YouTube is responding to the backlash Logan Paul faces after he posted a video on the site that showed a dead body hanging from a tree. The 22-year-old social media star pulled the video on Monday, but it had already been viewed 6.3 million times.
"Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video," YouTube said in a statement, insisting that the site "prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner."
The statement continued: "If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated."
The site also stated that it partners with safety groups like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline "to provide educational resources that are incorporated in our YouTube Safety Center."
However, before the controversy blew up, the video had gotten the green light from 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 Jan. 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. pic.twitter.com/Hj9lyiQwE2— Ben (@TrustedFlagger) January 2, 2018
"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.
This information revealed that a person who is hired by YouTube to remove unsuitable content from the platform watched the video that showed a real corpse hanging from a tree, only to decide it was appropriate for all ages on the video site.
In the video titled "We Found a Dead Body in Japan's Suicide Forest," Paul and his posse stumble upon a dead body hanging from a tree in Japan's Aokigahara Forest, at the base of Mount Fuji.
Paul addressed finding an apparent suicide victim by apologizing to "Logang" (what he calls his fan community) and saying "this was supposed to be a fun vlog ... this obviously just became very real."
He received backlash for the video almost immediately and removed the video on Monday, a day after sharing it. That same day, he shared an apology on Twitter (in which he mentioned himself no less than 26 times).
"I'm sorry. This is a first for me," he wrote. "I've never faced criticism like this before, because I've never made a mistake like this before."
"I do this s— every day," he continued. "I've made a 15 minute TV show EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past 460+ days. One may understand that it's easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications."
Backlash continued to gain traction and grow stronger, with celebrities and social media influencers calling him out by Tuesday. Paul then shared a second apology, this time in video form, on Twitter. He called the video a "severe and continuous lapse in my judgment" and said he didn't "expect to be forgiven."
"I want to apologize to the internet. I want to apologize to anyone who has seen the video. I want to apologize to anyone who has been affected by mental illness or depression or suicide. But most importantly I want to apologize to the victim and his family," Paul continued.0comments
Paul is especially popular among teens and preteens. Last year, he told 60 Minutes' Bill Whitaker that he "speaks the language of millennials."
"If someone has an idea, it's like 'yeah,' we just run with it, you know?" Paul said.