Logan Paul’s Video Of Suicide Victim - An Unfortunate Metaphor For The Future Of YouTube

We’re only two days into 2018 and it’s already looking like a bad year for YouTube, as it emerged that superstar vlogger and Vine immigrant Logan Paul posted then removed a video containing footage of an apparent suicide victim.

If you didn’t see what happened - Logan Paul posted a video from Aokigahara forest, a notorious suicide spot at the base of Mount Fuji. While out there, they came across a dead body hanging in the tree. 

Instead of doing what many would consider normal behaviour - turning the camera off and finding the authorities - they filmed the dead body from multiple angles and continued to provide a strange commentary of their experience while in front of the corpse.

The video was quickly taken down by Logan, after receiving nearly 600,000 likes from his community, popping up on YouTube’s trending page after receiving over six million views and a whole lot of internet outrage from many people.

Don’t get it twisted from the title - this isn’t only YouTube’s fault. Walking into Japan’s suicide forest with a camera, consciously editing said footage and posting it to an audience of mostly children is sickening. Follow that with Logan’s non-apology on Twitter, claiming three key points:

  1. I’ve never made a mistake before and this is the first time (wrong)
  2. I post videos every day, you can’t blame me if one bad one slipped through the net
  3. I filmed the dead body to raise awareness for suicide prevention

He disrespected this suicide victim, the family of the victim, and people with terrible mental illnesses that drive suicidal thoughts. And for what? Attention. Make no mistake - no matter how much Logan can tell his viewers that he’s not monetising the video, or ask viewers to “like” the video if they are upset, he is a 22-year-old adult - fully aware of his actions and committed to a life permanently lived in front of a camera. 

“Suicide is not a joke,” Logan Paul solemnly says to his audience and the dead body. Yes, to the dead body.

However, by not only allowing this content to all audiences, but handpicking it for their “trending” page, YouTube is complicit in allowing this as acceptable content until public uproar forced Logan’s hand to delete it… That’s right, not YouTube - the original creator, even though showing a dead corpse (unsurprisingly) goes against the site’s terms of service.

So what’s the fix? Well, much to the anger of you, dear reader, I don’t think Logan Paul should be banned from YouTube. He’s not sick-minded, he’s living the life of daily uploads supported by a bigger system.

The lack of time to emotionally comprehend what he and his team saw in the forest led to a woefully misguided piece of content - created in a quick turnaround purely for the sake of making the most of the YouTube.

Put simply, the system needs to change. Better policing and training of what content is acceptable is long overdue, as is obvious by advertisers leaving YouTube behind. 

In a time where mental health is finally being talked about in a serious manner across the planet, this platform really needs to put the health of their creators high on their list of priorities. Don’t encourage a life lived entirely to please a digital audience in mind by celebrating only those who post daily - otherwise, you lose quality and run the risk of more material like this being posted. (See also: the benefit of digital disconnection).

Change your ways, YouTube, as the platform is slowly but surely killing itself in the eyes of internet users everywhere.

I believe there is an incredibly exciting future for YouTube, with a slew of genuinely talented creators easily helping you procrastinate with amazing videos. Don't let them down.

If you are affected by this story in any way, or are feeling suicidal in any way, please talk to someone. In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found atwww.befrienders.org.