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TikTok Drama Over $84 Rainbow Birthday Cake Goes Viral

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TikTok Drama Over $84 Rainbow Birthday Cake Goes Viral

When baker Kylie Allen, owner of Kylie Kakes Dessert Bar & Cafe in Princeton, West Virginia, posted a TikTok about a dispute she had with a dissatisfied customer over a rainbow birthday cake, she thought other small business owners might empathize. What she did not expect was for the sprinkle-covered situation to blow up into something now known as #CakeGate.

It all started on April 7, when Allen (known as @kylieraeallen on TikTok) posted a video about a disagreement she had with a customer over a layered rainbow cake she made. The video quickly went viral, and when the customer, a woman named Ashleigh Freeman responded on TikTok, the conflict took on a life of its own — and #CakeGate was born.

“Today I had one of the worst client experiences I’ve ever had since opening the storefront,” says Allen in the original video, which has amassed 5 million views as of publication.

As she makes a similar cake in the video, Allen explains that a customer (later revealed to be Freeman) reached out to her through the shop’s Facebook page and wanted to order one of the bakery’s six layer rainbow cakes. “I started doing these even as a home baker. I’ve been doing them for a really long time,” Allen says.

Allen says that Freeman went with a 8-inch cake, which serves 18 and retails $75.99.

“Upon arrival, she seemed to be really surprised that the cake was covered in sprinkles. We explained to her that all of her signature rainbow cakes are decorated this way,” Allen says.

“She then got super defensive and very rude about the price of the cake, although this is exactly how we decorate all of our rainbow cakes,” Allen continues. “She even bashed us and put us on her Facebook page. Also a reminder that we don’t individually place each sprinkle onto the cake, so they may look slightly different in pictures.”

Comments on the video are now turned off, but that didn’t stop many folks from duetting the video to weigh in on the drama, including Freeman herself, who posted, deleted and then reposted images of the cake at the center of this dessert dispute.

“Im an idiot. I didn’t want to ruin her business, tried to squash the beef and she said no,” Freeman (@afreebird on TikTok) wrote in a video from April 11. “She wants to be tiktok famous, not a bad idea. But I can actually make decent content.”

Freeman’s video shows the cake as she says she received it: sprinkle-covered, with “Happy Birthday Trilby” — her mother’s name — written in black icing atop a swoop of white icing.

The video concludes with screenshots of an interaction Freeman and Allen had via Facebook Messenger, which TODAY.com was able to review via screenshots provided by Allen. During this conversation, Allen wrote, “If you wanted it decorated a specific way than what how we do them here, that’s something that would have had to be discussed.”

“Look at it. That’s the problem,” Freeman responded. The next message, which Freeman did not post in her TikTok, read, “If it looked nice, if it looked like quality work, I would gladly pay 90. But if it looks like s—, no ma’am.”

After a bit of back and forth, where Allen said to Freeman, “You are not welcome to come in my establishment anymore,” Freeman responded, in part, with, “You’ve lost a very good customer,” attaching a screenshot of Facebook comments decrying the cost of the cake.

Comments under Freeman’s TikTok video pulled no punches either, to say the least.

“Idk how I got on Cake Beef Tik Tok but I love it here,” commented one TikToker.

“That cake looks like she dropped it after she finished decorating it, but tried to salvage it because she didn’t want to bake another one,” wrote another.

“Saw her video and felt so bad for her yesterday,” commented yet another. “Immediate regret now that I’ve seen the cake. I can’t even.”

“Here for the cake drama,” said another TikTok user in a comment, to which Freeman replied, “#CakeGate2023.” Under the hashtag on TikTok, there are endless recaps, explainers and other bakers making their own versions of the rainbow sprinkle cake.

This buttercream bonanza has caused a reviewers to flood Kylie Kakes’ Yelp page with mostly negative reviews, so much so that it’s now being monitored by Yelp’s support team because of “increased public attention.”

Freeman herself left the bakery a Yelp review on April 11, which read, “If you want a boxed cake decorated like a 4 year old from a baker with dirty fingernails and an unprofessional business, this place is for you.”

“Yeah, it honestly, it honestly felt awful,” Allen tells TODAY.com about all the negative attention to her business. “I didn’t expect her to make a response video, because I didn’t feel like my video was attacking her. But she purposely made a video to attack me and my business, which worked.”

Internet sleuths quickly found Kylie’s Kake’s Facebook page and the photos she uses (from Pinterest and other bakers) to promote the classes she teaches, and some have accused her of trying to pass other bakers’ work off as her own.

“Gotta post a picture of someone else’s cake? What, you don’t like your own?” one person commented on a photo she posted of a unicorn cake.

“The freeds logo is in this pic lmao,” commented another, referring to the origin of the unicorn cake image, Freed’s Bakery. The Kylie Kakes account responded with a screenshot of the caption, circling the text, “Picture for inspiration.”

All of this has led Allen to post a follow-up video addressing her critics.

“Since you guys just love to talk about me, and make viral videos about me honestly it’s very funny to me,” Allen says in a video from April 17. “There’s now a viral video going around about how I use other people’s work and that’s not true. I have cake decorating classes in my hometown and I’ve been doing this for years and I use inspiration photos as to what we’ll be creating.”

“I have worked extremely hard to get where I am … you guys have nothing going on with your life and yourself have so much to say about a situation that you don’t know the full backstory on,” Allen says in conclusion. “I would just keep your mouth shut because it’s not doing anything.”

For Freeman, speaking up was a matter of principle. “I complained because $84 is a lot of money to me, and I felt ripped off,” she tells TODAY.com via email.

“I tried not to worry about the video but it eventually provoked a response from me. After posting a response, I reached out to her waving the white flag,” Freeman says. “I urged locals to continue supporting her small business, because I realize that she has children and needs to be able to provide. She refused to accept my truce.”

Freeman even decided to make her own version of the cake, joining in on the trend many others have taken part in on TikTok, and garnering 1.5 million views on her version of the cake heard ’round the world.

“The cake TRILBY deserved,” Freeman wrote in the video’s caption.

Both Freeman and Allen say that the attention that #CakeGate has attracted greatly outweighs the pounds of frosting spread in its name.

“I feel like there are many other bigger, more important issues happening in the world today, all this debate over cake is pretty silly,” Freeman says, echoing this sentiment in a Facebook post from April 12.

“I didn’t do this to bash anyone, it was just my experience,” Allen says. “I wish that people wouldn’t just jump on bandwagons on TikTok when they actually really don’t know all that went on, you know? it can be really hurtful, especially to a small business, I’m not a corporation, I’m a small business and this is how I feed my family.”

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Individual + Team Stats: Hornets vs. Timberwolves

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CHARLOTTE HORNETS MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES You can follow us for future coverage by liking us on Facebook & following us on X: Facebook – All Hornets X – …

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What went wrong with ‘the Metaverse’? An insider’s postmortem

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What went wrong with 'the Metaverse'? An insider's postmortem


It’s now two years since Facebook changed its name to Meta, ushering in a brief but blazing enthusiasm over “the Metaverse”, a concept from science fiction that suddenly seemed to be the next inevitable leap in technology. For most people in tech, however, the term has since lost its luster, seemingly supplanted by any product with “artificial intelligence” attached to its description. 

But the true story of the Metaverse’s rise and fall in public awareness is much more complicated and interesting than simply being the short life cycle of a buzzword — it also reflects a collective failure of both imagination and understanding.  

Consider:

The forgotten novel

Ironically, many tech reporters discounted or even ignored the profound influence of Snow Crash on actual working technologists. The founders of Roblox and Epic (creator of Fortnite) among many other developers were directly inspired by the novel. Despite that, Neal Stephenson’s classic cyberpunk tale has often been depicted as if it were an obscure dystopian tome which merely coined the term. As opposed to what it actually did: describe the concept with a biblical specificity that thousands of developers have referenced in their virtual world projects — many of which have already become extremely popular.

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Snow Crash.

You can see this lack of clarity in many of the mass tech headlines attempting to describe the Metaverse in the wake of Facebook’s name change: 

In a widely shared “obituary” to the Metaverse, Business Insider’s Ed Zitron even compounded the confusion still further by inexplicably misattributing the concept to TRON, the original Disney movie from the 80s.

Had the media referenced Snow Crash far more accurately when the buzz began, they’d come away with a much better understanding of why so many technologists are excited by the Metaverse concept — and realize its early incarnation is already gaining strong user traction.  

Because in the book, the Metaverse is a vast, immersive virtual world that’s simultaneously accessible by millions of people through highly customizable avatars and powerful experience creation tools that are integrated with the offline world through its virtual economy and external technology. In other words, it’s more or less like Roblox and Fortnite — platforms with many tens of millions of active users. 

But then again, the tech media can’t be fully blamed for following Mark Zuckerberg’s lead.

Rather than create a vision for its Metaverse iterating on already successful platforms — Roblox’s 2020 IPO filing even describes itself as the metaverse — Meta’s executive leadership cobbled together a mishmash of disparate products. Most of which, such as remotely working in VR headsets, remain far from proven. According to an internal Blind survey, a majority of Zuckerberg’s own employees say he has not adequately explained what he means by the Metaverse even to them.

Grievous of all, Zuckerberg and his CTO Andrew Bosworth promoted a conception of the Metaverse in which the Quest headset was central. To do so, they had to overlook compelling evidence — raised by senior Microsoft researcher danah boyd at the time of the company acquiring Oculus in 2014 — that females have a high propensity to get nauseous using VR.

Meta Quest 3 comes out on October 10 for $500.
Meta Quest 3.

Contacted in late 2022 while writing Making a Metaverse That Matters, danah told me no one at Oculus or Meta followed up with her about the research questions she raised. Over the years, I have asked several senior Meta staffers (past and present) about this and have yet to receive an adequate reply. Unsurprisingly, Meta’s Quest 2 VR headset has an estimated install base of only about 20 million units, significantly smaller than the customer count of leading video game consoles. A product that tends to make half the population puke is not exactly destined for the mass market — let alone a reliable base for building the Metaverse. 

Ironically, Neal Stephenson himself has frequently insisted that virtual reality is absolutely not a prerequisite for the Metaverse, since flat screens display immersive virtual worlds just fine. But here again, the tech media instead ratified Meta’s flawed VR-centric vision by constantly illustrating articles about the Metaverse with photos of people happily donning headsets to access it — inadvertently setting up a straw man destined to soon go ablaze.

Duct-taped to yet another buzzword

Further sealing the Metaverse hype wave’s fate, it crested around the same time that Web3 and crypto were still enjoying their own euphoria period. This inevitably spawned the “cryptoverse” with platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox. When the crypto crash came, it was easy to assume the Metaverse was also part of that fall.

But the cryptoverse platforms failed in the same way that other crypto schemes have gone awry: By offering a virtual world as a speculative opportunity, it primarily attracted crypto speculators, not virtual world enthusiasts. By October of 2022, Decentraland was only tracking 7,000 daily active users, game industry analyst Lars Doucet informed me

“Everybody who is still playing is basically just playing poker,” as Lars put it. “This seems to be a kind of recurring trend in dead-end crypto projects. Kind of an eerie rhyme with left-behind American cities where drugs come in and anyone who is left is strung out at a slot machine parlor or liquor store.”

All this occurred as the rise of generative AI birthed another, shinier buzzword — one that people not well-versed in immersive virtual worlds could better understand.

But as “the Metaverse” receded as a hype totem, a hilarious thing happened: Actual metaverse platforms continued growing. Roblox now counts over 300 million monthly active users, making its population nearly the size of the entire United States; Fortnite had its best usage day in 6 years. Meta continues plodding along but seems to finally be learning from its mistakes — for instance, launching a mobile version of its metaverse platform Horizon Worlds.  

Roblox leads the rise of user-generated content.
Roblox.

Into this mix, a new wave of metaverse platforms is preparing to launch, refreshingly led by seasoned, successful game developers: Raph Koster with Playable Worlds, Jenova Chen with his early, successful forays into metaverse experiences, and Everywhere, a metaverse platform lead developed by a veteran of the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

At some point, everyone in tech who co-signed the “death” of the Metaverse may notice this sustained growth. By then however, the term may no longer require much usage, just as the term “information superhighway” fell away as broadband Internet went mainstream.  

Wagner James Au is author of Making a Metaverse That Matters: From Snow Crash & Second Life to A Virtual World Worth Fighting For 

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.

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Social media blocks are “a suppression of an essential avenue for transparency”

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In this photo illustration the word censored is seen displayed on a smartphone with the logos of social networks Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube in the background.

Once praised as the defining feature of the internet, the ability to connect with physically distant people is something that governments have recently been seemingly intent on restricting. Authorities have been increasingly pulling the plug, putting over 4 billion people in the shadows in the first half of 2023 alone

Social media platforms are often the first means of communication to be restricted. Surfshark, one of the most popular VPN services, counted at least 50 countries guilty of having curbed these websites and apps during periods of political turmoil such as protests, elections, or military activity.

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