Websites face criticism for disturbing videos

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Websites face criticism for disturbing videos


YouTube star Logan Paul poses in front of a dead body he found in Aokigahara, the “suicide forest” in Japan. [YOUTUBE SCREEN CAPTURE]

This page features articles written by middle and high school students participating in the Korea JoongAng Daily’s internship program. All articles were written under the guidance of our staff reporters.

The 22-year-old star YouTuber Logan Paul faced major criticism recently due to a video he posted on YouTube. Paul’s video, posted on Dec. 31 last year, was filmed at Aokigahara, known as the “suicide forest” in Japan. Paul was seen laughing and making jokes next to a corpse he found in the forest.

The YouTube star’s actions soon met backlash, mostly criticizing him but also criticizing YouTube for not filtering out inappropriate content.
“Reproaching the YouTube star is not enough, the platform of YouTube should be facing the consequences behind all this criticism,” wrote tech magazine Wired. The controversial video was deleted after some 6.5 million people having already viewed the video. YouTube is being asked to take responsibility for leaving Paul’s video up online even after it went viral.

This incident brought to the surface the loose censorship that not only YouTube, but social media in general, uses. The introduction of a relatively new service, live broadcasting, on many social networking services such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube shed light on what some are calling light censorship. Last year, a gang rape was reportedly live-streamed on Facebook, which led to the arrest of three people.

As this issue of live videos becomes controversial, Facebook explained their censorship policy through a spokesperson. It stated that, “The policy on graphic content is that Facebook does not allow and will take down content depicting violence if it’s celebrated, glorified or mocks the victim. However, violent content that is graphic or disturbing is not a violation if it’s posted to bring attention to the violence or condemn it.” Though users can report any content, Facebook refuses to remove the content if it is not posted for entertainment purposes.

Tumblr, another American social media site, is noted by technology journalists as having a sizeable amount of pornography, along with blogs that glorify suicide and self-harm. The New York Times states “pornography represents a fraction of content on the site, but not a trivial amount for a site with 100 million blogs.” The suicide of a British teenager, Tallulah Wilson, raised the issue of suicide and self-harm promotion on Tumblr, as Wilson was reported to have maintained a self-harm blog on the site.

In response, in February 2012, Tumblr’s staff blog announced that its content policy would change to ban blogs that advocate suicide, self-harm and eating disorders. An analysis conducted by news and technology site TechCrunch showed that over 22 percent of all blogs of Tumblr is classified as harmful content. In addition, a reported 16.45 percent of blogs on Tumblr exclusively contain self-harm and suicidal content.

Tumblr showed a similar response as Facebook toward the Korea Communications Commission’s request to take down pornographic material. Tumblr refused, stating that its site has a range of contents including pornography. It also argued that since it has no physical presence in Korea it is not subject to local laws.

Some governments are taking action. In February 2016, the Indonesian government temporarily blocked access to Tumblr within the country because of the prevalence of porn on it.

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