How Top YouTuber PewDiePie Got (Briefly) Suspended From Twitter
The online star’s Twitter account was taken down for a short window on Wednesday morning over concerns that he had been hacked.
PewDiePie, YouTube’s biggest star, was briefly suspended from Twitter on Wednesday morning over concerns that his account had been hacked.
But it was all a big misunderstanding, a source familiar with the situation tells The Hollywood Reporter, resulting from comments that PewDiePie made in jest about ISIS and an especially graphic photo as his profile picture.
The fiasco began Tuesday when the online star, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, un-verified himself from Twitter. This means that he got rid of the blue check mark that Twitter uses to denote the real accounts for public figures. Kjellberg explained the decision to un-verify himself in a video on Wednesday morning, saying, “With the verification process being f—ing annoying, I decided to unverify myself.” Instead, he added a globe emoji next to his name, prompting many of his followers to add the image to their Twitter names in a show of solidarity.
But, as Kjellberg explains in the video, his online fandom erupted in concern over why he had been unverified and quickly a fake news story appeared from a hoax Twitter account claiming that he had been unverified “due to suspected relations with ISIS.”
Kjellberg retweeted the story and then joked in a separate tweet that he and fellow YouTuber JackSepticEye, aka Sean William McLaughlin, had joined ISIS, adding “which is why we both got unverified.” The JackSepticEye Twitter handle remains verified, however.
Kjellberg’s tweets about ISIS prompted Twitter to look into whether his account had been hacked, the source says. While investigating the account, Twitter also saw Kjellberg’s profile picture, a dick pic, and concluded that he must have been hacked. That led to the account’s suspension. After clearing up the situation with Twitter, his account was reactivated. It was suspended for less than an hour.
A Twitter spokesman decline to comment on Kjellberg’s suspension.
Kjellberg, who has changed his profile photo to an image of a dog, has since tweeted that he’s “totally fine” and that “it’s actually so heartwarming to see so many people care about me.”
Kjellberg, who hails from Sweden, has risen to fame for his comedic, often foul-mouthed YouTube videos of him playing popular video games. He currently has 47.6 million YouTube subscribers, giving him the largest following of any creator on YouTube. He is signed with Maker Studios but does not have any additional representation. A Maker spokeswoman declined to comment.
Here is Kjellberg's video explaining why he is no longer Twitter verified: