YouTube has long been considered a platform where you can express any idea you wanted, but lately this is changing, as YouTube is rolling out a new policy which gives them the power to demonetize for violating vague new guidelines on what isn’t “advertiser friendly”. For those who aren’t aware, monetizing videos allows YouTubers to collect ad revenue from their videos, and by demonitizing videos that violate the new guidelines, they are effectively punishing YouTubers with controverisal opinions (more on that in a bit). These new rules are starting to affect some of YouTube’s biggest names, including Phillip DeFranco and MrRepzion, both of whom are famous for calling out SJW’s on their nonsense.
The new monetization guidelines, which are geared towards sanitising the kind of content that YouTubers can monetize, display an extremely backwards definition of what could be considered “inappropriate for advertising”, and it generally seems as if YouTube has gotten about as paranoid as the next Mary Whitehouse, but the last bulletin point is the big problem here, as Phillip DeFranco highlighted in a post on his Twitter profile.
Yes, YouTube’s new monetization guidelines are deliberately targeting the company’s ideological enemies, and if you think this isn’t a big deal, then consider this. There are people out there who make a living putting out content on YouTube, and some of them dedicate their career to providing an alternative to the mainstream media narrative, giving airtime to ideas and perspectives that would not be given a chance on the mainstream media. By targeting the means by which they can keep themselves financially afloat, YouTube is attempting to silence their right to free speech by disincentivizing the creation of content which expresses controversial opinions. Call it whatever you like, but it is tantamount to the heinous crime of censorship.
Responding to the inevitable outcry from users, YouTube defended its stance by insisting that such a policy has already been in place for three years, but has merely “improved” them. At this point, their definition of “improved” must be completely different to the normal one, because I wouldn’t call tightening the restrictions an improvement. All this will do is drive content creators out of YouTube, and onto smaller sites.
The most common argument in defence of YouTube’s new rules is the tired old line “they’re a private company, they can do what they want”. That’s fine and dandy, but I don’t remember any of the leftists saying that about Chick-fil-A when its COO criticised gay marriage (I didn’t agree with him, but he has his rights as do the rest of us). Leftists only defend private companies when it suits them. In this case, YouTube is discouraging people from spreading ideas that leftists don’t like, and the mainstream media isn’t complaining. Whatever your views on private companies are, the whole “private companies can do what they want” argument is only true up to a certain point, and even if you sincerely believe in the rights of private companies, you can’t say that if you’re also against the right of a Christian bakery to not make gay wedding cakes.
Of course, all of this misses the bigger picture – YouTube is circling the drain. It used to be a pretty open platform where you could say whatever you wanted, but then they became popular, and entrenched in popular culture. Ever since they were owned by Google the site has been going downhill, until now we’re at the point where they now censor anything critical of Hillary Clinton, and strike down anything that offends enough ultra-sensitive SJW’s. What will inevitably happen is that YouTube’s latest changes will force its best and brightest users out, until all political and cultural discussion on YouTube, or at least the bulk of it, is dominated by delusional, virtue-seeking ideologues with the mental capacity of 15-year-olds.
If its any consolation, I’m sure that there’s some kind of silver lining. There are ways of getting around YouTube’s censorship policies (I’ve heard that not putting tags on your videos helps), which is some hope because YouTube has censored before, and people have found ways around it. More importantly, I think it is only a matter of time before YouTube’s censorship policy gets used on the SJW’s, which brings me to one final point. The people who campaign for censorship always assume two things: they assume that they get to decide who are what is censored, and they assume that the policy of censorship that they advocate won’t be used on them.
What’s going on in YouTube is important because it signals just how little free speech is being valued in today’s society, and we will all pay the price if we don’t speak up for those who are being discouraged from speaking their mind, because unless we are all free, none of us are. I’d like to conclude by paraphrasing a very famous speech by Martin Niemöller. First they came for the Christians, and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a Christian. Then they came for the Republicans, and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a Republican. Then they came for the nationalists, and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a nationalist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.