Carlos Maza is making his influence felt…
Time has released the fifth annual roundup of the 25 most influential people on the Internet, with the Cuban-American Vox journalist/vlogger and video producer making the list of the personalities who have the biggest global impact on social media.
Maza is being recognized for speaking about being harassed online, and his quest to target the policy that empowered the culprits.
For two years, Maza was the focus of videos from popular right-wing commentator Steven Crowder, who repeatedly denigrated Maza’s sexual orientation and ethnicity—actions that appeared to violate YouTube’s terms of service. But when Maza reported Crowder, he says YouTube didn’t respond. So at the end of May, Maza went public with his struggles on Twitter. His thread quickly went viral, prompting a new wave of harassment from Crowder fans—and eventually, a pseudo-apology from Crowder and a response from YouTube, which demonetized Crowder’s channel.
YouTube stopped short of banning Crowder outright, arguing initially that, while some of Crowder’s comments were hurtful, its policies were intended to protect free expression, which can include offensive opinions.
In the days that followed Maza’s Twitter thread, YouTube did reveal plans to revisit its harassment policies. But Maza isn’t optimistic about systemic change. “Harassment is really good for engagement,” he tells Time.
But Maza isn’t the only Latino to make the list…
Cardi B’s rise to stardom can be traced back to Instagram, where she now has more than 47 million followers.
As much as the 26-year-old half-Dominican American rap sensation’s life has changed since the success of “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B’s online presence has stayed consistent—confessional videos and memes between red carpet shots, concert footage and political commentary.
In January, Cardi B made headlines for posting a video criticizing President Donald Trump for not funding the government, “all for a f-cking wall.” That clip went viral, and even came to the attention of Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Brian Schatz, who publicly debated whether they should retweet the video. In the end, the lawmakers chose not to, but the video still racked up 20 million views on Instagram.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be a junior member of the U.S. House of Representatives, but when it comes to social media aptitude, her superiority is practically unmatched.
The 29-year-old Puerto Rican politician and activist, who is simply referred to by her Twitterhandle “AOC,” has nearly 4.8 million followers on the platform, more than most members of theU.S. Congress.
In January, shortly after being sworn in as the youngest Congresswoman in U.S. history, Ocasio-Cortez co-hosted a session for her peers about social media best practices, explaining the importance of being “authentic.” And though she’s made some online missteps during her tenure on Capitol Hill— like identifying her Democratic colleague Rep. John Yarmuth as a Republican while slamming older male legislators — Ocasio-Cortez has also expertly harnessed viral tropes to draw attention to subcommittee hearings and granular policy debates that have typically been relegated to the confines of C-Span: an Instagram video of questions she asked at a hearing about cannabis in February has amassed over three million views.
Germán Garmendia is being recognized for his personality…
Since uploading his first skit to YouTubein 2011, the 29-year-old Chilean YouTuber, comedian and writer has earned more than 13 billion views, making him the world’s most popular Spanish-language YouTuber.
In his skits and over-the-top riffs, Garmendia mines humor from everyday topics; while describing how tough he is in a video about how to be sexy, for example, he noted that he only cried a little when Mufasa died in The Lion Kingand often pushes doors labeled “pull.”
Production values have risen on YouTube in the years since he got his start, but despite competition from bigger-budget operations, Garmendia’s main draw as he comments on memes, viral videos, and video games is still his personality.
As with many YouTubers, he has also provoked controversy, like when misogynistic comments he made in a 2014 gameplay video resurfaced in late 2018. But his subsequent apology was well-received, and his career hasn’t stalled: in fact, Garmendia released his first novel last year.
To see the complete list, click here.