THE BLOG
31/01/2018 17:17 SAST | Updated 31/01/2018 17:17 SAST

YouTube Changes Have Led To A Sad State Of Affairs

Something needs to be done to save YouTube from its ongoing path to destruction.

Toby Melville/ Reuters

COMMENT

For the past year or so, YouTube and its community have undergone many changes – including the introduction of problematic forces on the video-sharing channel. Many YouTubers and their content cause more harm than any good and leave users with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Something needs to be done to save YouTube from its ongoing path to destruction.

LGBTQ+ bans and censors

At the beginning of 2017, there was an outcry from LGBTQ+ YouTubers when it was revealed that the site was purposefully restricting LGBTQ+ themed videos that it considered "sensitive" to users. YouTube was treating LGBTQ+ videos the same way it categorised videos containing nudity and sex, which is outrageous.

Eventually, YouTube apologised and claimed to have amended the issue – although it continued to be a problem for some users for several months. Nevertheless, it was just a sign of the problems that were to come.

The rise of far-right YouTube accounts

Since Donald Trump's election, neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups and individuals believe their grotesque, dehumanising beliefs have been legitimised. As a result, their presence on social media has increased.

Many of these accounts troll YouTube videos speaking out against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination, clicking "dislike" and posting hate comments.

Mental health issues and suicide were mocked to gain more views.

What's worse is that these far-right YouTube channels are gaining popularity and support. They mock, discriminate and marginalise groups in order to support white-supremacist ideologies, and Youtube has taken absolutely no action against most of them.

The introduction of viners to YouTube

With the death of Vine back in 2016, many viners sought other social-media platforms on which to entertain fans. It was no surprise that some famous Vine users launched YouTube channels.

A select few of the former viners who have gained mass popularity on YouTube are extremely problematic. Case in point, the Paul brothers – Jake and Logan.

Jake Paul has caused "#JakePaulIsOverParty" and "is cancelled" to trend a number of times within the past few months, after his immature, discriminatory video back in August. In it, he calls a fan a "terrorist" because the man is originally from Kazakhstan. The blatant racism and Islamophobia caused uproar, with many people expressing shock and disgust.

Both Jake and Logan create fake beefs with each other – and other YouTubers – to gain views and attention. They create diss tracks that gain millions of views, likes and comments.

They morphed YouTube into a platform that was full of division, fake personas, drama and superficiality.

Perhaps the most shocking recent upload from Logan Paul was a video that purported to show his friends and him discovering the body of a suicide victim. They joked about it – despite it being completely faked.

The fact that Logan edited, uploaded and promoted that video is a serious problem. Mental health issues and suicide were mocked to gain more views.

Overall, YouTube seems on a downward spiral from its former glory days – when it was a friendly, open, inclusive platform for people to express themselves, be themselves and engage in a positive way.

In response, Logan received major backlash from celebrities and fellow YouTubers. There is even a movement to have his account deleted. He has attempted to apologise a number of times – although he has not come across as genuinely sorry for his actions.

In response, YouTube decided to remove him from their show "Foursome" and have subsequently removed him from their "preferred" lists on the site too.

Overall, YouTube seems on a downward spiral from its former glory days – when it was a friendly, open, inclusive platform for people to express themselves, be themselves and engage in a positive way.

Instead, it has taken a U-turn to promote hate. It is up to YouTube and its strategists to decide what to do now.

They can solve this by being more strict – banning discriminatory, oppressive and dehumanising accounts. Otherwise, it will become a festering ground for more hate, division and marginalisation.