The #YouTubeIsOverParty protest
September 14, 2016
Last week, YouTube users and watchers spawned the #YouTubeIsOverParty on Twitter to protest YouTube’s “advertiser-friendly” policy. The policy filters videos containing sexually suggestive content (including jokes), violence, inappropriate language, drug promotion and controversial subjects like political issues and tragedies and removes ads from their videos. Some YouTubers claim that this is a form of censorship.
While YouTube does not prevent these videos from posting, it does demonetize them, which means the user who posted the video will not receive revenue from ads for it. Some of YouTube’s most popular creators’ main source of income is their videos and they say that without ad funding they cannot produce content. These big creators like Phil Defranco, Jenna Marbles and The Vlog Brothers sparked the protest after they received notifications that some of their videos were demonetized for violating the policy. Along with their fans they took their protest to social media sites like Twitter and YouTube itself.
The issue started a debate about what constitutes censorship on social media, a question many YouTube watchers found difficult to answer.
“It is censorship,” sophomore Zoe Woodbury said. “YouTubers should be able to express their feelings and say what they want to because that is the business. That is what they get paid for and if they are not making any money from that it is a form of censorship.”
YouTube’s audience is not unified on the issue. Some say this is not censorship but something that should be fixed anyway.
“I agree with the policy but it is also prohibiting some of the big YouTubers from doing certain things and speaking certain ways about things,” YouTube user and junior Joy Ramirez said. “It should be monitored differently to make it not so strict so that YouTubers can actually speak what they want to speak.”
Many viewers believe the policy should be changed in some way but how is still debated.
“YouTube should make a separate section on the website that only contains mature content with an age restriction to separate the younger population of YouTube from the mature viewers,” Woodbury said.
Despite the ongoing controversy, big YouTubers continue to post videos to their channels, including videos describing their battles with YouTube’s guidelines as Phil Defranco did. The steady average views they receive on their videos indicate that dedicated fans continue to watch.