This is the most conflicted I have ever felt on a YouTube story. I can't help but feel that everyone striving to create an empathetic, educative moment has buried a suffering, abused individual in feel good clickbait — herself included. I fear for her. https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/22/20701913/shane-dawson-eugenia-cooney-documentary-youtube-tana-mongeau-jake-paul …
Millions watched this young woman dying in front of her camera for 5 yrs, and this is how TubeFilter describes it: "[The doc] clocked massive numbers for both Dawson and his latest subject... [Cooney] stood to gain from the exposé, [growing by] 304k subs" https://www.tubefilter.com/2019/07/22/shane-dawson-eugenia-cooney-doc/ …
In creating an uplifting tone, I fear the response to this overshadowed the lengthy road to recovery ahead, and the unsafe, dangerous environment that contributed to it, and will continue to. Those who called for a 5150 described that environment: https://youtu.be/9lbJA7rk2C4
Anyone with cursory knowledge of YouTube culture watched this for years. There were http://Change.org petitions begging for YouTube to take action and intervene. They never did. No one did, or could. YouTube was silent. https://www.change.org/p/youtube-temporarily-ban-eugenia-cooney-from-youtube …
In March, other YouTubers paraded clickbait about her death — which was absolutely untrue — for views. Viewers watched it. This had been occurring for years. A girl was publicly dying, and she was widely used for YouTube views, and YouTube did absolutely nothing.
I fear that this is not over, that the next clickbait is around the corner. How long will this continue? How many more YouTubers will become Eugenia Cooney or Etika in front of millions without intervention? How many more stories like this will be feel-good packaged for Trending?
Hours after he jumped from the Manhattan Bridge, and days before his body would be recovered from the river, Etika released a disheartened, myopic vlog to YouTube. The dangers of influence it described were an important warning. It was disappeared anyway.
YouTube is proving to be a devastating career trajectory. The stories just keep getting worse. This is what 75% of children want to become when they grow up.
You can follow @_DanielSinclair.
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