Oh no, your pyramid scheme is on strike
Read to the end for a really good video of an echidna
Good news, everyone! The Meme In The Moment is coming back for a second show! Even better news, the next one is going to be Halloween-themed. It’s on October 27, which is my birthday, also!
Two additional fun things about this: Audience members that wear an internet-themed costume can win free drinks and other cool stuff. And, also, Garbage Day subscribers get a discount code! Click here to grab it. And click here to buy tickets.
A Day Off Twitch To Protest Harassment
Today, (mostly) American Twitch streamers are protesting the platform’s handling of what users refer to as “hate raids”. If you aren’t familiar with how Twitch works, streamers can move their audiences from one stream to another. It’s called “raiding” and it’s sort of like the Twitch version of a retweet. It’s good etiquette on the site to end your stream by raiding someone else’s.
Hate raids, as you can imagine, are the abusive version of this. Often on the site, people of color, trans people, or women will be raided by larger streamers, whose audiences show up to throw their chats into absolute chaos. Incidentally, hate raiding is mentioned in Twitch’s community guidelines:
Harassment has many manifestations, including stalking, personal attacks, promotion of physical harm, hostile raids, and malicious false report brigading. Sexual harassment, specifically, can take the form of unwelcome sexual advances and solicitations, sexual objectification, or degrading attacks relating to a person’s perceived sexual practices.
Of course, saying you don’t allow something and actually doing something about it are very different things. Also, streamers don’t need to formally raid someone they want to target if they can also just drop a link in a Discord.
Today’s protest was organized by streamers ShineyPen, RekItRaven, both trans, and LuciaEverblack, who uses they/she pronouns. “There are so many marginalized individuals out there who are seeking a place to feel safe, to feel like they belong and to have representation and that’s what we’re doing,” ShineyPen told The Verge.
The biggest thing the protesters are looking for actually seems pretty simple. Currently, Twitch allows users to accept all raids, block them all, or only allow raids from people within your network of friends and followed channels. But there isn’t a way to approve or decline them as they happen.
Protocol’s Zach Bussey posted some early viewing data this afternoon about the blackout’s impact on the platform’s viewership. He said that as of noon today, there were 5000 fewer streamers compared to the same time last week and almost half a million fewer viewers.
It’s seems obvious that collective action from internet creators is the new frontier. As platforms like Facebook and Twitter race to give users more tools to monetize their content, creators are beginning to see themselves as a collective labor force and are beginning to experiment with how to fight for better wages or safer working conditions. Black American Tiktok users went on strike in June, refusing to make a new dance challenge for Megan Thee Stallion’s song “Thot Shit,” and accused the platform’s biggest white influencers of co-opting and appropriating their dances. (If you’re curious, I did an interview for my paying subscribers about how copyright works for viral dances.)
And today’s Twitch blackout comes only a week after Twitch users in Brazil went on strike, protesting a 66% drop in the subscription fees the platform is paying streamers in the country. I interviewed a representative from Apagão da Twitch, the group leading the Brazilian streamer strike. “The fact that streamers from countries other than the US receive less money for the same amount of work hours and the same number of audiences only makes clear the lack of care that platforms like Twitch have for their workers,” they told me last week. “Our fight is to have some rights on the platform. It also highlights the monopoly of US companies on streaming services and the historical tendency of the US to profit over countries in the Global South.”
Here’s the grand irony about all of this. All the major social platforms became popular because of their user generated content. Instead of just being TV channels or movie studios, these companies built algorithms and interfaces that could allow people to post things at a speed and scale that was never possible with linear broadcasting or normal publishing. And UGC turned out to be wildly profitable because, it turns out, if you make your app fun enough to use, people will post content on it for free. What an incredible idea, an infinite TV channel with no programming budget. Well, it turns out, the people who will post the most amount of content for free are nazis, antivaxxers, grifters, crappy pundits, and weird angry men who vlog about Star Wars. These platforms had to figure out a way to get better, more consistent content. So they’re now doing what all pyramid schemes eventually do and have begun giving users “the tools to be their own bosses and make their own money.” Except, because of the network effort of their own apps and the fact they’re totally borderless, these platforms have now opened themselves to every single labor market in the world and have also given their users an incredibly easy way to organize collectively. Sad!
Subreddits Go Dark To Protest COVID-19 Misnfo
Did you read the whole thing above thinking, “oh, weird, there’s a Reddit blackout happening right now, as well.” Surprise! That’s next on the list. Here’s whats going on.
For the last week, subreddit moderators have been sharing a post that originated in the anti-anti-vax subreddit r/vaxxhappened. The post reads, “We are calling on the admins to take ownership of their website, and remove dangerous medical disinformation that is endangering lives and contributing to the existence of this ongoing pandemic. Subreddits which exist solely to spread medical disinformation and undermine efforts to combat the global pandemic should be banned.”
Things came to a head when Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, who literally has never once ever de-escalated an issue with Reddit’s community, decided to respond to the post, writing, “Given the rapid state of change, we believe it is best to enable communities to engage in debate and dissent, and for us to link to the CDC wherever appropriate.” Huffman then locked the post he made about it.
Now, subreddits are going private to protest Reddit’s handling of the COVID misinformation problem. Per a Business Insider post about the blackout, 135 subreddits had gone dark by this morning.
As one of the older and more organized social platforms on the web, Reddit actually has a lot of experience with collective action like this. Huge subreddits went dark in June 2020, protesting hate speech on the platform amid the George Floyd protests. And, hilariously, it was Huffman who was sent in to diffuse the situation, writing, “we do not tolerate hate, racism, and violence, and while we have work to do to fight these on our platform, our values are clear.” Which was promptly ratioed and only made things worse.
As I said above, internet users are becoming more interested in what they can accomplish collectively. It’s likely something like this will happen across most major platforms at some point — in fact, Tumblr users organized a small blackout earlier this month to protest the new Tumblr Post+ features the site is rolling out. And when it does happen, if you run a community, I’d recommend finding someone who isn’t Steve Huffman to send in to talk to the users.
Rep. Paul Gosar Wants You To Know Something
Confused about what this picture means?! I got you. I actually wrote about this back in February. The green lines are a meme, sorta, created by a pick up artist named @alpharivelino or Rivelino The Artist. He has a theory that men’s posture, in relation to women they’re photographed with, reveals how masculine they are.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
He has threads of this stuff and every 3-4 months, a new account discovers it, retweets it into their personal network, and sends the whole thing trending again. There’s been a new development with all of this, though, recently. And it’s even stranger than the green lines.
His new thing is “cock confidence” vs “cock shame,” which is, apparently, just when men clasp their hands together at their waist in photos. If you let your arms hang down, you have cock confidence. If you do what Tim Pool is doing above, you have cock shame. Anyways, 90% of both being an incel or being a men’s rights activist is just refusing to admit you suffer from body dysmorphia.
But to go back to the very first tweet up there, from US Rep. Paul Gosar. Yes, it’s weird that he’s posting a meme that originated from the pick up artist community, but he’s also a far-right weirdo who does who weird stuff like this all the time. The real question is what he thinks this means. Does he think that he has cock confidence and chad energy compared to the cacti? I just want to know what it was he thought he was doing here.
TikTok Vs The Alpha Male
A TikTok user named @heartbreaknino617 has been posting increasingly unhinged rants about women and, after one of his videos went viral on Twitter over the weekend, users have been basically dunking on him nonstop. The video above, though, is probably the most brutal response yet. Absolutely breathtaking tbh.
The NFT Toilet
There’s been a bunch of wild stuff happening in the crypto world. First up, @SHL0MS, an NFT artist I interviewed back in March, has a new project. He smashed up a toilet and is selling shards of it tied to NFTs. As he put it, it’s a “physically fractionalized NFT sculpture.” It’s also selling INCREDIBLY well. Right now, there are four toilet shards going for 2ETH each (about 6,800 right now).
While we’re talking about NFTs, Paris Hilton explained what one is to Jimmy Fallon last month. I missed this at the time, but Hilton has been an NFT advocate since at least April, telling Coindesk at the time that she sees them as a way to empower creators. Of, course, according to VICE, NFTs could just end up being a digital way to tell people you’re rich.
In case you’ve seen this, but haven’t understand what’s going on. There’s a meme that’s become more popular recently within the crypto and NFT world where people just say “gm” or “good morning” to each other. I’m in a big NFT DM group and every morning around 8am the gm’s start up. It’s cute! Well, there’s now an app, which like Yo before it, is a messenger app where you can only say “gm” to each other.
Oh, and you know how Jack Dorsey is a hardcore Bitcoin evangelist? Well, according to Bitcoin Magazine, it looks like Twitter may be beta testing a Bitcoin-based tipping service.
And finally, in case you’re curious, the Garbage Day NFT experiment is still trucking along. I’ve decided to just keep the NFT sale going until it runs out, like I would any other kind of merch. It’s already made enough money to help me fund some bigger projects for the newsletter, which is incredibly cool, but I also don’t see Garbage Day pivoting to blockchain fully anytime soon. But, who knows, there’s obviously a lot of curiosity about what the blockchain can do for digital media and I’m wondering about it, as well. If you’re reading this and you’re doing anything fun with online communities and tokens, hit me up!
A Good Tweet
RaveDJ Absolutely Slaps
This got dropped into the Garbage Day Discord this week by Mitch, who I think got it from from Waxy. Anyways, it’s cool as hell. It’s a site that pulls songs from YouTube and Spotify and uses an AI to try and mash them together.
Here are two very good ones that got shared in the Discord:
Some Stray Links
P.S. here’s a really good video of an echidna.
***Any typo in this email is on purpose actually***