The Dark Side of Roast Videos That YouTube Doesn’t Want To Show You
Will YouTube act against viral videos targeted at children, the LGBTQ community, and women?
Sachin Pariyar, a nine-year kid from a rural part of Nepal, comes from a financially backward community. He had to drop school in the second standard because his parents couldn’t afford education. Even at the early stage of life, this kid has a sense of humor, and he sings beautifully. He is funny, and he is entertaining.
A YouTube Channel that noticed Sachin gave covered him and gave financial support to his family. This followed wide national coverage, and Sachin got viral in no time. Not only YouTubers, national television also promoted him. YouTuber supported his family to start a new micro-business. Looking at his talent, a nonprofit organization in Kathmandu took his wardenship and enrolled him in a boarding school, where he restarted his education. The platform of YouTube is both boom and boon for Sachin and his family.
“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” — John F. Kennedy
Sadly, few opportunistic creators took advantage of this situation. They trimmed and edited his original videos to make a roast video that fulfills their purpose. They combined it with doing a fake interview that was nothing other than making fun of his past videos. In simple words, the video was a bullying one.
One of such YouTubers is Zalan, a man with 450k+ followers. He uses interviews broadcasted on other YouTube channels and compiles to make roast videos using tiny clips. On 5th January 2021, he used Sachin’s innocence for comedy (and, of course, to generate money). His viewers found those videos funny, and they appreciated his editing skills.
Entertainment at the expense of an innocent child?
This roasted video became viral, while it deserved no place on social media platforms. It is pitiful to see the ignorance of viewers about child safety.
This video by Zalan has already generated 1.9 million views. The title of this video, written in Romanized Nepali itself, abuses children. Its literal meaning is “Naive Kid vs. Bastard Kid.” Since it’s slang, it doesn’t have to mean “bastard.” But it is a word with negative implications. So it is still bad. The creator joins clips of many embarrassing questions and answers to make a video as a single interview. Those questions are mixed of clips for personal questions and aren’t very pleasant. And, of course, he doesn’t have any right to use such slang to any kid openly in such space.
YouTube hasn’t removed this video yet, and I doubt if they ever will think about the removal. Both YouTubers and YouTube are growing their business at the expense of the innocence of the child. Viewers in Nepal might have to see such videos again in the coming days and yet remain silent.
Whenever any user uploads a video on YouTube, the creator must verify that it complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Sadly, the questions asked by YouTube (Screenshot below) talk little about protecting children from online abuse. Since Zalan didn’t make this video for kids, there is no one to stop his monetization. YouTube didn’t bother to ask if the creator has taken the consent of the child’s parents.To answer if such video deserves to stay on the public platform, There can be two different questions.
Does this video violates the COPPA and/or other laws?
Irrespective of the answer to the first question, Does this video come as an ethical video?
Federal trade commissions explain COPPA specifically about YouTube content creation. As per the policy, “the presence of child celebrities or celebrities who appeal to children in the video” implies it is child-directed content. This also means that no person can upload a child’s video without the consent of his guardian. So clearly, this video violates COPPA and or other laws. As this video also contains abusive and bullying language towards a kid, it is not an ethical video.
With Sachin Pariyar, the roasted video is not only an unauthorized copy but also an unethical use of video intending to defame a child for words he never meant and for a crime he never committed.
The story of the roasted video didn’t stop just with Zalan. Other tens of videos came as reactions to Zalan’s video, and a few gathered six-digit views. Those videos make money using little kids, but barely a word spoken. I wish monetization was not so easy on YouTube.
“It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
It is easy to post photos and videos of children when YouTube and other social giants stayed silent over the repeated violation of content policy outside America and Europe. Google and YouTube paid a $170 million penalty for violation of COPPA in 2019. I wish there were someone who could remind them about their global ignorance. YouTube operates in 100 countries but has its local office only in 6 countries, none in Asia and Africa. This limits YouTube from understanding the social need of countries where it operates.
The author has also published this post on Suraj Ghimire's Blog and on Medium