Perspectives: YouTube Policy Changes
Being Libertarian Perspectives will serve as a weekly, multi-perspective opinion and analysis piece by members of Being Libertarian’s writing team. Every week the panel, comprised of randomly selected writers, will answer a question based on current events or libertarian philosophy. Managing Editor Dillon Eliassen will moderate and facilitate the discussion.
Dillon Eliassen: This Perspectives topic comes courtesy of Alon Ganon, so he will be co-facilitator. I’m not a tech guy, though technically, I am a guy.
Alon Ganon: YouTube is cracking down on video creators by having their monetization removed. However it seems their criteria is far too broad, and are targeting users who post anti-SJW videos. This happened after Phillip DeFranco posted a video of an SJW porn CEO harassing a Lyft driver over an “offensive” Hula doll. Shortly after, dozens of videos were removed from monetization.
Dillon: An excerpt from their rules page:
“Content that is considered “not advertiser-friendly” includes, but is not limited to:
Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor.
Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism. Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language.
Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items.
Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.”
So, if you want your videos to generate income for you, just make funny animal videos.
Alon: So even just reporting the news, as is our job at Being Libertarian, will result in demonetization. So the question is: what the hell can we put on YouTube anymore? I mean, even “sexual humor” is not advertiser-friendly. High Times Magazine won’t be able to make money from their videos. Cartoon Network has less strict criteria for God’s sake. Steve-O videos like the last one where he broke his ankle would have to be pulled because videos that “display serious injury” will be flagged. I find this highly suspect, on the heels of them curating Hillary searches on Google (YouTube’s parent company), among other issues. Google’s motto of “do no wrong” has fallen flat.
A lot of Silicon Valley is liberal leaning. The overt policies of censorship on Twitter with Milo Yiannopoulos’ ban, Facebook trying to unpublish our own page, and now this. Something has to give. Let’s just say I don’t believe in coincidences.
Gary St. Fleur: Google is part of a grand conspiracy to elect Hillary Clinton.
Dillon: I have to assume there are conservative/libertarian nerds out there working on an alternative to YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. I feel every week we have this conversation.
Nathaniel Owen: It’s hard not to revisit this conversation.
YouTube is committing suicide. This is going to push demand for a monetized video service with more relaxed rules far higher than it already is. YouTube will not have time to read through all of the appeals. Politics may end up having less and less to do with this as more and more people are unrightfully demonetized and send in stacks of angry appeals.
There are far more YouTube users than Twitter users. With both Twitter and YouTube rendered hostile environments for primarily political content (especially content of the non-left persuasion), alternatives are going to smile at their newly discovered web traffic.
Alon: We are. I know Anonymous is for sure and it’s Free, Libre, and Open Source. It just takes time. And there are already easy to deploy CMS systems to deploy internal social sites like Facebook. I don’t see any roadblocks except funding and security audits.
Mike Mazzarone: There were always was to get shows to the masses before YouTube. I had a podcast before YouTube existed.
It was not hard to build an audience, especially if you did audio. You had SHOUTcast, live365, blog talk radio, among a whole host of others.
For video it was a touch harder but you would create the video on movie maker, upload it on a site that was hosting videos and go from there.
For example, one of the first ventures I did was broadcasting in sports entertainment radio and video. That’s pro wrestling and MMA. At the time, for video, there were giant content providers like nodq.com, barbaricwrestling.net, world-wrestling.net, PWITORCH among a whole list of others and if you uploaded your video or podcast there, you were getting 2,000 hits easy, and back in 2004 that was akin to 200k today.
Dillon: I’ll play Devil’s Advocate for a minute. I’m sure YouTube doesn’t want political and graphic stuff they find “offensive,” because if it scares viewers away it scares dollars away.
In some ways this YouTube papal bull seems more designed to ensure broad advertisers, like Geico, don’t see their ad preceding a video of controversial content. This YouTube rules revision is not so anti-video maker as it is pro-advertiser. When you watch a TV show or bunch of YouTube videos, the amount of various commercials isn’t actually that high. They come in blocks. TV channels will have the same spate of commercials all day.
And before YouTube and other alternative media existed, it was hard to make a show and get it on air. YouTube provided a platform to democratize speech, but why should we assume that opportunity must also include the right to generate an income? There’s the right to free speech, but no right to proliferate your speech to the masses using someone else’s delivery system, and certainly no right to get paid by that delivery system just because you want to be paid for your content.
What YouTube is doing is not censorship, if anything they are helping make it easier for content creators to make money from their content by laying out what the rules are, how to follow them, tips to be “advertiser-friendly” etc.
Alon: Except I find far more offensive content on Comedy Central, news channels, and advertisers have no issues. It seems to me that’s Google’s excuse.
Gary: Ah, the beauty of the free market. When companies seek to moralize like this, they open up an avenue for those unwilling to moralize. This is how tech companies die. Instead of focusing on their product, they will get wrapped up in bureaucratic witch hunts. The smaller and nimbler start-ups will come on the scene, build a dedicated following and subvert their predecessors’ shares of the market.
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