YouTube has started a mass purge of creators on its site with numerous channels reporting that they’ve either been demonetized or banned outright. This purge started after YouTube introduced new rules to supposedly “tackle hate” on its platform and follows a mass campaign from Vox and other legacy media outlets which pressured YouTube to take action against comedian Steven Crowder.
YouTube announced the new rules in a blog post titled “Our ongoing work to tackle hate.” According to YouTube, the new rules will focus on:
- Removing more hateful and supremacist content from YouTube: This involves specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. YouTube says this includes content that promotes or glorifies Nazi ideology and content that denies well-documented violent events such as the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
- Reducing borderline content and raising up authoritative voices: This is a more aggressive push of two existing YouTube policies. The first policy involves YouTube limiting the reach of content that doesn’t violate its rules but that YouTube deems to be “borderline” or “harmful misinformation.” YouTube says examples include phony miracle cures for serious illnesses and information claiming that the earth is flat. The second policy involves YouTube promoting content from sources that it deems to be “authoritative.”
- Continuing to reward trusted creators and enforce our monetization policies: This involves demonetizing channels that continuously brush up against YouTube’s “hate speech” policies.
- Any content that YouTube deems to be discriminatory, conspiratorial, or “hateful” will be removed
- Any content YouTube says is “authoritative” or “trusted” will be promoted
- Any content that YouTube deems to be “borderline” or “harmful disinformation” will be buried
- Any content that YouTube classifies as “hate speech” will be demonetized
These are all subjective labels and YouTube often labels the legacy media “authoritative” or “trusted” while calling anything it disagrees with “discriminatory,” “conspiratorial,” “hateful,” “borderline,” “harmful disinformation,” or “hate speech.” This means YouTube is likely to use these new rules to remove, bury, and demonetize content it disagrees with while boosting legacy media across the site. The rules are probably going to result in the biggest purge of independent creators and the biggest push towards corporate content we’ve seen on YouTube to date.
We’ve already seen lots of examples of this happening already with huge numbers of high profile creators reporting that their entire channel has been demonetized or even removed since YouTube announced the rule change. Some of the many creators that have reported this include Steven Crowder, Sinatra Says, Milo Yiannopoulos, and more.
The trigger for this rule change and the subsequent purge of creators appears to be the fallout from Vox host Carlos Maza pressuring YouTube to censor the comedian Steven Crowder. YouTube surprisingly didn’t buckle to the pressure to censor Crowder initially but as a result of Maza’s complaints, many legacy media outlets attacked YouTube for allowing jokes that they deemed to be “harassment” to remain on the site.
Shortly after introducing these new rules, YouTube then updated it’s Twitter thread replying to Maza’s complaints and said that it had fully demonetized Crowder’s channel for “egregious actions” that have “harmed the broader community.”
Update on our continued review–we have suspended this channel’s monetization. We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies. More here: https://t.co/VmOce5nbGy
— TeamYouTube at 🏠 (@TeamYouTube) June 5, 2019
The timing of this tweet indicates that YouTube’s new rules and mass action against its creators are an attempt to appease the legacy media mob in the wake of Maza’s complaints.