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Privacy, risk and trolls: Dealing with the security challenges of YouTube fame

Joan Goodchild | June 24, 2016
It seems a new YouTube star is born every day lately with thousands now making money and pursuing full-time careers in online video. But the popularity that comes with millions of viewers is not without its privacy challenges

"We make it clear that these are the family rules. You don't show our address, or our license plates, for example. Either follow these rules or there will be a consequence to your use of your YouTube channel if you don't follow them," she told an audience in a panel titled Being a Mom on YouTube. 

McKnight's family boasts more than 4 million subscribers to their channel, called Cute Girls Hairstyles. What started as a hair design tip channel morphed into a reality show about their family, she said.

"People came for the hair designs, but stayed for the family," said McKnight.  As a result, her privacy standards have evolved, too."We used to shoot only the back of their heads and referred to them as Kid 1 and Kid 2, etc. As I became more comfortable in the space, we started using names."

"We are private about our location," added a mom vlogger known as Kristine Fun Pack. Her channel, the popular Family Fun Pack, has millions of subscribers. Unfortunately, the attention has brought with it some concerning comments over the years, she said.   

"We've had some really creepy comments. I have to take them all seriously. In the beginning, we used fake names. We've stopped doing that but we still use an alias in public."

Among some of the other privacy notes from panelists were caveats about keeping on top of what kind of private information might be visible in the background of videos. Beware of things you might not even consider when you shoot, several noted. Mail, for example, could be viewed by stopping the video and taking in certain sensitive information.

Regardless of how private each YouTuber was keeping their life online, all noted a similar problem with so-called trolls; commenters who show up to make disparaging remarks in the comments section of their channels. In fact, sometimes the behavior goes beyond mean comments as trolls made news earlier this week for hacking popular YouTube channel WatchMojo.

All panelists said that often the best strategy for dealing with nasty or harassing behavior in the comments section was most often to simply not deal with it at all.

Jack Baran, known as Thatsojack on YouTube, is an openly-gay YouTube star with content that is a mix of humor and frank discussion about a variety of topics. Baran, with well over a million subscribers, has dealt with his fair share of trolls over the last few years while he has been creating content on YouTube. He says his advice is simply to develop a thick skin, as mean people are inevitable in the online video world.

"People are vicious," noted Baran in a session titled Taking the High Road, which offered advice for dealing with online trolls and mean comments. "It's terrifying how aggressive some people can be. But if someone is being a bullying to you online, you don't have to deal with them. It takes time, but you have to train yourself to ignore it."

Soure: CSO Online


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