by Melissa Melton
Everyone can feel the walls closing in on the Internet like the trash compactor scene in Star Wars. Everything from government spying to thought crimes to outright censorship is turning what was once referred to as the new Wild West into an increasingly smaller cybernetic control grid.
Now YouTube isn’t just disincentivizing what it deems “controversial speech”; YouTube is actually incentivizing trolls to “help” shut down what it deems controversial speech.
In other words, YouTube is literally feeding the trolls in order to create its very own troll army.
Let me explain.
Recently you may have heard many YouTubers and alternative media bloggers complaining about having their videos demonitized and their ad revenue taken away because their content is considered “not advertiser-friendly”.
Here is a screenshot of YouTube’s policy on that for the specifics:
Notice that last bullet says, “Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.”
At Truthstream, when we heard people complaining about this, we were actually confused. You see, YouTube has been doing this to us for two years now at least. There is a long list of topics that YouTube has summarily declared are “not advertiser-friendly”. This would include any videos discussing war of any kind (including simply criticizing it or looking at things from a historical perspective etc.), videos discussing mass shooting events, terror attacks, the phrase “false flag” or anything at all whatsoever to do with 9/11, even if it has nothing whatsoever to do with the September 11, 2001 attacks.
And other random stuff too, because as you can clearly see, the ambiguous way this policy is written leaves the door open for almost anything to get demonetized. Many on YouTube use this ad revenue as a way to keep going and offset the hours of time it takes them to create content for the site. Now YouTube is basically saying if you want to make money on the site, you can, you just better not talk about anything YouTube (aka Google, so aka the government) deems “controversial” while doing it.
This hasn’t stopped us from putting up videos about these topics, but a lot of people will be forced to fall in line. Obviously they know demonetizing political videos is going to have a chilling effect on free speech about political topics. On top of that, they are pretty choosy on the way this punishment is dolled out and to whom. There’s a definite and obvious agenda behind it.
Well, now YouTube has taken another giant step toward Orwellian censorship by unveiling its YouTube Heroes program. They even made a condescending cartoon about it with cheesy animations set to adult contemporary music that looks like a generic commercial for buying cheap Chinese crap at Target.
Take a look, but make sure haven’t just eaten because the cheesiness overkill might make you want to throw up in your mouth a little:
In short, YouTube just incentivized being a YouTube troll… although obviously they prefer the (I think misused) term “hero”.
People will now get points for reporting videos that don’t follow YouTube’s ambiguous guidelines.
This guy pretty much sums up how we feel about this:
We would do a video on this to report on it, but the company behind the cheesy animation has decided to go around flagging everyone who does for a copyright violation.
Oh the irony.
So among the things people will receive points for is “reporting inappropriate videos accurately”. Once they earn a certain number of points, they get to move to the next level. When you get to level 3, you get to “unlock super tools” like the power to “mass flag videos”.
How can someone even mass flag multiple videos…? It implies they haven’t seen them all to know they are worthy of being flagged first!
In a world that incentivizes a snitch troll culture, where people will earn points toward more “power” for seeing something and saying something, everyone will become a target. People will turn others in, flagging videos they don’t agree left and right with just to get the points!
And this is how free speech just died on YouTube.
The video above is so unpopular by the way, that YouTube disabled the comments for it… That’s right, YouTube disabled the comments section of its own video! It has 2,940,652 views with 837,768 thumbs down and just 25,083 thumbs up (at the time of writing this). That’s less than one percent of viewers giving this video a thumbs up.
In short, we are growing pretty sick and tired of YouTube around here.
As if all of this isn’t bad enough, YouTube does not uphold fair use laws at all. It follows a guilty-until-proven-innocent system where anyone for any reason can strike a video down or steal its monetization and the burden of proof is on the content creator, not the copyright claimant.
We recently had a video clip taken down that we had never monetized of Putin talking on RT.com, a channel that allows for its content to be reposted. Someone had added English subtitles to Putin’s Russian. The video appeared to come from RT and had been mirrored on multiple different YouTube channels across the site, so we uploaded it on ours as well but with a different title under fair use for criticism.
Eleven months later, the person who added the subtitles put a copyright strike on our channel as if that person had a right to RT’s video of Putin simply because she added subtitles. In the real world, that isn’t how copyrights work, and the clip is fair use anyway, but the burden of proof was on us to then start something that we were warned by YouTube is a legal proceeding to prove we have the right to upload a clip that isn’t even owned by the person who claimed copyright. Meanwhile, our channel received a strike and our uploading privileges were restricted until we could prove our “innocence”.
The same thing happens any time we try to report on scientific research (publicly funded, just the way) done at Stanford University. They have a bot that blanket copyright strikes ANYONE who uses any of their clips for fair use reporting.
It is for these myriad reasons that the series of documentaries we have been working very hard on for the past year will NOT be uploaded to YouTube. At least not first. No way.
We are creating a series of films (one is in post right now!) that are definitely on “controversial subjects” with fair use clips, the whole nine yards. The last thing we need after a year of driving back and forth across the country filming and interviewing people and spending hours upon hours at the library researching and writing and editing footage until five in the morning night after night in all of our free time is to have our film demonetized, attacked by YouTube’s troll army, and struck down for bogus copyright claims that spit in the face of Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 which allows for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.
But… more news on that coming soon.
In the meantime, YouTube has been an invaluable platform for many especially in the alternative media to talk about the things the mainstream media won’t. That’s the whole reason I started this blog back in 2011 when no one except myself and maybe my mom read it. That’s the reason I called it TRUTHstream Media. Because I was searching for the truth. I still am. Now Aaron is with me and I’m surrounded by an awesome community of truthseekers like the amazing gang at Activist Post, Daisy Luther, Brandon Smith of Alt Market, Gary Franchi of Next News Network, Corbett Report, The Daily Sheeple (now with Joe Joseph of Freedom Link!), Popeye of FederalJack.com, and so so many others.
I am thankful to have a place like YouTube where we can question the reality we’re given and share our thoughts and research with the world and you guys talk back. I can just see a day coming in the not too distant future where that will no longer be possible unless we fall in line and stop talking about the “controversial subjects”.
Well friends, you know us. That simply isn’t going to happen here at Truthstream Media.
Sad, isn’t it? The Internet’s Wild West days are over. Well, there’s a reason it was called the World WideWEB after all…