The YouTube crackdown
The free-wheeling video platform cuts benefits and considers its options on creator ethics
Poor old YouTube can’t go a week without controversy. Its creators are unhappy: the company’s automatic content monitoring systems are handing out oft-unjust bans left and right, with creators’ only resort being an unclear and unfriendly appeal system. Many of those same creators have already lost income thanks to tweaks to YouTube’s revenue policies, cutting smaller channels out of the loop while removing ads from others to appease sensitive advertisers.
All the while, YouTube’s viewers are growing more and more displeased, particularly since YouTube’s has seemed happy enough to support controversial content where its biggest broadcasters (and revenue generators) are concerned. The recent case of Logan Paul, who received promotional support from YouTube even after uploading a video of a suicide victim, has caused concerns over YouTube’s ethical standpoint.
Neither YouTube or its creators are in an easy position. The former, because over 300 hours of content are uploaded every minute; the latter, because there’s really nowhere else to go. YouTube has, at least, started to learn from its mistakes, with a blog post from company VP Ariel Bardin stating that it would begin targeting new disciplinary measures – ranging from revenue penalties to removal from search results – against content featuring cruelty, traumatising pranks, violence and hate, or sensationalised pain.
YouTube’s infamously awful comments section is also under scrutiny, after it emerged that a US spree killer made his intentions known in a series of postings on videos. The company has long fought to police comments, forcing (at one time) real names to be used, and giving creators more power to moderate posts which its algorithm deems suspicious, but filtering the wheat from the chaff will likely require a complete culture change – something YouTube would be wise not to force, given its reputation. And so, if you’re a creator, the burden of monitoring your comments is on you – and if you’re a viewer, we’d suggest you look away, because it won’t change anytime soon.