In the past year, the content sharing website YouTube has revamped its policies to be stricter on what can be uploaded, said in videos and so on. Many have reacted to this by saying that the system doesn’t catch everything, and in this case, YouTube failed. One of YouTube’s most popular uploaders, Logan Paul, posted a video on the website for which many criticized both him for uploading and YouTube for not catching sooner.
Logan Paul is a vlogger who uploads his daily life with videos that are usually at least 10 minutes long. With over 15 million subscribers, it is clear that Paul has a large audience that is also very young and impressionable.
Recently, Paul has been posting videos on his trip to Japan with his vlogging crew. Last week, Paul explored the very famous forest named Aokigahara, also widely known as “The Sea of Trees” or ‘The Suicide Forest.” While Paul was in Japan, he led his vlog to explore the forest where he showed a body hanging from a tree by rope in the video. After witnessing the body, one of Paul’s friends says that he doesn’t “feel very good,” and Paul replied with, “you never stand next to a dead guy?” before laughing.
Aokigahara has a historical reputation as being known in Japan as a “home for the dead.” Many know it as a place that the helpless go to commit suicide, which is why the trails are littered with signs encouraging that this is not the end, think of your family and so on. In 2003, 105 bodies were found in the forest, exceeding the previous record of 78 in 2002. In 2010, the police recorded more than 200 people having attempted suicide in the forest, of whom 54 completed the act. Suicides are usually said to increase during March, the end of the fiscal year in Japan. Suicides in this forest are usually done by overdose or hanging.
Paul’s video was up on the website for hours before it was taken down. He has since apologized saying he meant to “raise awareness for suicide awareness,” though many viewers and non-viewers have not accepted it.
Not even when filming, editing, or uploading did you EVER think twice about what you are doing. Your dumbass don't deserve a platform.
— անի❂ (@anibobaniii) January 2, 2018
What really irks me about this whole Logan Paul situation is that people are defending the man by says he's a kid who was out of his depths. He's an adult with a child audience that deliberately set out to record, edit and upload the body of a suicide victim for views.
— Kay Williams (@kayette11) January 3, 2018
Contributors to the website have also commented about Paul’s actions and YouTube’s monetizing of the video even though it is against their policies.
logan paul posted a video featuring a literal dead man and it gets PROMOTED by youtube, yet today EVERY video I’ve made in the last 3months has been demonetised? lmaooooowhydoIbother pic.twitter.com/zypZmFGRYm
— tom (@tom_harlock) January 2, 2018
— Casey Neistat (@CaseyNeistat) January 2, 2018
YouTube has since apologized and confirmed with CNN Tech that they recognize that the video should have been taken down much sooner:
“Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video. YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner. If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated.”
YouTube has given their policies a makeover in the past year. “It’s not okay to post violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational, or gratuitous,” the company’s guidelines clearly state. “If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional context and information.” This raises an important question: if this is stated in the polices, why was the video up so long?
To answer the question, it most likely came down to money. It’s no secret that both Logan and his brother, Jake (who has 12 million subscribers to Logan’s 15 million), make huge amounts of money for themselves and the platform on which they upload. Both of them have young audiences that consume their content so much that it makes YouTube big dollars.
Both Paul brothers have young audiences, and the fact that this video had an impression on young minds is devastating. Hopefully, due to this situation, Logan and his brother will both take a lesson away from this and refrain from repeating the mistake. As for YouTube, the process for reviewing and monetizing videos needs to be reassessed. Here’s to hoping that this changes soon and YouTube becomes a better and safer place for young viewers.