Have you heard the tale about poor Luke Taylor, aka Lukeywes1234, and his run-in with YouTube? If not, let me fill you in on some ripe online drama.
Luke is an 8 year old, who like others his age, ejoys watching TV, playing online games, and playing with his friends. He also likes to make YouTube videos in which he talks about his various interests. A couple weeks ago, Lukeywes1234 had 11 followers of his YouTube Channel (which is more than I have).
That was until members of group 4Chan got involved and decided to follow Lukeywes1234 on a whim, encouraging other members to follow the young "YouTuber."
As to why they decided to follow Lukeywes1234 is beyond my limited comprehension; I watched a couple of his videos, and they were what you'd expect from someone his age: boring. However, you have to admire him a little bit. Although he gets flustered, he keeps going through every endless minute.
The 4Chan group are members of an image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images. Basically, it's a rip off of Japan's Futaba Channel, which covers anything from culture and art to personal problems and photography. The Futaba Channel also covers pornography, which is important to the story, so please remember this detail.
Day by day, his following grew. Luke, in fact, made a video documenting his growing followers. Here it is:
YouTube, owned by Google, has this little thing called "terms of service," which stipulate the rules that users must follow in order to post on the Web site. Usually, such terms are legally binding.
YouTube's terms of service states, "The YouTube Web site is not intended for children under 13. If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the YouTube Web site. There are lots of other great Web sites for you. Talk to your parents about what sites are appropriate for you."
Unfortunately, Lukeywes1234 is shy of the 13 year-old-age limit by five years, so YouTube invoked its terms of service and shut down the kid's account. All things online are not for all eyes.
The shut down of Luke's account must have enraged the 4Chan users because they collectively got together and put a bunch of innocuous-looking videos together, marked them as private, and waited.
On December 6, the group unleashed their wrath, changing the private setting to public. The only problem is that the videos, although innocent at the start, were interlaced with pornography, which had YouTube fighting to get the videos off the site, wasting precious time, resources, and leading to questions regarding YouTube security.
Not really. YouTube actually knew about the plan a day in advance and didn't see the necessity of blocking the porn lovers at 4Chan. YouTube receives 20 hours of video every minute, so they were well prepared. In fact, a YouTube spokesperson quoted by NPR revealed as much.
"Our system is really rigorous," he said, "and we're prepared to keep the site safe all the time. For the most part, it's another day in the life of us."
However, this story illustrates the stupidity of some people in the online community. If there's one entity responsible for Lukeywes1234's downfall, it's 4Chan. Instead of taking any blame, they decided to spam a site seen by kids with pornography. Way to go, 4Chan!