A war over fake news and allegations of dishonesty and misrepresentation has broken out between a popular Palestinian video blogger, called Nuseir Yassi, who founded Nas Daily which he describes as a force for good, and The founder of the cacao project Louise Mabulo.
Yassi shot to celebrity status after making one-minute videos each day for 1000 days and accumulating almost 12 million Facebook fans. There are now 43 million followers of the company around the globe.
A self-described UN Environment champion, Mabulo says she supports cacao farmers in the Philippines through her non-profit organization.
Yassi was making videos in Thailand when some of his followers took to social media and implored him to come to the Philippines and make videos about their lives. He relates the incredible experience of his first trip there and how it made him fall in love with the country. As a matter of fact, he returned numerous times and now he has founded a business that employs dozens of people.
As part of its transformation into video journalism, Nas Daily has launched an academy to assist others with learning the skill. In order to accelerate the Academy’s growth, Lightspeed Ventures recently provided $11m in funding
The Cacao Project seemed like a perfect fit when he was approached. Yassin and Mabulo spent time together filming a documentary they thought would provide a unique and intriguing glimpse into a non-profit that had been working to help cacao farmers in the country. It was never released.
Yassi had begun to suspect that the organization wasn’t what it claimed to be, and was instead a for-profit company that exploited farmers rather than helping them.
A decision was made not to publish the documentary. Supporters of Mabulo took to social media to attack him, as well as his company. In particular, they focused on his supposed negative view of Filipinos.
Sometimes they said he made fun of Filipino accents or that he thought Filipinos were poor, and that he didn’t like the country.
Yassi himself decided to post a video explaining his side of the story, including the context of how he found himself in the Philippines, the fact that he has returned repeatedly to the country and decided to even open a business there.
It’s hard to see what motive the blogger has, after investing so much time and money to make a documentary, to then withhold it, unless there was something about the content that made him decidedly uncomfortable.
We have reached out to Yassi’s organization to see if they can provide more details about the nature of his concerns.