As discussed in my other blog, in the age of automation, people have lost the financial security that they once had. So the natural alternative would be to use that technology to their own advantage–with content creation being one example. However, even that would prove to be difficult, especially considering the malleable system that YouTube already had in place, which resulted in its violation of COPPA.
Basically, COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) was a law implemented during the early years of the internet. Its main function was to prohibit websites or hosting services from collecting data on children under the age of 13 without the express consent of the parents or guardians.
It turned out that YouTube had been violating that law by collecting data on children even when they are not allowed to watch or have a YouTube account. As a result, they had been dealt a fine. Because of that, YouTube will start to penalize creators in 2020 by prohibiting content that is vaguely defined as being targeted towards children regardless of intent or context of the video itself. Any violators would be doled a fine of up to $40,000. So basically, because of what the main figures of YouTube themselves did wrong, now the creators are the ones who become scapegoats.
It is the equivalent of being in elementary school class again where a few little miscreants do something wrong and the whole class gets collectively yelled at. Only in this case, the teacher also takes away any artwork you done as an assignment–one in which you have the utmost pride in creating–and puts it through a paper shredder.
But I didn’t do anything, Mrs. Wojicky–Wijisky–Witchity–Mrs. W!
But seriously, I did not because I, of course, have not uploaded any YouTube videos that would at least fall under the category of being “targeted towards children.” I had been considering it for a while ever since I started this blog, as a means of attracting traffic to it. Though I kept putting it off because I am very camera-shy and I would not want to feel embarrassed and cringe every time I look back at the videos I made. Of course, now I have every reason to feel cautious beyond any internal conflict. Now there appears to be plenty of external conflicts with the YouTube system itself against its own creators (if there were not already conflicts beforehand).
Even though there are some YouTubers like ReviewTechUSA and Jim Sterling who are holding out hope that the COPPA restrictions within YouTube’s own system would not be as overblown as it is made out to be; my issue with the site goes beyond the implementation of this new system come 2020. The fact that they were willing to penalize its own content creators for what they themselves had done is just one sign that YouTube is not a site worth uploading or generating profit for.
This had been seen with the Adpocalypse of 2017 in which many YouTube channels either had their ad revenues reduced or decimated due to demonetization. Coupling that with the DMCA filing system which has been notoriously abused by bad actors. No YouTuber, even with hundreds of thousands if not millions of subscribers, is safe from it.
There is also the case of the flagging videos that contain hate speech or symbols. It may look respectable in print, however there is always the case that alt-right trolls will purposely false flag a video for containing hate symbols even though the video does not endorse them rather uses them to provide historical context. YouTube does not have millions of people working for them in filtering every single video that is uploaded, rather they use an algorithm, which does not understand context.
If those types of systems are already abused, then who is to say that bad actors would not be emboldened enough to plunge content creators in debt simply because they did not like their videos?
Content creators need to understand that YouTube no longer represents them, rather famous actors like Will Smith, Jack Black, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and any others who have a YouTube channel. I have nothing personal against them, since they are simply following their natural instincts as professional actors trying to revive their fading relevance. They see YouTube and they take advantage of it. That would be the end of it, right? Well, now there is the situation of the risk of being associated with the dark, edgy humor and other uncouth material on YouTube while also juggling with any form of respectability in the public sphere.
This is, of course, where YouTube comes in to prioritize that respectability instead of upholding the principle of not letting any video or creator represent YouTube itself. Apparently, that has been changing. Now, Saturday Night Live and Raymour & Flanagan represent YouTube. You cannot upload edgy humor but Logan Paul can. You cannot discuss tragedy but major news outlets can.
If YouTube is willing to prioritize big-name actors at the expense of grassroots creators, then where would that leave me? I come from a family of high school dropouts who started several small businesses, so I do not have that illustrious background needed to start my career with a yellow brick road. Like most of everyone else, I have to actually work at building my portfolio and connections in order to engage in the type of career I want. In this case, I would very much like to make my career based revolving around my own creative pursuits, which is already a highly competitive field. It certainly does not help to have a platform that has its own cynical priorities in mind rather than the priorities of the people who actually made it globally relevant in the first place.
The fact that they are losing their ability to generate world-famous content-creators and are willing to bring in people who already have that fame to begin with is among many signs that YouTube will not last long as a viable platform. I cannot predict whether it would shut down completely, but I do think that it would go the way of MySpace in terms of its relevance.
If I ever do upload any videos, I would sooner do so on either this blog or other video-hosting sites. Although there are plenty, they do not compete with YouTube, so I cannot hope to provide any income based on any of them. I would have to do it for creativity’s sake for the most part. It would also have to be used to generate traffic if its possible, though once again they do not compete with YouTube. At the same time, that would be a small price to pay (myself, at least), because those platforms do not empower bad actors and trolls like YouTube inadvertently does.