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Can’t we say goodbye to Logan Paul already?

Why we're partially to blame for the YouTube star's reckless behaviour

YouTube finally demonetized Logan Paul’s videos.

Unfortunately, it’s only temporary. And we’re partially to blame.

Logan Paul, a 22-year-old YouTube star with over 16 million subscribers, has been under fire for his Dec. 31 video of Japan’s “suicide forest” and, more recently, for tasering a dead rat.

He has shown that, despite revealing outrageous content — including a dead body — in his vlog, he is able to make money through viewership and subscribers.

But why?

Though many purportedly hate what he does, a lot of us still watch his content.

Researchers such as Bridget Rubenking at the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of  Central Florida, Annie Lang at Indiana University Bloomington, and psychiatrist Dr. David Henderson point to biological functions that explain why we cannot look away from tragic or disgusting content in entertainment media.

Although there are evolutionary and biological reasons for why we continue to watch controversial content, they are no excuse for how long YouTube took to remove advertising from Paul’s videos.

At the core, when Paul gains viewers and subscribers, YouTube ultimately benefits in revenue. It’s a business. Why would it want to remove a source of money?

Ariel Bardin, YouTube’s vice-president of product management, admitted in a blogpost that the site’s response to controversial content was sometimes “slow and didn’t always address our broader community’s concerns.”

YouTube is aware of the concentration of contentious content on its channel, but it still provides an excuse.

In the blogpost, Bardin chalks up YouTube’s lack of a better response to scandalous videos to its belief “in the freedom of expression,” and “a responsibility to protect the entire community of creators, viewers and advertisers from these rare but often damaging situations.”

That’s fine, but it’s too late. YouTube continued to allow a creator to provide content despite a pattern of reckless behaviour.

The choice to upload a video of a dead body in Aokigahara Forest in Japan should have been enough to suspend this creator indefinitely.

That didn’t happen.

We must take it upon ourselves to be aware of careless creators and simply ignore their content, without thinking twice.

So, if you know a video was created by Logan Paul, don’t press play.