harrison (“Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon,” “A Simple Favor”); and “My Least Favorite Thing,” where host Zack Bornstein travels to meet a celebrity as they prepare to do the one thing they that hate doing.

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Smosh Co-Founder Spills on the ‘Bad Situation’ With Owner Who Suddenly Shut Down Last Year

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

After parent company Defy abruptly closed its doors last November, the YouTube sketch-comedy channel Smosh spent three long months abandoned and in search of a buyer — until the online comedy duo Rhett & Link’s Mythical Entertainment acquired the company last month for around $10 million.

“We were very much in the market for a diversification opportunity like Smosh,” said Brian Flanagan, Mythical Entertainment’s chief operating officer, adding that Mythical reached out the day they learned of Defy’s collapse. “We knew it would take years to build something of similar scale, even with millions in investment.”

According to co-founder Ian Hecox, things at Smosh were uneasy even before it was left orphaned by Defy. “We suffered from aimless and poor leadership,” Hecox told TheWrap about its six-plus years under Defy, whose restraints on creative freedom led Smosh co-founder Anthony Padilla to leave in 2017.

“I had to come to terms with the fact that Smosh being part of a company has put all of my creative decisions through a filter of what’s appropriate for the Smosh brand as deemed by [Defy],” Padilla said on a video posted to YouTube at the time of his departure.

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Flanagan said the Smosh team won’t have to worry about being forced to detour from their natural creative process. It helps that Mythical is the run by fellow creators, the comedy duo Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln “Link” Neal III, who have produced nearly 12,000 videos and 22 billion lifetime views on YouTube alone.

That’s good news for Smosh’s 46 million YouTube subscribers, including 24 million on the main channel. “Mythical has no interest in forcing crossovers or otherwise meddling in their content,” he told TheWrap. “Our focus is on helping Smosh run efficiently and expand into new businesses. If guest-starring opportunities arise organically in the future, we’ll explore them, but with due regard for our respective fans’ desires.”

We caught up with Hecox to discuss Smosh’s new future, its bumpy past, and the possibility of Padilla coming back now that the company is under new ownership.

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1. What does Mythical’s acquisition mean for the future of Smosh?

We suffered from aimless and poor leadership under Defy, and a workspace that was not conducive to running a sketch comedy channel. We shot on the second floor of a medical building in Beverly Hills and would have to pause filming whenever the MRI machine under us was going.

During the downtime, I worked with my consultant David Sievers, who is a veteran in the digital space, and together we put together what finally felt like a proper business plan. The collapse at Defy allowed us to really take every piece of the Smosh machine apart, throw away the parts that weren’t working, and make a plan to build the things that were missing.

2. What would have been the game plan if Smosh had not find a suitable buyer?

If Smosh was acquired by a company that I didn’t agree with, I would not continue with the brand. I took meetings with several companies that clearly didn’t understand what Smosh really was, and I didn’t want to put myself, my team or the audience through another bad situation.

3. Any possibility that Anthony will come back now? What impact did you see from his departure?

Anthony is putting 100 percent of his focus into his own content currently, but our door is open for him to be in videos. A collaboration with him would be really exciting. As far as how his absence has impacted Smosh, it’s hard to tell. A quick look at our views suggests we’ve experienced stellar growth over the past year.

Also Read: Smosh Acquired by Rhett & Link’s Mythical Entertainment

4. What led you to push into audio with SmoshCast?

I’ve wanted to make a podcast for a long time, but could never think of a format that made sense. One of the drawbacks to being a sketch comedy channel is we lack the direct connection with our audience that other channels have. One of my other frustrations is the fact that we have built such a strong and loving family of people on and off camera at Smosh, but there has never been a way to show that to the audience. When I realized the podcast was the best way to alleviate both of those problems, it just clicked.

5. What changes can we expect from the company now that it is part of the Mythical Entertainment family?

Mythical is allowing me to take on a leadership role in Smosh, which I did not have under Defy. I’m not looking to cash in on any flash-in-the-pan YouTube trends, or create content that doesn’t fit our values. I want to build a comedy enterprise that will last forever, on and off YouTube. This means executing a solid business plan and giving our audience what they’ve been asking for: Better content, a better merch offering, a touring live show and much more! Mythical wants to help us achieve this however they can, without interfering with our content. And that’s awesome.

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Hulu Hits 2 Million Live TV Customers, Passes DirecTV Now as 2nd-Biggest Live Streamer After Sling

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Hulu’s live TV streaming service is on the verge of passing 2 million customers, pushing the company into second place in terms of overall live streaming customers, a person with knowledge of the company’s subscriber count said on Friday.

Dish-owned Sling TV, with 2.42 million subscribers at the end of 2018, still retains a lead on Hulu as the biggest live streamer.

Hulu’s rise shows that it is gaining traction at the same time that more established cable providers are losing ground in the battle for a mass audience. DirecTV Now, the company’s $40 per month streaming option, lost 267,000 customers during the fourth quarter of last year, parent company AT&T recently said. The losses pushed DirecTV Now’s subscriber count down to 1.6 million, after beginning the year with nearly 1.9 million subs.

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Meanwhile, Sling TV has started offering a 40 percent discount on its plans, which now run between $15 and $25, for the first three months, in order to maintain its lead.

Hulu’s live TV experience offers cable staples like CNN, ESPN and FX, among dozens of other channels, as well as access to its original series like “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

More original series, including two shows based on  “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin’s “Wild Cards” books, are in the pipeline. Hulu is also the home to several classic TV shows like “Seinfeld” and “30 Rock” that aren’t found on Netflix.

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Hulu recently hiked its live streaming price from $40 to $45 at the end of February. YouTube’s own live service, it’s probably worth mentioning, has also hit 1 million subscribers, according to Bloomberg.

Disney, after it completes its buyout of much of Fox’s assets, will double its stake in Hulu from 30 to 60 percent, and there were reports this week that the company is in talks to acquire WarnerMedia’s 10 percent stake in the service as well.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has said he views Hulu as part of a three-pronged streaming play for Disney, along with ESPN+ and Disney+, its upcoming streaming service.

Hulu crossing the 2 million live-TV audience threshold was first reported by Bloomberg.

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