Youtube has been around for a long time now. Fourteen years to be exact. Some of the most popular and loved musicians like Justin Bieber, Camilla Cabello, and Charlie Puth started their career on the platform. However, as they left the digital platform to become a mainstream artist, millions of others joined to showcase their talents.
Time and again, Youtube has received a lot of flak for caring more about the advertisers than the creators. After the Adpolypse hit in 2017, where many videos were demonetized for no reason, Youtube began working towards a better relationship with the creators. Till now, it has been one bumpy ride!
Youtube’s past policies have been unsuccessful in pleasing its creators. The new policy is no different. On the 11th of December, Susan Wojcicki, who is the CEO of Youtube, came out with the policy. She tweeted. “@Youtube, we take it very seriously when creators share stories about harassment. Today we announced an update to our harassment policy that will help make YouTube a better place for everyone.”
Under the rules announced, Youtube will “no longer allow content that maliciously insults someone based on protected attributes such as their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation.” It means that you are free to criticize someone’s work, but you cannot attack them over it. This policy was made with online bullying kept in mind and to help the platform evolve.
Creators get affected
However, the policy that was meant to protect the creators started targeting their videos instead. On the platform, roasting/comedy is one of the most popular genres. It is where people make videos to take digs at and crack jokes about other creators. One of the most popular videos by iDubbbbz, which poked fun at another Youtuber Leafy, was removed after three years.
Many are worried that this new policy will limit comedic creativity on the platform, where roasting and criticizing anyone could be seen as harassment. The policy also indicates that even old videos that complied with the rules at the time of upload are not safe.
The political commentator Paul Joseph Watson is another Youtuber who got hit by the purge. One of his videos, ‘Modernity’, which criticized many parts of modern culture, was taken down. He went on to describe the new policy as ‘egregious.’ He also said that ‘Many people make a living off Youtube and Youtube is screwing with their lives.”
Youtube revealed to the BBC that it considered removing jokes about President Trump under this policy. However, Youtube did not go ahead with the policy.
With all the policies that have been introduced in the past years, the creators have consistently complained that they were never included in the decision-making process even though it clearly affected them. There is always a sense of anxiety and uncertainty when a new policy like this is introduced. The policies tend to change the algorithm, which controls a channel’s exposure and growth. This can lead to a financial strain as the creators try to familiarize themselves with the changes and figure out ways to make money again.
One of the best things about Youtube has always been that anything was acceptable. Whether it was uploading videos of you playing outside or DIYing an old jacket, Youtube has always been welcoming to talents of all kinds. With the new policy, there is a constant fear that comedy might cease to exist as we know it on the platform.
It seems that when Youtube tries to please one section of creators, other sections get affected. The only way to move forward would be to include the creators who know and understand not only the platform but also the audience and what they want. They can act as a bridge between the business side of Youtube and the audience.