The family of Jessica Baker, a 7-year-old with late stage acute lymphocytic leukemia, have been told that videos of her will no longer be posted on Upworthy because “she’s too depressing”.
“It’s nothing personal. Normally we love an inspiring story of a kid with cancer, even if it’s sad,” said Upworthy’s Content Mediator Sarah Davies. “Unfortunately in this instance Jessica’s story is actually pretty depressing, and it’s damaging our brand.”
“We did think about spinning the story to make it about Republican attitudes to health care, because that’s always a winner,” added Davies. “But unfortunately it turns out the family have access to the best private medical care, although it hasn’t helped. Jessica’s story is just one of those inexplicable tragedies. It’s not awesome or uplifting at all. And that’s just not Upworthy.”
Despite the best efforts of Upworthy’s social analytics team to frame the video for virality, all standard tactics failed. When A/B tested for clickability, Jessica’s face underperformed in comparison to a cute picture of a rabbit, a dog, and a veteran. “Even playing Sigur Rós over the video couldn’t save it,” admitted a shaken Davies. “How are we meant to turn a massive profit by piggybacking on other people’s content if it’s so horribly upsetting?”
The videos ‘This Kid Has Cancer. Her Tragic Death Will Not Entertain You On Your Lunch Break’ and ‘These Photos Of A Cancer Patient Will Restore Your Faith In The Meaninglessness Of Existence’ have since been taken down.