Home Culture Is YouTube becoming too politically correct?

Yes. If you were around the early days of YouTube you remember the “wild wild west” feel to it. Creators from all walks of life were able to thrive and succeed because YouTube at the time rewarded creativity, openness, and free speech. YouTubers like The Angry Video Game Nerd, Jenna Marbles, FRED, Smosh, and Nigahiga were all about to succeed because they made funny, original, uncensored content. There was no restrictions what was deemed worthy for ads, no shadow banning, no favoritism. It was a level playing for anyone, where becoming popular felt like a tangible goal that didn’t require you to bend to YouTube’s will.

Any connoisseur of YouTube is well aware that YouTube today is a shell of what it once was. The kind of content that succeeds today comprises of content that is equivalent of the “G” movie rating. If you dare make a joke, or even suggest at a controversial opinion, YouTube will demonetize your video at the snap of a second. Look on the trending page – Oh I forgot to mention that the trending page is hand selected by YouTube – the videos that are allowed on the trending page or the most kid-friendly, unchallenging, dumbed down videos you can find. While I have no issues with that kind of content or people who enjoy watching that kind of content, it’s insulting to people who wish to challenge their audience with more satirical content.

Let’s take a look back at when YouTube peaked in my opinion – 2016. To set the scene, YouTubers still had the liberty to succeed and thrive with edgy content. YouTubers like H3H3 Productions, Filthy Frank (Joji nowadays), idubbbz, and Leafyishere, were evolving the platform to favor videos that would often parody, satirize, or criticize other creators on the platform. At this point in time on YouTube, people were quick to call out other creators with videos directly intended to poke fun or criticize other creators. While this may seem hurtful in nature, looking back at those videos, most of them were in good fun. They were never meant to actually cause harm and felt more like a comedy central “roast.” idubbbz iconic series, “Content Cop” centers around critiquing other creators content in a funny, insightful way. His most famous Content Cop was on the popular YouTuber Leafyishere. The video was in all rights absolutely hilarious. He mocked Leafy for his weak chin and did a deep dive on why Leafy is unfunny. At the end of the day, it was just a good old fashioned roast. Leafy responded with his own video mocking idubbbz.

This video was not only iconic, but monumental on the platform. The YouTube commentary scene was gaining a lot of traction from audiences, but also YouTube. Somewhere in the year 2016, YouTube had begun to recognize that edgy content was what audience were beginning to favor. They saw channels like idubbbz and Leafyishere as problematic for the platform as advertisers would be less likely to sponsor the site if the most popular content consisted of the “hateful” content. They failed to recognize the humor or style in the content. This is a blatant double standard on YouTube’s end though, as the constantly favor and showcase “Saturday Night Live” on the trending page, which mocks and insults the president constantly. If they are allowed to mock trump, then why can’t YouTubers criticize on another. Why is one considered satirical and the other “hateful?” Why is one funny and the other is “harassment?” I’m not a fan of Trump myself, I have no issue with people making fun of him, but I think if you’re allowing the platform to satirize one person and not another, that is hypocritical.

YouTube tends to play favorites. Their rules are never consistent and often childish. They favor established television networks and other companies instead of their creators because they ultimately just want money. Because YouTube fails to monetize and support YouTubers who want to make unfiltered content, many YouTubers have either quit, pivoted their content into cookie cutter videos, or rely on sponsors and patreons to make the content they want to make.

Remember the Content Cop video I mentioned earlier? Removed. Years after its release YouTube took down the video since it was considered “harassment.” I rewatched the video. Sure, a lot of the jokes are grounded in mocking Leafy’s appearance, but at the end of the day his video was grounded in comedy. It’s not meant to direct hate or negativity. We all have the right to exercise our freedom of speech and I feel the platform is becoming too censored and soon enough a competitor will rise up. Leafy himself came out after the video was removed and claimed that he wanted it back up. He recognized that the video was removed for unjust reasons. Remember he was the target of this video, the video was making fun of him, yet he was still recognize that the video should stay up.

Let’s look at some way in which YouTube has screwed over creators because they didn’t fit in line with their image of the site. In 2020 Leafy was banned due to, you guessed it, “harassment.” His ENTIRE channel was banned with no warning, no strikes, nothing. It was entirely unfair and goes against the system they established. His videos would use clickbait to coax the viewer in, but he would ultimately just talk about the stock market.

This sets a scary precedent. Videos getting taken down, youtubers getting banned, shadowbanned. The way the sit has been going the last couple of years, people are genuinely worried that YouTube is going to continue moving the line towards safe, uncontroversial content. People are no longer given the freedom to make the kind of content they want and instead are put in a box. If you’re an artist of any kind, you know the single most damaging thing to your work is to be put in a box.

YouTube was once a platform that represented people being able to make the kinds of videos they want. People could succeed because of their talent and hard work as opposed to kissing ass for a platform that doesn’t even care for them. It’s incredibly sad as a viewer such as myself to see all of what made YouTube great go down the drain. If this trend continues I foresee that I’ll be watching YouTube even less than I already am.

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