A new study has revealed that YouTube’s biggest independent creator PewDiePie is having his videos throttled in the US. The study shows that he hit YouTube Trending just once in a seven month period while appearing on Trending 45 times in Canada during the same period. He also appeared on the Trending tab hundreds of times in countries where English is not the primary language.
The study from Coffee Break looked at 40,000 videos that hit the YouTube Trending tab between November 2017 and June 2018 and found that PewDiePie only appeared on Trending in the US once during this period. Coffee Break then looked at how often PewDiePie appeared on Trending in other territories and found that he was significantly more likely to trend in most other countries, even those where English (the language PewDiePie uses in his videos) is not the primary language.
Here’s a breakdown of how often PewDiePie hit YouTube Trending in all the countries that were studied:
- Canada: 45
- Germany: 42 (English is not the primary language)
- France: 41 (English is not the primary language)
- Mexico: 40 (English is not the primary language)
- Russia: 39 (English is not the primary language)
- India: 37 (English is not the primary language)
- Japan: 16 (English is not the primary language)
- UK: 10
- Korea: 2 (English is not the primary language)
- US: 1
The data indicates that PewDiePie is being heavily suppressed on YouTube in the US. In countries where the primary language is English, he’s up to 45 times more likely to trend than in the US. In countries where English is not the primary language, he’s up to 42 more times likely to appear on Trending compared with the US.
It’s not clear why PewDiePie is being throttled in the US. However, the study also found that other popular high profile YouTubers that have some swearing or edgy content in their videos also rarely hit the YouTube Trending tab in the US.
This part of the study compared how often the following YouTubers appeared on Trending in the US vs Canada:
- h3h3 Productions: US – 0, Canada – 12
- H3 Podcast Highlights: US – 1, Canada – 32
- H3 Podcast: US – 0, Canada – 29
- KSI: US – 0, Canada – 21
- JRE Clips (Joe Rogan Experience Clips): US – 0, Canada – 26
- Jake Paul: US – 2, Canada – 22
- Logan Paul Vlogs: US – 4, Canada – 7
- No Jumper: US – 0, Canada – 8
- Philip DeFranco: US – 2, Canada – 87
- PowerfulJRE (The Joe Rogan Experience): US – 0, Canada – 74
- Sidemen: US – 2, Canada – 16
Based on this data, Coffee Break proposed the theory that since YouTube was using more human moderation in the US than Canada during this period, PewDiePie and the other YouTubers were being kept out of Trending by human moderators.
This study is yet another example that YouTube is increasingly favoring legacy media outlets over its own homegrown creators. Other data from this same study showed that 95% of the time YouTube promotes legacy media in its Trending tab instead of YouTubers.
Prior to this study, YouTube quietly removed the “Broadcast Yourself” motto from its official blog and indicated that it’s committed to algorithm changes that promote corporate media, despite these algorithm changes contributing to a $70 billion loss in market cap. These changes come at a time when YouTube’s advertisers are reportedly spending less on independent content creators.