Internet Technology

Monetization, Censorship And Free Speech On YouTube

In a post published last June I expressed my respect –  and in some cases, appreciation – for those people who are brave enough to produce video content for YouTube. There are numerous channels on the platform that I follow, mostly related to politics, history, technology, art and so on. Some represent professional, online-only media, like the Young Turks, while others are semi-professional in nature, including Tested and LonTV. Then there’s just the fun ones, represented by the loquacious Baron Von Grumble and others. Into the latter category would fall Lindybeige, the eclectic home of the British YouTuber Nikolas Lloyd. If you ignore the dodgy, Brexit-style politics, his living-room videos are usually entertaining and informative, with a heavy focus on historical and military matters.

However in recent months the former lecturer has fallen victim to YouTube’s notoriously arcane guidelines governing content and the monetisation of videos by individual uploaders. I have had some experience of Google’s wayward thinking in relation to my rarely used YouTube channel. In the last encounter with the website’s opaque rules I had the same video examining the weaponised drone technology of the Islamic State banned and unbanned on two occasions, following appeals. I have also received “penalties” for materiel previously judged to be within the company’s rules, and generally have had nothing but hassle with the platform. Hence my lack of interest in the service. However for those who have invested heavily in the website, it is not so easy to walk away. Lindybeige has just released a video explaining the increasingly difficult challenges facing content-makers on YouTube, Which naturally brings to mind the old web adage: if the service is free, your rights are non-existent.

That is why I pay for An Sionnach Fionn to be hosted on WordPress, a company with a well-deserved reputation for a hands-off approach to its customers’ websites and blogs. The premium service includes an option for video storage and playback, with the promise of considerably more control over one’s content than that offered by the erratically censorious internet giant, Google. Of course, it’s not for free but anything that is will always be one click away from deletion.

5 comments on “Monetization, Censorship And Free Speech On YouTube

  1. Sharon Douglas

    Can we readers contribute to the cost of the blog?


    • I have a PayPal donation page but I am very reluctant to take money from readers. The website depends on me for its upkeep and content, but I can’t guarantee that I will publish articles every day – or week. So it feels like a bit of a cheat to take money from people. This has been a bad couple of months for me, work-wise and life-wise, and that is reflected in the relative quiet around here. It’s a bit much to ask for donations in those circumstances though other bloggers and content-creators tell me I’m being foolish not to do so.


  2. One of the biggest problems in the online space is how ideology is fracturing our persoectives to the point where we cheer the silencing of a person we disagree with even as we fail to realise that in doing so we are disempowering ourselves.

    Im familiar enough with Lindy Beige’s channel, and I can imagine some of his politics being more to the right. And thats a maybe. But its a good example of if you took umbridge with him for that alone, you are writing off a wealth of great historical information.

    I for instance, imsgine he has a nostalgia for empire. It grates a little as an Irish person, but its not hard for me to look past and just enjoy the history. If anything, rather than want to censor him, it would make me think about making a channel more focused on our own history, with the same rigour (and that would be a tough task indeed).

    I agree to a point about google being a company that can do what they want. But it is also unprecedented levels of speech and control being excersised and regulated by one body. The question is though wordpress may be hands off, could they be pressured into changing their approach? A few articles focussing on it as a hub for extremism for instance? Not really a fan of such an approach and am suspect of the motives.

    Interesting article. I wasnt aware of some of those other channels.


    • I’m strongly opposed to censorship of any kind. Free speech should be all but unlimited. It’s a two-edged sword otherwise. Conservatives today, liberals tomorrow. Or the wrong kind of liberal. Extreme voices on both sides have made matters worse. Though I certainly wouldn’t place contrarian Lindybiege into that category. He’s a harmless hobbyists with an eclectic range of interests most of which also appeal to me. Even though are politics might well be in opposition.

      I agree, it’s crazy to discount someone just because of one or more opinions you might disagree with. Of course there are exceptions. But how many people are that extreme that there is no common ground with them?

      So far WordPress have left me alone and they do publish their encounters with government agencies and others seeking to take down blogs or websites. They rarely oblige, as far as I know.

      I have no complaints. Yet. Though I do maintain a backup archive just in case.


  3. ar an sliabh

    It is 1984, and this has been declared an “ungood,” no, a “double-plus-ungood” site for promoting free speech “crime.” Who would have thought this s..t would actually happen? On top of it voluntarily, without any government forcing it.


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