For a company that encourages kids content nowadays, its guidelines for said content is… skewed to say the least.
Since its establishment in 2007, Youtube has been a place to basically upload whatever you want. It’s been a creative space for people to post whatever their hearts desire: movie reviews, gameplays, animation, almost anything under the sun.
However, the current state of Youtube is in a precarious one at the moment. Ever since the dawn of a particular controversy in 2017, Youtube has been slowly limiting creativity from a creator’s point of view.
First, kid’s content on the website would be under very strict guidelines. You couldn’t comment on videos, there would be small clips that would play before advertisements, and the ads themselves would be relatively shorter than most ads on regular Youtube.
Then, a lot more changes would be made years later. Especially with the widely hated removal of the public dislike button, in order to “protect small creators’ mental health” according to Youtube itself.
Another change has been a lot more secretive. It’s not particularly written in the guidelines, but is seen by everyone that uses the platform. That change is the limitation of cuss words and other “inappropriate” content in the beginning of videos.
A lot of these changes have severely impacted the platform in the worst ways possible, especially the people who’s content isn’t entirely kid friendly, such as investigative journalism like content.
The main catch is that Youtube has an entire separate app specifically for kids content. However, it isn’t always pushed as much. Why is that the case?
Because ‘Youtube Kids’ isn’t always kid safe either. In fact, kid’s content on Youtube has been tainted for a while now. Ever since 2016, actually.
And that was Elsagate.
For those unaware, ‘Elsagate’ was the name of a controversy that started back in 2016-2017 where popular kids characters did unspeakable things under the guise of it being kids content.
Such content included mostly violence, gore, and traumatic situations the target demographic shouldn’t be subjected to, which were kids 2-8. Though Elsagate wasn’t a stranger to sexual content either, with various depictions of things that could be considered fetishes to older viewers seeing this content.
(Photo taken from Wikipedia, after its article on the subject.)
During 2017, when these videos were taking over the entire platform, there were multiple news sites discussing Elsagate, calling the videos nothing more than “disturbing” and “startling.”
There are multiple takeaways from this controversy. The biggest two are the countries of origins of these videos, and the characters, which are going to play a bigger role in the modern state of Elsagate.
First off, the countries of origin.
These videos mostly had no clear animation studio linked to them, and no voice actors. The lack of voice actors made it easier to cater to other countries.
From an archived article by Inquisitr, they’ve said this about the various videos:
“There’s hundreds of channels producing these videos and it is blatantly obvious that they’re being produced all over the world. Most of them, however, seem to originate from Russia, Thailand and the USA. Bizarrely, they are strikingly similar and, if not for the dialogue, one could easily (and wrongly) conclude that they’ve been created by the same person or by the same team of people.”
The second note to mention about this controversy are the characters used in these horrible videos.
Back in 2016, when these videos were rumored to start popping up, the most common characters used were from movies and television, most of which were the characters from Disney’s “Frozen,” in which the main lead was where this controversy got its name.
However, in recent times, those characters have fallen out of popularity, and new characters have taken their place.
A lot of the characters that are featured in this new wave of Elsagate content are video game characters. The most common of which being those that originated from horror games.
The horror genre is its own separate rabbit hole away from Elsagate. However, to put it simply, over the years horror games have grown to have a massive fan base mostly of children. So to cater to this new audience, horror games become a lot more “kid-friendly” in order to maximize revenue.
Now, because of this increase of kiddie horror games, they become characters of fascination for this new coming of Elsagate. All because they’re popular with kids.
A list of all these characters include:
- The cast of Roblox’s “Rainbow Friends”
- Poppy Playtime
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- The cast of Disney’s “Bluey”
- The series of videos known as “Alphabet Lore”
- Friday Night Funkin’
- Among Us
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these characters’ involvement in Elsagate content.
There are various other rabbit holes relating to this type of content, and those are the playlists.
People have reported that if you look up a mildly obscure show on Youtube (the popular examples are “Hey Arnold!” and “My Life as a Teenage Robot”), and you filter the search with the playlist option, anything BUT the show would be in the playlist.
Then what would be in the playlists? Well, straight up fetish content. Which is a strange surprise to be sure.
However, with all of this content seemingly plaguing the site again, is there anybody doing anything to stop it?
A good majority of the Youtube community are making the best efforts they can, making videos to spread awareness and expose the rabbit holes this controversy has dug up for itself- although they’re not as big as the ones from 2016 when the issue was at its peak.
One of the more popular videos to come from this new wave of Elsagate is from a youtuber known as “Raymundo 2112,” with his current Elsagate video breaking 1,000,000 views. Others followed suit because of his success.
Sadly, there are heavy doubts that Youtube will do anything. After all, all it took for them to respond to the previous first Elsagate was when big name advertisers withdrew their names from Youtube’s association.
Not to mention, Youtube also had a settlement with COPPA (short for “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) back in 2019 because Youtube was gaining private data from those under the age of 13, which is against the law. And what was their fine?
170 million dollars.
Not only was this a massive loss for the company, but it forced youtubers to find ways to adjust their content to fit the new muddled guidelines.
While many doubt Youtube will try to do anything to stop the new Elsagate content, others remain determined to bring awareness, and do everything in their own power to make a difference.