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The Logan Paul Effect

Nathan Currier, News Editor/Writer

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YouTube celebrity and internet personality, Logan Paul, has been in media firestorm recently over a controversial video released on his channel concerning his trip within Japan’s Aokigahara forest, otherwise known more locally known as, “The suicide forest”.

Logan Paul’s fame known from his days as a “Vinestar”, an older platform that you record 6-7 second videos on anything.Both Logan, and his brother Jake Paul were known for their antics on the platform and comedy videos. Since then, Logan Paul’s channel has been following a similar format, but in longer form vlog style or skits.

As Logan was taking a trip into Aokigahara forest on a designated trail for visitors to walk along, Logan and his film crew decided to venture off trail and explore around. On this little expedition, they found a suicide victim hanging from one of the trees.

Public outrage soon followed the incident, with many taking to twitter or other outlets to express their concerns. The majority of complaints criticized the grotesque and comical nature of the video that surrounds suicide, and how this was able to slip past Logan’s editors of the channel, and was deemed fit to post.

Through this, a somewhat investigative search was formed where they found more videos of Logan Paul during his stay in Japan of how he was harassing shopkeepers, pedestrians in the streets, etc. Afterwards, Logan had published an apology on social media, for it to only be discredited due to the content being more boastful of his viewership and achievements, rather than an actual apology to the situation. Shortly after this, the final video Logan posted was also another apology, this time announcing a break from YouTube.

With Logan Paul being one of the top creators on the platform, sweeping changes have occurred because of the controversial nature of the video, and how it was being brought to the public forefront. The major issue with YouTube ever since being acquisitioned by Google is the lack of profitability the platform has, unlike many other fields Google has invested into, but the fact that there is no other major streaming site that has the technical opportunities and tools available for content creation and the sheer networking means that Google can afford to hemorrhage funds to keep their hold on the platform. When their flagship of content decided to release a controversial video, and a widely criticized one at that, YouTube cracked down on Logan Paul and demonetized the video, restricting advertisements from being shown and removing Logan Paul’s channel from specialized advertisement privileges.

A similar event happened when in late 2017, the Washington Post published an article on how advertisements are being put on ‘inappropriate content’. The example the Washington Post cited were videos containing hate speech or racial slurs. As advertisers started to pull off the platform due to the public relations disaster this caused, Google and YouTube’s reaction was to rapidly demonetize content across the website using different bot programs, even if it was deemed to have ‘inappropriate content’ or not, and creating a private sphere where certain creators get the opportunity for certain specialized advertisement and traffic based on their content and profitability.

Due to these events continuing to snowball, and the problems in their advertisement system becoming more apparent, Google is looking to change their monetization policy for the site by hiring a couple thousand employees to personally review videos before advertisements go on it, which has caused some concerns in the community. YouTuber, Steven Williams, or ‘Boogie2988’ has brought concern to this issue, “With a policy like this in place, this can be either very-very good — or very-very bad.” Williams continued, “It allows YouTube to properly vet their content and make sure videos can get advertised instead of unintentionally flagged by bots… but this opens up the opportunity for censorship. But that’s a different topic for another time.”

Due to these changes in the platform, content creators have been severely hamstrung over the YouTube’s efforts to crackdown on content creators to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Individuals who do run channels on the site are currently seeking to diversify their content and outlets for a sustainable future.

It’s easy to attack people over their antics and their lack of oversight, but the actions of Logan Paul was definitively the final-straw for the platform, and now their actions have far-reaching consequences to the rest of the YouTube community and the platform itself.

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