Who likes Jake Paul more than PewdiePie

If you watch videos on Youtube, you run the risk of seeing offensive, inappropriate or even cruel images. The current debate about the US Youtuber Logan Paul shows what that can mean.

Paul had uploaded a highly controversial video on New Year's Eve. In the vlog, a kind of diary entry in video form, he and a few friends can be seen discovering a suicide victim in a forest in Japan, addressing the dead person and making jokes. The video is difficult to bear. Nevertheless, it garnered around six million viewers within a few hours and climbed into the top ten YouTube trends before Paul - after a wave of criticism - deleted it.

Logan Paul advertises with a dead person - and earns from it

Paul's misstep raises several questions: How far do Youtubers go to get clicks? Why didn't Youtube delete its video? What does the video and the reactions to it say about our society?

The first question is the easiest to answer: Many Youtubers go very, very far for success. On his trip to Japan, Paul deliberately chose the Aokigahara forest as a filming location. Many people commit suicide there every year. The vlog was supposed to be a kind of horror challenge. Paul continues to film when he and his friends accidentally discover the body. The Youtuber and his editor then discuss the video material and decide to publish it - the editor explained this in a tweet that has since been deleted. As a preview image on YouTube, Paul chooses a section on which the dead person can be seen in the background. He also points this out in the heading. Logan Paul, 22 years old, social media megastar with around 15 million mostly underage fans on Youtube, advertises a suicide victim - and earns money from it.

Youtube didn't lock or delete the video

Paul is by no means the only star on Youtube who catches clicks with ethically questionable content. A year ago, the Swede Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg, with 59 million fans the biggest in the Youtube universe, had a sign held up for five dollars that read "Death to all Jews" in English. The Hamburger Ahmad Ahadi, better known to his two million fans as "ApoRed", pretended to have a bomb in front of the camera in 2016. Ahadi has now been given a suspended sentence.

However, it remains unclear why Youtube did not immediately block and delete Paul's video. Apparently it is not because it was not detected by the algorithm that is supposed to automatically detect inappropriate content. As a tweet is supposed to show, users reported the video on January 1st and a Youtube employee checked it. He apparently did not find any violation of the community guidelines, because the video remained online for the time being and can be viewed without age restriction. Youtube expressly forbids the uploading of violent or cruel content. So far there has only been one general statement from the Google subsidiary that confirms this stance. In addition, the company wanted to face the SZ so far not comment. It is not known whether Paul will face the consequences.