It's been a controversial few weeks for YouTube. Ever since ill-advisedly promoting a video showing a suicide victim from celebrity vlogger Logan Paul, the platform has come under an intense level of scrutiny. The channel has received criticism from many members about their continued association with the popular internet personality. After multiple calls for a ban and removal from "Google Preferred", Paul has now taken a self imposed hiatus from broadcasting on the platform.
While it may seem as though the situation has been resolved, there has been an unintended consequence of YouTube's approach. Such was the criticism that they received for their handling of the Logan Paul incident, YouTube seem to be compensating by looking to ban anything that could be construed as inappropriate. Perhaps surprisingly, some of the biggest victims of this approach seem to be food vloggers.
In the days after the Logan Paul furore, it was revealed that YouTube had handed prominent vlogger Kevin Strahle (also known as "L.A Beast") a three month livestream ban after eating a live cockroach. The video was actually shot in 2013, but Strahle has only now received retroactive punishment. That this ban has only now be implemented seems more than just coincidence.
Strahle's channel specialises in the consumption of unusual and often unpalatable dishes. In some of his most popular videos, Strahle can be seen eating a whole cactus and disposing of a 20 year-old bottle of Crystal Pepsi. Both videos have pretty disastrous consequences.
Some of Strahle's videos may be, both literally and figuratively, in pretty bad taste. However, the idea of any ban, however temporary, seems a little overboard. His channel comes with a warning against replicating any of his stunts at home and any of the more extreme stunts are all clearly labelled as containing potentially off-putting content. It doesn't seem too much of a stretch to suggest that without the Logan Paul incident, Strahle would have escaped any form of punishment.
“...@youtube promoted the showing of a suicide on their trending page with no punishment to @LoganPaul but banned @KevLAbeast from live streaming for 3 months because he ate a dead cockroach. This is really the current state of youtube. Any response @TeamYouTube?”
Whatever you may think about the efficacy of insect eating, something that millions do around the world on a daily basis, to ban someone else because of a completely separate incident feels more than a little unfair.
Such is the size of the free video platform that it seems unlikely that Strahle's ban will have any real immediate impact on YouTube itself. However, their recent actions could be indicative of a wider shift in favour of content creators like Paul and away from food specialists. Not only would this be bad news for foodies, but a lack of diverse content and seemingly biased approach to moderating will ultimately impact how the site is perceived in the future. With the world still awaiting direct comment from YouTube, it remains to be seem how this situation will finally be resolved.