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YouTube says Logan Paul video violated its policies

YouTube is once again facing backlash for a gruesome video on its platform.Last week, social media star ...

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 6:10 AM
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 6:10 AM

YouTube is once again facing backlash for a gruesome video on its platform.

Last week, social media star Logan Paul posted a YouTube video, which appears to show a body hanging from a tree in a Japanese forest known for suicides.

The video was widely seen before he removed it. Paul has since apologized, noting he "intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention."

YouTube confirmed to CNN Tech that the video violated its policies, but declined to comment on why it was not taken down sooner.

"Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video. YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner," a YouTube spokeswoman told CNN Tech. "If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated."

But the incident raises questions about why Google-owned YouTube didn't react sooner.

The platform relies on people and technology like machine learning and algorithms to monitor for violent and graphic content.

"It's not okay to post violent or gory content that's primarily intended to be shocking, sensational, or gratuitous. If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional context and information," according to the company's policies.

Other violent content may be age restricted. In addition, YouTube bans videos related to terrorism.

Related: Google cracks down on disturbing cartoons on YouTube Kids

YouTube is no stranger to questions about how it cracks down on content. Late last year, Google was criticized for inappropriate videos on YouTube Kids, the site's child-friendly platform. The videos included profanity and violence.

Videos for YouTube Kids are pulled from the main platform through machine learning and algorithms. However, some videos, such as cartoons that appear age appropriate, can fall through the cracks.

Google recently rolled out new policies to address the issue. For example, videos flagged as inappropriate for kids will have an age-restriction warning on the main YouTube app. Only users logged into the site who are over the age of 18 can see that content.

According to Erna Alfred Liousas, an analyst at research firm Forrester, YouTube continues to face these challenges in part because of its "vague" policies.

Paul's video "underscores the ambiguity that faces all of these platforms when it comes to how to appropriately moderate content," she said. "The issue isn't going away. It's not getting better. It's time to do more digging and investing in people and in the way the technology is surfacing this information."

Liousas said tech companies should be more transparent about their process for handling disturbing content, such as revealing the steps that happen after content is flagged and how they decide what gets taken down.

Related: YouTube and Syria: Tech's role as archivist

However, YouTube has also faced backlash for removing certain content, including its removal of videos from war-torn Syria. The move concerned advocates who were trying to maintain digital records of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

Paul, who posted the YouTube video in the Japanese forest, became famous from his viral micro-videos on Vine, a Twitter-owned video service that was phased out last year. Now, he creates video blogs on YouTube daily. He has over 15 million subscribers on the platform.

CNNTech's Sara Ashley O'Brien contributed to this report.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 205154

Reported Deaths: 2730
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40141612
Washington26650247
Marion23258322
Clackamas18773234
Lane13777158
Jackson11420146
Deschutes994080
Umatilla851786
Linn551779
Klamath475377
Yamhill475079
Polk393755
Douglas379780
Malheur359763
Josephine353272
Benton324022
Jefferson235738
Coos215737
Columbia188829
Union148824
Wasco143429
Lincoln141221
Crook127623
Hood River121533
Morrow115216
Clatsop10318
Baker99315
Curry68510
Tillamook6604
Grant5487
Lake4667
Harney4239
Wallowa1945
Gilliam751
Sherman661
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3803094

Reported Deaths: 63204
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124643624433
Riverside3013294620
San Bernardino2990144788
San Diego2813133770
Orange2727455103
Santa Clara1199462177
Kern1106171400
Sacramento1073951723
Fresno1027951720
Alameda893401285
Ventura815721028
San Joaquin744191432
Contra Costa70358810
Stanislaus632661068
Tulare49758849
Monterey43804420
San Mateo42611581
San Francisco37197555
Santa Barbara34577460
Solano33625266
Merced32272474
Sonoma30688323
Imperial28800741
Placer23383299
Kings23170247
San Luis Obispo21411261
Madera16590245
Santa Cruz16206208
Marin14184229
Yolo14120212
Shasta12599232
Butte12586194
El Dorado10351116
Napa999580
Sutter9628112
Yuba646150
San Benito610263
Lassen577524
Tehama571663
Nevada488375
Humboldt443446
Mendocino428250
Tuolumne419970
Amador372147
Lake355645
Glenn242527
Siskiyou239037
Colusa227918
Calaveras220156
Del Norte14528
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7356
Modoc5344
Mariposa4647
Trinity4175
Sierra1130
Alpine890
Unassigned370
Medford
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 74°
Brookings
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 62°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 74°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 74°
Klamath Falls
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 66°

Tonight: Today was our first dry day in a while, although we can't rule out a stray shower or thunderstorm popping up in extreme northern portions of Lake or Klamath counties. Models are hinting that most of this should stay to our north, towards the Bend area. Any lingering clouds today will quickly dissipate by the evening. However, it could prove to be a breezy night in portions of Siskiyou County. Low temperatures will drop down to the upper 30s to low 40s in Northern California, the Klamath Basin, and in the Cascades. Along the coast and in the Rogue Valley, lows will be in the upper 40s to low 50s.

Tomorrow: Our Wednesday will be substantially warmer compared to our Tuesday. Relief from the heat in the form of cloud cover will be absent. High temperatures will be in the upper 80s to low 90s in the Rogue Valley and in Northern California. Highs will be in the mid 80s in the Klamath Basin, mid 70s in the Cascades, and in the upper 60s to low 70s along the coast. The breezy conditions in Siskiyou County from tonight will carry over into Wednesday, and gusts could reach 25 mph in some coastal communities as well. 

Extended: Thursday will be even hotter than Wednesday, and it'll just be a continuation of the stale weather pattern we're about to be in. Skies should remain clear for the forseeable future, and blistering heat looks to be in store for the weekend. We could be talking about high temperature in the upper 90s to triple digits in the Rogue Valley and Siskiyou County. Highs could be in the 90s in the Klamath Basin, in the 80s in the Cascades, and in the 70s along the coast.

Most of the beneficial rain that fell over the weekend was concentrated over the coast, meaning that drought conditions probably didn't improve much in the Rogue Valley and points eastward. As we stay dry and hot throughout the rest of the week, we'll be watching for the return of favorable fire conditions, especially in Lake County. The good news is that winds appear to be light towards the end of the week, which should limit the wildfire threat to some degree.

A FREEZE WARNING has been issued for our westside valleys in Jackson, Josephine and Curry Counties until 8 AM Wednesday. Low temperatures in these areas will fall down to near and even below freezing overnight. The coldest temperatures will be in the Applegate and Illinois Valley where temperatures could dip into the upper 20s. With widespread frost and possible freezing temperatures, be sure to protect and cover any sensitive plants.
Tonight: The clear and warm day will give way to a clear and mild evening. Temperatures for inland areas this evening will stay solidly in the 50s and 60s through the 8 P.M. hour, meaning this will be a near picture perfect evening for a barbecue or Wednesday evening walk. Overnight low temperatures will also stay more mild than recently, falling into the mid to upper 30s in our westside valleys with mid to upper 20s east of the Cascades. The coast will see temperatures staying in the 40s through the overnight hours. 
Extended: Beyond Wednesday, we'll see a very gradual and slow cooling trend through the rest of the workweek, but temperatures will remain above average. Easter Weekend will start off dry, but clouds will increase and by Easter Sunday, we could be looking at some chances for rain for at least parts of our region. We'll be keeping a close eye on this system and your holiday weekend forecast. It's possible wet weather could continue into next week with cooler temperatures.

Stay updated on the StormWatch 12 forecast on-air and online.

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