Whilst it might seem crazy that a story about a YouTuber has made national news, this is the unfortunate world we’re currently living in! On the 14th of February, it was announced that PewDiePie, the world’s biggest YouTuber, has been dropped by Disney and YouTube.
Felix Kjellberg a.k.a “PewDiePie” is a video game commentator, come “comedian” (open to interpretation) who is YouTube’s biggest content creator with over 50 MILLION subscribers.
As well as earning a phenomenal salary, which was recorded at approximately $15 million last year, his ginormous following has secured him some enviable work with Disney’s Maker Studios alongside his own reality show with YouTube.
However, in light of the recent anti-semitic video content, Disney and YouTube have both severed ties with the online sensation. Google have also gone one step further and removed PewDiePie from their premium advertising programme.
There have been a number of instances that have led to accusations of anti-semitism, with the most notable being a video he recently published featuring two men whom he had paid using popular freelancing website Fiverr, with the order of making and holding a sign that read “Death to all Jews” (Yeah…apparently this is comedy…).
You only need to do a quick Twitter search and you’ll find millions of outraged fans defending his content, claiming it was nothing more than a joke, and that those who feel offended should just get over it…
— ease supports felix (@_poods) February 14, 2017
However, whether it was a joke or not is pretty irrelevant. With great power, come’s great responsibility. We need to remember that this boy has 53 million people subscribed to his channel. His videos have racked up over 14 BILLION views, and with an audience of this size, all YouTuber’s have to assume a certain amount of responsibility.
I don’t want to get political on this blog, but with the current political climate, these kind of messages can be very dangerous. If only a minuscule percentage of his audience are influenced by these anti-semitic messages, there could be disastrous consequences.
Both YouTube and the world of influencers are still very very new in the grand scheme of things. The entire USP of YouTube is the creative freedom it offers, meaning ANYONE could be a content creator. Whilst there are some loose regulations around the obvious things, as a user, you pretty much have free reign to upload whatever you want. YouTube content is not subject to the strict regulations that TV and radio are, and YouTubers are not subject to the same processes that a “normal” celebrity would have to go through.
But as one of the most influential platforms of the moment, should it be more heavily regulated?
With the current political and social climate under heavy scrutiny from both the public and media, it appears as though YouTube may need to do more to prevent questionable political, racist or homophobic messages being promoted by its biggest stars.
Whether these messages are being said in jest or not, they’re being watched by easily influenced minds who may assume this behaviour is acceptable out in the real world.
Whatever the answer, with such a massive impact on today’s society YouTube must take responsibility for the actions of its users.
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