[VoxSpace Tech] The Viral Life : The Dark Side Of YouTube

The Dark Side Of Technology

The evolution of technology has been both wondrous and appalling; while humanity’s reach to mars is to be proud of, likewise, the inability of human beings to preserve their own planet is the end in itself. Cures for many dreaded diseases have been found but the death of millions in the wars around the world is a contradictory aspect of evolution. One such contradiction in the present world is YouTube, where on one hand people earn a livelihood by uploading videos, learn about various things and gain knowledge, but on the other hand, they exhume their natural sensibility and basic humanity.

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image courtesy: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

In recent times there have many inhumane and pitiful cases, where the so-called Youtubers have left people with an appalling feeling. Time and again the question arises, where is the world heading to?

YouTube, the world’s largest video sharing website, is a boon for millions of people around the globe. It created a platform for producers and consumers, where people can produce videos on their interested topic, for people to consume i.e. watch videos on interesting subjects and gain knowledge.

While the positive aspects of YouTube are many, but, in this article, we would approach the darker side of YouTube or Youtubers by observing few cases and their aspects.

The Grudge Of Nasim Najafi Aghdam

A few days back the world witnessed a shooting at the YouTube headquarters by a Youtuber, Nasim Najafi Aghdam. Nasim was a vegan bodybuilder and a strong supporter against animal cruelty. Her channel had a good following, especially from the people of Iran. She was known as Nasim-e-Sabz which means Green Nasim (Sabz as in Sabzi/ vegetables) in Iran.

Her claim that YouTube was underpaying her and reducing her viewership was the cause of her anger. She in many of her videos expressed her anger of the unfair treatment of her by the corporate. She also a many times propounded about the capitalistic, consumerist and materialistic way of people of the world.

In her words “People like me are not good for big business, like for animal business, medicine business and for many other businesses, that’s why they are discriminating and censoring us. This is what they are doing to vegan activists and many other people who try to promote healthy, humane and smart living. There is no free speech in the real world and you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system. Videos of targeted users are filtered and merely relegated so that people can hardly see their videos. There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to.”

This anger of hers transformed into deep hatred and a strong grudge which led to the shooting on 3/04/2018, where she severely injured 3 people and ultimately took her own life. I don’t know the verity of her claims and the only people who know the reality is either the deceased Nasim or the YouTube personnel handling her account. But still, there has been a death involved so it brings to our notice of the overdependence of Youtubers on YouTube for monetary units and also the unfair and biased treatment of YouTube on certain factions of people. The validity of both points is left to the curious and truth-seeking minds of people.

The Insensitive Bystanders

When somebody witnesses an accident, harassment or other inhuman instances do you know what the first thing people do? Intervene or call for help? No, the first thing they do is take out their mobiles and start shooting it! Yes, you read it right. Welcome to the ‘Digital Age’, now a day’s people video shoot whatever they see, it would be a good memory if the sight is a happy one, but what if the sight they shoot is of some inhuman and dreaded instance; it is hard to imagine but that is what is happening. People instead of helping the person in problem start taking their videos and post it on YouTube, make it viral, only to get likes and shares.

In a recent case, a video emerged where the person was harassing and hitting a woman on a train. In that video we see people standing nearby and also the person who recorded the video could have helped her, but instead they were busy recording the incident. This is what I mean by insensitive BYSTANDER.  Another incident was where a person insensitively took a video of a corpse and posted it on YouTube just to get popularity from that. These are not the only cases, in everyday life, many of us come across such incidents where we see many people recording the fights, abuse on animals, women harassment, religious and castes discrimination but do little to protect or help the person. They only care about their page and how to monetize through the present video. With the advent of Digital age, humans are becoming less of humans.

The Opportunistic Uploader

Do you know what sells the most in the world? The answer is hate and controversy; more the hate more the division. The world is a beautiful place, but this is destroyed by the divisions’ human beings have created for themselves. These divisions are targeted by various opportunistic people. These people spread hate and create wedges between people, often through misleading information on various platforms. One such platform is YouTube, as YouTube is the world’s largest video sharing website, it is easy to spread any message across the globe. Many a good person upload videos which show the beauty of our planet, but there are people who use this platform to spread hate and misleading information which spread easily and leave long-term implications on the world.

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image courtesy: Beta News

Though hate spreads fast, there is another thing in this world which spreads even faster, and that is controversy. Negative controversy about anything especially religion, people spread fast leaving a long-lasting effect.

Many people are ignorant and they do not divulge in knowing true facts and believe in whatever is shown to them. YouTube is one such platform where people are shown all kinds of misleading and offensive content which ultimately leads to displacement of the true information and aversion between people.

 The Foolish Prankster

Everyone likes pranks when they are harmless and good in nature. But many YouTubers do not care about other people, they just pull off nasty pranks on strangers and video shoot them without their consent.

There have been many cases where the consent of the person being pranked was not taken which led to prosecuting of the Youtuber by the person. Also, there have been videos of what the people call ‘scare pranks’ which have led to cardiac arrests and accidents of many people. This also shows the insensitive nature of human beings which has emerged because of YouTube. In the end, the prank is on themselves rather on some stranger.

 The Daredevils

These YouTubers are the risk takers; they shoot the video of themselves while performing extreme acts. These people perform acts such as performing acrobatics on very high buildings or perform extreme stunts. They become popular instantly, but the shelf life and life expectancy of these people reduce rapidly. Any unseen accidents may lead to loss of limbs or even death. Once such incident was when a daredevil who was performing on a 62 story building lost his grip and fell to his death. The number of these daredevils has been increasing and so is their popularity, but to what extent, is what they need to think.


Many other issues such as overindulgence in viewing YouTube i.e. many people spend hours of their day just watching some random videos wasting their precious time and ignoring their health. Easy availability of mature content to the children, this may lead to unfavourable consequences in future. Copyright infringement and many more such negative issues are to be thought upon.

In conclusion, the problem is not of YouTube as a platform, but the policy of YouTube, which leads to the above issues.  The nature of human being is that of depreciation i.e. we take everything for granted and do not value and use resources properly. YouTube is a great platform to showcase our talent, to learn something, to teach something, but like everything it also has its positives and negatives. It is the duty of human beings to use it responsibly and beneficially.

The Internet is just a part of your life; don’t make it your life. The digital age has brought everyone in the world closer but it needs to be checked that we don’t get wolfed down by it.

Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.     

                                                – Christian Lous Lange