Youtube censorship

Matthew Drachman, Assistant Editor

14 years ago, three former PayPal employees started a company that would go on to affect how people lived their lives for years to come. It is reported to have nearly a billion unique users a day. That site is known as Youtube.


Youtube is a video sharing website that allows you to post content, and depending if you meet certain criteria, you can make money from ads on your videos.


Over the years, Youtube has gone through many phases in terms of the user base. The first users on the platform started with making vlogging channels showing bits and pieces of their daily life and so forth. In the later parts of the site’s life, gaming channels started gaining popularity. The current most subscribed youtuber, PewDiePie, pioneered that part of the website.


Media giant and tech company, Google, acquired the site in 2006 for nearly 1.65 billion dollars.  Since 2015, major things have been affecting the Youtube community. Many “edgy jokes,” (which are jokes that can be offensive because they deal with serious topics such as the Holocaust and suicide), have lead to many people losing the money they had made from Youtube if not to the termination of their channels.

Another topic that has affected many in the Youtube community is the current copyright system.  The current system has lead to many youtubers abusing it to take down other peoples videos under the justification of, “they didn’t like what they said.”


PewDiePie stated that the current system, “It’s set up in the way where the person who gets the strike can’t appeal it because the judge is the person who sent them the strike.”


One RHS Junior, Vini, expressed his support for the system, saying, “It is pretty good, it is about getting more bad stuff off the site.”


Overall, there are two main problems with censorship on Youtube; demonization of videos from youtube itself, and censorship through other users.


In regards to the censorship that Youtube itself lays down, it is understandable that they want to attract advertisers to the site. That is how both the user and Youtube themselves make money, so claims of not swearing and having other sensitive material is a justifiable claim. However, when that claim has a bias, it loses merit.


An example of this was a feud between two channels with opposite political beliefs. One channel known as The Young Turks is a left wing media alternative news source, and the other channel, known as Steven Crowder, who is a right wing talk show host and comedian. It was found that Youtube had been favoring The Young Turks in letting it slide on swearing and other demoniziable offensives, while Steven Crowder was demonetized for strictly talking about the same issues that the Young Turks were, but Crowder didn’t swear.


There is a bias within the company. Now, whether or not it is their freedom of speech to say which political channel can speak and who can’t on their platform is another story. However, if they are going to pick favorites, it either should be known or they shouldn’t do it at all.


One group of passing RHS sophomores expressed their frustration of this by yelling, “It pisses us off!”


In regards to copyright strikes. There is no defence for people who get these strikes. To challenge any claim means that a court battle would ensue, and no one wants to pay that kind of money to go to court because it would outweigh the cost of the video, so they get away with it. The system itself needs to be adapted where the judge is not the person pushing the strike and/or claim, but a third party to the system. Perhaps Youtube themselves.


No matter what happens, Youtube is a growing platform. Where it goes in the future will be interesting to watch.