Murmurs about the end of YouTube has been happening since its inception. Whenever a new type of social media comes along, the older platforms grumble, and the new users hop on board despite their skepticism as to how long it fails last.
YouTube has been one of the platforms that has stood the test of time pretty well. Sixteen years strong is practically a century in internet time where sites blossom & shrivel faster than you can say login. The question is, is YouTube really as strong as it used to be or is YouTube effectively dead in the water?
And if it is truly dead, which creators are responsible for the platform’s demise? After all, we all love a good group of people to go after with our pitchforks.
When YouTube was just a fledgling endeavor, users were called “creators”. They were lauded as curators of modern culture, creating art pieces that alien nations will later cock an eyebrow at. Once upon a time, YouTube users were simply goofballs who wanted to fudge around with a new online tool or people who wanted to post videos about their lives for friends and family to see.
Over time, the platform gained traction with enough users so videos that were once only meant for referring inner circle became viewed by the public at large. Considerably more, they started getting sufficient positive reactions. YouTube became a place where people from all over the world could share their lives and interests.
Over the years new video frameworks were born: vlogs, tutorials, comedy sketches, prank videos, unboxings, ASMR videos, focused plays, and snippets of show promos. It was those of the last sort that some say was the beginning of the end of YouTube as we knew it. YouTube became more of a place to transition to traditional forms of filmmaking – a means rather than an end.
The beginning of the end
YouTube turned into a more commercialized product. It was no longer a corner of the internet reserved for goofs & iconoclasts. It became a much more commodified piece of cyberspace. What once felt like a safe space to make some extra cash became a relatively policed platform.
YouTube started to take on an almost militarized feel. What algorithm, bot, or politically correct staff member would demonetize or censor a creator next? Indeed, many would agree it’s only gotten worse, despite YouTube’s attempts to assure creators that they remain a top priority.
It seems more accurate that YouTube (or perhaps more accurately, Google) is more interested in protecting its bottom line than protecting the freedom of its users.
Misguided political leanings aside, there are specific users who are largely held responsible for the descent of the “Adpocalypse” – channels that disgraced the YouTube creator name with their questionable content. To a certain extent, you could say these creators forced YouTube’s hand in regards to policing what content is deemed acceptable.
The users your pitchforks are aching for
Served true – inappropriate content like pornography has lived on YouTube since its beginning. Going part of the content (along with copyrighted material) Google had to try its best to stamp out when it acquired YouTube in 2006.
New forms of unacceptable content continued to crop up though. Take terrorists recruitment videos for example, something that would be generally regarded as perhaps a tad untoward. Not only were terrorist groups like ISIS & al-Qaeda regularly recruiting people by posting propaganda videos on YouTube, but some of their videos were getting monetized.
Needless to say, YouTube considered wanting to be known for funding terrorism so they ran a concerted effort to rectify this wrong. Clearly, terrorist-run channels are one group of creators that contributed to YouTube’s demise.
But maybe creators like PewDiePie are more along the lines of who you had in mind. PewDiePie was a veritable YouTube sensation (and arguably still is). 25 billion views per day? No problem. Just another day in the life of Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg. When he uploaded a video in 2017 where he paid two Indian boys to hold up a sign that said “Death to all I’ve seen” things hit the fan.
PewDiePie explained he was trying to show how crazy the internet is that you can find random people on Fiverr to do almost anything for you, but the public referring to it. To put it mildly, the joke was too off-color to approve of. YouTube’s grip tightened even further.
The infamous Logan Paul was intensely criticized for his video venturing into Aokigahara, or “Suicide Forest”, and filming the hanging body of a recent suicide victim. In the video Paul mentions that “suicide was a joke” but this positive message was obviously offset by the fact he filmed and then made the conscious decision to post the result of a person’s last moments.
Then, there are channels like Toys and Funny Kids Surprise Eggs that trick children into watching content that looks like their favorite cartoons but in actuality features scenes of violence and crude humor. They have videos titled things like “Bloody Elsa”. The fact that creators like this take the most vulnerable subsection of YouTube viewers and intentionally scarr them makes them some of the most despicable.
In essence, there are many reasons why people consider YouTube to be dead and many more factors. While the platform may still be up and running and have many creators that are going strong, the old free-spirited version of YouTube is definitely dead.