Users enraged, confused over YouTube censorship

Users enraged, confused over YouTube censorship

Monday, October 10th 2016, 11:39 pm BDT
By Andrew Barnett

(RNN) – YouTube users are up in arms over the platform’s recent censorship of content, the most notorious example being the removal of videos showing Hillary Clinton stumbling during a 9/11 event.

Users have already been complaining about the YouTube policy that denies revenue to content it deems as not “advertiser friendly.”

Since late August, some users noticed that YouTube had removed ads from any videos that go against newly updated guidelines, which means the people who uploaded the videos wouldn’t make any money. The process is called “demonetization.”

Many users responded to this by starting a Twitter campaign called the #YouTubeIsOverParty, to combat what they feel was wrongful denial of freedom of expression.

According to information from TubeMogul, users currently make around $7.60 per 1,000 ad views on YouTube, and the new method will cost them dearly.

Some users have even quit their jobs to pursue full-time careers in video blogging.

Kenneth Inge is part of a music discussion panel named DeadEndHipHop, and he talked about how YouTube’s policy change affected him.

“I talked to the guys about putting all of our faith into a platform that we don’t own,” Inge said. “Seeing YouTube do this, it kind of raised the awareness that we need to have a backup plan and put effort into hosting our own content.”

Users are losing money, videos and even control of their own channels, so it’s only a matter of time before this problem determines the fate of platforms that choose to censor users.

The platform also started a new program named YouTube Heroes. This program is set up to reward volunteer moderators for adding captions, sharing knowledge, and flagging inappropriate content.

David Mitchell of HoodGamingTV expressed his frustration with YouTube’s censorship of controversial content.

“I feel like the censorship is targeted at certain people, and those people are the ones who are out on the internet trying to spread education and the truth to the public,” Mitchell said. “It’s all based around controversial topics. YouTube is no longer the site that it used to be where they upheld the freedom of speech, it’s a totally different website.”

According to Google, which bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006, their policy has been consistent, and they have been removing ads from videos since 2012. Users complained that they are just now being notified of this happening to several of their videos.

Inge recalled his discovery of the new guidelines.

“I thought that it was strange that some videos on my solo channel had been demonetized before the official announcement came out,” Inge said. “Noticing that it was two particular videos, I was wondering if they just decided that they weren’t going to let anybody make money off of misery or murders.”

The change may affect a large number of users who make money strictly from YouTube. Forbes even made a list of users who have made millions of dollars using the platform.

Advertising has changed the concept of user-generated content forever. Brands that would have usually only flocked to athletes, singers and actors are now looking for internet stars.

YouTube started selling ads within videos in 2007. In the same year they launched their affiliate program, which allowed users to get paid for content.

Ads in YouTube videos went from being tiny clips to full blown commercials over the years.

YouTube created a bond between advertisers and content creators. Some users have their own sponsors and feature personal ad space in their videos for extra revenue.

User-generated content has not always been a lucrative internet business. In fact, the earliest forms were just discussion forums, much like 4Chan and Reddit.

Today, the most popular forms of user-generated content are blogs, podcasts and of course, YouTube videos.

Ad-supported content can now be used as a gateway for bigger success than just internet fame.

Users have taken advantage of mobile apps such as Instagram and Vine to gain huge fan bases and attract major brands to sponsor and partner with them.

The future of user-generated content may be headed in a different direction from YouTube, but only time will tell. Many users have pledged to continue releasing their content regardless of the new guidelines.

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