YouTube is not censoring freedom of speech

Posted on Sep 7 2016 - 8:06am by Ethan Davis

In the past few days, vloggers (video bloggers) have been upset with YouTube because it has a new policy about which videos can host advertisements and make money and which cannot. YouTube is essentially more strictly enforcing where ads go, bypassing videos that have controversial content. The complaints range from the company depriving creators of their rightful ad revenue to, my personal favorite, the enforcement being a form of censorship. Please allow me to clear a few things up.

YouTube is not censoring videos. The rules simply say that controversial videos will not host ads; you can still upload videos about such topics and get millions of views. All the company is doing is allowing advertisers more freedom to choose which videos profit from the money they spend.

However, censorship is out of the question on a deeper level in that YouTube hosts the videos, and it can decide which ones it wants to host ads, just like any network. Quite honestly, we are the least censored generation of all time. Riding the heels of trending topics, are we going to claim everything is censorship?

An author writes a book, but Barnes & Noble does not want to carry it. Censorship.  You’re at someone’s house and they ask that you do not swear. Censorship. You text a friend, but they do not text you back. Censorship.

How one says something is just as important as what one is saying. There is a reason that conservatives refer to the Affordable Healthcare Act as Obamacare, that liberals call offensive statements microaggressions and that terrorists label themselves freedom fighters. Doing so automatically tilts the conversation and concedes certain points, especially if the other side adopts the rhetoric.

We have an excellent opportunity to be more globally connected than ever before; the things we do as part of our daily lives actually has serious money-making and networking potential, but, if we keep degrading it by acting out every time we don’t get our way, we will ruin this forum. YouTube is not cheap to run, so why should Google keep it if we continue to punish them for a free service?

Let us not forget that less than a decade ago, everyone flew straight into the cuckoo’s nest when YouTube announced it would place ads before certain popular videos, and here we are again.

If your goal is to make money, that’s fine! Ask questions like, “How does YouTube decide which videos are controversial?” “How can I still get views and stay within the community guidelines?” Then, upload content that falls into those categories.

But please, for the love of all that’s good, do not claim that a company whose terms and conditions you agreed to but did not read is taking away your freedom of speech. If you still want to complain, make a video and post it to YouTube free of charge, but do not even think about disabling the comments.

Ethan Davis is a junior philosophy and English double major from Laurel.