Logan Paul and Social Media Virality: Where's the Line?
In the wake of the infamous Logan Paul incident filmed on Youtube, and many other incidents across all social media channels, the debate for a social media moral compass has come into play. For those not familiar with the controversy, about three weeks ago Logan Paul, a young YouTube sensation with millions of young followers has uploaded a video of he and his friends walking through a forest where they stumble upon a young person who just committed suicide. The YouTube star has been criticized for filming the corpse of the suicide victim and making light of the situation. YouTube has recently released a statement claiming that they "removed Paul from the Google Preferred ad program and suspended work on his originals" it's unsettling to know that many social media channels have done little to set boundaries on content.
Paul has since released a video on suicide prevention and it now seems like he is back on the YouTube trending list. Like a child that stole someone's candy on Halloween, the parents told them apologize and give only a portion of the candy back. This has a lot of people questioning whether or not YouTube will actually give consequences to those who are financially beneficial (like profitable YouTube sensations) to the company when they do wrong. It begs the question where is the line? What kind of content is being created to make us question about the line?
In this day and age social media has become a commodity in every household across the word, and as a content creator I need to ask myself these questions. Believe it or not, many companies depend on people like Logan Paul to advertise their products. Being a partner on Google, and with the new rules of being monetized on YouTube, will actually make it harder for vloggers to create a following. In the same Verge article Katherine Cross writes "The vile content that is amplified through digital megaphones is a reminder of why ethics and standards can be valuable, especially for the platforms that project the loudest voices in our culture". The lawless style of the internet and previously marginalized voices come with consequences; when content creators like Logan Paul get overnight success and don't have the backing of a celebrity PR firm, people expect YouTube to punish Paul for his actions, not reward him.
Being a viral sensation comes at a price and many brands need to realize this before partnering with an influencer like Logan Paul. If there is one lesson to be learned in all of this it's to do extensive research on any vlogger/influeuncer on any social media star. In the wake of our most recent presidential election, there has been scrutiny against Facebook as well as Reddit for advertising false news articles. With all of this pressure on many social media networks to enforce their rules on hate speech or distasteful content, we should see a change in the content as well. We could only hope that this will mean more consequences to profitable stars on social media.