There’s a saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” While words seem insignificant, we often forget how much power they can hold. Although the phrase is more important than ever, with access to the internet, people seem more prone to disregarding it.
After Malaysian YouTuber and influencer Yang Bao Bei (杨宝贝)’s suicide attempt, fellow YouTubers Jeff and Inthira have decided to speak up on the matter. They made a video calling out netizens for cyberbullying and petitioned for the government to control online speech. Needless to say, the reactions were explosive.
Local YouTubers Jeff and Inthira posted a video three days after YBB’s attempted suicide. At that time, netizens had already revealed her scam of selling branded bags and a YouTube channel. The married couple showed messages left by netizens and called them out for their harsh words. They criticised the netizens for “bullying” and challenged them to show the messages to their families.
Avatar and account names were revealed, with the YouTubers even reading out the names occasionally. They said the messages were “disgusting” as some doubted if the suicide attempt was genuine. The couple then asked fans to join their campaign in petitioning for the government to start regulating online speech.
Additionally, they addressed the victims of the fraud, asking them to have empathy. While they agreed that the victims should get the money back, they suggested waiting at least three days before dealing with the matter. According to the YouTubers, this is to give YBB’s family time to collect themselves. They stressed that repayment is important, but as YBB’s family has already made arrangements to pay the victims back, they hope the victims can give the family time to “recover”.
As always, netizens had their own opinions on the matter. Some stated the YouTubers were only creating the video for views. Others criticised them for showing and reading out the names of those who commented. “It’s just a chance for you to air your personal feelings,” one Facebook user said, claiming the public shaming did nothing to help resolve the matter. A few stated it was actually another form of bullying.
Several netizens also opposed the idea of the government controlling online speech. They stated that the government would then be able to restrict citizens’ freedom of speech. Additionally, the netizens pointed out that Jeff and Inthira would also be under the law. “Can you afford the consequences?” one netizen asked. Some told the YouTubers to stick with making spoof videos, which they are known for.
There were fans and fellow YouTubers however who agreed with Jeff’s and Inthira’s thoughts. Many of these netizens shared incidents of being bullied or having known people who were bullied. They also thanked the YouTube couple for speaking up.
However, after the backlash, the two YouTubers apologised, claiming the video was actually meant to promote the prevention of cyberbullying. They claimed their plea for legislation to regulate freedom of online speech was wrong and what they actually meant was “stop cyberbullying”.
Do you agree with Jeff and Inthira? Or are there points that need amending? Let us know what you guys think!