Not long ago, I saw a report of the Gap-su Ranch being embroiled in a fraud and animal cruelty controversy on the news. Gap-su Ranch is a YouTube channel ran by a veterinary student in Chungnam National University and had a large scale with over 500 thousand subscribers as it became popular as a “good” channel for caring abandoned cats. At first, there was a controversy over animal cruelty as the operator of Gap-su Ranch kept a hamster and a cat together despite hamsters’ tendency to be afraid of predators like cats. The case seemed to calm down after the operator’s apology, but it was publicized when someone exposed the fraud and animal cruelty suspicions of Gap-su Ranch to Channel A news. The suspicion of abuse is indeterminable, but the fraud turned out to be true. The operator of the channel claimed that he adopted abandoned cats, but the truth is that, they were all from pet shop. Everything was a lie, and animals were used as means of making money. Moreover, all these things were done by a veterinary student, who would become a veterinarian in a year or two.
After encountering this case, I came to think about how view count almightiness, the thought that we can do anything to make people watch the video, is widely spread all around the world. It is natural for YouTubers to make various efforts to increase the views of their videos because they can put ads and make profits if the video gets popularity. However, with the idea of “only view count matters,” some YouTubers create provocative thumbnails, titles or contents, and even fabricate the video in order to attract people. From fraud to excessive hidden camera, YouTube is filled with provocative tricks to attract people to watch the video. Is this “view count almightiness” the right phenomenon?
I think view count almightiness is one of the bad cultures of modern society, which must be changed. The idea of “only view count matters” leads to an increase of contents with low-quality and provocation, which attract people’s attention among the overflowing videos on YouTube. The videos that caught people’s attention spread faster through SNS. I think those who are most adversely affected by this trend are minors, whose judgment ability has not been established yet. Also, they use YouTube and SNS the most, so they are more likely to directly access to view-oriented videos on YouTube, and on SNS. Since it is teenagers who will lead this society and create culture in the future, I am very concerned that adults’ desire to “view count” will make children unable to judge the right or wrong. Also, not only those who are mentally affected by watching videos, but also animals or people used to make fake contents will suffer from psychological damage.
YouTube can function as a platform for people around the world to share funny and beneficial videos conveniently. However, if provocative and vulgar videos aimed only to the number of views prevail, the society will turn vulgar, people will only pursue provocative pleasures, and children will grow without awareness of crime, considering the huge impact of YouTube.
Combining these negative effects, view count almightiness is a blind spot of modern society that must be fixed in order to make the development of SNS and Internet to function beneficially for our society.
Lee So-young firstname.lastname@example.org
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