There are a lot of people on TV who are supposedly “famous for being famous.” They typically star in reality shows about their daily lives, but their daily lives wouldn’t be especially interesting if they weren’t on reality shows, making the whole thing into a weird fame circle. The internet has a similar kind of person, but they’re known as “influencers.” They’re the ones who have millions of followers on social media platforms, even though they don’t seem to do anything particularly special. These influencers are very important to the modern economy, though, because if a guy who makes funny YouTube videos tells people that he likes to drink orange juice, then other people might start drinking orange juice as well.
Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg is one of the most influential influencers in the world—just ask Time magazine—so tons of people take notice when he does something. Usually, he just does weird stuff on YouTube, but this week he got in trouble when he told his 2.2 million Twitter followers that he’s joining ISIS along with fellow internet person Seán William McLoughlin (a.k.a. “Jacksepticeye”). As reported by Yahoo News, some of PewDiePie’s fans quickly turned on him, expressing their disapproval of the joke in his Twitter replies and YouTube comments. The backlash was even so fierce and quick that Twitter banned PewDiePie’s account for a short time, possibly to protect any more impressionable youths from witnessing his sudden and confusing radicalization.
PewDiePie is back on Twitter now, and with his return he has decided to explain why he thought it would be a good idea to make a bad joke about joining a terrorist organization. Apparently, the whole thing revolves around two separate events: PewDiePie losing/abandoning his verified checkmark on Twitter and a fake news website tweeting that he had joined ISIS. PewDiePie combined those two things into this:
Me and @Jack_Septic_Eye have joined isis. Which is why we both got unverified.
— Felix Kjellberg 🌐 (@pewdiepie) August 30, 2016
And that’s how this whole thing started. PewDiePie has also uploaded a YouTube video about his dumb ISIS joke, with most of it revolving around how he thinks Twitter’s verified checkmark isn’t cool anymore because anybody can get one now—meaning he gets a lot more notifications from “verified” users than he used to. See, that’s the sort of thing that qualifies as a problem when you’re a superstar YouTuber like PewDiePie who gets paid an absurd amount of money to say hilarious things like “social media is making us all retarded” before spending several minutes complaining about how too many people like your stupid tweets.
So, to sum this all up, Twitter doesn’t consider PewDiePie to be special anymore, which means he’s forced to deal with plebeians more than he’d like, which inspired him to make a joke about joining ISIS, which then got him into a small amount of trouble. Don’t worry about PewDiePie, though, because he has come through this horrible ordeal and is “feeling very good today”:
Im TOTALLY fine guys, i am feeling very good today and its actually so heartwarming to see so many people care about me
— Felix Kjellberg 🌐 (@pewdiepie) August 31, 2016
Just don’t click the “like” button too many times. You don’t want to annoy him!