ElsaGate: The Horrors Of The Web

Journalism

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.

Elsagate.PNG

The subreddit r/elsagate in which members try to uncover and discuss the mystery.

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.)

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.

youtube-elsa-train-odd-elsagate.jpg

An example of ElsaGate content. Note, see the recommended videos on the right. Source

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.

 

Capture2354

Media publication “The Verge” investigates the ElsaGate 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.

Featured Image.

The YouTube Adpocalypse

Journalism

YouTube, the biggest video-sharing website in the world. Millions of registered users upload content daily to be shared with their audiences, new and old. From video blogs (vlogs) to trick shot videos, there is a video for everyone. For the larger YouTubers, after a certain amount of views, they begin to earn revenue. Ads are placed on the video, which earn the uploaders revenue. Some of these YouTubers dedicate all their time to their content that Youtube turns into a full-time job.

However, as of this year and potentially onward, the way revenue is earned has become steadily more difficult. Demonetisation has risen to become a YouTubers nightmare with a bot integrated into the server that automatically flags videos for demonetisation if advertiser unfriendly (This potentially means unsuitable for all audiences eg children). This has been dubbed the YouTube Adpocalypse.

This is dangerous to the YouTube community as although the demonetisation system was created to ensure that advertisers were protected as well as the viewers, it has affected the platform as a whole. However, due to the system flagging YouTubers who have been in the community for a long time and have a large viewer base and at times have done nothing wrong to achieve this result, it can prove fatal to their channel.

The Adpocalypse began roughly when biggest YouTube star, Felix Kjellberg who is also known as PewDiePie with currently 57 million followers, uploaded a video that contained men holding a sign that said “Death to all Jews” via the service of Fiverr, a freelance service marketplace. On this video were ads from various advertisers and although unintentional, their ads were affiliated with his videos content. Although Felix states that the video was “satirical” in nature, it still caused tremors that shook the whole Youtube community. PewDiePie was partnered with Disneys Maker Studios as well as worked with Youtube Red, a paid subscription streaming service, on producing original content. After the upload of his video and the tremors that were later felt, Disney Makers Studios alongside YouTube Red both let Felix go. This affected all of the content creators on YouTube as now advertisers were pulling away from the creators out of fear of the PewDiePie situation occurring to their ads.

 

pewdiepie-revelmode

Biggest YouTube star, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg. 57 million subscribers, placing him well above other content creators on the platform. Source.

 

The situation was made worse when YouTube star PewDiepie while on live stream with thousands of active viewers, said the N word in retaliation to getting killed by another player on the video game PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. This furthered the tremors felt by the platform, causing many content creators to voice their annoyance and by some, hatred, towards PewDiePie.

A yellow icon was placed into the video manager in Youtube which lets the content creator become aware when one of their videos is flagged and is awaiting judgement on whether it’ll be taken down or demonetised. During this period the video will not achieve any more views and thus, the overall amount of views the video will get in the long run will be significantly lower. This can cause a content creators revenue to be much lower than normal.

During the period in which it is awaiting judgement, YouTube recommends that a content creator “appeals” their content so that the bot can “learn”. YouTube also states that “in the first few hours of a video upload we use machine learning to determine if a video meets our advertiser-friendly guidelines.” They also state “an appeal gets sent to a human reviewer and their decisions help our systems get smarter over time.” However, YouTubers have come forth and stated that due to the large amount of content that is uploaded daily, not every video is viewed by a human but rather a bot.

Due to the demonetisation threat that has frightened some content creators, in order to continue to earn their revenue, they have been forced to earn revenue in other ways. One of these ways is by joining Patreon, a platform that allows content creators to be paid monthly by their fanbase, starting at $1 per customer who signs up for that creator’s content.

 

downloads_wordmark_white_on_coral@2x

Patreon, the service which allows content creators to be paid for their work by their fanbase. Source

 

With the Adpocalypse in full swing, I decided to write this post to voice my concern towards the platform of Youtube. With demonetisation occurring regularly and affecting most Youtubers (all YouTubers who have had 10000 total views on their channel will start to earn revenue), it may frighten new content creators from joining the platform. Perhaps it may also scare current content creators on the platform from producing further content for their channel and decide to change video-sharing service or joining a platform like Patreon out of sheer necessity to earn revenue and make their living.

I believe that if the demonetisation situation is not worked on immediately and resolved, the platform may be on its path downwards.

This is a sad and terrible time for content creators.