Wednesday, January 10, 2018

YouTube considering “further consequences” for Logan Paul over suicide video | UNLIMITED | CMU

Logan Paul

Responding to the latest controversy about the way it monitors content on its platform, YouTube has said that it is “looking at further consequences” for YouTuber Logan Paul. He is the YouTube-hosted content creator who recently sparked controversy after posting a video of himself and friends laughing at the body of someone who had apparently taken their own life in Japan’s notorious Aokigahara forest.

Paul has fifteen million subscribers to his daily vlog channel on YouTube. On New Year’s Eve, during a trip to Japan, he posted a video in which he and friends were walking through the area nicknamed ‘suicide forest’ near Mount Fuji. After coming across an apparent suicide victim, they posed with the body and made jokes. The video received more than a million views and over 500,000 likes before being removed.

After much criticism of the video, Paul issued an apology, saying that his intention had been “to raise awareness for suicide prevention”, but he admitted that posting his video had been “a mistake”.

Subsequently, there have been numerous calls for YouTube to delete Paul’s account, and last night the Google-owned platform finally issued a response. In a statement spread across a series of tweets, the company acknowledged that people had been “frustrated with our lack of communication” and hinted that it was considering the removal of Paul’s vlog channel.

“Like many others, we were upset by the video that was shared last week”, it wrote. “Suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views. As [fellow YouTuber] Anna Akana put it perfectly: ‘That body was a person someone loved. You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness'”.

YouTube’s statement went on: “We expect more of the creators who build their community on YouTube, as we’re sure you do too. The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences”.

Commenting on the company’s delayed response, it added: “It’s taken us a long time to respond, but we’ve been listening to everything you’ve been saying. We know that the actions of one creator can affect the entire community, so we’ll have more to share soon on steps we’re taking to ensure a video like this is never circulated again”.

Quite how, with its automated systems, it would be possible for YouTube to stop videos like this from being uploaded – other than by convincing all humans to acquire some morals – isn’t clear. Nor is it clear what those “further consequences” might be. Though if Paul – who is estimated to make over $500,000 a year from the platform – has the more popular of his two channels deleted, that might be something of a wake up call.


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