The YouTube crack­down

The free-wheel­ing video plat­form cuts ben­e­fits and con­sid­ers its op­tions on cre­ator ethics

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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.

no Com­ment

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.

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