Throughout the day, people are constantly looking at their phones or computers and more often than not, they are looking at social media. Social media includes Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube, and it holds a heavy influence over people’s lives.
As of 2017, roughly 1.36 billion people use YouTube, and of those people, 136 million have an account. With such a large audience, account holders have a responsibility to uphold integrity not just to themselves, but to their viewers as well.
“YouTube personalities have a responsibility to set a good example for their viewers and should be expected to have the same standard of decency most other public figures have,” said Maddie Minton, a sophomore at East.
Whenever a video is uploaded, the person who uploads it can never know who is watching. The viewer could have all sorts of things that they are dealing with and some things that could be triggering to them. Plus, not everyone has the same opinions on topics. What one person defines as cool, another could define as disgusting. It is the YouTuber’s responsibility to cater to the masses, to try to make everyone happy, but they can not do that all of the time.
YouTube has a set of Community Guidelines that one can view. They can be found below the Policies and Safety information. In the guidelines one can read what can and cannot be uploaded onto YouTube as well as what every single one of their specific rules are. On top of that a viewer has the ability to flag a video if they believe it is inappropriate, but no one can know how often and thorough the content is reviewed.
“Recently, I’ve been really appalled at statements and actions of several YouTubers and I wish their content was more regulated and screened by YouTube itself––especially since there are many younger viewers,” Minton added, regarding incidents like that of Logan Paul.
When vlogger Paul went to Japan, he took his camera with him to record his time there. While he was there, Paul was caught on camera being incredibly insensitive throughout the entire video, leading up to when him and some of his friends found a suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara forest and began to laugh at it.
When the world began to tell Paul that he was wrong and insensitive, the video was quickly removed from his channel after it had received 6 million views in the first 24 hours. Despite the video’s removal, it has quickly been re uploaded by hundreds of people across the internet. As well as that, Paul’s channel has been suspended and Paul’s upcoming projects with YouTube have been put on hold with more to come.
In response to the video, YouTube said “The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences.”
Even though Paul has apologized for the video, it does not change what he has done. It does not change the fact that millions of people have watched the video, discussed the video, and could be influenced because of it. When something is placed on the internet, it is immortalized forever. Years into the future, people could still be impacted by videos on YouTube whether they are good or bad. In the end, it is up to the YouTuber, the person who put that video up there, to be sensitive and thoughtful, because they can never know what can come from someone watching one of their videos.