Is PewDiePie leaving YouTube? In a bold and reactionary move the YouTube sensation, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is threatening to delete his popular channel once he reaches 50 million viewers.
The threat is Kjellberg's protest of alleged algorithm changes that he feels threaten the integrity and quality of YouTube's content. He claimed in a video posted on December 2nd that YouTube is conspiring to kill his channel; his proof being the decreasing number of clicks on his newest videos. His reasons for the alleged conspiracy ranged from the site's format changes to accusations of racially-biased motivation.
Here is what PewDiePie had to say about the matter:
"YouTube is trying to kill my channel. It's clear if you watch my analytics it's all going down there. It's because I'm always complaining to them...they want someone really extremely cancerous like [fellow YouTube star] Lilly Singh. I'm white, can I make that comment? But I do think it's a problem."
Kjellberg has been one of the most prolific and highly-regarded YouTube content creators, posting comedic game-play videos and videos showcasing his bizarre sensibilities. Having started his channel back in 2010, he quickly amassed a base of 1 million subscribers by 2012. His success on the site has been a steady incline, so the decrease in views from October to November came as a shock. At first he wondered if his popularity was waning, but he claims that the loyalty of his viewers has not diminished, citing support on social outlets such as Twitter. This led him to his assertion that YouTube was trying to oust him from his status as one of YouTube's most prominent creators.
PewDiePie is not alone, with fellow YouTuber Jacksepticeye (a friend and collaborator of Kjellberg's) supporting the claims in a video of his own. He later posted another video clarifying that the conspiracy was "speculation and hearsay and stuff that I had heard from other people."
Many have criticized Kjellberg's videos, claiming he is just (to be blunt) another rich white guy complaining about conspiracies against him. While he has maintained that he is not motivated by money, but rather his disillusionment in how his fans are being deprived of his videos, it is difficult to jump onboard with his plight. (After all, popularity and fame are fleeting concepts, especially in the world of the Internet.) He has since released a third video striking back at his detractors that have taken him to task over his race comment - though the video doesn't help his cause.
Kjellberg states that, while he is serious in his assertion that he will delete his channel upon reaching 50 million subscribers, he may begin a new channel on the site. So fans of PewDiePie's approximation of comedy can be sated in the knowledge that, much like everything on the internet, he will be there whether you're watching or not.