By John Eppich
This year has only just begun, and the internet is filled with controversy.
One controversy in particular created a huge media frenzy within the first two days of the year. Logan Paul, a YouTuber, Vine celebrity and Ohio native, had recorded a series of vlogs in Japan where he and his friends caused trouble and showed huge amounts of disrespect to the culture.
The storm began when Paul uploaded a video from Aokigahara Forest. This forest is known predominantly for being a popular spot for Japanese people to commit suicide, granting it the moniker of the Suicide Forest by many.
While Paul and others were filming, they came across a recently deceased body of a man who had hanged himself just moments ago. Instead of contacting the authorities and putting down his camera, Paul kept filming and captured close-ups of the body. The video also included Paul laughing and making the situation all about himself, sparking huge outrage amongst content creators and viewers alike.
The video was originally trending on YouTube, which in 2017, faced many controversies with extremist recruitment videos and other inappropriate content. The video was later taken down by Paul, not YouTube, which led to many advertisers and creators to demand answers for what the company was doing to punish Paul. YouTube eventually came out with a statement that they were working on taking the proper measures to make sure nothing of this nature were to reoccur.
There was even more outrage after this statement as people felt that Paul was not being punished for his actions — which violated the site’s terms of service. There were petitions made to have Paul removed. YouTube seemed to not be listening to the public plea to have Paul — who had at this point been found to have created videos of himself being disrespectful during his entire time in Japan — removed. He even posted a video of himself being kicked out of a shrine in Asakusa for being obnoxious and distracting to the locals who were praying.
YouTube did make changes. The first was making it harder for content creators to be able to become a YouTube Partner by raising the bar from 10,000 lifetime views to 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 views within the last 12 months. They are also introducing a program where a live person must approve content on their site in order for there to be advertisements on a video. All these changes will be in full effect by February of this year.
To me, these changes were completely necessary as it was far too easy for horrible channels to become partners. This led to the controversial issues plaguing YouTube for quite some time now. Although I would have liked to see Paul kicked from the site entirely for how immature he acted while in Japan during a significant holiday for Japanese people, I think these changes will keep other people like the creator from producing this type of content.
YouTube is a place for art and community. It is not a place to show off just to get likes.
To anyone who may be angry about the new rules, I understand, but sadly when there are bad apples such as Paul and other horrible content creators, it spoils the fun for everyone else. I think these rules really will cut out any channels creating content strictly for monetary gain. When you are only driven by greed, things like this can occur.
Do I think these rule changes are perfect, absolutely not, but I find that these rules are just the start of what YouTube needs to keep itself afloat and remove those who produce inappropriate content to their site.