Cases regarding Ethics

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YouTube could be also considered as an community of people who share an interest in video making or communicating through interactive video - a space that provide tools to respond to people and messages in videos through text comments or by posting video responses[1]. In general, as YouTube facilitates social interactions - it is a social media tool that has ethics code or Honesty ROI that includes the following:

   * Honesty of Relationship: You say who you're speaking for;
   * Honesty of Opinion: You say what you believe;
   * Honesty of Identity: You never obscure your identity.

However, YouTube is filled with what some people think a lot of other people want to see. It's a sort of lens on the inner workings of a society that knows its being watched. Although partners of Youtube may not place misleading images alongside individual ads, Youtube still contains crappy, fake and low quality content - misleading statements.

Disadvantages that could be also determined as ethical dilemmas in Youtube involve for example:

  • Spreading hatred among different nations or religions
  • Irresponsible content
  • Entertaining clips that are actually advertisements
  • Misleading statements
  • Internet prank or joke that guide to another not subject related video

Spreading hatred among different nations or religions[edit]

Sometimes Youtube videos become the source of proking people to violence, spreading hatred among different nations or communities;and give birth to animosities.The issues couldbe political or non political. There is a war on youtube among followers of different religions and many times some uploaded videos only mislead people,interpret each others religions wrongly and insult others religions.It can be deduced that you tube is playing a role in media war and has become a prominent part of it.

For example Youtube has met with harsh criticism in Germany for hosting clips that incite racial hatred. The videos hosted on Youtube included clips of a 1940 anti-Semitic propaganda film "Jud Suess" and two music videos of outlawed German far-right rock band Landser, which show footage from World War II depicting Nazi military operations. Social Democrat (SPD) parliamentarian Dieter Wiefelspuetz said airing the clips on Youtube in Germany was scandalous and that publishing these films amounts to aiding and abetting incitement of the people.

Comments are no more just comments and this is widely misused by some people,where people come impersonate themselves leave comments trying to create more distance within a countrys region passing trough critical phase,as an effort to make divisions in a country to weaken it.Some of the commentators are so active that it seems as if they are deployed to mislead those people giving them wrong information to stimulate them stand against their own people.Its usually happening among the people of those countries who has subtle relationships with each other.

Irresponsible content[edit]

Experts have condemned YouTube as 'irresponsible and misleading' after videos were posted online showing young people smoking a hallucinogenic drug. The clips show users smoking the herbal drug Salvia, feeling the effects just seconds later.Doctors say Salvia, which is illegal in nine countries but legal in the UK, is unsafe and could bring on 'psychotic episodes'. Drug information service FRANK says the effect is 'unpleasantly overwhelming and more scary than fun.' Campaigners are now calling for stronger moderation of clips posted on the popular video sharing website.In one video, a teenager smokes the drug before laughing uncontrollably and falling to his knees. In another clip, viewed two million times, an American girl is seen grabbing at her mouth and muttering: 'I can't control it. My mouth is going to fall out.' Other users are reduced to mumbling wrecks, giggling and screaming as they fall to the floor or a sofa.Despite the drug being legal, many experts say this doesn't mean it is safe to take. In some countries Salvia divinorum, which is part of the same family as mint, is classified at the same level as cocaine.

Advertisements or entertaining clips[edit]

YouTube was conceived as a vehicle for the sharing of amateur videos. Much of its content remains true to the original aim, as several of the videos examined could clearly be of people attempting to entertain and amuse viewers through their own experiences. However, concern has been expressed over the authenticity of the videos on the site, with users and media commentators questioning the extent to which some videos might be covert advertisements posing as either entertainment or consumer-generated media.

Swedish snus is being marketed on YouTube. A professionally made, humorous video promoting snus as part of Swedish identity can be viewed here: (5899 views as of 4 January 2007). The Swedish Tobacco Act29 states that “advertising or other marketing activity may not be obtrusive or soliciting, or encourage the use of tobacco products”. The Act also includes provisions requiring “that the packaging of every tobacco product includes a suitable warning text and a contents declaration”. The video most certainly encourages people to take up snus, and contains no information about possible health effects or addiction.

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) (, a marketing and public relations trade organisation, is in the process of developing a code of ethics for companies which employ buzz marketing methods. According to their website, building an ethical industry is a “complicated process”, but the spirit of their code is based on honesty and transparency. Despite WOMMA’s concern for consumer protection, it is strongly opposed to any regulation of buzz marketing—a practice it claims is separate from the far more sinister “stealth marketing”. Paradoxically, one of the governing members of WOMMA is Burson-Marsteller, the public relations firm that created Philip Morris’s National Smokers Alliance (NSR), a dubious grassroots organisation that opposed indoor smoking bans on the grounds that such regulation was a violation of American freedom. The National Smokers Alliance is arguably a text-book example of stealth marketing.

The study of WOMMA indicated that antismoking videos are more watched. This was largely due to the popularity of the darkly humorous “balcony ad”, where a group of smokers cause a balcony to collapse ( The smoking fetish and female smoking videos were the most watched of those with prosmoking content. Interestingly, none of the fetish videos featured males. Female smoking portrayed as sexy and alluring is a familiar cigarette-marketing stereotype.24 None of the prosmoking videos were readily identifiable as tobacco industry creations. However, given the industry’s historical use of stealth marketing techniques, we cannot definitively say that there is no tobacco industry presence on YouTube.[2]

Misleading statements[edit]

Health care professionals have expressed concerns about the quality and veracity of information individuals receive from Internet-based sources.One area of controversy is the use of Internet sites to communicate information on immunization.

On February 20, 2007, there was made a search in YouTube ( using the keywords vaccination and immunization.Approximately half of the videos posted were not explicitly supportive of immunization, and information in negative videos often contradicted the reference standard. Researchers from the University of Toronto say they've uncovered widespread misinformation in vaccination-related videos on YouTube, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Toronto researchers Dr. Kumanan Wilson and Dr. Jennifer Keelan analyzed 153 videos about vaccination and immunization on YouTube, and found that more than half of the videos portrayed childhood, HPV, flu and other vaccinations negatively or ambiguously.[3] This study shows that a significant amount of immunization content on YouTube contradicts the best scientific evidence at large. From a public health perspective, this is very concerning.

Internet prank or joke- Rick Roll[edit]

An internet prank or joke. Rick Roll, Rick Roll'd or Rick Rolling is an internet spam trick in which people post a link to a Rick Astley video on Youtube, but say the viewers of the video are being led to another video, usually proof of unconfirmed gaming news or trailers. Rickrolling is an Internet meme, typically involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up". The meme is a bait and switch: a person provides a web link that they claim is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. The URL can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true destination of the link without clicking. When a person clicks on the link and is led to the web page, he or she is said to have been "Rickrolled".

Hugh Atkin, an Australian lawyer and notable producer of Internet viral videos, created a popular YouTube parody video of the Rickrolling meme involving United States President Barack Obama, then the 2008 presidential candidate for the Democratic Party and a Senator from Illinois, entitled "Barack Roll" that has been watched about 6 million times since its release. However, the video has since been muted due to an unauthorized soundtrack. The video consists of clips of Obama speaking the words of Astley's song. A follow-up video shows Senator John McCain being "Barack Rolled" at the Republican National Convention, though it never happened; the "Barack Roll" image was displayed on the giant blue sky background that was behind John McCain during parts of his speech, and the video was pieced together from footage of the event. The video ends with what looks like the delegation cheering while chanting Obama's name.This version won the Favorite User Generated Video award at the 35th People's Choice Awards.[4]

It was highlighted on blogs for the New York Times, The Politico, Comedy Central, Andrew Sullivan and Sports Illustrated.Writing for Time magazine's 2009 Time 100 issue, Astley himself mentioned the video in his writeup for 4chan founder moot.

As of October 2009 the Barack Roll has been removed from YouTube due to copyright violation.


Communication in the Web 2.0 context mainly works through images. The online video platform YouTube uses this form of visual communication and makes art forms of Western societies visible through their online videos.The ‘media-remix clips’ form a very big group, which operates with found footage, originating in the sectors of television, movies (a special form is the 5-second-movie, in which the movie is reduced to its very essentials or films like Saw are re-enacted with puppets in sixty seconds), games, cartoons, advertisement (viral marketing) and the huge sector of music videos. The cases of ethics in Youtube are in my opinion just reflection of the real word attitudes towards other members of community - how honest are we in communication or can we be?