YouTuber Jake Paul is launching a new program — Financial Freedom Movement (FFM). FFM’s goal — to get youth to pursue financial independence via YouTube stardom aspirations, self-branding and a social media presence. The program’s price tag: $19.99 a month. FFM’s launch is drawing attention for various reasons, among them its target audience of young internet users vulnerable to social media influencers and a focus that disses the traditional education.
FFM Versus Education
“Worthless.” This is how Paul described education when taking to social media to tout FFM’s February 15 launch party. Paul wrote, “I’m sick of our education system and how it’s teaching kids 0 real life skills for them to secure there own future…I was the kid in class who was the smartest but wouldn’t apply myself because I thought it was so stupid to be sitting there.” Paul dropped out of school after 11th grade, eventually completing his diploma through an online course.
Twitter users were quick to call out the statement, from the obvious grammatical errors to him discrediting education to his very young audience.
The FFM launch party extended the conversation around education’s importance (or lack thereof) when Paul and company carried signs proclaiming: School sucks start a YouTube channel today.
FFM is in a partnership with GenZ Holdings Inc., a Los Angeles-based brand development group targeting Millennials and Generation Z audiences. The program features curated content from social media influencers and business entrepreneurs, like Paul. For paying subscribers, there’s access to weekly group video calls with Paul and guest experts.
Buzzfeed writer Lauren Stapagiel tried out the service, writing that the educational content is nothing “groundbreaking” and something that could be found in free how-to videos elsewhere.
Paul’s impetus? In an interview with Variety he said he wants FFM to serve as an example of being an influencer for good by empowering kids to bypass typical careers in lieu of digital entrepreneurship. Paul added that, to him, financially independence means being able to go on two-month vacations and throw over-the-top parties. The promise of luxury and lavish living seems to be the real pushing point for his practices.
Critics question: is FFM just another cash grab?
A History of Controversy
Over the years, Paul has tried his hand at various media platforms. He briefly starred in Disney Channel show Bizaardvark. Together with his brother, he rose to internet fame on the social media app Vine. Now, he heads one of the largest YouTube channels with 19.8 million subscribers, and extends his presence to Twitter with 3.7 million followers. and Instagram with 13 million followers.
Paul is also under constant fire for how he treats his younger audience, from inappropriate content to actually conning them out of money.
Back in 2017, Paul launched Edfluence, a program aimed at raising the next generation of social media influencers. He advertised a $7 “entrance” fee to gain access. Users were then directed to a page that asked for another $57. Younger kids looking to make achieve social media stardom jumped at the opportunity, only to come up empty on a site with no true access. A year into business, Edfluence shut down.
It’s hard to say if FFM will have a similar fate, or if it really will take off and help those paying for it. However, the tantalizing promise of ditching a traditional 9-to-5 route for laidback luxury does seem too good to be true.