To YouTube : Halt Ads on Doomsday Videos
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YouTube doomsday videos can earn their creators large sums of money from ad revenue. This petition was prompted by a YouTube video, with amateur graphics of "the earth reeling like a drunkard" along with other events of the Apocalypse with the title "Why The World Will End Surely on 29th July 2016 ? Shocking Facts".
This was taken up by many news sites, even though it was an unauthorized upload of someone else's video with just the dramatic title added plus a dramatic thumbnail. It got six million views as a result which gives it estimated earnings of $8000 to $22,000 from YouTube ads revenue, and it accrued 16,000 subscribers. They have now changed the doomsday date to a date in October and continue to accrue views and ad revenue, and have now reached nine million views in total, an estimated $12,200 to $30,000 in revenue. This is for a YouTube channel "End of Times Prophecy" with only that single video on it with different titles.
The original authors of the video have posted a disclaimer:
"Someone is re-uping our videos and saying that the end of the world is July 29th. It seems to have got some publicity in online news sites, who are saying WE said the world would end on the 29th. Nothing is going to happen on July 29th. We have never claimed such a thing, this date is just another false date being promoted online."
for more about this see my World Did NOT End On 29th July! AWFUL "Silly Season" Story - Journalists Please Be More Responsible
I posted a comment on the video debunking it back in July, and the same day they closed comments on it - removing comments by numerous people and long threads of replies to their comments. The comments have been closed on it ever since. If one had any doubts that it is just an out and out hoax to earn money, that pretty much proves it.
As another example the YouTube channel Nibiru Planet X 2016, devoted to doomsday stories about Nibiru, with over 1.5 million subscribers, earns an estimated $250 to $3,100 a month from YouTube ads, see their Channel Statistics on SocialBlade.com. They also have a donation link in the video description and a Patreon page so may well be earning a lot more than thatI
I have a list of many other similar channels here.
The problem with these videos is that many people get genuinely scared by them. Young children and those who flunked physics at high school are especially vulnerable. So much so that some are suicidal. David Morrison, NASA astrobiologist and former director of the Sagan Institute first brought our attention to this issue in 2012 and coined the word cosmophobia for this phenomenon of fear of the cosmos - see this video. I'm author of several articles debunking these stories and I get hundreds of comments from scared and sometimes suicidal people asking for reassurance, and often what scares them most are YouTube doomsday videos. There has been at least one confirmed suicide as a result of this cosmophobia and David Morrison says that anecdotally he was told of several more.
For details see my other petition (to journalists) Plea: Debunk Rather than Dramatize "Doomsday" Stories - The Vulnerable Get Suicidal
YouTube can do something about this. The ad revenue provides a strong financial incentive to unethical hoaxers and people of diminished responsibility to post more and more videos of this type.
YouTube already removes ads from many videos on ethical grounds. See YouTube tightens ad rule enforcement, demonetizing numerous videos.
- We ask YouTube to remove ads from all videos that promote Doomsday scenarios on the basis that these videos make vulnerable people suicidal, so it is immoral to reward views of them with ad revenue
The cover photo for this campaign shows an artist's impression from NASA of an alien sunset around a double star. It's often used as a hoax image of a companion sun to our sun. These hoaxes have become a form of propoganda for vulnerable people I think and just as with war propoganda and Orwell's 1984, when repeated enough times, they can convince vulnerable people that black is white. Many of these scared people even believe that we have two suns, utterly bizarre as that belief may seem to the rest of us, and they believe that this second sun endangers Earth. Many also think the Earth's pole has shifted and no longer points at the pole star and that this is the cause of most recent earthquakes, and that a hidden extra planet is causing the recent unusual weather instead of climate change.
I have had many long conversations on my article comment threads trying to persuade them that this is all nonsense, with more than a thousand comments (including my replies) on the article with most comments.
For instance in summer 2016, in the run up to the 29th July date in that YouTube video title, I got many questions from people who thought we would all die on the 29th July. This was made worse by a story about it in the The Telegraph online dramatized with a countdown timer to the end of the world at the head of the article. In December 2015 I got many questions also from people who thought we'd all be dead by Christmas, asking if there was any point in preparing for it. Another occasion with numerous such messages was the build up to 24th September in 2015, and there have been several others just in the last year. Most of you won't even have heard of these "events" or if you saw the stories dismissed them as LOL silly but for these people they were terrifying.
When they are told these things repeatedly with dramatic videos, and music, and supported with all the power of oratory in the voice over, vulnerable people lose their ordinary common sense and come to believe we actually have two suns and that the second sun is a threat to Earth along with many other such bizarre beliefs. Some of them have to give up work because of this anxiety, are anxious day and night, and may sometimes even take their own lives. We must do all we can to stop this somehow!
YouTube, please do what you can to help with this. Please halt all ad revenue on these videos.
Please sign and share our petition and help put an end to monetizing of doomsday videos on YouTube. Thanks!
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