YouTube is fast becoming the High Church of Progressivism, and anyone outside of the High Church’s framework of acceptable ideas will soon no longer find any use for the mega video social media platform. But, you know what? That’s a good thing. Before I tell you why that’s a good thing, let’s look at some changes coming up in the next weeks and months on YouTube, aka ProgTube.
YouTube has recently announced new standards on how it will treat content published on its website that has many folks concerned that the moves might hamper more than merely content that encourages or even aids in organizing direct acts of violence (what YouTube and many others call “terrorism”.
The biggest video social media platform in the West, YouTube has long been the source for ‘alternative’ voices and ‘alternative’ entertainment to gain access to audiences that many traditional media platforms cannot manage, despite their multimillion dollar budgets for marketing and production.
YouTube has stated in a recent blog ,“Over the past weeks, we have begun working with more than 15 additional expert NGOs and institutions through our Trusted Flagger program, including the Anti-Defamation League, the No Hate Speech Movement, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. These organizations bring expert knowledge of complex issues like hate speech, radicalization, and terrorism that will help us better identify content that is being used to radicalize and recruit extremists. We will also regularly consult these experts as we update our policies to reflect new trends. And we’ll continue to add more organizations to our network of advisors over time.”
In addition to bringing on these NGO’s, YouTube has announced that they’ll be “applying tougher treatment to videos that aren’t illegal but have been flagged by users as potential violations of our policies on hate speech and violent extremism. If we find that these videos don’t violate our policies but contain controversial religious or supremacist content, they will be placed in a limited state. The videos will remain on YouTube behind an interstitial, won’t be recommended, won’t be monetized, and won’t have key features including comments, suggested videos, and likes.”
Finally, YouTube has announced that rather than produce “natural” search results (such as that can be), the staff at YouTube will be curating what content shows up for certain ‘sensitive keywords.’ YouTube goes on to explain that searchers “will be redirected towards a playlist of curated YouTube videos that directly confront and debunk violent extremist messages.”
Some of the curated content search results will include videos that have been produced through YouTube’s Creators for Change Program. The program is designed to support creators “speaking out against hate and radicalization.”
What YouTube has essentially announced through all of these changes is that this platform is to primarily serve a certain set of ideologies, beliefs, ideas, creative expressions that fit within an increasingly narrow framework, and it will hand over arbitrary governance (the guidelines are incredibly vague and left up to considerable subjective interpretation) to certain groups that also fit within this increasingly narrow framework.
In other words, YouTube has decided that the You in Tube is too frightening. The You in YouTube has now become the gatekeepers of the acceptable ideas of progressivism in all its varied forms. In other words, YouTube has become ProgTube.
YouTube has decided to put social causes ahead of market concerns. It has decided that the free expression of ideas, at least ideas that do not DIRECTLY and OVERTLY threaten others (such as making a video calling for Bob to be assassinated) is too scary. In the marketplace of ideas, it is better if the dangerous ideas are no longer given the same opportunity to propagate as the ‘good’ ideas.
The priests and priestesses of the good and bad ideas are progressive NGOs working to advance a decidedly narrow political and ideological agenda. Over the coming weeks, months, and years, curators who produce content outside of the narrow framework of acceptable thought will find YouTube to be increasingly useless as their videos are not seen, and are not monetizable.
Individuals looking for videos outside of the framework of acceptable ideas as defined by the priests and priestesses of YouTube will increasingly find themselves seeking alternative sources for the information they want to find.
And so the market will create a new demand, a video platform (or platforms) where curators can get their ideas out there to the audience that might want to view them, and, potentially (most likely) have opportunities to benefit financially from their efforts.
YouTube, aka ProgTube, has every ‘right’ to do with its platform what it wishes to do. What has long been a place for the propagation of diverse thoughts and expressions has not decided to convert itself into becoming a useful platform for a select narrow framework of acceptable ideas as defined and determined arbitrarily and subjectively by the high priests and priestesses of the cult of progressivism in all its forms.
That is perfectly fine. This platform is not YOUR platform. I don’t care if you generate hundreds of millions of views for YouTube. The platform is not yours. The platform belongs to the owners of Alphabet Inc, the same people that own Google and numerous other ventures.
To be sure, I would rather see YouTube preserve its original vision, to be a platform for diverse ideas and expressions, a home for independent curators to possibly build careers outside of the traditional gatekeeper systems of traditional media, but it has decided to sacrifice the one unique feature that separated YouTube from ‘traditional media,’ the removal of ‘establishment’ gatekeepers from the process of deciding what content is made and seen by the marketplace for content.
But, the fact that YouTube has now decided to more overtly declare its new purpose, to regress backwards into the old model of content creation and promotion will hasten the demise of the usefulness of the platform for content creators and seekers of content that fall outside the ever narrowing framework of ideas as defined by the high priests and priestesses of ProgTube.
This hastening will also accelerate the development of alternative video platforms. Just look at what is happening with the gun video market. Full30 has emerged as viable source for gun videos outside of YouTube. To be sure, gun video creators are still posting their videos on YouTube, but they are working to build up what is emerging more and more as a viable gun video platform.
I suspect that this is what you will see emerging, niche video platforms like Full30, and I have little doubt that shortly behind that will emerge new video search engines that curate from these alternative platforms. Perhaps another YouTube-like platform will emerge, eventually, from the initial diverse competition, or a few major niche platforms will emerge, but I have little doubt that within one to two years, these platforms will, collectively, rival the total video views of YouTube, and content creators who will no longer find ProgTube to be a useful platform for them, as well as content searchers who will also no longer find ProgTube to be useful to them, will migrate off of YouTube and to these alternative platforms, platforms that are already beginning to emerge even as I write this.
In a sense, without any government intervention needed, YouTube has decided to bust up its own monopoly on the video social media platform. It has opened up the market to new and exciting competition by rejecting half or more of the audience that it currently serves. This, my friends, is a good thing.
While we will go through some rough transitions, experience some false starts, for those of us in the video content creation business, there is a light at the end of the tunnel that began with adpocolypse and now continues with the latest efforts by YouTube to undo itself from an audience it no longer deems ‘worthy’ of serving. So be it, YouTube, aka, ProgTube, let the competition begin.