Logan Paul controversy raises uncomfortable questions for YouTube

CBS News -- The backlash against a social media star who posted video of an apparent suicide victim is intensifying despite two apologies. In his latest mea culpa, Logan Paul says he should have put his camera down after finding a man's body. Paul posted the controversial video on his YouTube channel, which has more than 15 million subscribers. The 22-year-old is one of the most popular content creators on YouTube.

YouTube told "CBS This Morning" their hearts go out to the family of the man who appeared in Logan Paul's video, reports CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers. Its guidelines prohibit gory content posted in a shocking or disrespectful manner, but YouTube didn't take the shocking footage down. Paul did it himself.

Paul appeared humbled in his newest apology – nothing like the young man who became a YouTube sensation by doing just about anything for laughs.

"I've made a huge mistake, I don't expect to be forgiven, I'm just here to apologize," Paul said.

He's referring to the video he posted on New Year's Eve, which shows Paul and his friends making their horrifying discovery in Japan's so-called "suicide forest." After an outcry, Paul deleted the video but by then, it had reportedly been viewed more than six million times.

In a statement, YouTube said: "If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information…"

The company would not say what steps it took during the more than 24 hours Paul's video ran ad-free.

"There's definitely a double standard at YouTube," said Mic editor Alexis Kleinman.

She says it's not in YouTube's interest to interfere with Paul's videos since he is one of the site's most popular personalities.

"YouTube makes money through ads and they will share that profit with the creator," Kleinman said.

Paul is the fifth highest paid YouTube star and makes $12.5 million according to Forbes magazine. His social media accounts reach more than 50 million people. Fifty-six percent of his Instagram followers are 25 or younger.

"This has poisoned a lot of people against him who were on the fence," Kleinman said. "But for his diehard fans, I believe that they'll go back to loving him just the way they had before."

Last month, YouTube said it was adding more than 10,000 moderators after the site received complaints over inappropriate videos aimed at children. "CBS This Morning" repeatedly asked YouTube whether Paul's video had been flagged by other users, and whether YouTube had reviewed the video before he took it down. We did not get a response.


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