YouTube is a pretty diverse realm of opinion – and diversity is still good, right?
Not if you ask, YouTube. Apparently there are some thoughts that the most famous video site in the world doesn’t think you should think. Expressing these thoughts may warrant your video taken down, or in the case of one famous YouTuber who has been generating content for around a decade, was stopped from monetizing his videos.
YouTube user, and fan favorite, Phillip DeFranco recently made a video commenting on the social justice warrior, Annaliese Nielsen, verbally assaulted and threatened a Lyft driver because he had a Hawaiian bobblehead doll on his dashboard. The video is no different than the typical commentary DeFranco usually lays down, but apparently his typical commentary is only excusable when the subject doesn’t make an big name SJW activist look bad.
Not that Nielsen needed any help. She made herself look pretty villainous all on her lonesome. Watch DeFranco’s video for yourself below.
DeFranco gives his commentary, awards her the title of “Douchebag of the Day,” then moves onto other news stories.
The following day, DeFranco got hit with a violation of terms of service, and according to his producer, this was a deliberate move by YouTube for discussing “controversial or sensitive subjects.”
Producer just got off the phone with Youtube and it wasn’t a mistake. Feels a little bit like getting stabbed in the back after 10 years.
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) August 31, 2016
Interestingly, according to journalist Ian Miles Cheong, DeFranco isn’t the only person hit with this violation and punishment, as other channels critical of social justice are being targeted for their commentary.
These are new additions to YouTube’s terms of service for monetization. The regulations are retroactive. pic.twitter.com/593sPjQuLG
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 31, 2016
This is altogether worrisome for the YouTube community. Not just because the new terms of service essentially say that videos that the YouTube staff considers sensitive are no longer allowed – or at the least will no longer be monetized – but because speech has now been severely limited. Where YouTube had a dialogue about very issues, it’s now seeing to it that there is only a monologue.
The idea that one of the most popular avenues of social media vlogging has fallen to the social justice community is tragic. I, and millions of others, enjoy watching much of the commentary, even if it’s not 100% agreed upon. I even started up my own YouTube channel to join in on the commentary.
If YouTube keeps to this course, it’s going to lose a major aspect of why people love it in the first place. YouTube was creative expression for anything from politics to big band versions of pop songs. Limiting speech to that which doesn’t offend those who are too easily offended in the first place, cheapens the site. It makes it less.
Furthermore, it only encourages the behavior that has become so damaging to society as a whole. Let’s remember that DeFranco was censored over his commentary of Nielsen’s actions, which were deplorable. This woman was not only rude and racist, she also threatened the driver with media attention that would ruin his life. Calling this kind of behavior out for the ridiculous villainy that it is is absolutely warranted, and even necessary. However, YouTube has said this kind of commentary is not allowed, and doing so has consequences.
I’d hate to think that’s the kind of company YouTube is. That the kind of people who run YouTube are sympathetic toward people like Nielsen, or even afraid of people like Nielsen. In either case, YouTube will likely find itself shrinking in viewership, and content creation. Soon, YouTube will be a site almost not worth visiting, or being one that people have trouble giving traffic to on principle.
While some may shrug this off, this event concerning DeFranco is nothing short of tragic, because it may be the beginning of the end of YouTube as we know it.