Linus Tech Tips Taking Break Following Massive Controversy
Linus Tech Tips has become ground zero for accusations of conflicts of interest, sloppy testing, and rushing out too much content too quickly to feed its ever-rising ambitions. Now, the media empire valued at over $100 million is on pause for a week as it revaluates its internal practices and hires an outside firm to investigate allegations of sexual harassment.
Its problems started at the end of July. A Linus Tech Tips employee said in a video tour of its offices and testing labs that one of the things that sets it apart from other content creators in the space like Gamers Nexus and Hardware Unboxed is that Linus Tech Tips tests everything from scratch each time it gathers data for a new video.
If you have to tell everyone how good your testing is, in my 20+ years of experience that generally means your testing isn’t very good,” Hardware Unboxed shot back in a tweet a few days later.
Gamers Nexus also ended up responding in a nearly 45-minute video posted on August 14 detailing a series of shortcomings that went beyond just the testing. Instead, it called into question a larger lapse in quality and accuracy as the umbrella company Linus Media Group has ramped up production to release dozens of videos and weekly podcast episodes to fuel the algorithmic content machine. In doing so, Gamers Nexus broke the dam on a much larger debate around ethical responsibility and online content creation sustainability and unleashed warring camps of fans between the rival tech testing YouTube channels.
The broader takeaway from the Gamers Nexus video was that Linus Tech Tips was cutting corners to pump out more and more reviews and test videos, and then getting defensive and obfuscating the truth when called out. Everyone makes mistakes, but it was the YouTube channel’s seeming rush to move past them and treat them like the price of growth that raised red flags. An edited roundup of staff comments showed many saying they wish they had more time with each new video they were producing.
Go read the rest of the post to see the rest of what's been going on over at LTT, but that they worded their apology video in this way says it all:
“Effective immediately, all YouTube video production is on pause and our teams are going to be spending this entire next week focusing on long term workflow changes to make our content better in a lasting way,” Chief Financial Officer Yvonne Ho said in the video. She and others promised to use that time to overhaul the company’s guidelines and best practices to prevent future mistakes.
“We’re still fucking up a lot and we need to own that fix it and move on, not be defensive and shirk blame,” Chief Technology Officer Luke Lafreniere said during the apology video. For his part, Sebastian now agrees his refusal to retest the Billet Labs monoblock cooler was a mistake. “I owe you guys better and I’m sorry,” he said.