Instigator / Con

The state of youtube


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Contender / Pro

(Copy-pasted warning)
I believe that YouTube is currently shooting itself in the foot with every decision it makes. I am arguing that the "Algorithm" is unfair, The trending videos are incorrect assumptions of what people want to watch, And the executives have lost touch with their viewers. I will make 2 of this debate, With one being a specific challenge against Thoht, And one being up for grabs.

First round for acceptance, Stating position, Etc.

Round 1
First point: The algorithm is unfair.

People say youtube is run by an algorithm. The algorithm does things like copyright strikes, monetization, NSFW tags, and et cetera. The key point of that is monetization. Because of what the youtubers do and say in their videos, the algorithm will or will not let them earn money from their original content. 

A list of people screwed by copyright strikes
A man had his video flagged because he walked past a coffee shop with music playing in it
TheFatRat had his 40 million view video exploited by an unknown company that prevented him from making money for his music. 
Jacksepticeye was unable to show an undistorted video of him playing a video game (which is his JOB) because Nintendo copyrighted cut scenes in the games. (Watch any of the videos and wait for a cutscene,)

These people are not at fault for intentionally stealing copyrighted material for use as their own, yet they are punished for it by the algorithm. If you do not watch all of the videos, at least watch the one about TheFatRat, as it proves my point the best. 

A list of people forced to become sellouts because of monetization. 
Fitz---Created second channel with sponsored videos because his hilarious videos were deemed inappropriate. 
Jacksepticeye---Forced to beg for likes, stop swearing (The Irish loudmouth youtuber cant swear anymore) and to beg for a sponsor from Coca-Cola to have enough money to get by. 
VanossGaming--Relies on merchandise and sponsored videos for money. 
RTGame--- channel almost destroyed from lack of monetization on his full-time job. 
WinterTommy--- Forced to change channel name (Previously Mr. suicide) and create a second channel because his videos were indiscriminately demonetized for a month. 
Reddit channels such as Cuestar, Fresh, and Comment Awards forced to censor swears as unimportant as bitch to keep monetization. 

All these great channels with original funny content are being indirectly discouraged to post videos because youtube wants to remain PG-13. I want to emphasize that even though little kids watch these channels, the looming threat of being kid friendly should not prevent you from being yourself. If youtube were to demonetize a person living paycheck to paycheck from youtube alone, that could ruin their lives. I want to stress that youtube has a kids only option. This means that it is unnecessary to force youtubers to be PG-13, since smart parents or children will know what their limit can be. Unfortunately, even the kids options are screwed up. A mother discovered a video that her kid was watching that told them how to correctly commit suicide, ON THE KIDS VERSION OF YOUTUBE. The lack of video control youtube has is ruining and possibly ending lives in the false name of child safety. 

A list of people ignored by the algorithm.
The Dobre Twins.--- Crappy prank videos that are very cruel but happen to be kid friendly. For example, encouraging the inflatable mattress prank and flaunting wealth by renting two baby bears. 
Ninja--- mostly makes money through twitch, but fully monetized on youtube, even the video where he cusses out a little kid. (Might be the wrong video but you probably know the one.)-----
RebelTV-- Fully monetized, encourages horrible behavior, horrible videos. Also a prank channel, but includes one video where they literally run around and cut people's earbud wires. That video alone cost $400 spread across multiple unfortunate people, including one person with $120 dollar deluxe headphones. Cut straight through the wire. 
James Charles--- Not as bad as some of the prior, this person is simply not that bright. They manage to be at the top of the trending tab consistently, yet their most recognizable video is where they put mentos in a diet coke bottle indoors and get blasted in the face. I do not have as many qualms with them, but they do makeup tutorials and that just isn't my type. 

It makes me sick that these characters that focus more on making money than entertainment are exempted from the yellow dollar sign while people who deserve the money are left in the dust. This is the fault of the algorithm being unfair. Refusing to pay youtubers for original content, forcing youtubers to conform to too-strict guidelines, and wasting money on people who certainly don't need it. Maybe, if one person deserved what they have received in each list, fitz may have gone a bit too far into dark and offensive humor, and James Charles may deserve the money they get for makeup tutorials. Again, I recommend you at least watch the video made by TheFatRat, as they rant about the inner workings of the video stolen from them, including how it happened and the "responsibility" youtube takes for it. 
YouTube can be flawed, it is entitled to be. The only way Con can win this debate is to explain how the state of YouTube is so insufficient that it shouldn't be permitted to keep going.

What is Social Media?
Rather than define the term using a bunch of boring jargon that would probably only complicate things further, perhaps the best way to get a clearer understanding of it is to break it down into simpler terms. To start, let's look at each word individually.

The 'social' part: refers to interacting with other people by sharing information with them and receiving information from them.

The 'media' part: refers to an instrument of communication, like the internet (while TV, radio, and newspapers are examples of more traditional forms of media).

From these two separate terms, we can pull a basic definition together:

Social media are web-based communication tools that enable people to interact with each other by both sharing and consuming information.
Yes, it's a broad definition — but keep in mind that social media is a very broad term. This is likely as specific as we can get without zeroing in too much on a more specific subcategory of social media.

Common Social Media Features

What is YouTube?
When YouTube was created in 2005, it was intended for people to post and share original video content. But since then it's also become both an archive for storing favourite clips, songs and jokes, as well as a marketing site for companies to promote their products.

Nowadays the term ‘viral video’ is common. This refers to a video clip that people have liked so much that they've shared its link by email with millions of others around the globe – in effect, it's spread like a virus. Companies have realised that they can harness this ability to reach potential customers and have created their own YouTube accounts for posting advertisements and other marketing videos.
About us: YouTube
Our mission is to give everyone a voice and show them the world.

We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice, and that the world is a better place when we listen, share and build community through our stories.

Our values are based on four essential freedoms that define who we are.

Freedom of Expression
We believe people should be able to speak freely, share opinions, foster open dialogue, and that creative freedom leads to new voices, formats and possibilities.

Freedom of Information
We believe everyone should have easy, open access to information and that video is a powerful force for education, building understanding, and documenting world events, big and small.

Freedom of Opportunity
We believe everyone should have a chance to be discovered, build a business and succeed on their own terms, and that people—not gatekeepers—decide what’s popular.

Freedom to Belong
We believe everyone should be able to find communities of support, break down barriers, transcend borders and come together around shared interests and passions.

So, Con may not like the videos that end up most trending, may even find 'valid subjective reason' to loathe them but why is that something YouTube should cower to? It aims to let you express what you want so long as not too many of its userbase are pissed off by it so severely they'd sue it or stop using it (which is the only time it censors other than when legally forced to do so). The opinion of one person like Con or even a few hundred, that complain about its trending videos should never be enough reason for it to disregard the many millions who are the very up-voters and view-providers that lead to the algorithm putting those Trending videos on top.

YouTube doesn't claim to value intellectual content over entertaining but brain-soothing (as opposed to brain-stimulating) content. Pro stands here with all of us advocates of YouTube to appreciate not only its right to rank videos how it wants but how even flat-earthers and other people deemed 'loonies' by the masses have the most capacity to express themselves on YT. Other Social Media platforms censor far more brutally and I challenge Con to prove otherwise.

Sources - Formatted on Harvard style by

 [1] Lifewire. (2019). Serious Question: What Exactly Is Social Media?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Apr. 2019].
[2] O'Neill, S. (n.d.). What is YouTube?. [online] Digital Unite. Available at: [Accessed 25 Apr. 2019].
[3] (2019). About YouTube - YouTube. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Apr. 2019].

Round 2
Pro has challenged me to prove that youtube is so flawed, it cannot be permitted to keep going. I in turn challenge pro to try and define what good things youtube has going for it that wasn't created by an individual content creator, but instead youtube itself. 
Freedom of Opportunity
We believe everyone should have a chance to be discovered, build a business and succeed on their own terms, and that people—not gatekeepers—decide what’s popular.
YouTube doesn't actually provide this freedom to anyone below their new set threshold. This is proven by a blog with personal experience of a good content creator being fully demonetized because of the size of their channel, rather than the quality of their content. 
The problem with this model is that their algorithms favor the most mundane, inoffensive, generally-relative content creators who target their videos more towards what makes YouTube advertisers happy rather than what interests viewers.
Another fault in youtube is it's unwritten rules. It has a very clear policy, but as some content creators discovered a limitation set by the demonetization algorithm. 
When YouTube does this, it disincentivizes creators from covering certain topics or products. And that is likely going to happen to Weedcraft, which could hurt its sales.
This is a case where youtube is demonetizing a video that isn't against its rules, as marijuana is becoming legal in many states. The reprocussions of this demonetization will be: The game is unable to be widely advertised in the same way apex legends was (using popular youtubers to say how great the game is instead of running ads) whether intentional or not, because youtubers can't make money for covering it. GrayStillPlays released a video on Weedcraft, and was promptly demonetized with no given explanation. 
This contradicts these two rules:

Freedom of Expression
We believe people should be able to speak freely, share opinions, foster open dialogue, and that creative freedom leads to new voices, formats and possibilities.

Freedom of Information
We believe everyone should have easy, open access to information and that video is a powerful force for education, building understanding, and documenting world events, big and small.
Indirectly forcing content creators to avoid certain subjects like this one with the looming threat of not letting them be paid for their jobs. 
This behavior simply cannot be continued by youtube, as in time it will cause smaller content creators to stick to specific, (not open) guidelines or give up on their dreams to entertain. The worst part is that any future content creators trying to become stars will need to put out a ton of videos for free to gather a big enough fanbase to be monetized. If videos aren't monetized, they have less of a chance winding up on recommended. If they cant be seen, they cant gather fans, if they can't gather fans, they can't be monetized. 

Immediate change is necessary. youtube can either revert back to old rules, rewrite what gets you on hot, (Like upvote ratios Vs. Upvote counts) or have a tab for smaller youtubers to get popular that maxes out at 1000-2000 subs to HELP smaller creators. However, youtube cannot continue with what is currently in place if it wants to survive. 

So far, Con has provided 0 reasons why YT is insufficient in being entitled to being in the state it is in. YT can alter throughout time, it needn't stay rigid.

Marijuana not being allowed on videos and even demonetisation are about YT being aware of laws that affect the whole world, not some liberal US state. This is why it's hilarious when people call them rigged against Conservatives, it's their very respect for Conservatives that leads to them censoring some things (and also respect to Progressives for allowing and censoring others).
There is growing concern that the international drug control regime’s outdated and restrictive drug control measures do not meet current human rights standards and public health needs. Provisions in three historically prohibitionist United Nations treaties – the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances – substantially limit Party latitude in legalizing and regulating schedule-listed substances, including cannabis. Against this backdrop, following through on a promise made during the 2015 national election, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-45 in April 2017 to legalize cannabis for non-medical uses by Summer 2018. This article analyzes and explains how legalizing cannabis violates the three United Nations drug control treaties. Anchored in the premise of respect for the rule of international law, the article identifies several ways forward for reconciling domestic cannabis legalization plans with international legal obligations under the United Nations drug control regime.

As for copyright or the reasons why things are demonetised. It is not YT who sues you, it's another user who YT acts on the Terms and Conditions of their site to be honest and uphold the law and Intellectual Property rights of a user. To properly file a copyright complaint, unless someone literally mimicked your video, is not simple as just flagging. You need to give actual license details etc.

In fact YT worked harder than any other Social Media platform to enable ways to fairly allow copying and reuse:
YouTube receives lots of takedown requests under copyright law, asking us to remove videos that copyright owners say are infringing. Sometimes those requests target videos that seem like clear examples of fair use. Courts have held that rightsholders must consider fair use before they send a copyright takedown notice, so in many cases (though it's a very small percentage of copyright takedowns overall), we ask rightsholders to confirm that they've done this analysis.
In some very special cases, we've asked the video's creator to join a new effort that protects some of the very best examples of "fair use" on YouTube from copyright takedown requests. Through this initiative, YouTube indemnifies creators whose fair use videos have been subject to takedown notices for up to $1 million of legal costs in the event that the takedown results in a lawsuit for copyright infringement. This ensures those creators have a chance to protect their work, and makes the entire creative world better by educating people on both the importance and limits of fair use doctrine.

If you're in the US, you can watch the videos that we’ve protected above. Unfortunately, if you're outside the US, you won't be able to view the videos in this playlist.
Please note, the videos featured above represent a minuscule portion of the number of copyright takedown requests that we receive – they're even a small percentage of the number of potential fair uses that are subject to takedowns. YouTube is only able to offer Fair Use Protection to a small number of individual videos each year, which we choose based on a variety of factors. We try to select videos that are most illustrative of fair use. If your video is chosen for this effort, we'll get in touch with you. Please don't contact us asking us to protect your video; we'll find you if we're able to offer you this protection.
While we can't offer a legal defence to everyone, we'll remain vigilant about takedown notices impacting all creators. You may have seen press coverage of some cases where we've asked rights owners to reconsider takedowns or reinstated fair use videos. For Example:

  • This video by the Young Turks, which shows brief clips from a heavily criticised advert as part of a conversation on why it offended viewers.
  • Secular Talk's video, which criticises Mike Huckabee for endorsing an unproven treatment for diabetes.
  • Buffy vs Edward: Twilight Remixed – [original version], a remix comparing the ways women are portrayed in two vampire-related works targeted at teenagers.
  • \'No Offense\', uploaded by the National Organization for Marriage, which used a rant by Perez Hilton as an example of rude behaviour from proponents of same-sex marriage.
  • Political Payoffs And Middle Class Layoffs, an ad created for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, which made fair use of a clip of Barack Obama singing Al Green's \'Let's Stay Together\'.

There's nothing Con has said so far to require any significant rebuttal. Con seems to want to dictate to YT what's 'good' and 'bad' and then oppose their own interpretation of it. YT isn't the one going around flagging videos and taking them down unless it's extreme. That's the users doing it and YT taking both sides' interests into account.

Sources Cont.:
[4] Habibi, Roojin & Hoffman, Steven. (2018). Legalizing Cannabis Violates the UN Drug Control Treaties, But Progressive Countries Like Canada Have Options. Ottawa law review.
Round 3
So far, Pro has failed to realize the importance of the reasons I have provided in stating why youtube is not making correct decisions when it comes to monetization, user base, and community wishes. Pro has instead provided legal reasons used by youtube that only partially justify destructive decisions. I would like to remind pro that I am not arguing that what youtube is doing is strictly illegal, I am arguing that it is immoral. 

Since not everyone can watch the video made by TheFatRat, I will detail what happened. 

It began by Christian Büttner receiving a notice on his original work: "The Calling" saying that it had been claimed and therefore demonetized. He contacted youtube, and they pointed to Andres Galvis, a youtuber who used the fact TheFatRat makes his videos free to use and share to make his own remix of the calling. Christian contacted Andres and discovered this:
As reported by YouTuber Zen World, a company called RamJets -- acting on behalf of Galvis -- Placed a content claim on TheFatRat’s original version of the song last month, basically saying that he had unfairly used a song that belonged to Galvis and Ramjets. 
Andres claimed that he had no clue who RamJets was, so Christian tried to find out himself. He looked at all the support options, Instagram, the company's website, and they all came up blank. He tried all the phone numbers given, and they all failed too. Eventually, he was given a cease and desist order from youtube, telling him if he kept trying to fight the claim, his channel would get a strike. In response, he contacted youtube help and asked about the claim. The video was manually claimed, so a worker at YouTube purposely gave away the rights, but youtube told Christian that it held no responsibility for getting him back his rights, and directed him back to the support and help pages that were blank. 

At the end, youtube did the most immoral thing possible and took $3,000 monthly revenue off of the video and instead gave it to a company that might not even exist. For a musician/artist, 3,000 a month from a single song is the holy grail of monetization, and he lost it all in a snap. 

There is no happy ending for Christian's story, but there is a happy ending for another youtuber, whose 100% original video was manually claimed by a channel that does "Relaxation videos" for having audio of "CRASHING WAVES."  He contacted the channel directly, with no youtube involvement, and they revoked their claim. If that channel didn't respond, he would've also lost $3,000 a month on a 1 million view video.

Tell me this isn't immoral, if not illegal. I dare pro to justify the choices made by YouTube instead of simply dismissing my point as irrelevant to the argument I instigated. 

Separate from that rant, there is also the issue with youtube being out of touch with their viewers. This can be truly exemplified by three words. YouTube Rewind 2018. The executives in charge of producing Rewind 2018 were so laughably out of touch, they hired actors that had no major part in youtube the past year to act out situations that viewers either watched Ironically or didn't watch at all. The only things truly popular in Rewind were K-pop and Fortinte, and those felt less like a nostalgic video and more like a surreal dream. YouTube was so much in the wrong with Rewind 2018, it became the most disliked video on the platform
So, this time, it wasn't simply my opinion it was the opinion of 16 million devoted viewers. It also has a cast of 10 recognizable names, followed by roughly 50-75 lesser known youtubers, some of which didn't even upload during 2018.

I am not arguing that it is illegal or immoral to be out of touch with your fanbase like this, but instead that the executives in charge need to be in touch with the fanbase that gets them paid, rather than the companies that pay them. YouTube isn't just ad space, it is a wonderful community of intelligent people and original content creators who need honest representation for their work and trustworthy helpers that don't punish them for trying to get their own money back. 

Pro hasn't seemed to realize that my past arguments are legitimate. I was challenged in the first round to prove that other social media platforms censor worse, but I find I have no need to prove that. It is off topic since the other sites are not in the format of purely videos, but instead photos and text posts as well. Pro said:
There's nothing Con has said so far to require any significant rebuttal.
To which I reply:
  • YouTube stealing from TheFatRat
  • YouTube failing to meet their own guidelines
  • YouTube trapping smaller content creators in a monetization loop.
  • The solution to the previous point that could be employed by youtube but isn't. 
  • YouTube forcing a community of young adults to conform to family friendly guidelines in the name of money.
  • I cant refute much of Pro's arguments, because there is almost nothing to refute in the first place. The last argument was 5 small paragraphs (two of which calling my arguments invalid) and a copy-pasted page of YouTube's terms of service.

Round 4
My opponent failed to publish an argument, so I will assume they have forfeited. 
That is completely ridiculous to assume. Pro is hereby stating that Con has contradicted their own case. Either Con is arguing that YT is censoring too much or that it's too free for stupid people to succeed in with poor content.

Neither scenario is anything other than Pro's subjective take on what should be monetised and ranked higher than others. Con is erroneous.