So apparently the entire Internet is melting down because YouTube is taking down videos it thinks aren’t “advertiser friendly.”
In a commentary on Fortune, Mathew Ingram discusses the reaction from some of the artists whose content was deemed unworthy, and notes YouTube’s insistence that there was no change to its content policies, but simply an improvement to its notification procedures. Shockingly, that hasn’t flown with its critics. Hence the hashtag. (That’s the great thing about social media. You know something’s a thing when it gets its own hashtag.)
Opaque policies. Arbitrary decisions. Inconsistent standards. Insufficient or non-existent response to users’ concerns. Now where have we heard that before? Oh, yeah:
Facebook’s been cited for removing images of women breastfeeding but doing nothing about graphic violence, racism, and hate speech. Its managers have had to respond to criticism of what some have called its laughably inconsistent approach to graphic content. (Pro tip, FB: when David Cameron thinks it’s safe to take a shot at you, you’re probably doing it wrong.)
Twitter’s troubles aren’t exactly a secret either. While its commitment to freedom of expression is part of its brand, it can be a very hostile place for women and people of colour. Anita Sarkeesian became a focal point for online misogyny and abuse in response to her work on sexism in popular culture. And the hate, racism and violence directed at Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones was intense enough to drive her off the platform completely.
So while it’s tempting to just smile knowingly and think “oh, this will work out well,” it’s also worth noting that the FaceBorg Cube and the Blue Tweety Bird are still with us, even if their brain trusts do things that don’t necessarily make sense to mere mortals like us. And with the power of the Google Gods behind it, it’s probably safe to think YouTube can survive a whoopsie or two as well.
Tempting as things like Snapchat, Vimeo, and Periscope are, YouTube’s still the internet’s No. 1 platform for delivering video content, even if it’s not where all the cool kids are any more. It’s hard to see that changing any time soon.