You are sitting down to watch a new video from your favorite YouTube Channel. At the end of the video, the host or creator asks you to, “like, comment, or subscribe.” You decide you want to leave a comment. As you are scrolling through the other comments at the bottom of the video, you notice that your favorite YouTuber is being attacked by a group of people. These people are Keyboard Crusaders who are leaving nasty and rude comments. You get very upset that your favorite YouTuber is being insulted and your reaction is to attack back at the comments.
As you are reading through the comments you find out that these new viewers have been sent by another content creator to leave negative comments. You decide to check out the other content creator’s YouTube channel. You scroll through the other channels video and eventually find a video title “Rant.” Thinking that must be the video mentioned in the comments, you watch it. It seems this YouTuber does not like the person you watch for whatever reason and has decided to get with other content creators on YouTube and create a video about that person…
In the video, the content creator has asked its supporters and viewers to go on a Keyboard Crusade by leaving nasty comments on the videos of your favorite YouTubers. You decide to watch a few more of that content creator’s videos and you realize they are working with other content creators to attack people on YouTube. In the process, by watching those videos, you give additional views to the content creators who are bullying your favorite YouTuber. This is an example of the often vicious cycle of cyberbullying in an area of the internet that is often “all about the views.”
It is a shame that we live in a world where people use social media to attack and bully other people. Online platforms often make it easy to become the type of Keyboard Crusader who hides behind a screen and attacks others, so cyberbullying has become a common occurrence. Cyberbullying happens on other social media sites, but this article focuses on occurrences of cyberbullying on YouTube. In some cases, the random Keyboard Crusader who disagrees with a content creator lacks the ability or desire to logically articulate their argument, so the person comments about the content creator’s mother, sexuality, or some personal characteristic that has absolutely nothing to do with what the content creator is discussing.
In other cases, cyberbullying is used as a ruse by YouTube content creators who use their video content to encourage Keyboard Crusaders to cyberbully others just to get more views. People love drama. They like to watch it, feed into it, and be part of it. YouTube content creators know this, so some content creators may get together and discuss new ways to get views by attacking other channels to get other viewers to watch their videos. At the end of the day, for this type of content creator, cyberbullying is a means to an end to get more views.
In cases that involve multiple content creators bullying one content creator, it can occur because those content creators are struggling to find new content. When no new content is available, some content creators find a victim and encourage keyboard crusading fans to attack them just to stir up drama and gain more views. Because it is usually keyboard crusading fans who help content creators facilitate cyberbullying by posting an overwhelming number of negative comments, it can be very difficult for the content creator being bullied to police their own channel against cyberbullying.
Content creators who are bullied have gotten creative at handling negative comments. In some cases, the content creator being bullied may keep the negative comments to use as fuel for their next video. Some bullied content creators make a video and show the comments, berating the person who made the comment by insulting their grammar or their lack of creativity. Although it can be satisfying to see a bully get burned, at the end of the day it is still a form of cyberbullying.
The great thing about YouTube is if you don’t like the message your favorite content creator is conveying, you can stop supporting them. YouTube is a very diverse area of the internet, so you can always find someone out there who has content you like. And when people leave negative comments on your favorite channel, it probably upsets you. You may even have a personal attachment to the creator if you ever had discussions with them and/or even supported that channel financially. When someone attacks them, you feel obligated to defend them. This doesn’t mean you are obligated to be a cyberbully or Keyboard Crusader for them.
If you have a favorite YouTuber, support them. Most channels have a lot of different ways for you to support them. Creating good content is expensive and time consuming, so content creators appreciate the support. Just keep in mind if your favorite content creator encourages you to go to other channels and leave negative comments, there are ways to support them that don’t involve using cyberbullying other YouTube channels to get additional views. Stop the cycle.
–Chip and Renee Carroll