Despite the controversy surrounding YouTube celebrity Logan Paul (thanks to a string of videos exploiting an apparent suicide and tasering a rat), the young media personality hasn’t done anything to warrant being kicked off of the platform that made him a star.
That’s according to chief executive Susan Wojcicki, who defended her company’s treatment of Paul’s video controversy on stage at the Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Calif.
While YouTube has suspended Paul’s ability to monetize videos through ads, it has not booted him from the platform — a step Wojcicki said could only be taken if a user violates YouTube’s content policies.
“We terminate accounts all the time,” Wojcicki said. Things that get accounts terminated include the promotion of drug use, the promotion of hate or use of hate speech, violent activities, releasing private information about individuals and adult content. “These are guidelines to be part of our community and we outline clearly the strikes,” Wojcicki said.
Since Paul’s videos — though tasteless and awful — did not violate YouTube’s policies, the company was forced to take other actions to throttle the star’s ability to make money off of the platform.
“We took two actions — a removal from our premium monetization and a hold of all of our original shows,” Wojcicki said. “And due to a pattern of egregious behavior we have decided to suspend monetization.”
Wojcicki insisted that YouTube was consistent across the platform, enforcing the rules that it can while not becoming an arbiter of what content can be distributed. “We need to have consistent behavior,” she said. “What you think is tasteless other people might not think is tasteless [so] we need to have consistent rules.”
Even without terminating an account, Wojcicki said that taking away the monetization is powerful in itself and a line in the sand for what the company will and won’t allow on its platform.
She also emphasized the steps that YouTube has committed to take to ensure that inappropriate content isn’t distributed.
In the past year alone, YouTube has run afoul of parents — thanks to inappropriate content distributed under the guise of children’s entertainment — and advertisers for its distribution of what Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed called “toxic content”.
As a response YouTube’s parent company, Google, will hire 10,000 people to examine content and ensure that featured videos do not include material that could be considered inappropriate.
“It’s really important to see where are you drawing the line. on one side is censorship and on the other side is too much freedom,” Wojcicki said. “You can go too far and censor content that is really important for the world to see. Where do you draw those lines? You need to go to the experts. You need to talk to the experts and you need to determine how to do this globally.”