YouTube Trolls Attack Gunnarolla — Is Matt Santoro Responsible?

(photo credit: YouTube)

(photo credit: YouTube)

Apparently Matthew Santoro forgot his Spiderman mantra: With great power comes great responsibility. If the facts are indeed the facts, Gunnarolla apparently has a big right to be upset at Matthew Santoro and his fan base — they’ve been f**king with his income.

It all started like this, apparently: Canada has a social media awards show they call Hubub. It’s supposed to reward Canadians who do great things in the field of being Canadian AND social media stars. It’s a “For Canadians By Canadians thing” to compensate for their sub-par maple syrup. But I guess the Canadians aren’t always nice to a fault.

According to the rules of Hubub, there were two voting rounds to determine who was Canada’s best social media star. The nominees included Lilly Singh, Evan Fong, Matthew Santoro and Gunnarolla. Apparently Santoro won the first round by a landslide and everyone assumed the trophy was his. But Gunnarolla read the rules and knew it was a two-part voting process. So he instructed his fans to keep voting. And vote they did, bringing Gunnarolla back into contention for the award. Santoro still managed to win it, having the much larger fan base (Santoro has almost 500,000 subscribers, Gunnarolla has 76,000) and all seemed reasonably okay with the world to Gunnarolla.

But that’s when Santoro and his buddy Nicole Arbour decided to upload videos about how things went down shady-style (Santoro’s video below, Nicole’s is up above).

After posting his side of the story to YouTube, Santoro’s fans went into attack mode on Gunnarolla. In addition to leaving nasty comments on his YouTube page, they also downvoted some of his videos — including one where Gunnarolla went to Egypt as part of a sponsorship deal with Contiki. That of course messes with the video’s likelihood of coming up highly ranked on YouTube’s random search algorithm (it’s how YouTube keeps the crap out). It potentially sours a brand deal for Gunnarolla with Contiki and loses him income.

Here is where things get tricky. Gunnarolla reached out to Santoro and explained the issue. Santoro, for his part, apparently only told his fans to be polite, but didn’t retract the video where he goes off on the voting system being rigged.

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And as Gunnarolla has been attempting to show the so-called Santoro Army trolls, it’s been a part of Hubub’s voting process since the beginning. Gunnarolla made a comprehensive Tumblr post about the ordeal here:

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So that’s where we stand now. A major YouTuber has inadvertently (or not?) wielded his fan influence against a smaller creator. We’ve seen it several times before including Shane Dawson’s peeps going after Chescaleigh and Phil DeFranco’s hordes lambasting Laci Green, though to be fair with that last one, she definitely fired back.

Sure you want to share things with your fans, folks, but you have to realize the real world component that the more rabid of your fans think of you as family. And when someone messes with their family …

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We’ve already seen instances where 4chan has tracked down people they had issues with and exposed all their private information. And we’ve seen instances where rabid fans have made life feel unsafe for public YouTube figures like Anita Sarkeesian or Michael Gallagher. Many creators who aren’t in a position to have bodyguards or live in secure neighborhoods. The threat of violence is real when you add in strangers on the internet. And let’s face it: when you have almost 500,000 fans, there’s a good chance not all of them are sane. And with YouTube creators’ close relationships with their fans, it’s not hard to imagine one of them going too far.

Let’s all think before we start slinging arrows at one another. This space has gotten too big to be properly controlled. Don’t make fan armies the reason that restrictive security parameters are put in place.


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