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Why I Am Leaving YouTube

2018-06-13

How YouTube Appears, Prima Facie

YouTube is a website run and owned by Google, one of the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful multi-national corporations in the whole world. YouTube allows anyone with access to the website the ability to watch any video that exists in their catalogue, provided your country permits you to access YouTube’s entire catalogue. YouTube seems like a wonderful service because for the most part, it is free to use, provided you watch the advertisements that usually appear on videos. You are able to learn mathematics, watch original short films, receive advice on your hobbies, have commodities you want to buy reviewed, and more. It seems like a powerful tool for transmitting and receiving information in an apparently open and democratic manner. Anyone is allowed to upload a video at any time, at no restriction of file size, or video length.

A Closer Look: The Dangers of YouTube

While YouTube seems at first glance to be a wonderful and positive tool for disseminating information, it is in fact the complete opposite. YouTube is a terrible thing to use, and participate in. Here are my reasons:

Censorship

YouTube is governed by a system of mass censorship. In reality, you are only permitted to discuss certain topics on YouTube if you are to have your videos properly listed and accessible on the platform. Only certain types of topics are permitted to receive advertisement revenue, and if your video does not hit exactly the right tone that the centralised leadership of YouTube permits, then you will never be able to receive money for your work. For example, according to the YouTube rules, topics that are “controversial” cannot receive their video author money. Major YouTube channels have been automatically and irreversibly deleted because their computer Intellectual Property censorship mechanisms have the power to interpret and enforce the law on YouTube. You are at the mercy of the corporate executives and the automatic video display and censorship mechanisms when you use YouTube. This means YouTube is a tyrranical system with no room for user and author freedom,

Surveillance

YouTube collects metadata from your browsing habits on the website, and from virtually everything that you do on your phone. On many phones, it is impossible to actually permnanently delete the YouTube program. You can only “disable” it. YouTube is watching what you say and view on other programs on your computer, and it may even be doing so after you “disable” the program on your phone. I invite you to test to see what happens when you buy something on eBay, or discuss a certain topic on Facebook. You will immediately start seeing advertisements on YouTube related to that activity. YouTube is tracking your internet activity and is using it to build an enormous database which it can use to better manipulate you. It can even sell the data it has on you to political parties of which you do not approve, so that capitalism can better manipulate the political system under which you live. YouTube will only show you videos in its catalogue that are congruent with the metadata database it has on you. This is a form of immoral censorship. You should be able to search and access the entire catalogue. YouTube is an incredibly dangerous and immoral platform. No-one should have as much power over the world political system as YouTube has.

Exploitation

YouTube is not a not-for-profit service. It is also not a cooperatively structured organisation. The governance structure of YouTube is extremely hierarchical, and exists for the sole purpose of making profit under capitalism. The real parties thar benefit from the advertisements that are placed on videos made by ordinary people are the massive capitalist firms that make the advertisements, and principally YouTube itself. The same goes for services like Patreon. When you give YouTube authors money on Patreon, you may think that you are helping them escape the burden of censorship and exploitative treadmill of capitalism, but you are not. Patreon profits off of the hard work that people do in order to deserve the following that they get on YouTube and Patreon. Patreon parasites off the donations that you give. Like the advertisements on YouTube, Patreon makes money by exploiting the hard work of artists, film-makers, musicians, hackers, engineers, comedians etc If you are someone whose career is making YouTube videos, you are being exploited and stolen from in the exact same way as you would be if you were working in a factory or a dead-end job. The corporate rulers of capitalism are making free money off your hard work. For this reason, YouTube is an immoral service. Everyone deserves the full value of their labour. YouTube does not give it to you.

What I Am Doing About My Use of YouTube

So what can you do to escape the injustices of YouTube?

Go On Strike

First of all, you can encourage people to build a general strike of YouTube authors, to disrupt the flow of profits to YouTube and all its capitalist crony friends. A general strike could go some way towards forcing concessions out of the people who rule over YouTube. But this option is limited because it would mean that Google would still remain in control of YouTube. Real, lasting change would require that control over YouTube be handed over to the masses of people who use and work for the YouTube system. If there was a YouTube general strike that went on long enough, this might be possible. YouTube could become so costly for Google to run that they would be forced to sell it, and we could run a campaign for a democratic non profit organisation to take over it.

Leave The Platform

For the time being, I want control over my video journal, my vlog, right now. I am going to begin transistioning to leave the platform, and host the videos on my channel on my own virtual private server. You can use Peertube or Dtube to use free software to host your videos in a non-hierarchical, federated community of servers. I will not be using these platforms because I disapprove of video streaming. I think JavaScript and running invisible and uncheckable code on your computer is immoral. I will instead be hosting my YouTube videos using static HTML and thumbnail images. The benefit of this is that people will have able to have a complete copy of any and all the videos in my video journal. One of the terrible things about YouTube is that it discourages users from having their own copy of the videos that they like. It encourages an “always online” culture of computer use. You have to go to third party websites to download YouTube videos. Another example is their audio library database - that cannot be downloaded at once in its entirety.

Conclusion

I encourage you to disrupt and leave the YouTube system. Hopefully I have been pursuasive. Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.