Monday, January 17, 2022

KFCB wants ‘Squid Game’ Scenes pulled down from YouTube, but have they watched YouTube?

KFCB (Kenya Film and Classification Board) has warned against the viewership of Netflix’s hit series ‘Squid Game’ by those under the age of 18. This is not something you expect to make news, because there’s content rating on all shows released on different platforms. Netflix always has ratings for different shows on its platform, telling viewers what can and what can’t be watched by different age groups. You can even lock accounts to prevent access to content rated above certain ages.

Anyways, KFCB acting chair Christopher Wambua says some of the gory scenes on ‘Squid Game’ have been copied and pasted onto other streaming platforms including YouTube, Instagram and Tiktok exposing the content to vulnerable groups without any of the parental safeguards.

“This is regrettable as it is also a contravention of the intellectual rights of the owners of the content. As a result, the risk of children now imitating or re-enacting scenes in the game from the series has become real,” Wambua says.

The board has said it will be partnering with Netflix to roll out a joint sensitisation program that will aim to educate parents, guardians, teachers and more on the available safeguards on the Netflix platform. It is unclear if such sensitisation should fall just on the provider of the content, or on a body whose mandate is classification.

The board wants caregivers to be more vigilant and to monitor the content their children are consuming especially as we approach the December holidays.

“It will be recalled that in 2021, a Kenyan youth is reported to have confessed as having murdered his parents and siblings on account of the influence of a film titled ‘Killing Eve’. Further, in 2017, another popular challenge game dubbed ‘Blue Whale’, allegedly led to suicide among teenagers in various parts of the world including Kenya,” the Chair further states.

KFCB vs YouTube:

KFCB has said they’ve written to Google requesting them to ensure the uploaded gory scenes of ‘Squid Game’, plus the ones that have been re-created, be pulled down or made inaccessible, or restricted to adults.

With the ‘Squid Game’ popularity all over the world, it feels like an apt time for KFCB to get the limelight. The hit show was watched by over 87 Million people across the world in its first 23 days.

There are numerous 18+ rated shows on different platforms, and even on YouTube, which have never received any attention from KFCB. Instead of fear-mongering, the occasional banning of music videos to appear to be working, and what feels like attention-seeking when it suits their pockets, KFCB should focus on doing proper classification of films, and ensuring that what’s classified for a certain age is only consumed by that age group.

Has KFCB watched YouTube? Really? Have they seen the content on that platform?


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Dickson Otieno
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