News Response: Parkland Conspiracy Videos

Earlier today there was a video that briefly held the spot of the No. 1 trending video on YouTube. This video, posted by a user named “mike m.”,  featured David Hogg, a survivor of last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The video (or at least its caption) claimed that Hogg was just an “actor,” and went into conspiracy theories about the Parkland shooting survivors being “crisis actors” hired by left-wing activists to speak out in favor of gun control. After gaining attention, the video was pulled by noon for violating YouTube’s policy on harassment and bullying.

This isn’t the first time that videos on conspiracy theories about such shootings have popped up on YouTube. Last October there were videos theorizing that the Las Vegas massacre was staged. Then, in November, after the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, videos falsely claimed that it was a “false flag” attack meant to “spur gun control measures or a plot carried out by the so-called antifa movement.” YouTube states that they were surprised that such a video was able to surface on the site, since there was an update to the application of their harassment policy to include videos like this one.

If this continues to happen, YouTube may come under heavy criticism for allowing such hoax videos to misinform the public. This series of events is somewhat reminiscent of the Logan Paul incidents, in which the infamous YouTuber posted very controversial videos; however, he was still somehow let off the hook by YouTube, and his channel still stands. If YouTube won’t take action to change how they regulate their community, then the viewers will have to be smart and not fall for such unreliable sources of information.