In the beginning, the YouTube concept was brilliant. Founded by former PayPal employees in 2005, it quickly became the Millennial’s defacto method of sharing music just as radio and Bandstand were for Boomers, and MTV was for Gen X. In no time at all, YouTube which began in an office over a pizza parlor became the hottest and fastest rising site on the internet. Since then, YouTube continues to change and grow. Unfortunately, there have been some disappointing developments as the channel continues to evolve. These include:
- It creates atrocious algorithm recommendations. It’s been accused of putting users in contact with fake news, conspiracy theories, and extremist views through its recommendations. This has given boosts to “False-Flag” and “Chem-Trails” conspiracies theories from extreme far-left and far-right groups who have an agenda to push. For example, it helped promote videos that spun conspiracy theories that attacked the victims of the Parkland school shooting. It’s not about preventing those individuals’ or groups’ from expressing their First Amendment rights. YouTube’s algorithm should not make misinformation popular.
- YouTube spends too much time and energy to promote the channels that don’t need it. The next Great YouTube channel is likely out there struggling to be noticed, but YouTube gives them little if any help. In most cases, you’ll only find out about new channels by chance or through the recommendations of friends or others. The platform does little to help smaller channels get subscribers. The result is that new channels with good content are driven off the platform without being given the chance to grow and succeed.
- YouTube allows its creators to exhibit bad behavior and unscrupulous means to gain views. Some lifestyle channels who have large followings are apparently exploiting their children for views. Some sneakily entice views by brandishing outrageous click bait which has nothing to do with the content they are actually presenting. Horror stories have arisen about certain creators taking on the personas of digital “stage moms and dads” pressuring their children into working long hours to create content, giving up any semblance of privacy, all for earning more views and more revenue. Many people dream of becoming “stars”. Some parents seek to gain stardom by exploiting their children. YouTube doesn’t have the power to tell its creators how to parent. Some suggest advertisers, who are benefiting through ads on channels like this should take a more proactive role and set their own code of conduct for what channels can display.
- Cartoon channels that are aimed at children contain inappropriate content. Some of these channels are mimicking characters children know or love to draw views then presenting inappropriate content to kids. These cartoons are laced with profanity, sex jokes, and other content not appropriate for younger viewers. The creators have found a way to exploit YouTube’s own guidelines by presenting visually appropriate images but then infusing the cartoons with inappropriate language and content. Aside from giving content raters guidelines some feels are vague, YouTube needs to take action and correct this serious issue.
- YouTube’s commenters are off-the-hook horrible. One of the benefits of social networks is the ability to interact with other people using the platform. On YouTube, that interaction takes place with user comments, Unfortunately, YouTube commenters have taken the term “troll” to a whole different level. We have transitioned from intimate connections with a few people where we were judged and penalized for spewing ill-thought out comments to wide venues with millions of participants which provide an anonymous atmosphere where even the worst comments are allowed. Social media provides a ready platform to spew forth all the antisocial invective we have been socialized to stifle. Commentators routinely make fun of people for appearance, religion, politics, gender, race, and ethnicity.
- Pedophilia has reared its ugly head. It has gotten so bad people are making creepy comments about children in videos. So ugly in fact, YouTube has disabled comments on some videos which display children innocently engaged in their activities. It was discovered that thousands of predatory comments from pedophiles were popping up in the comments section under these videos. The commenting function of innocent channels had to be disabled because they posed what YouTube felt was high-risk content because it involved children. The targeting of young children and the spewing of hate seems to have accelerated over the years.
- YouTube is hypocritical with its policies. While violence, profanity, and general bad behavior are penalized and demonized when creators do it, that’s not the case with YouTube’s own original content. By all means, restrict and punish inappropriate content, but teach by example. The network’s own shows should be a paragon of its standards. Instead, original programming features all the content YouTube demonetizes when used by its creators.
- There are no quality standards on YouTube. Creators can have the lowest quality channel with zero relevant content, but as long as they don’t violate any platform standards, they’ll be allowed to remain. The result has been a tsunami of useless content flooding a once relevant platform. Some channels don’t have enough content even to be on YouTube, and it’s bringing down the quality of the platform.
- YouTube Red. YouTube Red is a part of the platform that features the network’s original content. It is not Netflix and it should not enter into creating its viewer content. Doing so takes it further away from the purpose of the platform and will ultimately hurt both its viewers and its creators. This network built its reputation on unique creator content you couldn’t find anywhere else so to suddenly start creating its programming seems counterproductive.
- YouTube’s copyright standards are vague, open-ended, and rife for abuse. The problems began when YouTube automated its copyright strike system. Unfortunately, some of these owners are taking it beyond not allowing the use of their property without permission. Copyright owners who don’t like reviews or comments given to their game or movie are reportedly using strikes as an extortion ploy to get what they want in exchange for withdrawing the strike. Since YouTube has a three-strike policy, this has become a powerful means of extortion.
Author Bio: Charles Watson is the current head writer for Sunshine Behavioral Health. A SEO by trade, he enjoys keeping up with internet marketing news. He can be reached directly on Twitter at @charleswatson00, or at https://www.facebook.com/SunshineBehavi1.