Today I wanted to talk about how the threat of censorship on YouTube will affect YouTubers. People who make a living on making content on YouTube that appeals to a large audience, often by pushing the limits of comedy. They provide new and fresh content that escapes old cliques with content that is potentially offensive. Because that’s what we want. However, now YouTube may be warning these creators not to go too far with their jokes…
I first heard about this problem on an episode of the JennaJulien Podcast, (which you can find here: Podcast #107 – The Censorship/Demonetization of YouTube). If you’re that interested in this and want to learn more, that is the place to do it.
So YouTube’s updated terms of service look like this:
And these have been in effect for a year now. It’s just recently that people are informed when their videos can’t make money anymore. Most of the points make sense, but inappropriate language and profanity?? It worries me to see that YouTube has begun to demonetize videos it doesn’t deem as “advertiser friendly” because of a few swear words. There is no court of law for YouTube, so for the most part it’s a mysterious process of how the videos are judged unworthy of making a profit. It’s just an automatic decision made by a computer.
Some independent news channels, such as Philip DeFranco, have had their videos demonetized for the views expressed therein. These creators are saying things that certain people might not want heard, because they aren’t limited by what they are paid to say. News channels and politicians can be bought, but if you make a video in which you state your honest and unfiltered opinion on the bullshit going on around you, some people won’t want it heard. It’s too honest. And we live in a world of dishonesty.
An online presence has to present themselves in the most genuine way, because that’s what will draw an audience in and hold them there. When you hear unfiltered content from a real person, it’s quite a refresher from all the bought politicians and celebrities. And that’s the beauty of YouTube. No one has to be subjected to the vomiting of propaganda you see everywhere else. And now the very spice and edge-pushing that we enjoy from these creators is being edited out. Now there is a thin line between making content people will be interested in and escaping persecution for discussing sensitive topics.
So YouTube is saying that certain controversial content will not be paid for. So where does that leave us? If censorship continues as people find more and more things to be offended by, what will we be allowed to say? This platform of free flowing opinions will devolve into meaningless baby animal videos and meaningless jokes. Nothing of substance or hard facts. Content that is considered “offensive” is becoming nearly illegal. And that is terrifying. As I see it, what we’ve seen so far is only a preview of what monsters are going to be released if people feel their voices are being squashed. We just have to keep up the fight to resist control of how we express ourselves.
The hope lies in the fact that a good deal of creators on YouTube will not be bought. The more outspoken people are going to suffer financially for a while because they aren’t trying to stay within certain limits. Then when they are finally unable to support themselves on YouTube, they’ll take their free spirits somewhere else that allows them to make a change. It’s just that YouTube will not be the place to find that unfiltered content anymore. As long as people exist who are not solely driven by money, the unfiltered atmosphere we love will survive somewhere.