Disclaimer: Content can be disturbing and features explicit language. Reader discretion is advised.
A title that has gotten some coverage in recent years and its discussion is growing in popularity within the past few months, but not nearly enough.
Elsagate is comprised of disturbing content that is targeted towards children on YouTube. It features adult content, often highly distressing to the young viewers, which is able to slip onto both YouTube and YouTube Kids and bypass its algorithm.
These videos often include unlicensed Disney characters and are low-budget and poorly-acted. These “Disney” characters act strangely and perform disturbing acts, which children are able to view and be affected by. Videos include by “cartoon” visuals as well as “real-life” acting.
ElsaGate isn’t the name of a YouTube channel, rather it is the title given to videos/ channels that upload similar and connected, disturbing content aimed at children.
What makes ElsaGate content so difficult to remove is the rate in which it is uploaded.
Multiple sources have covered ElsaGate which will be documented below.
A subreddit titled r/elsagate has also been opened and includes over 46 thousand subscribers as of writing this.
The subreddit users all document and investigate the mystery of ElsaGate, and all channels that are apart of the uploading of the graphical and disturbing content.
In recent months, the discussion of ElsaGate has also been reaching the mainstream. Ethan Klein of the popular H3H3 podcast, alongside famous artist Post Malone, spoke about the phenomenon in Malone’s podcast episode.
“I’ve made so many videos over time and now everyone’s like “yo H3 you need to make another Elsa[Gate] video.” I feel like I’m just beating a dead horse at this point but now the media’s starting to pick up on it,” Klein says.
According to the subreddit, it lists multiple possibilities as to what ElsaGate may be.
These are: (Each link is a direct copy from the subreddit’s post, found here.)
Children can imitate inappropriate behaviour from videos with severe consequences(e.g drive a car)
It is AI-generated Content to maximize Profit – a “virus”
Attempt to create easily mass-produced content for YouTube kids app that gets promoted through that system
Cyber safety expert and former undercover online detective Brett Lee also comments on this disturbing trend.
“I’m not a tech expert, I’m a detective. But it appears this is slipping under the algorithms whereby it’s thinking that it is content suitable for children but there is some very disturbing content there,” Lee says.
Lee brings up how some content focuses on subliminal messages while others are more “direct” and confronting, especially regarding sexual content.
“A lot of it is subliminal, there’s common themes like children getting left behind, getting injections, getting your foot caught in the escalator — things children would be fearful of,” Lee says.
A video that explains ElsaGate and shows some content is listed below. It includes explicit language and disturbing content.
There are many speculations that large quantities of ElsaGate styled content are uploaded by AI (Artifical Intelligence) due to the speed in which the videos are uploaded.
Multiple videos also feature exact same content with only small changes. Eg a character’s clothes will be a different colour in one video compared to the next although featuring replicated content.
Since the increasing pressure from the public for YouTube to do something to fix this issue, YouTube has commented on the ElsaGate situation.
“Over the last few months, we’ve taken deliberate steps to tackle many of the emerging challenges around family content on YouTube. We’re committed to getting this right and are increasing both human and engineering resources to tackle this ever-evolving landscape,” YouTube says.
YouTube star Philip DeFranco from the Philip DeFranco show also brings forth attention to the issue.
With the increasing pressure from both YouTube creators and concerned individuals, YouTube has been focusing on shutting down content that reflects ElsaGate concepts.
However, as DeFranco says, something must be done about YouTubes problem and more importantly, more measures must be brought forth for protecting children online.
The ElsaGate phenomenon should be a reminder for all parents to monitor what their children are consuming/ viewing online. It is also a warning for what can happen if platform creators don’t monitor and protect their consumers.
Something needs to happen to fix this problem, and soon.
What do you believe ElsaGate is? Have you heard of it before? Let me know in the comments below.