Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg, who became the first solo creator on YouTube to reach 100 million subscribers earlier this year, said over the weekend that he'll be "taking [a] break" from the platform early in 2020. Kjellberg made the announcement near the end of a video in which he takes YouTube to task for recent policy changes that prohibit videos containing "veiled or implied threats" against people, as well as "content that maliciously insults someone based on protected attributes such as their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation."
The bulk of the video is spent criticizing the new policy, which he believes is undermined by YouTube's inability to determine intent: Citing a video that was removed because the thumbnail image showed a gun being pointed at a picture of streamer h3h3, he yelled, "No one thinks he's going to shoot h3h3 just because he holds up a gun. No one is fearing for his safety … Why is there no distinction between intent and actual action?"
It is, admittedly, sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a joke and a real threat, though claims of 'being ironic' have also been used as a flimsy defense for harmful rhetoric. Kjellberg has previously been criticized for using a racial slur during a stream, and for paying two men in India to hold up a sign saying "Death to all Jews," an antisemitic 'joke' that cost him a deal with Disney.
According to Kjellberg, YouTube's policies have eliminated all "edgy" content from the platform. What remains, he added, is "so boring, but it's so media-friendly."
"I think now is as great a time as any to announce, I have [a] special announcement to make. I am taking [a] break from YouTube next year," Kjellberg said near the end of the video. "I wanted to say it in advance, because I made up my mind. I'm tired. I'm tired, I'm feeling very tired. I don't know if you can tell. Just so you know, early next year I'll be away for a little while. I'll explain that later, but I wanted to give [a] heads up."