YouTube Pledges $5 Million to Fund 'Positive' Videos
Expect more positivity and less suicide mockery on YouTube in 2018. Following the Logan Paul "suicide forest" video controversy, YouTube this week promised to spend $5 million this year funding videos that promote positive social messages.
In a blog post, YouTube's Head of Public Policy Juniper Downs said the Google-owned company will use the money to expand Creators for Change, a program it launched in 2016 to support YouTubers who are "tackling social issues and promoting awareness, tolerance and empathy" on their channels.
"We will engage more creators in the program, arm the wider YouTube community with new tools and education on how to create change, and empower more young people to use their voices to encourage positive social messages," Downs wrote. As part of the effort, the company plans to provide production and marketing support "to diverse voices harnessing the power and scale of YouTube in groundbreaking, positive ways." Production grant recipients will be announced "in the coming months."
Downs said that Creators for Change videos garnered "tens of millions" of views last year.
"Video is a powerful medium to open minds to new perspectives and shared experiences," he wrote. "And we think Creators for Change in 2018 will reach and inspire even bigger audiences."
The pledge follows the controversy over YouTube star Logan Paul's "suicide forest" video, which sparked major backlash online. The video, which appeared to show a dead body in Japan's infamous Aokigahara forest, also known as "suicide forest," has since been removed.
Following the backlash, YouTube removed Paul from its Google Preferred program, which lets brands run ads on videos from the most popular YouTube channels, according to Hollywood Reporter. The company also cut Paul from the upcoming season of Foursome, a comedy show on its premium YouTube Red service.
"Suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views," YouTube wrote on Twitter. The company said it's taking steps to "ensure a video like this is never circulated again."