Censoring the World One Step at a Time, Starting With YouTube


Henry Yeom, Managing Editor

Has YouTube’s pursuit for a clean, friendly website gone too far? Or is the thought itself wrong to begin with?

Towards the end of August, YouTube established that users must follow certain guidelines, and if not, the users would no longer be eligible for ad friendly monetizing on their videos which allows users to receive monetary compensation for their video uploads. It is rumored that this new protocol will be YouTube’s demise as they limit the creators of the videos and will eventually run their users out of a job. Some aspiring YouTubers, and even some professional YouTubers, participating in this online community have already started to look for common, stable jobs to pay for their daily lifestyles–many are unnerved as to what their potential futures may behold.

YouTube Video Guidelines (what’s not allowed)

  • Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor.
  • Violence, including displays of serious injury and events related to violent extremism.
  • Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language.
  • Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items.
  • Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.

Some of these guidelines are pretty vague about what’s allowed and what’s not as it stands, but that’s only half the problem.

Sexually suggestive content, partial nudity, and sexual humor. In today’s media, it would mean that there can’t be people in revealing clothing, anything revolving around sex-related acts, or inappropriate comedy. It’s pretty broad and would run into some heavy problems with the lack of exact specification. For example, if someone was vlogging at the Santa Monica pier in some type of Pokemon Go adventure and there were people in the background wearing bathing suits, does that mean that said video, which technically didn’t violate any of the other rules and the person filming who was clean as a bar of soap, will not be eligible for ad revenue? Or, what about workout videos in which athletes and bodybuilders need less body-impairing clothes to move around better? Would it also mean the same for them because they are showing more skin? There are always situations like these coming up where it’s questionable whether or not they violated this rule, and rants happen if content creators don’t get their share. Keep in mind, this is only one of the five questionable guidelines stated.

Violence including displays of serious injury and events related to violent extremism. It’s a pretty straightforward assumption from a normal person’s perspective that it means we can’t have anything extreme like gore or anything of the sort. However, within the gaming media, they strive to make better, realistic, and in-depth content from side scrollers like Mario to terrorist level acts within fictional worlds in the story mode of Call of Duty. Though it sounds extreme, it’s not as bad as it seems as some of the most popular games today aren’t exactly surrealistic. Let’s say CSGO (Counter Strike Global Offensive), though it centers around terrorism, is pretty unrealistic with its fainting-like character death models, that’s pretty funny sometimes, and paint ball like blood stains on their bodies. It would violate this rule, technically, with thoughts of terrorism, gunshots, and death. As such, it would mean they would lose ad monetizing even if the intended use was for entertainment and comedy for their viewers and subscribers.

There’s a guideline for drugs, but it’s straight forward, something we know we aren’t suppose to do and isn’t rounded enough with problems as the first two. There really isn’t much to say unless people are literally promoting crack . Otherwise, the majority of drug-related videos are documentaries that are specializing in telling people not to use drugs and spreading the word out there for the community, or hip hop music about rappers hard lives on the streets of Compton. The only way we see it really affecting people’s videos in the daily business is if someone cracked a joke about 4/20.

The last two remaining is legitimately something that’s just uncalled for. Unable to say profanity? Everyone says profanity and a decent majority of YouTube are adults young and older. If there’s a problem with children saying profanity, then that’s the parents’ fault for allowing it, but you can’t censor people like this because it ruins it for everyone else. I can’t imagine a person so frustrated or something so awful people are just saying “(excrement).” If they did, how can we as the viewer take something seriously? I don’t agree that we should curse all the time like it’s nothing, but there are times it feels appropriate to drive people to that point. Also, the last bullet is basically saying you can’t report news to YouTube.