Youtube's Shifting Algorithms Hurt Independent Media

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by cageymaru, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Ad revenue generated for videos on the Youtube service has shrunk by 99.5% for many channels when major brands pulled their advertising earlier this year. This was due to the ads being run on a few videos promoting terrorism and extremism. Youtube was told to tighten the reins on the type of content that ads from major brand's are run, and the new algorithm in place is ever shifting and changing. This has led to a precipitous drop in revenue for independent media to the point where channels are having to ask for donations. Channels that tackle sensitive subjects such as depression, suicide, anxiety, rape, and child abuse in a way to help people are being blocked from generating revenue as these are now flagged as offensive topics. Video game rants are now scanned for offensive language and blocked from ad revenue. Comedians that use any colorful language during their routine are also blocked. Military weapon channels only generate 25% of the revenue that they previous did before due to being "hidden" from being shown in a prominent manner on the website. Videos showing war and natural disasters are blocked from generating ad revenue.

    Political channels that have radio station affiliates and adhere to FCC content rules are being shunned. Google contractors were listing the Infowars website as low to medium for search results as far as trustworthiness of factual data goes which is blatant censorship. They have since reversed that decision, but other political shows still suffer on the service. One popular political show called the "David Pakman Show" costs $20,000+ a month to run as the owner has hired full time employees. It now only generates as little as six cents per day in advertising revenue due to the new shifting algorithm. This is now known as the "adpocalypse".

    Mr. Pakman explains in detail how his show doesn't have to seek advertisers because Youtube automatically assigned them to his videos due to their popularity. This meant that he doesn't have to adhere to rules precluding him from tackling certain subjects during his show. And since his show is broadcast on radio stations, it adheres to FCC rules like a corporate entity such as CNN would. His show is now in danger of shutting down due to the loss in ad revenue because of the political nature of his show. And the corporate media isn't talking about it because those advertising dollars that were earmarked for Youtube broadcasters will be shifted to mainstream media. The machine learning algorithms are literally choking the life out of his channel as they indiscriminately flag key spoken words as hate speech or too controversial without understanding the context in which the words were used.

    What do you think? Are you ready for the "Disneyification" of Youtube where the only content will have happy smiling people saying nice things about pretty flowers? I've always had the mentality that it's Youtube's problem and they should hire more employees to handle content strikes and ad revenue blocks. Youtube has embraced the algorithm and the automated system instead. I think the automated system is great for instantly flagging content for a human to review. The catch is that Youtube is determined to skip the human interaction part and make their machine learning facilities smarter and faster. Thus the algorithm may end up chasing their jaded content creators away for greener pastures. Why can't Twitch with it's Amazon backbone provide the same service as Youtube? We already have a smorgasbord of video archival websites like Vimeo also. Big today doesn't mean relevant tomorrow. Just look at the previously successful brick and mortar stores struggling to survive in the face of eCommerce.

    Jamie Byrne, director of creators and enterprise at YouTube, said that concerned companies had requested tougher controls to keep their ad dollars flowing. “For creators to flourish on our platform, we need an incredibly strong advertising community engaged on YouTube as well,” he said. He hopes that as the ad systems learn to decipher context, and advertisers relax, creators will see greater returns. All of that means that new media creators hoping to make a living online need to play by YouTube’s rules, and steer clear of anything “potentially objectionable” — not to real people, who might actually be offended, but to robots. If YouTube wants to fulfill its promise of an online environment where independent creators can make interesting work, it will find a way to scrub ads from truly vile content without penalizing the merely controversial.


    Obviously there is going to be some political discussion in this thread. This is inevitable. But leave the hate and vitriol out. When our independent media entity is censored then our democracy is damaged. Honest opinions are always welcome even if they don't agree with you. Censorship is simply not needed in our society.

    Please be mindful and respectful discussing the topic.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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  2. RaxusCraxurFace

    RaxusCraxurFace Limp Gawd

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    Nope no agenda here at all.

    Move along prole
     
  3. Madoc

    Madoc Gawd

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    First they came for the pirates, but I did not speak up because I was not a pirate.
     
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  4. umeng2002

    umeng2002 Limp Gawd

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    The death of Youtube has started. The whole point of youtube is that it use to let getting sponsors for content up to youtube inserting ads... now it's going back to the old ways were each channel need to directly go to companies for baked in ads.
     
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  5. otherweeb

    otherweeb Gawd

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    I question whether something is an 'independent media entity' when they depend on another media entity for distribution.

    Ironic when people scream that the ban hammer is not being used properly so a bigger ban hammer is applied that strikes them too.
     
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  6. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    Advertisers don't want their ads running with content that is counter to their desires or their message. Should a synagogue be funding Infowars? "You are the source of all evil on this planet and none of you disgusting creatures you died in WWII. Thanks for your advertising dollars." You think that's going to fly? Does a company with a huge number of Muslim customers want their ads running at the beginning of a video about a fabricated terrorist attack? Does anybody really want their ads aired with a hate group like BLM Toronto?

    I'm not a big fan of censorship, so the solution is to fundamentally change how advertising is handled on Youtube. It's going to have to e handled the old way. I think this is going to kill Youtube, or turn it into another echo chamber. Youtube's greatest strength is probably what's going to kill it.
     
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  7. Semantics

    Semantics 2[H]4U

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    Personally i prefer integrated ads as there are tasteful ways to do it that don't disrupt watch-ability as much as pop up ads or just jump cuts to ads. Although if youtubers can pull that off, who knows. I know I watched a rerun of bones in a hotel with the most awkward and shill form of toyota ad randomly in the episode.
     
  8. Sonicks

    Sonicks [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yikes. Posting InfoWars videos now....

    The funny thing is, the way YouTube works: it's the content creators that get the shaft. If your video or content is deemed offensive, they stop giving you any percentage of the Ads that play on your channel BUT they keep running those Ads. So YouTube simply gets to continue making their money and limiting who it shares it with.

    It's a their shitty business model but it's their business to run nonetheless.
     
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  9. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons [H]ardness Supreme

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    Meh.

    Not sure how a side can vouch for the free market and personal property rights for businesses and ALSO complain about a corporation saying "Get off my lawn" because your content hurts their bottom line.

    It's not like there aren't a dozen other formats out there. If this hurts Google's bottom line, than that's their prerogative. It's not censorship if your using a companies property and they say no. It's censorship if the government shuts down your own private web server. That's not what this is. Don't treat this like a bigger deal than it is.
     
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  10. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Because it affects the independent media. You have to think about the big picture. Censorship is a bad policy. Let the people use that grey matter in their skulls to make decisions. Like the NYT article said, there are only a few billionaires that own all of the media in the country. We still need independent media out there finding the small stories that become national headlines. Will we always agree with what they say? No. But the outlets should be preserved.
     
  11. OEM

    OEM Can't Fix Stupid

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    Capitalism, yo.

    Getting hard to just ignore a companies politics as long as they provide something you want, like youtube videos.
     
  12. ThatsAgood1jay

    ThatsAgood1jay Gawd

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    Don't build your business on the back of someone else

    Youtube as your only means to get content to users is a terrible business model. If you can't sustain traffic to your own hosted content site, then maybe your business sucks.

    I am sure Youtube will be fine, they will figure out how to work this.
     
  13. Retronym

    Retronym Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    I prefer a warts-and-all philosophy. But no one is pointing a gun to my head to watch youtube. Let them have their liberal fiefdom.
     
  14. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Kyle found a better video. ;) Thanks for the feedback! Check it out.
     
  15. fadedlogic

    fadedlogic Limp Gawd

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    It's like creating a successful restaurant in a leased space. Great while the lease is in effect; terrible when it comes time to renew said lease.
     
  16. Nihilus1

    Nihilus1 Limp Gawd

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    Fantastic editorial cageymaru. I think we will see some alternatives to youtube catching momentum very soon. Unlike FB, nothing is keeping users attached to the site.
     
  17. vegeta535

    vegeta535 [H]ard|Gawd

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    And those site will encounter the same issue sooner or later with advertisers.
     
  18. Sonicks

    Sonicks [H]ard|Gawd

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    YouTube is not a Government funded company therefore it has no obligation to support or not support independent media. It's not like they are taking down videos they are trying to censor. Let's not get it mixed up here. YouTube simply isn't funding content it doesn't want to fund anymore (for whatever vague reason).

    I'm not defending YouTube since their Ad Revenue practices are shady, at best, but I also don't agree with the sentiment that they are censoring anybody. I do feel bad for the content creators that suddenly lost their revenue though because, again, I feel like YouTube is being more than shady in their practices here when it comes to who and how it shares its Ad revenue with.

    If you've got a camera and an internet connection you can still get your message across on YouTube. They just won't pay you for it if they don't want to.
     
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  19. TAP

    TAP [H]Lite

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    Didn't Infowars' Alex Jones just argue in court that he is not a news site but an entertainer? And now people are concerned that his "news" is being censored... The dude is NOT a news source because news requires facts. Not conspiracy theories.
     
  20. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Thank you. ;)
     
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  21. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yep, get rid of all forms of political dissent. The clampdown is well under way.

    Next to be outlawed or pushed aside will be political/satirical comedy.

    I'm using Patreon for a few of these affected channels.
     
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  22. vegeta535

    vegeta535 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I guess all these news sites and channels lost the memo about containing facts.
     
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  23. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah I'm sure Breitbart will pay ad revenue to pro-Hillary 2020 ads
     
  24. Cobra

    Cobra 2[H]4U

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    I understand where you are coming from. But this is a tricky issue. If any company in the world should have an obligation to be "objective" it is google. Like it or not, google is basically the library and news service for billions of people across the world. Just like if AT&T, Charter and Comcast got together and said "We won't provide any content with a liberal slant". Because of market realities that would basically mean like 90% of internet content would cover only one source, and it wouldn't be "censorship" by the definition of it because the government didn't do it, but effectively would have the same result as if the government did do it.

    TL : DR

    Google censoring content would make them the closest thing we have to Chinese style censorship in America. The majority of the populace would only receive one viewpoint of any given issue. It obviously isn't that bad, but this could be a step in that direction.
     
  25. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Well see again there is a bigger picture to think about. A lot of "censored" content is no longer showing in the queue for users when they visit the website. It is literally hidden. So suddenly you go from having 500k views a video to less than 10k because your subscribers are no longer notified that you are putting out new content. Some channels even experienced huge losses of subscribers overnight, but Youtube called that a bug.

    Then you have Google rankings. Remember that most people "Google" for their information. So simple censorship is to move a website or videos from an entity to a lower priority in the search results. Guess what that would do for traffic to a website?

    So there is more to the issue than just Youtube saying, "Get off my lawn!" when they own the search results engine also. They can literally blacklist you and drive you out of business.

    Those are the types of themes that I was hoping would get discussed. I can only write so long of an article on the front page. ;)
     
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  26. Gigus Fire

    Gigus Fire [H]ard|Gawd

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    No, this is a good thing.
    If youtube wants to become the next cable tv like channel, they're free to do so.
    I've seen this happen many times where some brainless entity believes their success isn't predicated on their base (how they got popular to begin with) and starts to alienate them. I'm pretty sure that's been happening on reddit as well.
    If they want to alienate, go right ahead. Their base will find other outlets and there'll be a mass migration.
    Youtube will become the next google+ if this continues.
     
  27. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons [H]ardness Supreme

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    That gets into the bigger picture of whether we rely on corporate entities and for-profit news....but Youtube was never intended as a news source.
     
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  28. rudedog

    rudedog Gawd

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    If I where them, I would go out and rent or buy my own servers with a good connection and great bandwidth... oh that costs money? As other say, don't build your business on top of others, than complain. More and more people want something for nothing.
     
  29. trick_m0nkey

    trick_m0nkey I jump for cash, bitch!

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    Youtube and Google are a business, not a charity. If these independent news organizations need money so badly, then they need to figure out a way to fund their operation, or be stamped out.

    This is not a political message, this is just reality. If your business model depends a platform you didn't build that's funded by advertisers that reach out to them, not you, your business model was built on a shaky foundation.
     
  30. tetris42

    tetris42 2[H]4U

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    Guys, you're all overreacting. Youtube will eventually fuck everyone who is not already enormous. These are just small blips in one direction or the other along the way.
     
  31. Semantics

    Semantics 2[H]4U

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    It's their own fault, many youtubers branched out when they could into directing traffic to their own portals. To get moneyoff of there, if you can't afford bandwidth and storage of host your own videos then don't expect to make money off of them.
     
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  32. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    They promote news on their website. Personally I stay away from political stuff as my family members will turn into stark raving lunatics if you say the wrong thing. But everyday that I visit Youtube they have a White House livestream, Infowars, Young Turks, etc somewhere on my page. I think it is because I watched some PBS specials of concerts at the White House over the years. I love music and stuff like Austin City Limits.
     
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  33. SighTurtle

    SighTurtle [H]ard|Gawd

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    Algorithms fuck up and make mistakes? No shit. Youtube needs to hire more support personnel to backup and review these ad decisions if they "truly" care about the creators.

    I did not read the rest of your post cagey, woops. I agree with you entirely, expanding their human support staff will allow for faster review times. But aside from the cost and headache of training thousands (consider the foreign language component), I think allowing more human decisions to factor in would shift the blame from "algorithms" to human intervention. Some people allege Youtube is moving beyond boundaries in cutting off content, and that means algorithms are a great excuse.
     
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  34. jpm100

    jpm100 [H]ardness Supreme

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    If this was a concern Advertisers wouldn't have started on there to begin with. WIth the exception of Independant News Analysis, nothing really changed with the extremist videos fo the Nazi or Terrorist variety. If anything its better.

    But suddenly its a problem. Stinks of False Flag.
     
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  35. whateverer

    whateverer AMD Owns Techreport

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    This was bound to happen eventually.

    In the big media world, it's hard to find advertisers for shows with touchy subjects. And even for highly-rated shows, companies will avoid it like the plague if they're advertising to the wrong audience (e.g. Tampon ads on a guy-headed bodybuilding show). Why this took so long for Youtube to get advertisers pissed at them is anybody's guess, but something finally broke that levee, and the free money train has slowed.

    If you can't make advertisers pay for your show, then get viewers to pay. That's what PBS and NPR does. It's not the end of the world.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  36. Sonicks

    Sonicks [H]ard|Gawd

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    I appreciate the engagement on this!

    The bigger picture stuff is not lost on me but, as pessimistic as it sounds, its hard to argue the ethics of a company who's only real goal is to make more money. As with anything, the money eventually corrupts and actions taken for the sole purpose of making more money will eventually lead to someone's agenda being fulfilled over all else. As I heard recently on a podcast, if we as consumers are reaping 'free' anything, the reality is that we are the product. YouTube will slowly implode over time if these actions continue.

    As you mentioned, YouTube may be the largest such video consumption site but that doesn't make it the most relevant and these recent actions plus any future actions will likely lead to it's slow decline in popularity. Honestly, it's just going to eventually wind up as a big online Disney channel with no real relevant content in it. Pure entertainment.

    In time I think we'll start seeing more and more independent media filter through. It'll be a slow evolution but 'unpopular' opinions eventually begin to seep into the mainstream as more people slowly question what they are given. To make a seemingly unrelated analogy, we are starting to see a mainstream shift the way people think about our food supply as more and more people, and companies, question the validity of things like antibiotic treated animals/meat and questionable food supplies.
     
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  37. Vermillion

    Vermillion 2[H]4U

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    In the end something like this was inevitable. Right now I really see some of this as more growing pains for YouTube than a death knell. It's Google. They'll continue massaging the algorithms and things will improve. If anybody expected something like this to happen perfectly overnight they're insane.

    I understand where groups don't want their ads on some dumbasses show like PewDiePie and the like. It makes sense to not be associated with idiots like that. But with the size of YouTube and the amount of content...this is a marathon. Not a sprint. It'll all come full circle and we'll all move on and keep right on watching YouTube.
     
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  38. SighTurtle

    SighTurtle [H]ard|Gawd

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    We regulate Radio, TV, News, Newspapers, Cable, if Google becomes what 99% of the population relies for as the front door of information then allowing Google to choose what information to send out becomes untenable. While net neutrality has been pushed back, the arguments for common carriers are well established.
     
  39. German Muscle

    German Muscle [H]ardness Supreme

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    Ive seen a shift in the past year. People are still using youtube to upload videos so their subscribers get the content and they do get what ad revenue is still there but they have their own website or websites that they embed the video into with their own advertisers and post that to social media. They have several youtubers on this website doing the same thing. The website has very high profile people that share its content across their social media and they take a cut of the revenue based on clicks/views. Its pretty smart.

    The channel im speaking of has 1.5 million subscribers on youtube, 4.2 million likes on facebook, 20K followers on twitter, and 1 million followers on instagram.
     
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  40. lilbabycat

    lilbabycat 2[H]4U

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    1. I fully believe google / youtube's masterminds are using their power to skew results for their own political reasons, and all I ask is that they admit it instead of lying to my face.

    2. I'm not subscribing to Youtube Red.