In late December, YouTube personality Logan Paul uploaded a video that featured a recently-deceased man who killed himself in Japan’s infamous “Suicide Forest.” YouTube itself was criticized for not taking action fast enough, but now the company has updated its policies in an attempt to better address situations like this in the future.
If a channel uploads a video that YouTube believes can cause “widespread harm” to other content creators, viewers, and advertisers, the company can now take additional steps. These include suspending or canceling premium monetization programs, suspending a channel’s ability to feature ads, and removing a channel’s eligibility to be a recommended video on YouTube.
Ariel Barden, Vice President of Product Management at YouTube, had this to say about the site’s updated policies:
“We believe strongly in the freedom of expression and we know that the overwhelming majority of you follow the guidelines and understand that you’re part of a large, influential, and interconnected community. But we also know that we have a responsibility to protect the entire community of creators, viewers, and advertisers from these rare but often damaging situations. We expect to issue these new consequences only in a rare handful of egregious cases, but hope they will help us prevent the actions of a few from harming the broader community.”
Since the controversial video in the suicide forest, Logan Paul has found himself in hot water yet again for the content in his subsequent videos, which showed Paul tasering dead rats as well as encouraging his viewers to eat Tide pods. Following yet another outcry, YouTube decided to enact its new policies, “temporarily” preventing Logan Paul from making money from ads on his YouTube videos.
Some have been praising YouTube for creating and enacting these new policies, as it should help the site be quicker about responding to situations like this. However, others have criticized the company for not being stricter with Logan Paul, with many pointing to the significant revenue Paul brings in as a reason why his monetization is permanently suspended.
Moving forward, it’s clear that there will be less tolerance for offensive and potentially harmful content on sites like YouTube and Twitch. In the future, it will be interesting to see how these new policies impact popular creators that have a tendency to find themselves in trouble, like Logan Paul and PewDiePie.