By Tejaswini Naik:
It was one of those usual evenings, just sitting and surfing through YouTube, working through different music channels when I chanced upon a very bizarre video, of a bunch of kids sitting under a tree, while another kid made them repeat words written on a blackboard “Feminism is cancer” again, and again, and again.
A little confused, a little aghast, curiosity getting the better of me, I went ahead to check this person’s channel out and what I found was way worse than what I thought I’d find. There weren’t just more videos, but seriously disturbing, perverse and sickening ones.
Kids, under the age of 10, were being made to say and repeat things like “I’m not gay but $20 is $20”, “I get more ass than a toilet seat”, and “Gib me da pusi boss” amongst other vile ones. And if that wasn’t enough, there were comments which could make you squirm worse than nails on a chalkboard. These were a bunch of sick people, discussing Indian children in the most demeaning and foul way possible.
There was something about the sight of young kids being made to say these kinds of filthy lines that was just too much to take.
Taken aback by what I’d found, I spoke to a couple of friends who had similar reactions to mine. We were all angry and upset about what we’d seen and we all wanted to take some action against the same. So we decided to flag these videos down. We selected different options – I checked ‘Child Endangerment’, while the rest of us chose ‘Sexual Content’, ‘Hateful or Abusive Content’ and ‘Violent or Repulsive Content’ respectively. You’d think YouTube would respond well, but none of us had expected to get the response I did for ‘Child Endangerment’. I just got a generic “this content does not violate our community guidelines” message from them.
Thank You for that YouTube. You just added the fuel to our fire. Those videos had to go.
And that’s when I decided to start a petition on Change.org. Over the next 5 days, I experienced what can only be called a viral phenomenon.
The petition wasn’t even up for a day when the media started reaching out to me on the story. Someone from Google reached out to me. As I write this, the petition has received over 44,000 signatures. The comments of the signers show just how completely disgusted most of them are by the videos and the entire 5-dollars-to-exploit-children service.
For me, the story was and is really simple – an abhorrent, ignorant, and greedy person, trying to make money by exploiting children in an extremely inappropriate manner.
That story had to reach out to everyone. I wanted everyone to feel my anger, and they did. Not just that, but it also made them want to stand up against it and take proper action.
YouTube and Fiverr, feeling the obvious pressure, had to take some action. Fiverr blocked the primary user account (quazihaque), while the other account (latika426) just had the ‘offensive’ videos taken off. And while YouTube took down the primary channel, there still remain some remnants of the content on YouTube through other channels (like Loominarty, beefysquids, Rekky etc).
All we want from this petition is for YouTube to send us a confirmation mail, apologizing for letting such heinous videos be put up and saying that they’ve taken down those videos from every single account and that they would not let them surface up again. And for them to enforce stricter checks on the videos being put up. When they can have such strict and to the point laws for ‘Copyright Violations and Infringement’, I’m sure they can figure out a way to act for content featuring potential child abuse.
But then, this campaign has only just begun.
Please sign my petition, let’s show them we mean business.
Update: After Tejaswini’s petition received 52,000 supporters, YouTube has now committed to keep such videos off their platform.