Panel Paper: When You Can’t Tube… Impact of a Major Youtube Outage on Rapes

Saturday, November 9, 2019
Plaza Building: Lobby Level, Director's Row E (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

M. Amelia Gibbons, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Martin A. Rossi, Universidad de San Andrés

On Tuesday, October 16th, 2018, YouTube experienced a major and rare global service outage. Using high-frequency crime data from the U.S., we document an important increase in rapes in the 24-hour period following the outage. We then investigate various potential underlying channels or mechanisms that may link the YouTube outage to the subsequent observed increase in rapes, such as direct effect of the outage on other (not sexual related) crimes and offenses, the effect of the outage on drug and alcohol offenses, time substitution, and pornography viewing. The overall evidence only supports the mechanism of pornography viewing.