YouTube has gone through a major evolution since it began almost 15 years ago. Some of the biggest changes have been in more recent years, namely some of the ad revenue changes based on the content YouTube stars post.
While these monetary issues have affected many quality channels there, it also makes it more challenging that YouTube is owned by Google. The latter company is so secretive on the things they do that it might make further rule changes subject to scrutiny on their far-reaching impact.
The more recent rule change has been in YouTube’s anti-harassment policies. Other creators currently can’t criticize fellow creators in their videos, which kicked off a big controversy on its own.
Is this the final straw for many at YouTube, or will most creators there just continue to work around the rules?
Unfortunately, it’s turned into a political issue
Banning hate speech should never be considered “political”, even if far too many deem it as such. Over on Twitter, the battles still go on to fight those who speak their minds against a particular candidate or political affiliation. If still a work in progress, YouTube isn’t waiting around to take action.
The video platform has been inundated with complaints about hate speech from many video creators who started their own channels. Even worse is hate speech seen in the comment sections, something YouTube has had a hard time moderating for years due to the multi-thousands of comments posted there every day.
Part of what moved YouTube to action was when a journalist named Carlos Maza noticed conservative commentator Steve Crowder making videos blasting former. Some comments on Crowder’s videos became overly personal about Maza’s sexual orientation, leading the latter to complain to YouTube to do something about it.
Most of the new anti-harassment rules are based on this case as somewhat of a precedent. Unfortunately, Crowder is twisting it to make it look like conservative voices are being blocked on YouTube. Now many are wondering what the truth really is.
Crowder has agreed to abide by the rules
YouTube is making their new anti-harassment rules clear: No one can say anything derogatory about a fellow creator in their videos. This means saying nothing about their racial makeup, their gender, or their sexual preference. Any demeaning comment about marginalized groups will be banned from the site.
Others think YouTube will play too loose with these rules and ban people for creating rebuttal videos with constructive criticism. Those from the other side of the argument may say that’s just a complaint from political-minded people who can’t resist spouting hate speech in their videos because they know it brings views.
According to some analysts, YouTube may gloss over the rules because they know hate speech videos are bringing in major revenue for the company. When it comes to truly battling hate speech, companies have to really step up on an ethical level and not sweep it away because it’s bringing in major clicks.
Twitter seems concerned about this as well in a world where major media sources have to balance free speech while drawing some kind of line.
What will the ultimate outcome be?
YouTube says it will now remove videos and comments that threaten or intimidate people based on their race, gender expression or sexual orientation — a response to criticism of its anti-harassment.
Turning YouTube anti-harassment rules into a political battle is about the worst possible result when something has to be done to combat hate on social media. For those who work in the realms of satire on YouTube, this could prove more problematic.
Hard-edged political and social satire is another market on YouTube with new worries about how the platform will view their content. YouTube says they’ll carefully scrutinize every video before making any final decisions.
Since millions of videos are posted there every day, it’s going to be impossible not to have some overly rash decisions made. If it starts happening too much, creativity may be stifled on YouTube to a point where it frustrates creators into leaving.
At least it’s a foot forward in finally combating hate on social media, something most others still sit on or give users the ability to take on themselves.