Everyone is aware of what awful idiots YouTubers can be, a while back it was the racism and anti-Semitism of Pewdeipie, now it’s Logan Paul, again.
Logan Paul has once again caused more controversy for the sake of those sweet clicks. The insensitive idiot displayed a concerning lack of tact when posting footage on New Year’s eve of the body of a man who had apparently committed suicide in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, and wound up publicly apologizing and taking several weeks off from his daily vlogging channel. Paul returned to YouTube January 24 with a suicide prevention PSA called “Be Here Tomorrow.”
But within weeks, he was back to his old ways of being a contrarian asshole for the sake of popularity and wealth. On February 5, he uploaded a video that shows him using a taser to shock dead rats and “performing CPR” on a sick fish. YouTube responded by pulling ads from his channel. This was all in the same week as he made a “joke” about eating Tide Pods on Twitter, to his mostly teenage fanbase.
Logan Paul’s comeback video even featured a spoof that openly bragged about controversy being good for his subscriber count. He clearly refuses to even try and learn why his behavior is unacceptable. He even goes on a rant about how “the media twists things”, all while pushing his merchandise.
How outright animal cruelty isn’t worthy of a permanent ban for someone with a history of abusive and idiotic behavior is beyond me. I guess he’s just such a stunningly talented creator that YouTube can’t get rid of him. Just ignore these guys filming suicide victims, lighting furniture on fire, and climbing atop news vans like the worst rambunctious child.
In a clearly targeted response, that doesn’t call Paul out by name, YouTube announced that it was introducing more stringent controls on content to prevent this kind of behavior.
It’s a sad reflection of the future when this behavior not only consistently occurs, but is excused and defended by the masses and the systems that enable it. And even though YouTube is tightening rules against this behavior, it’s not enough.
“In the past, we felt our responses to some of these situations were slow and didn’t always address our broader community’s concerns, our ultimate goal here is to streamline our response so we can make better, faster decisions and communicate them clearly.”
Creators who violate community guidelines will now face loss of ad revenue and potential exclusion from participation in YouTube’s premium monetization and promotional programs, and could additionally be terminated from the partner program. You might be thinking that this will help the issue, hang on just a second.
Logan Paul is ruining YouTube because he only cares about how much money he can squeeze from ads. Hard-working creators who put in effort to make quality content are consistently being punished and marginalized because YouTube’s core design is built around the idea of causing as much of a stir as possible. For all his terrible behavior, Logan Paul is just a symptom of a greater problem with YouTube. A problem that goes right down to the core of their business model.
Look at the way their recommendations work – if you as a user watch one video on a subject – YouTube will assume that you want more content like that; they’ll begin inundating you with similar, potentially unwanted, content. The major problem is that the algorithms which control these systems are no replacement for human judgment. This can often lead to users abusing recommendations by inserting deceptive thumbnails and titles that expose users to offensive content.
Say for example, you watch a video that even passingly mentions far-right and anti-intellectual YouTubers, these algorithms will then recommend the channels being discussed for you to watch, regardless of whether you wanted to see them or not. The entire point of YouTube is to create a swirling echochamber of opinions that confirms your assumptions, not challenges them. That way they keep you watching for longer, and earn more ad revenue. It’s all made worse by the fact that many kinds of extremist ideas are enjoying a global resurgence due to current social and economic trends. YouTube doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and the dominance of the platform for video content is having an observable negative effect by further empowering these kinds of behavior.
And this is one of the many reasons that political causes like Fascism have found such popularity on the platform. One particularly popular racist and sexist channel loves to claim that women and immigrants are causing the downfall of civilization, that kind of openly far-right rhetoric earned them nearly 300,000 subscribers and hundreds of paying Patrons. This is just one of hundreds of channels on YouTube making bank off of openly racist and sexist content.
If you’re tired of the proliferation of offensive content on YouTube, you might want to check out the Video Blocker addon that helps filter this content. Chrome and Firefox both have this addon. Simply right-click a channel or video and select “Block videos from this channel” to filter them out. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.
This is how YouTube was meant to work apparently. That’s one hell of a “marketplace of ideas” if you ask me.
The chasing of viral hits and the the mimicry of successful content is a huge problem on YouTube, and tighter regulations against offensive content do little to curb the trend as long as YouTube continues to allow the propagation of offensive behavior and extremism on the platform, by design.
And that’s all without bringing up the tendency for YouTube to be too “family friendly”, by consistently demonitizing videos and channels that discuss genuine issues like LGBTQ rights and mental health advocacy.
If YouTube starts to make serious efforts by directly and permanently banning the Neo-Nazis, Jihadists, and controversy-replicating-idiots from its platform, without punishing genuine creators, I might start to have a modicum of respect for them.