Tech

YouTube tirade disrupts Merkel partys EU campaign

BERLIN — In the final days of the EU election campaign, a blue-haired 26-year-old with a video camera and a microphone is setting the political agenda in Germany.

A YouTube video, in which vlogger Rezo accuses Chancellor Angela Merkels governing coalition of destroying the planet for future generations, has gathered millions of views and ignited a debate in the EUs biggest member country.

In the 55-minute video, first published last Saturday, Rezo accuses Merkels conservatives of failing to tackle key issues including climate change and economic inequality. The vlogger, who usually focuses on entertainment and music videos, calls on viewers to boycott the ruling parties in Sundays European Parliament election.

He was joined Friday afternoon by an alliance of over 70 other German YouTube vloggers, who asked viewers in a 3-minute follow-up video not to vote for Merkels bloc or the Social Democrats, their coalition partner, because of their climate policy. They also said viewers should not vote for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has denied climate change.

Leading officials of Merkels center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) — the primary target of the criticism on YouTube — were wrongfooted by the digital attack, and offered a slow and confused response.

Across Europe, established political parties are struggling to come up with a response to pressure from an internet-savvy generation that uses social media to make their voices heard.

“Everybody who watches this video … can see that its a mishmash of many pseudo-facts,” CDU Secretary-General Paul Ziemiak told reporters Wednesday.

A day later, he backpedaled and instead applauded Rezo — whose channel has over 750,000 subscribers — for “raising interest among many young people in politics,” challenging him to meet and discuss the issues in person.

With some polls showing the CDU edging down to 28 percent (while still comfortably in first place), party officials are growing worried about the impact the video will have in the election.

Across Europe, established political parties are struggling to come up with a response to pressure from an internet-savvy generation that uses social media to make their voices heard, on issues from the environment to tech policy.

Growing masses of students, for example, have been following the lead of 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and taking to the streets, mostly on Fridays, to demand action on climate change.

This spring, opposition to the EUs controversial copyright reform — which was supported by CDU members of the European Parliament — spawned the hashtag “#NieMehrCDU,” which translates to “Never again CDU.”

Those examples illustrate “that the big parties fail to reaRead More – Source