The internet was outraged by Paul's video titled "We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest." It showed extensive footage of a suicide victim filmed in the wooded area near Mt. Fuji, and though the person's face was blurred, his clothes and nearby belongings were visible.
Paul deleted the post less than 24 hours after posting it for more than 15 million subscribers, but not before it racked up six million views — and got the green light by YouTube's moderation team.
A member of YouTube's own "Trusted Flagger" content assessment team posted a screenshot that confirmed the video had been approved on January 1 after a viewer flagged it as inappropriate for the platform.
"Logan Paul's video was reported and YouTube manually reviewed it; they decided to leave it up without even an age restriction… people who have re-uploaded it since have received strikes for graphic content. Ridiculous," YouTube moderator Ben wrote on Tuesday. He included a screenshot showing that the video had been both flagged and approved manually.
Logan Paul's video was reported and YouTube manually reviewed it; they decided to leave it up without even an age restriction... people who have re-uploaded it since have received strikes for graphic content. Ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/Hj9lyiQwE2— Ben (@TrustedFlagger) January 2, 2018
This information reveals that a person who is hired by YouTube to remove unsuitable content from the platform watched the "Japanese Suicide Forest" video that showed a real corpse hanging from a tree, only to decide it was appropriate for all ages on the video site.
Not only did the flagged video get approved by a moderator, it held steady as one of the top ten trending videos on the page during its time online. This not only gave it additional viewership outside of Paul's following, it became exposed to the mass number of minors who visit the video platform.
YouTube's guidelines state that "it's not okay to post violent or gory content that's primarily intended to be shocking, sensational, or disrespectful."
And in Paul's video, he issued a viewer discretion warning at the start of the video and noted that he had not monetized the video, which he called "the most real vlog I've ever posted on this channel." He told viewers to "buckle the f— up, because you're never gonna see a video like this again."
Paul's intention for posting the gruesome content was clearly to "shock" his audience, something that explicitly goes against YouTube's own guidelines.
The platform's problem is that individual human moderators have different standards and biases for what content should be deemed acceptable.
"I would have age restricted it…" Ben told his followers. But because re-uploads of the video have been stricken, he called the situation "unfair all around. But not unexpected that someone like Logan would be given special treatment."
Paul has since apologized for posting the insensitive video, while YouTube hasn't said much on the matter.
"The goal with my content is to entertain, to push the boundaries, to be all inclusive. In the world I live in I share almost everything I do. The intent is never to be heartless cruel or malicious," Paul said after he infuriated social media users.