Has YouTube Become A Content Cesspool?

Leonel Veizaga, Staff Writer

Over the past year, the video-sharing website known as YouTube has come under tons of fire due to many of the controversies that took place in 2017. Ranging from the algorithm change to multiple videos and channels getting demonetized, so much drama revolving around the Paul brothers (to the point where multiple media outlets reported on these situations), disturbing content being aimed at children finally getting the media’s attention, and an infamous YouTube personality finally getting a taste of his own medicine. However, all of these events have caused people to beg the question: is YouTube becoming a cesspool for horrible content creators?

Unfortunately, all signs point towards the answer being “yes.” It all began with YouTube’s algorithm change that was announced in early 2017. This change was a major blow to many content creators who’ve been on the site for more than a couple of years, as videos that did not fit the “advertiser-friendly” quota of the algorithm were either censored, demonetized indefinitely, or both of these consequences in some cases. The issue has gone to the point where videos concerning the WWE (which is literally PG entertainment) have gotten demonetized, as well as videos concerning drugs (regardless of whether or not the videos are about being against the use of drugs), politics, and even first/third-person shooter games. Even videos with simply one profane word have gotten demonetized. This situation has caused the livelihoods of content creators who make a living off of YouTube videos to go on a downward spiral, but it’s only one of the many problems concerning the website.

Many content creators from the social media platform known as Vine have gone on to post more of their content on YouTube after the app shut down, and out of all of them, the media has focused on the controversial Vine stars Jake and Logan Paul. Jake Paul’s YouTube content consists of daily vlogs and music videos in which he collaborates with his fellow “Team 10” members, and most of these videos have been met with a ton of criticism, due to the fact that Jake and his friends have done egregious stunts such as lighting their pool on fire, causing a stir in the neighborhood, and many of Jake’s preteen fans showing up to the front of his house in swarms. Though Jake’s brother Logan has not gotten as much heat as he has, that changed around the beginning of the new year, when Logan Paul uploaded a vlog of his trip through Japan’s Suicide Forest, where he found the body of a man who had hanged himself and began recording it. The video received tons of backlash due to Logan’s insensitive move to record the body, even when the face was censored.

Moving on to another major event concerning YouTube, the infamous YouTube celebrity known as RiceGum (real name Bryan Le) finally got what he deserved around early October of 2017, as another well known YouTuber by the name of iDubbbzTV (real name Ian Carter) released a video criticizing Le, that video being the latest entry in Carter’s Content Cop series (where he openly criticizes bad content creators.) In the video, Carter lambasted Le for lying about assaulting somebody, making terrible music that is only being made for the purpose of garnering the attention of his preteen fan-base, joking about rape while he was speaking to a rape victim, using a ghostwriter to write his songs, and being a money-hungry egomaniac, with Carter giving the killing blow in the form of a diss track (an important aspect of Le’s musical style.) Le’s response to the video was received poorly, as he kept making excuses for not responding immediately (such as complaining about the video being half an hour long and claiming that Carter was “obsessed” with him) and his diss track in response to Carter’s was bombarded with a million dislikes. Carter then made a second and final video talking about his beef with Le, hammering the final nail in the coffin by dismantling every flawed counterargument that Le proposed in his response. Since then, Le continues to garner more and more views and subscribers, mostly due to the fact that his “loyal” fan-base consists of children that don’t know any better, and Carter has moved on from the situation.

Finally, probably the biggest scandal on the YouTube platform in 2017 was the “ElsaGate” situation. Now, before you click away, this isn’t some Alex Jones conspiracy theory. This is an actual problem that’s plaguing the website, and one that’s been around for at least two or three years. “ElsaGate” consists of these “kid-friendly channels” that usually feature characters like Spider-Man and Elsa (along with other Disney and comic book characters) doing inappropriate things, such as consuming excrement, drinking urine, and other completely revolting acts. Many content creators have already talked about this problem, and have lambasted the YouTube administration team for not doing anything to stop these channels from exploiting the algorithm in order to garner more views. Some have even theorized that the people behind the animated videos of these characters might be child predators and pedophiles, due to the nature of these videos and their comment sections; though evidence has been presented, it hasn’t had a broad effect on the whole aspect of the situation, but it still raised awareness about it nonetheless. Finally, in November 2017, YouTube decided to update their policies on content aimed at children after many parents and the media began to become aware of the scandal, and have since begun mass deletion of channels that fall under the ElsaGate category.

2017 was not YouTube’s best year; heck, it might’ve been its worst. But there’s no denying that those in charge of the website are not happy with some of the decisions that they’ve made in the past year. Still, as long as we’ll all be able to search for the content that we enjoy as individuals, then that’s just fine…as long as videos featuring horrible content creators don’t show up in our recommended videos section.