The Problem With YouTube's Response to Logan Paul's Controversial Video
Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
“Actions speak louder than words.” It’s an adage as old as time, meaning if you truly wish to see the inner workings of a person, you look at their actions over their words.
On December 31, 2017, YouTube content creator Logan Paul uploaded a controversial vlog from the Aokigahara forest in Japan. While the Aokigahara forest has become known for the paranormal happenings of the area, it has also become known as the “Suicide Forest.”
On December 31, 2017, YouTube spoke louder than it ever has before.
Over 6.3 million views and 550,000 likes were placed upon Paul’s video — the internet was up in arms. Whether it was on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr or in the YouTube comments themselves, Logan Paul became the center of what I believe to be one of the fastest and most aggressive backlashes to grace the worldwide web — and YouTube said nothing.
It took the backlash of the internet as a whole before Logan Paul removed the video from his vlog channel, and YouTube did nothing.
On two occasions, Logan Paul posted an apology, both to Twitter and YouTube, and YouTube did nothing.
On Tuesday, YouTube released an apology stating,
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. We partner with safety groups such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide educational resources that are incorporated in our YouTube Safety Center.
Yet if you venture over to YouTube and type, “Logan Paul” into the search bar, you’ll find Logan Paul’s 15 million subscriber vlog channel still remains. You’ll find the apology video Paul posted. You’ll find all of Paul’s “social experiment” videos remain in their place on his channel playlist.
You’ll find that when it comes down to it, YouTube did nothing.
If actions truly speak louder than words, I believe YouTube has shouted from the mountaintops. YouTube is known for its algorithm that demonetizes videos surrounding certain “sensitive” topics, meaning it removes the possibility of making money from advertisements placed on videos. But Logan Paul recently came under under fire for allegedly monetizing his “apology” video, meaning YouTube and Paul made money from advertisements placed on it. Since the allegations, Logan has reportedly demonetized the video, but some reports suggest he could have made around $20,000 before he turned the ads off.
News outlets, content creators, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, etc. have called for YouTube to make a stand and do something about Logan Paul. Petitions circulate the internet, calling for YouTube to remove Logan Paul’s channel from the site. The internet community calls for Logan Paul to be stricken from the records and removed from YouTube.
And yet, YouTube has chosen to speak with their actions over their words. I believe YouTube, with the chance to make a difference and create an actual change, with the chance to stand up and say, “We will not stand for this content. We will stand with those who struggle mental illnesses and depression,” has instead decided to say of Logan Paul, “You are money. We look at you and see dollar signs.”
YouTube has already said more in their silence than they have in press releases or comments. In my opinion, YouTube has shown what matters to them. I believe YouTube has taken Logan Paul’s side so they can cash-in.
Congratulations, YouTube — you’ve stood by Logan Paul and given him the infamy he so desperately sought, and silenced a million voices at once.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Screenshot via Logan Paul Vlogs YouTube channel