Op-ed: Logan Paul tases a dead rat, draws YouTube’s harshest crackdown yet

Today, YouTube announced that it has temporarily suspended all ads on 22-year-old prankster Logan Paul’s channel, cutting off what is estimated to be nearly $1 million in monthly revenue. The crackdown came after Paul pulled a live fish from the water to give it faux CPR as it squirmed, then shot a dead rat with a taser in one of the first videos after his return.

Paul had taken a hiatus from YouTube after he was rightly and widely criticized for uploading a video with a dead body he found in a forest in Japan known for its suicides. Initially, he returned with an apologetic video and a promise to change his ways and focus efforts on suicide prevention. Very quickly, though, he was back to his old antics.

YouTube provided the following statement to The Washington Post when it announced the suspension:

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Google to vet YouTube videos that are part of its top-tier ad program

After punishing one of its fastest-growing creators this week, Google is reportedly planning on scrutinizing YouTube videos that are part of its most lucrative advertising program. According to a Bloomberg report, Google will begin vetting YouTube videos in the Google Preferred ad program, which Google uses to sell advertisements on the most popular YouTube channels at higher rates. In turn, creators with channels in Google Preferred get a better cut of the advertising revenue than those on Google’s lower-tier advertising programs.

Google’s plan isn’t much different from previous plans for policing the majority of videos on YouTube. The company will use the combined forces of its 10,000 human moderators and artificial intelligence software to identify videos posted by the biggest channels that violate YouTube’s guidelines and are not suitable for advertisements.

Videos that are part of Google Preferred have always been governed by YouTube’s general Community Guidelines and posting rules that define offensive and unacceptable content. But a number of videos posted by popular accounts have fallen through the cracks recently, including Logan Paul’s “suicide forest” video.

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