YouTube's CEO explains why the site hasn't banned Logan Paul over his recent controversies

  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said at a media conference Monday that the controversial YouTube star Logan Paul hasn't violated enough policies to be banned from the platform.
  • YouTube temporarily suspended paid advertising on Paul's page last week after he uploaded a video of himself tasering two dead rats.
  • In January, Paul drew criticism for uploading footage of a dead body hanging in Japan's "suicide forest."
  • Wojcicki said that suspending Paul's ad revenue was "actually a pretty strong statement."

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki explained at Recode's Code Media conference on Monday that the controversial YouTube star Logan Paul hasn't violated enough of the site's policies to get banned from the platform.

"When someone violates our policies three times, we terminate. We terminate accounts all the time," Wojcicki said. "He hasn't done anything that would cause those three strikes."

11 richest YouTube stars in the US:

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The 11 richest YouTube stars in the US

11. Liza Koshy 

Subscribers: 13.5 million

Liza Koshy, formerly a prominent Vine comedian, started to gain a massive following on YouTube in 2016 with humorous videos that she produces weekly. Koshy has since gone on to star in the Hulu series "Freakish!" and Tyler Perry's horror-comedy "Boo! A Madea Halloween."

10. Jake Paul 

Subscribers: 13.5 million subscribers

2017 estimated salary: $11.5 million

Jake Paul started out as a personality on the now-defunct Vine, creating comedic shorts with his older brother, Logan Paul (the eighth most popular YouTuber in the US). Paul now posts comedic videos, original music, and other material on his personal YouTube account. He has also become something of a villain in pop culture, as has his brother (see No. 8).  

9. Roman Atwood 

Subscribers: 14.260 million 

Roman Atwood is an Ohio-based vlogger who posts prank videos and other humorous daily-life updates that often involve his girlfriend and three kids. In November, Atwood premiered his own YouTube Red series, "Roman Atwood's Day Dream," which focuses on "extreme stunts."

8. Epic Rap Battles of History 

Subscribers: 14.269 million

Epic Rap Battles of History started as a live improv skit by two friends, but quickly become an online sensation. Founders Peter Shukoff (NicePeter) and Lloyd Ahlquist (EpicLloyd) pick two figures from history or pop culture and imagine what it would be like if they faced off in a rap battle. The videos are entertaining, with characters as varied as Darth Vader, Adolf Hitler, Abraham Lincoln, and Chuck Norris verbally battling one another in full costume.

7. Logan Paul 

Subscribers: 16.6 million

2017 estimated salary: $12.5 million

The former Vine star and older brother of Jake Paul has over 16 million followers on his personal YouTube account, where he posts vlogs and reaction videos. Paul drew intense criticism in January for filming the body of a man hanging from a tree in Japan's Aokigahara forest. YouTube withdrew some of its backing of Paul in the wake of the controversy by removing him from Google Preferred and putting his YouTube original projects on hold. 

6. Fine Brothers Entertainment (FBE) 

Subscribers: 16.7 million

Brooklyn natives Benny and Rafi Fine are the two online producers/writers/directors who created the successful React video series. In React's various iterations — Kids React, Teens React, Elders React, and YouTubers React — the brothers show viral videos to people and film their reactions. In 2016, they were involved in a controversy over trying to copyright the React video form that drew widespread backlash and led to a campaign to unsubscribe from the duo's channel.

5. JennaMarbles 

Subscribers: 17.83 million

JennaMarbles (real name Jenna Mourey) has long been one of the most recognizable stars on YouTube. Though she started her career with BarStool Sports, Mourey soon moved into video after posting "How to Trick People into Thinking You're Good Looking," which quickly blew up. Her channel features comedic videos about being a young millennial woman.

4. Markiplier

Subscribers: 19.5 million

2017 estimated salary: $12.5 million

Mark Fischbach, known as Markiplier, is a YouTuber focused on gaming. He has an energetic style. Fischbach has ambitions beyond YouTube, as well. He once told Variety that he wanted to "push [himself] into music and acting." 

3. NigaHiga 

Subscribers: 20.4 million

Ryan Higa, who goes by the username NigaHiga, was one of the first major YouTube stars. Higa produces a variety of comedy videos, including sketches, music videos, and short commentaries on pop culture. His videos have high production value and a professional touch, with a quick, funny, and incisive sensibility.

2. Smosh 

Subscribers: 22.8 million

2017 estimated salary: $11 million

Smosh, started by comedy duo Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, was one of the first YouTube sensations, becoming well known for the duo's slapstick comedy videos that parodied video games and pop culture. Anthony Padilla left the Smosh channel in June 2017 to create his own solo YouTube account, which now has over 2 million followers.

1. Dude Perfect 

Subscribers: 26.8 million

2017 estimated salary: $14 million

Dude Perfect is a channel from twins Cory and Coby Cotton and three of their college friends from Texas A&M, all of whom are former high school basketball players. They do sports tricks and comedy, some of which makes fun of sports stereotypes.

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Paul, who first gained an audience on the defunct video platform Vine, has over 16 million followers on YouTube, where he posts vlogs and reaction videos.

Last week, YouTube temporarily suspended paid advertising on Paul's page and removed him from Google's Preferred Ads program after he uploaded a video of himself tasering two dead rats. The star made $12.5 million in 2017, according to Forbes, some of which came from YouTube ads.

In January, Paul drew immense criticism for filming and uploading a video of a dead body hanging in Japan's Aokigahara forest, known as the "suicide forest." 

Instead of terminating Paul's account over his recent videos, Wojcicki said that suspending his ad revenue was "actually a pretty strong statement."

When asked if YouTube could be more strict in its policies, Wojcicki admitted that the site could potentially change its rules, while also cautioning against censorship.

"On the one side is censorship, and on the other side is too much freedom of speech," she said. "It's a complicated and very nuanced place where that line is drawn."

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