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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    BY LARRY CARROLL

    It’s strange when American actors appear in overseas commercials. It’s even stranger when they act in performances not intended to be seen back here in the states. But when an American actor appears as an iconic character in an overseas ad? Well, that’s something that has to be seen to be believed.

    Now, in a newly traveled spot for the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Kevin Spacey appears in the role that put Netflix on the map and won him a Golden Globe: Frank J. Underwood.

    RELATED: Yikes: Kevin Spacey auditioned for Tiger Beat in 1979

    “Good evening to the great people of China,” Spacey says from the Oval Office, in character as the scheming politician who last season on “House of Cards” rose to the highest office in the land. “I am the President of the United States, Frank J. Underwood. And tonight, I wanted to take a moment to say hello to all of you out there—and to wish you a happy Singles Day.”

    House of Cards is apparently wildly popular in China. The ad promotes “Singles Day,” which is the Chinese equivalent of Black Friday.

    “If this Singles Day is the excuse you’ve been waiting for to spoil yourself in a little online shopping, then I must say I’m more than a little jealous,” President Underwood says. “Here at the White House, there are so many firewalls blocking me from shopping online that not even the President will be able to take adavantage of those amazing deals.”

    It might be a little strange to imagine a fictional world where our sitting President would tape such a message. It might be even more unlikely to imagine gruff, suffer-no-fools Underwood standing for such a thing. Nevertheless, if you’re wondering what the perfect gift is for the person on your shopping list who enjoys pushing people in front of fast-moving objects, look no further.

    “I wonder how cheap I could get a new burner phone,” the scheming politician says. “Because one burner is never enough.”

    RELATED: ‘House of Cards’ is much nicer when it’s made by ‘Sesame Street’

    Referencing the online retail site Tmall (owned by Alibaba), Underwood urges Chinese shoppers to purchase M&M’s, a replica of his class ring, and even his Presidential desk. “Whenever I go shopping, I have to dress up so I’m not recognized,” Underwood says, referencing the “disguise” he occasionally dons when he’s going to do something like make a Congressman’s murder look like suicide. “All you need is a pair of glasses like these, and a trenchcoat like this one.”

    After hoping that the viewer wins a trip to the United States, Underwood puts on a black hat and references the Season 2 standout moment that said goodbye to Kate Mara. “If you’ll excuse me,” he says, “I have a train to catch.”

    Screengrab via Netflix/YouTube


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    If you’re like many Serial fans, riding high on the news of Adnan Syed’s recent court victory, season 2 can’t come soon enough.

    Sketch-comedy duo and fellow Serial junkies Marina Tempelsman and Nicco Aeed feel your pain. And they may have the binge-listening antidote to what ails you.

    Their serialized podcast MURDER! will please comedy and cliff-hanger fans alike with its genre-bending plot, which follows a group of goofily named invitees to a mysterious party in a spooky mansion.

    Filled with oddball characters, MURDER! effectively straddles the absurd line between humor and horror. Following a clash of thunder in Episode 1, Penny, a party guest and would-be victim, exclaims, "We're all gonna die here!" Then, realizing that she may have overreacted, she apologizes: "Sorry! I get scared very easily! Old houses, loud noises, interracial couples. Everything seems to scare me!"

    Tempelsman and Aeed, who perform in New York City as Marina and Nicco, became obsessed with Serial when it took the podcast world by storm last fall. 

    “We were both consumed with Serial,” Tempelsman told the Daily Dot. 

    The show inspired them to do something wildly different from anything they’d ever done before.

    “We usually write sketch and shorter comedy things," said Aeed, "and I think we were interested in ... a cliff-hanger story.”

    With Serial, Clue, and sketch comedy as their guiding archetypes, the duo—who have been writing together for more than nine years—took on their writing career's most ambitious project yet: eight half-hour episodes that would be staged over the course of two weeks.

    Tempelsman and Aeed borrowed jazz riffs and worked with improvisational musicians to give the show its old-time radio-mystery feel. They knew early on that they would record the live, staged show with a two-fold aim: to honor the audio medium that had inspired them and give audiences an easy way to keep up.

    Following daily double-header performances at the People’s Improv Theater in New York City, Tempelsman and Aeed released the episodes on SoundCloud and iTunes

    The complete 8-part series is now available for binge-listening on both platforms and is sure to please listeners who just can't wait for Serial to return. And the best part of this mystery? It has a concrete ending.

    Fans who want to see the show live can catch Tempelsman and Aeed staging an encore performance of MURDER! as a two-day marathon on Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 at the People's Improv Theater.

    Photo via Marina and Nicco


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    It turns out Gwen Stefani's divorce from rocker Gavin Rossdale involves a lot more more technology than you'd expect. 

    The couple, who divorced this year after 13 years of marriage, ran into a mixup involving a phone, the family iPad, and iCloud that ended up revealing Rossdale's years-long affair with the nanny. 

    According to Us Weekly:

    Back in February, Stefani, 46, uncovered Rossdale’s long-term affair with Mann, who cared for the couple’s three sons, Kingston, 9, Zuma, 7, and Apollo, 20 months.
    At the time, the No Doubt frontwoman discovered explicit texts between Rossdale and the nanny — including nude photos of Mann and their plans to meet up for sex — on the family’s iPad.
    “The iPad was linked to Gavin’s phone,” a family source tells Us. “One of the other nannies discovered the exchange and told Gwen.”

    From the sound of it, they're lucky the nanny and Gwen noticed the sync before any of the kids did. Silver lining! 

    H/T Jezebel | Screengrab via Gwen Stefani/YouTube


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    Sesame Street made headlines in August after announcing a historic partnership between Sesame Workshop and HBO, which would broadcast future seasons of the show.

    While some people were excited about Sesame Street being properly funded, others criticized the move, because it would mean that low-income families (for whom Sesame Street was created) would now be paywalled and would have to wait nine months for new episodes to air on PBS.

    But an upcoming tweak to the official Sesame Street app might level the playing field.

    The Sesame Street Go app offers educational content, clips, games, and music videos for kids to watch and play. It’s free to download, but people have to pay either $3.99 a month or $29.99 a year for access to the content. It wasn’t a necessity, but it was a great addition for parents who wanted to give their children a hands-on tool to help them learn.

    Thanks to the partnership, the app will no longer be paywalled.

    Current Sesame Street Go subscribers recently received an email from the app informing them that as of Dec. 15, 2015, access to Sesame Street Go will now be free—and those who are in the middle of their subscriptions will receive a refund by Jan. 21, 2016.

    By now you’ve probably heard the exciting news that Sesame Workshop is partnering with HBO. This means that HBO will be the premiere destination for all of Sesame Street’s first-run episodes, as well as other Sesame Workshop shows such as Pinky Dinky Doo, The Electric Company, and Classic Sesame Street episodes. PBS will continue to broadcast Sesame Street episodes. New episodes will air on PBS nine months after they debut on HBO.

    Our partnership with HBO provides us with the funding needed to continue production of Sesame Street as well as produce additional original content for kids, including more new episodes each season, a new Sesame Street spinoff series, and an all-new educational series.

    This partnership means that Sesame Street Go will be FREE beginning December 15, 2015, with a lot of fun, educational content including Elmo’s World, Cookie’s Crumby Pictures, Super Grover 2.0, music videos, short clips, games, and more! The existing subscription service will no longer be available as of December 15, 2015.

    We’ve reached out to HBO for clarification and will update when we hear back.

    Nearly two-thirds of Americans now own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center, and more children are streaming TV and getting their content online or on smartphones.

    Although making the app free can’t completely replace the episodes that children and families will have to wait nine months to see, at least the app—and all of its educational resources—will be available to more people than ever before.

    Photo via Sesame Street/Facebook


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    Now that “Happy Birthday” is in the public domain, people can use the song freely in public. It also means that Stephen Colbert, Darlene Love, and Jon Batiste and Stay Human can perform a grand production of it without fear of getting sued for copyright.

    Like any other segment, Colbert spends most of it poking fun at the stringent history of the song's copyright—one that basically created all of those other birthday songs restaurants have to sing to you. And while it’s only second to “1-877-KARS-4-KIDS" in terms of annoyance, he’s all for using it as much as he can.

    First, he brings out Love to serenade Batiste—complete with a generic voice saying "Jon."

    But then Colbert topped himself by creating LateShowBirthday.com, which brings you to a special YouTube channel full of specialized birthday videos. It’s not a bad way to ring in your next year.

    The channel is full of names seen in the U.S. and around the world

    Although if you’re like me and your name isn’t among the hundreds on Colbert’s channel, there’s a video just for you. Good luck to your friends and family trying to top Love next year.

    Screengrab via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube


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    YouTube’s much-awaited music app is finally available for consumers starting today, and YouTube is banking on its ability to serve a diverse set of musical options to users as a way to differentiate itself from the steep competition in the streaming space.

    YouTube Music was announced last month as part of the YouTube Red subscription service roll-out. The app can function independently of YouTube Red subscriptions, but it loses its premium features, which are the paydirt for YouTube’s entry into the subscription streaming game. To convert free YouTube users into paid users, the app does more than just remove ads from content, although that is a key feature.

    “Knowing that we were going to a crowded market, we really took a step back and thought, how can we make something that’s really unique and differentiated, and, more importantly, how can we make something that resonates with the audience that’s already coming to YouTube?” explained Manuel Bronstein, YouTube’s Head of Product for Consumers.

    What’s the app like?

    The app’s design is clean, with only three tab options. First is Home, which greets you with your own personal station that continues to learn your preferences as you use the app. It also feeds you genre suggestions and personalized recommendations of new videos based on your search history. You can use a slider to determine how much variety you want in your music, from more like the original song selected to more diverse.

    The second tab is Trending, a place that’s a mixture of man- and machine-curated clips of the hottest music across YouTube at any given time. Finally there’s the Favorites tab, where you can store the songs you like for easy access.

    What makes it different?

    YouTube knows users want to access their music offline, and its solution is called a mixtape. After you set up how many songs or how much memory of your device you want to consume, the app downloads your liked songs and recommended tracks, space permitting. If you opt to download a new mixtape when you’re on a Wi-Fi connection, the playlist refreshes every 24 hours. If not it lasts for 30 days as-is before you need to download again. The mixtape function is designed for short-haul offline listening, not as a way to store all your favorite music forever.

    Bronstein suggested using this feature before boarding a flight so you can stream tracks throughout the flight without a wireless connection.

    One of the key elements of the service is seamless playback. That means once a user logs in and searches for an artist, the app builds a playlist that continues to play content that has some relation or appeal to the listener.

    “The music should never stop,” said Bronstein. “It’s a little bit painful when you’re in the situation of searching for a song and then it stops or maybe repeats the same song. I should be able to open this app, tap on a video, and leave it. Lean back and actually enjoy the music.”

    Video playback offers the ability to resize videos to full-screen by rotating your device 90 degrees into landscape mode. You can also play videos in background mode while you continue to search for new content, or toggle your playback to audio only if you’re not interested in the video content. Both background mode and audio playback use less data, for customers looking to enjoy the service but not use up bandwidth on video.

    With the new app, YouTube sought to “actually help people discover that content and navigate that content in a very simple way.”

    An explore function also helps users delve deeper into the experience of a favorite song or artist. It serves up not only official videos and live performances, but also fan-created videos, covers, and remixes from YouTube’s vast catalog of content.

    “The catalog and corpus is huge. There are a lot of things there you can not find anywhere else,” said Bronstein. With the new app, YouTube sought to “actually help people discover that content and navigate that content in a very simple way.”

    For artists who are also YouTube personalities or for artists who also have interview or non-music content on YouTube as a whole, care was taken to differentiate actual music content from the rest.

    “If you are in the car and you’re listening to music, and it transitions from a song to an interview, it will throw you off,” Bronstein said. He noted that YouTube was still thinking about how to engage users more deeply with an artist they wish to interact with in that way but emphasized that it would likely not be part of the endless playing stations.

    How much is it?

    YouTube Music is a standalone app, but its paid functionality is alI part of the $9.99 per month subscription for Red that allows all YouTube apps like Gaming and Kids to go ad-free. Users get a 30-day free trial of the service before having to pay.

    However, the free app will still work without a paid subscription, albeit with limited functionality. Users lose the ability to play music in the background, go ad-free, and listen offline. They also lose the ability to toggle to the audio-only mode and skip video loading.

    Just like with YouTube Red as a whole, content creators on the service will earn “55 percent of the total net revenues recognized by YouTube from subscription fees.” During the free trial period, YouTube is subsidizing those earnings from already-paying Google Play subscribers.

    What about the competition?

    YouTube Music is far from the only music streaming app on the market, but competition doesn’t really worry the company.

    “There’s such a large market,” said Bronstein. “Music subscription services, they’re not yet at scale. YouTube is at scale. Part of our belief with Red is that the whole value proposition with all of YouTube, Music standalone app, and Google Play will basically expand the market.”

    The free app will still work without a paid subscription, albeit with limited functionality.

    Bronstein said the labels love that YouTube is already a known platform for music discovery, and their primary concern isn’t winning over users from other platforms, but rather converting the existing base of YouTube users into paying subscribers.

    “It wouldn’t be very exciting as a label to move someone from Spotify to YouTube, because they’ve already paid. What they’re excited about is [getting] more people in the market that are willing to pay money to get the benefits.”

    For now, YouTube is content to convert the “hundreds of millions of people who come to listen to music on YouTube every day” to Red and the Music app.

    “Further down the road, we might want to try and take from other people,” said Bronstein. “But at the beginning, the market is so large and our product is so differentiated, I think we have a lot of new users to bring to market.”

    Now YouTube just has to wait and see if those hundreds of millions are ready to pay for their music on YouTube.

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    Last we heard from Missy Elliott, she was stealing the spotlight from Katy Perry during the Super Bowl halftime show—and lighting upSpotify. This morning, she gave us a gift: her first video in seven years. 

    "WTF (Where They From)" stars Pharrell Williams, as well as some very funky marionette dancers and stunning choreography. The song was teased in a Monday Night Football commercial last month, and Elliott even joined Instagram on Wednesday to celebrate the new jam. 

    The single points to the long-awaited arrival of a new studio album, her first since 2005's The Cookbook. We could not be more ready. 

    Screengrab via Atlantic Records/YouTube 


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    If you're wondering just how Facebook amassed the impressive numbers of 8 billion video views daily after only a few short years, this video has the lowdown on how its success is based off YouTube theft.

    Kurzgesagt, a German design studio and YouTube channel, outlined the alleged sins of Facebook in their video push. They point out that 725 of the 1,000 most-viewed videos from first quarter 2015 were stolen from YouTube and reuploaded to Facebook's player, amounting in 17 billion stolen views. The whole issue is especially problematic because even if YouTubers can catch the "freebotted" videos on Facebook, there's no monetization option on Facebook like there is on YouTube for copyright holders to make money back off their pirates.

    The video goes on to list other issues, like the algorithm-favoring Facebook uploads over the YouTube player, and the fact that views are counted after only three seconds of watch time.

    This is not the first time that YouTubers have called out Facebook for faulty view counts. Hank Green, who runs VidCon and popular channels like SciShow and Vlogbrothers, wrote a multi-part blog series on the issue in August. He garnered much attention and support, but sometimes you need adorable illustrations to help catch the eye of the mainstream, which the Kurzgesagt video has in spades. 

    While Facebook responded to Green's critique, there's been no formal response from Facebook to the video yet.

    H/T Business Insider | Screengrab via In a Nutshell – Kurzgesagt/YouTube


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    Ed Sheeranmade history last month for becoming the first artist to reach 500 million streams on Spotify with his hit “Thinking Out Loud,” but his record has already been surpassed by a new king of the streams. And it’s not any of the usual suspects, either.

    “Lean On” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake (featuring MØ) has now emerged as the most streamed song of all time, which, as of press time, had nearly 528 million streams.

    Comparatively, Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” isn’t that far behind with more than 527 million streams.

    While it’s never reached the top of the charts in the U.S. and the U.K., it’s been highly successful in other countries around the world—which probably speaks to how powerful Major Lazer’s global audience can be.

    And even if you have no idea what “Lean On” was called or who performed it, chances are you’ve heard it before. The song is featured in Google Nexus 5X commercials.

    With One Direction’s latest album just released and Adele’s 25 (which may or may not be added to Spotify) and a new album from Coldplay coming in the next month, it’s unclear just how long Major Lazer will hold onto that record.

    H/T QZ | Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    Starbucks may have caused a stir this week by debuting minimalist cups for the holiday season, but Weird Al Yankovic's local branch seems to have taken things a step further. 

    The comedian tweeted out a photo of a very suspicious cardboard sleeve Wednesday:

    While nearly all of the replies to his tweet understand that he's kidding, as always, a handful of people are quite confused: 

    Stay blessed out there.

    Screengrab via Weird Al/Twitter


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    All rise for the diss of the decade.

    On Tuesday, California district court judge Gail Standish sent a musician packing after he tried to bring a copyright infringement lawsuit against Taylor Swift. But Standish didn't just dismiss Jessie Braham's case—she did so in a closing statementcomprised of Taylor Swift lyrics that was so well-crafted and punny it quickly made the rounds on social media.

    Braham had copyrighted his own song, "Haters Gone Hate," in February 2013. The song included the phrase "Haters gone hate, playas gone play. Watch out for them fakers, they'll fake you everyday."

    When he heard Swift's 2014 hit "Shake It Off," Braham felt that its main stanza ("Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play. And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate") was a ripoff of his song.

    According to CNN, Braham filed the suit without an attorney and asked that court fees be waived due to his unemployed status. He sought $42 million from Swift and her label, Sony, as well as a credit on "Shake It Off."

    Unfortunately for Braham, going solo against powerful Sony entertainment lawyers did not pay off at all. In Standish's ruling, she said that Braham wasn't able to provide evidence of the musical theft beyond mere speculation.

    "At present, the court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court," wrote Standish in the closing statement of the dismissal order. "But for now, we have got problems, and the court is not sure Braham can solve them. As currently drafted—the Complaint has a blank space, one that requires Braham do more than write his name."

    For Braham, and anyone else who tries to mess with the pop goddess, Taylor Swift truly is a nightmare dressed like a daydream.

    H/T Business Insider | Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    Shia LaBeouf has been livestreaming himself watching all of his movies, nonstop, since Wednesday. It's a project he's calling #AllMyMovies, and while the stream has no audio, it's surprisingly riveting. 

    All that's in frame is the actor, seated at the Angelika Film Center in New York City, as he silently takes in movie after movie. Sometimes he eats pizza, and sometimes a fan will lean in for a selfie, but the real fun part is that you can tell how he feels about his work from the expressions on his face. During Transformers there was a lot of grimacing and eye covering. During The Even Stevens Movie we saw mostly smiles and laughs. 

    Since the feed basically boils down to Shia being a human emoji, a lot of "same" and "my face when" screenshots have started appearing on Twitter and Instagram:


    Everything was Shia and nothing hurt.

    Screengrab via #AllMyMovies/newhive


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    Vine stars Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier's new movie The Outfield has hit No. 1 on Apple's drama chart a mere two days after being released. Considering they're beating out Jurrasic World for the top spot, it's no small feat. 

    The spike in popularity comes hot on the heels of Dallas livetweeting the film with the hashtag #TheOutfieldToNumberOne as he watched it Wednesday night.

    While the intention of the livetweet was sincere, TechInsider pointed out that the tweets themselves were... less than riveting considering the 5.6 million-follower audience whose feeds Dallas was flooding.

    But none of that matters to the boys' legions of dedicated fans: In addition to Dallas's 5.6 million Twitter followers, Grier has 5.1 million. The fandom has clearly taken #TheOutfieldToNumberOne to heart and is working hard to give the boys what they're asking for. 

    The Outfield is still behind Amy Schumer's Trainwreck and Pixar's Inside Out on the overall Apple movie charts, but if it ends up unseating them, the film's official Twitter account is promising to give away autographed items from the set: 

    What a time to be alive. 

    H/T Variety | Photo via Nash Grier/Instagram


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    YouTuberShane Dawson has teamed up with Disney's Maker Studios and Lakeshore Entertainment for a feature film called Internet Famous

    The movie will be shot mockumentary-style with YouTuber Michael Gallagher of TotallySketch set to direct. 

    According to Variety

    The movie follows six Internet personalities — played by Dawson, Greene, Amanda Cerny, Christian DelGrosso, Wendy McColm and Richard Ryan — as they travel across the country to compete in a talent competition. The winner receives the chance of a lifetime: their very own TV show.

    No official release date has been announced, but the movie is slated for digital release sometime in 2016.

    H/T Variety | Screengrab via Shane Dawson/YouTube


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    Midway through YouTuberTroye Sivan's first international music tour, the Australian singer had to cancel hometown performances due to sinusitis and acute laryngitis.

    Sivan announced the cancelations on his Tumblr, under the title "I am sad."

    Nothing could make me sadder than what I’m about to say. I’m really unwell and apparently, as I’ve been told by the 4 doctors I’ve seen in the last 24 hours, I have had acute laryngitis which has gotten much worse and now developed sinusitis, leaving me too sick to sing.

    Sivan, who'd never been on tour before, said he's been loving the chance to connect with his fans in person.

    "It’s so cliched, but literally just like every nerve and every concern or worry or stress completely went away when I stepped out on stage," Sivan told the Daily Dot after his first tour date in Seattle in October. 

    The tour is slated to continue in Europe next week, starting Nov. 19 in London. Sivan said he and his team are figuring out when they can reschedule the Perth and Sydney shows.

    In the meantime, Sivan is appeasing fans by releasing a new track from his forthcoming Blue Neighbourhood album. "Youth" is playing on radio stations across the world today, and Sivan has slowly been previewing tracks both on tour and on his YouTube channel.

    Blue Neighbourhood, an extension of his popular EP Wild, comes out Dec. 4.

    Screengrab via Troye Sivan/YouTube


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    In collaboration with Disney, K-pop supergroup Exo released a special song, "Lightsaber," for the upcoming Star Wars installment this week.

    A slight departure from their usual style, the beat and melody of "Lightsaberhas more of a dubstep identity, decorated by electronic quirks and the occasional, necessary Star Wars sound effects. A deep, ominous exhale from Darth Vader opens the song, followed by the pulsing of a swinging lightsaber to establish the Star Wars feel.

    The music video showcases what Exo do best: smooth and powerful vocals, mysterious narratives, and close-up camera angles that highlight their smoldering good looks. In the video, Kai, Baekhyun, and Sehun, three of the nine Exo members, take the screen as modern Jedis in Seoul. Although, as the video progresses, it's unclear what their back stories or purposes are—and it doesn't necessarily make any sense. Why is Kai all beat up and bloodied? What's got Baekhyun so mad that he's tearing up an abandoned grocery store? And where is Sehun going on that slick motorbike?

    While the catchy song is enough to hook Exo fans, it's debatable how convinced Star Wars fans may be. Unfortunately the video falls short in building a strong connection with the Force. The only links displayed in the video are the close-ups of the members holding or twirling the hilt of a deactivated lightsaber and scattered signs around town.

    The video teases action near the end with a foreboding red light, but a starry credits screen disappointingly crushes our hopes of seeing any of the Exo members showing off their Jedi skills. (At least we can see something close with this performance from their summer concert series.)

    Exo are official ambassadors for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Exo's host company, SM Entertainment, has previously begun establishing relations with Disney through a collaboration with the SM Rookies and Disney's Mickey Mouse Club.

    Aside from that, as one of K-pop's most popular groups, it only makes sense Exo would be chosen for the job. And it might help that the group's concept characterizes them as aliens from Exo Planet with special elemental powers. They'd probably fit in to the Star Wars universe just fine.

    Screengrab via SMTown/YouTube


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    In the most recent episode of Billy on the Street, Billy Eichner asks comedian Amy Sedaris to do the impossible: keep up with all the tasks TV god Shonda Rhimes has to perform every week in order to bring us so many hit shows. 

    Sedaris runs an obstacle course filled with Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder-themed challenges in pursuit of the Mayor of Shondaland title. 

    Shatter that glass ceiling.

    Screengrab via Billy on the Street/YouTube


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    Thanks to Catfish's Nev and Max, and DoSomething.org, grandparents everywhere are going to learn how to properly use the peach and eggplant emoji.

    The hosts partnered with the volunteerism site for "Grandparents Gone Wired," a service for grandkids to teach their grandparents how to use technology, including the delicate language of the emoji.

    The campaign, which runs through Jan. 31, began with a video explaining some of the finer points of emoji use.

    "Using smartphones improves the health of older adults," DoSomething says, "but 77% of seniors need help getting started." Teens can win a $10,000 scholarship for participating.

    Now if only they had an emoji for "Help, I've been Catfished!"

    Screengrab via DoSomething.org/YouTube


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    Even celebrity Star Wars fans are getting swept up in The Force Awakens hype.

    Daniel Radcliffe, who somehow managed to visit the set of The Force Awakens during filming and once dressed up as Boba Fett on Ellen, is absolutely thrilled about the new film. He finally gets to experience the kind of excitement that Harry Potter fans had in their heyday, and he’s even planning to go to a midnight screening. After all, he figures there has to be some crossover between the two fandoms. (You know, besides both series having Domhnall Gleeson in them.)

    And while we admire his potential costume choice, he should probably make sure his theater hasn’t already banned masks before he tries to go fully incognito.

    Screengrab via Team Coco/YouTube


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    BY BREE BROUWER

    Casey Neistat isn’t happy with Facebook. In a candid interview with Adweek, the 34-year-old YouTube star and filmmaker revealed that he lost over 20 million video views on his own content due to stolen (aka freebooted) videos on the social networking site.

    Neistat, who boasts over 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, spent several weeks creating a Halloween video called “Aladdin Magic Carpet Prank” with fellow YouTuber Jesse Wellens (of PrankvsPrank fame). After the two uploaded the video to YouTube and pulled in 10 million total views, Neistat told Adweek he and Wellens discovered Internet users had illegally ripped their “Aladdin” video, in which they’d both invested a significant amount of time and money. The video pirates had posted the clip to Facebook using the site’s native video format.

    “I spent roughly a week issuing takedowns on Facebook—a convoluted process,” Neistat said. “I crowdsourced the process of finding the freebooters because there is no way to search Facebook. In all, I took down well over 50 different posts—[which was] not nearly all of them. I simply gave up after a while. I anecdotally kept track of the view counts—over 20 million views on the videos I took down.”

    Facebook has told users the site is working to create technology to fight freebooting and help track down copyright material in a more efficient manner beyond its current content ID tools through Audible Magic. In August 2015, the social site launched a video matching technology for select brands like Fullscreen and Jukin Media to use to hunt down and report their stolen content. However, Neistat said this doesn’t help individual creators without access to the copyright tech.

    “Facebook has a team of the greatest technologists in the world,” he said. “They can crank out entirely new products in a matter of weeks. But here we are, 8 billion views a day later, and there is nothing in place to protect content creators. Beyond a technological solution—something YouTube has had in place for years—there’s a more pragmatic one: Punish the freebooters.”

    But even that suggestion from Neistat has its own problems. Facebook’s algorithms make it so that native videos get shown in users’ Feeds more often than outside links to YouTube videos. In this way, Facebook essentially encourages video freebooting, and sussing out the anything-but-innocent offenders gets even more tricky. Neistat said that when he personally contacted freebooters, some of them were simply trying to share his video using native Facebook video.

    “They explained, apologetically, that they just wanted to share the video, and there was no other way to do it,” Neistat said. “They said they couldn’t post the YouTube [clip] because no one would see it [on Facebook]… so they ripped and shared it.”

    Neistat is only the most recent YouTube celebrity and online video professional to voice concerns over Facebook’s treatment of stolen content and the related offenders. Back in June 2015, Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos took to Twitter to complain about Facebook’s lack of copyright identification tools. Only two months later, the Vlogbrothers’ Hank Green wrote a post on Medium about the issue, accusing Facebook of cheating, lying, and stealing. The most recent creator to stand against the social networking site’s freebooting frenzy was the educational YouTube channel Kurzgesagt, which claimed pirated content and the ad revenue the freebooters (not the original creators) make from it on Facebook was 100 percent unacceptable.

    Facebook declined to comment on Adweek’s Neistat story.

    Screengrab via PrankvsPrank/YouTube 


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