This beauty blogger sparked so much outrage that a reported 20,000 people tried to shut her down
I don't mean to sound like a grumpy old woman here, but, when I was growing up, there was no such thing as a YouTuber. There were people who made YouTube videos, sure, and - by the time I hit my mid-teens - there were one or two recognisable faces from the platform, but people who actually make a living off the website didn't really become a thing until a few years ago.
When they did, though, they became the next generation of celebrities.
They're not just vloggers anymore; they're people who publish books, start their own clothing lines, and tour the world to meet their fans. They're household names. They are brands. And for that reason, fans - especially younger viewers - idolise them just as they would any other celebrities.
So, when a beauty blogger named Eugenia Cooney started gaining a lot of attention on YouTube, some viewers became concerned that her tiny figure was sending out a bad message to young girls. Some became so outraged by her online presence, in fact, that they tried to shut her down.
In 2016, a concerned follower of Cooney's, Lynn Cloud, started a Change.org petition to remove the vlogger from the video platform in order to prevent young, vulnerable girls from starving themselves in order to look like her.
"She knows that she’s influencing young teenage girls into thinking being 60 lbs. is normal. It’s most definitely not," Cloud said. "Ever since she has moved out of her mother’s house recently, she has been getting skinnier and skinnier. This clearly isn’t a ‘high metabolism’ or any other type of losing body weight uncontrollably condition."
And it seems that Cloud wasn't the only one to hold this opinion, as over a reported 20,000 people signed the petition with her.
In response to this, Cooney made a video in which she insisted that she is not a bad influence, and that she has never endorsed being thin.
"Some people are saying I'm like a bad influence on girls. I just want you guys to know like I have seriously never have tried to be a bad influence on YouTube or to influence anyone badly. I would never want to do that. I have never told anyone to try to like lose weight or to try to like change the way they look or to look like me."
The petition was eventually taken down and Cooney was able to continue putting up videos, but several other new petitions have sprung up in the original one's place.
Then, on July 29th this year, a video was removed from the vlogger's channel by YouTube and she had a strike put on her account. It was eventually revoked, and her page is now back up and running as usual - but Cooney still seemed oblivious to the reasons why her content was reported in the first place.
However, fans were unhappy that Cooney still isn't able to see why her material might be considered a bad influence for younger people, and tried to use the experience to warn the vlogger that more of her videos may get taken down if she continues to promote an extremely dangerous lifestyle.
From an outsider's perspective, it certainly seems that Cooney has a health condition that has left her with so little weight on her bones. It's definitely not a sustainable way to be, and it really ought not to be promoted to viewers who may be self-conscious about their own body image.
However, if YouTube steps in to block Cooney's content, what's to stop them doing the same from overweight or obese YouTubers? Should that be something that's allowed on a platform like this? Where do we draw the line?
It's not an easy problem to solve, and it certainly can't be a pleasant experience for Cooney to be at the receiving end of so much criticism. All we can hope for is that she seeks help for whatever it is that has left her so thin, and that her viewers realise that being skinny is not the same as being healthy.