Ford Fischer highlights YouTube’s unfair treatment of independent journalists

Journalists that don't belong to major news networks are having a hard time on YouTube.


In YouTube censorship news, the company appears to be once again targeting more independent news journalists.

Journalist, filmmaker, and Editor-in-Chief of News2Share, Ford Fischer, found himself in this predicament. While Ford Fischer's channel itself was demonetized and then remonetized, YouTube swiftly demonetized all his individual videos, keeping him from making a living from ads on YouTube with his 1200-video strong archive.

Fischer claims that only about a quarter had the option to request a review, and so he did – only to have all his reviews denied. While YouTube didn't specify any particular reason, the responses allege that they have indeed “manually” reviewed the videos and deemed them “unsuitable for all advertisers.”

This could perhaps be part of YouTube's recent crackdown on what they don't consider “authoritative news sources“, essentially suppressing the voice of independent news reporters that they deem to be “borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways” and they're doing this in a very systematic way using machine learning, with many casualties caught in the crossfire.

YouTube made this algorithmic change at the beginning of the year but has recently expanded its efforts of enforcement. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has made multiple comments about this over the last few months, including a claim that news and news commentary videos represent a “very small percentage” of YouTube's total views.

Some on Twitter, however, seem to be more willing to give YouTube the benefit of a doubt, claiming that this must be a glitch and that Fischer's videos were in fact not “manually reviewed” but instead falsely judged by artificial intelligence that doesn't know any better.

However, Fischer explained how another channel that steals videos from his channel and re-uploads them to their channel gets many views and is also monetized and earning ad revenue. This suggests that the algorithm or person that is analyzing the video is choosing to only demonetize and target Fischer's channel.

Other users are painting a far more grim picture, claiming that this is a consequence of YouTube testing their “2020 Election” algorithm, implying that they are intentionally favoring or suppressing different sources to manipulate the masses in one direction or another.

Based on Wojcicki's recent claims during an interview with 60 Minutes, this seems to a planned crackdown targeting independent journalists, regardless of the method being used to enforce it.

YouTube recently sided with a large news network who used a video from YouTuber MysteryGuitarMan without permission and then ordered a copyright strike on the original.


Carl Sinclair

Carl Sinclair is a technology reporter covering anti-competetive practices and privacy issues for Reclaim The Net. [email protected]