YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki is currently taking heat for her Monday statements at Code Media conference in California regarding YouTuber Logan Paul. She confirmed in a panel that the video streaming platform would not be terminating Paul’s channel as he had yet to violate their three-strike policy.
She said, “He hasn’t done anything that would cause those three strikes. We can’t just be pulling people off our platform…they need to violate a policy. We need to have consistent [rules]. This is like a code of law.”
At the moment, YouTube’s current termination policy is that a creator must receive three strikes within three months. These strikes can be either copyright strikes in which the creator has plagiarised someone else’s work or community guidelines strikes which are more complex. On their support site, YouTube states that content that “includes but is not limited to videos that contain nudity or sexual content, violent or graphic content, harmful or dangerous content, hateful content, threats, spam, misleading metadata, or scams” are eligible for a community strike.
We can argue all day about whether Logan Paul showing a victim of suicide should have been tantamount to three strikes, instead of just one. We can also argue about whether any of his other recent videos — such as his recent vlog in which he tasered dead animals — should have qualified him for additional strikes. The fact is however, the head of YouTube herself has confirmed that they will not be forcibly removing Paul from the platform and they seem unlikely to budge on that.
Paul’s damage to the YouTube and its community has been done. A new batch of reactive policies will squeeze out smaller YouTube creators, raising the barrier for entry to the YouTube Partner Programme which allows them to monetize their channel. The perception of YouTubers at large has taken a massive hit, which tech YouTuber iJustine made apparent on Twitter last month saying, “I had multiple people…ask if I too filmed dead bodies for my channel. It feels like the years we’ve spent to be taken seriously was just knocked back to the beginning.”
While YouTube has taken numerous actions against Logan Paul by cutting him from their elite advertising tier, removing his ability to show up in the Recommended/Trending section, stripping back his YouTube Red projects and temporarily suspending advertising across his videos, this course of action is not enough.
Logan Paul might not have three strikes, but he has definitely violated YouTube’s advertiser-friendly guidelines numerous times. Paul’s temporary suspension is just that — temporary — and we still don’t know how long it will last. For all we know, Paul could be making boatloads of money next week.
Sure, keep Logan Paul on YouTube. He has at least 16 million subscribers out there that want to watch him. But permanently block him from earning advertising on the platform and run a label under all of his videos stating that YouTube does not monetize Logan Paul’s videos for transparency’s sake.
If YouTube committed to fully demonetizing his channel and any future channels he creates, it would be a good faith move to advertisers that they would never be associated with a Paul video again. With huge brands like Unilever threatening to move away from “toxic” social media platforms, if they left then it could herald another adpocalypse, a recession in earnings for all YouTube channels on the platform.
A total advertising ban would also do what the platform has yet been able to do: protect its creators and its audience. It would send the message that there are standards of behavior unacceptable on the platform not just to the community, but to the greater world around them. It needs to be understood that Logan Paul is the anomaly, not the norm.
Permanently demonetize Paul’s channel. Making money on YouTube should be a privilege, not a right. And while he may have brand endorsements and merchandise, the revenue cut might do what YouTube has said it won’t – force him off YouTube to find another platform.