We desperately need an alternative to YouTube.
Google owned YouTube has joined the political meddling game. This week, YouTube has had a mass purge. Unlike the previous Facebook and Twitter purges, this is not a handful of outspoken people. This has been hundreds, and more likely, thousands of creators that have found their channels demonitized, videos removed, or complete channels removed altogether.
The purge started with a so called journalist. Carlos Maza from Vox went on a social media tirade about comedian and conservative commenter Seven Crowder. While I am unaware of the two’s history, or to be honest, their content, Maza claimed to be a victim of Crowder’s. Not a victim of violence, but a victim of speech. Through all indications from Maza’s own tweets, it was protected speech. Sure, mean speech, and insults, but protected speech nonetheless. But that did not matter. Maza wanted him banned from YouTube. In turn, YouTube capitulated and demonitized Crowder’s channel. And then then dominoes fell.
Within a day, massive amounts of YouTube creators were disappearing from the platform. Not just conservative commenters, but informational channels. A history channel ran by a history teacher was removed, apparently because there was historical content about World War II. While it seems that Twitter and Facebook appear to be burying news of the purge, users can search the hashtag #VoxAdpocalypse will be shocking to any who hasn’t been following along.
Google has updated their own terms, and explained it in a frightening blog post in which they claim to be tacking hate speech. In the blog post they discuss their responsibility to “protect the YouTube community from harmful content”, “reducing the spread of borderline content and rewarding trusted partners.” In other words, they are restricting content which they disagree with, and highlighting content which they do agree with. They have also updated their “hate speech” guidelines to include discussions of gender identity and immigration status. Google has rolled these new rules out specifically in the United States, and not in the rest of the world.
There is a problem with this.
In the US, there is legally no such thing as hate speech. All speech is protected, except for speech that is inciting violence. And even though many people take to social media claiming that insults are inciting violence, it does not meet the definition. Furthermore, YouTube is creating categories that are not protected classes in the United States, to protect and silence those who YouTube believes are speaking against them. Gender identity, and Immigration status are not protected classes under US anti-discrimination laws. These are also topics which are at the heart of current political debate. By adding these classifications to their policy, YouTube is ensuring that they can silence one side of true political debate.
The world’s largest locations for online social interaction are not only taking an activist stance in the promotion of their political ideas, but are also taking a militant approach to silencing the opposition. Where does that leave us?
As Facebook and Twitter have recently conducted purges which now look minuscule after YouTube’s actions, many of those users and followers have moved over to Telegram. Telegram is proving to be a readily capable replacement for both Twitter and Facebook, and for the time being anyway, is providing a place for speech to be free. But what alternative is there for YouTube? Is there any other service which could immediately provide the same ability for sharing video and monetization? It doesn’t appear so at this time. Let’s hope a true alternative steps up. Are you hearing me Telegram? How about making a video service?