As consumers of digital content, it is our responsibility to encourage healthy content - one that does not normalise sexual abuse, inappropriate behavior with girls and women. In the name of pranks, the line gets blurry between healthy and toxic content and YouTube is full of such cringe content. What's worse is that each of the videos gets hundreds and thousands and in some cases millions of views, which naturally encourages creators to make such content in order to make money.
YouTube helps creators generate revenue through ads, and the majority of the people are using the platform the way it is intended to be. But there are a fraction of creators that pollute the platform with toxic content, such as sexual abuse and molestation in the public - all in the name of pranks. There are hundreds of videos with titles like "massage prank on girl", "drunk prank on girlfriend", "beggar prank on girl", "lesbian prank on girl" and whatnot. All these videos are available freely on the platform, without anyone reporting the behavior to take down such content.
In a thread, Twitter handle Youth Against Rape posted several such videos and screenshots of distasteful thumbnails that are viewed by millions on YouTube.
"Guess what's the new trend? Sexual abuse in the name of pranks! The easiest way to invade consent and earn money on YouTube, is by starting a prank channel! It's the most viewed content by Indians! In the name of prank today's generation is spreading filth, no relation is bared neither any sensitivity is portrayed. The girls are being touched publicly for such cringe content," the Twitter handle wrote, sharing a few videos that prove the toxic culture of the Indian entertainment consumer society.
Drawing backlash towards such content, many netizens demanded strict action against the creators and takedown of the content from YouTube. But some users also said that the videos are merely acted out of script. Even if that is the case, does it convey the right message to consumers? Does it make it okay? Clearly not.
Guess what's the new trend? Sexual abuse in the name of pranks! The easiest way to invade consent and earn money on YouTube, is by starting a prank channel! It's the most viewed content by Indians! @NCWIndia @rsprasad @PrakashJavdekar @sharmarekha @DCP_CCC_Delhi #CensorPranks pic.twitter.com/55rTgRNf5d— Youth Against Rape ® (@yaifoundations) March 10, 2021
Censorship on OTT content, what about YouTube?
In India, content on OTT platforms has been scrutinized and looked at under a microscope. But running prank videos with no limit run scot-free on YouTube raises the question of hypocrisy. Clearly, YouTube is easily accessible by millions due to its free nature whereas the content on OTT is still limited to subscribers.