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YouTube networks drop thousands of creators as YouTube policy shifts (polygon.com)
159 points by PuffinBlue 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 124 comments



> “[It] in effect forces MCNs to either watch every video uploaded by their partners, or at least be reasonably confident none of the videos they are uploading could possibly either in the present or in the future violate or even come close to violating a YouTube guideline/terms,” Urgo said.

Its funny how a lot of people think its totally reasonable to expect YouTube to pay people to watch every video, and yet the people bundling the video think thats unworkable.

To some extent, if you're bundling content and you want all your content to be treated equally, there is a shared responsibility to not upload things advertisers don't like.


I think it's even simpler: No one is owed advertising revenue. There are entire classes of content for which the risks of being associated with outweigh the benefits as far as advertisers are concerned. This goes well beyond YouTube; it's affected a lot of network and radio shows as well. The most recent example is Laura Ingraham, e.g. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/laura-ingraham-advertisers-drop... .

I think that the best way to support video creators going forward is Patreon or YouTube's built-in sponsorships. You can't rely on ad dollars from big companies anymore unless you yourself are a big content producer, on the level of an actual network.


What’s interesting is Laura Ingraham refused to back down and her viewership when up, not down. And many of her sponsors did return.

http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/383482-ingrahams-ratings...


This will happen with audiences that like people who say what they mean and mean what they say. Backing down can hurt more than doubling down.


The article says only one sponsor, Ace Hardware, returned.


I think content creators are owed not being gas-lighted by Youtube. Whatever you may think of these rules, the truth is that these will only be applied selectively, and then YouTube will deny that they are applying them selectively, and lie to us by saying that this is a platform for all.

The truth is, there is a whitelist that big corporations and celebrities are on, where they always get monetized no matter what.

For example, when Logan Paul infamously uploaded video of a corpse in the Japanese "suicide forest"[1] he continued to monetize the video of a corpse, in blatant violation of YouTube policy, until he chose to take the video down on his own. His video was never flagged. His video was never demonetized. Despite a torrent of complaints and blatant violation of policy. However, people who criticized Logan Paul's actions not just had their videos demonetized, some of them had their entire channels deleted. The reason for this is that suicide is not advertiser friendly, so if auto-generated captions talked about it, they were demonetized. And if the title of your video is too similar to a much more popular video, then it is considered misleading metadata, and that can get your channel that you've had for years nuked. So reality tv show buffoon gets to make thousands of dollars off his video where he gawks at a dead body, but people making sincere criticism of this behavior are severely punished, and so have to tiptoe around criticizing him.

But, I think the most egregious hypocrisy on YouTube's part is their handling of mass shootings. The YouTube channels for CNN and Fox News were heavily monetized during the Las Vegas shooting. I mean, these corporate YouTube channels increased the number of ads because they knew lots of people would be watching them. But at the same time, any smaller channels that even mentioned guns or shootings had large swaths of their videos demonetized.

Dr Pepper and Coca Cola are thrilled to appear in ads every five minutes during a mass shooting, care of CNN[2]. But they act as if their sacred brand is too good to appear on a smaller, more authentic channel that wants to have serious discussion about issues. You can see a more complete account of this double standard here. [3]

This narrative about caring where ads appear is nothing more than a dishonest tactic to increase their leverage, as well as punish independent media that might rock the boat and provide an alternative viewpoint.

I know people who have spent years making a living from YouTube ad revenue, making frankly innocuous videos, like alternative history animations, who have had their YouTube careers virtually ruined, and have had to put in a huge amount of effort to please the YouTube algorithm, while big corporations and celebrities can revel in clickbait and salacious fetishization of violence for money. [4]

The most interesting and unique content on YouTube is what is being demonetized. The content that is being most monetized is what is already monetized on cable television. YouTube piggybacked on small independent creators to build their platform, and then drove them away by gas-lighting them with inconsistent demonetization policies to make room for reality tv channels and Fox News. Egregious.

If money is involved, and YouTube is being dishonest about what their real policies are, then I think this easily falls under antitrust laws, if not outright criminal fraud. They are lying when they say that they are an open platform. They are actual a platform where they mislead people into working to create content, and then unfairly picking the winners through back-channel agreements.

And, on top of YouTube's borderline fraudulent practices with demonetization, they are also the largest video platform in the world, and are increasingly a de-facto "channel" on nearly all smart tvs, through the ubiquity of their app. So, I really really hope that the federal government comes down on them hard. I hope that they are forced to have transparent and equally applied policies, and I hope that there is a pathway for small YouTube creators to get some justice.

[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-42752039

[2] https://twitter.com/h3h3productions/status/91474720399799091...

[3] https://medium.com/@devinmcnulty/youtubes-latest-double-stan...

[4] http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/12/can-youtube-survive-the-a...


>The YouTube channels for CNN and Fox News were heavily monetized during the Las Vegas shooting. I mean, these corporate YouTube channels increased the number of ads because they knew lots of people would be watching them. But at the same time, any smaller channels that even mentioned guns or shootings had large swaths of their videos demonetized.

I'm a little confused by what people mean when they say "monetized".

1. Are you saying that Youtube showed more ads with one group over the other?

2. Are you saying that because Youtube puts more ads on CNN videos that CNN is getting paid more?

Finally, unrelated to my questions, I am genuinely curious: Why do people think Google owes content creators anything? I am asking more in the down-to-earth legal sense, not in the nebulous realm of ethics. Did Google ever promise:

1. That you will get money if they show ads on your video?

2. That they will decide who gets ads/money based on a well defined criterion?

Essentially, I'm wondering why people think Google owes them anything. What if Google says "We run ads on videos to help pay the bills, and to make a profit. You, in turn, get a nice service. We do not need to pay content creators anything." Has Google ever deviated from that stance? As in are they paying content producers as part of a strategy, or because they are obligated to by their terms of service?


> I'm a little confused by what people mean when they say "monetized".

> 1. Are you saying that Youtube showed more ads with one group over the other?

> 2. Are you saying that because Youtube puts more ads on CNN videos that CNN is getting paid more?

Basically yes.

Google (YouTube), CNN, and their advertisers financially benefited from news coverage of mass shootings. Which doesn't bother me, because that's also what cable tv does.

Also, with coverage of things like disasters, CNN can elect to increase the number of ads to maximize the money they make. So, for example, during the Las Vegas shooting, they. Someone made a conscious decision to inject extra ads.

What is a problem, is that YouTube is very strict about not letting videos that contain anything controversial have any ads. Their justification for this is that advertisers don't want to be associated with it. But that is demonstrably untrue. YouTube also says that they don't want to monetize tragedy, but that is also not true.

So, YouTube is lying about their policies, and picking winners on what is presented as a neutral platform. YouTube is misrepresenting their policies and selectively enforcing their rules, while saying that it is not their fault because algorithms.

Another example of this is when reality tv show stars engage in harassing or grossly offensive behavior. Like Logan Paul posting a video of a bloated corpse. This video was trending, which means that it was reviewed by someone at YouTube, and was closely monitored by advertisers. And yet it remained up for almost 24 hours. But people criticizing this were demonetized or had their videos outright deleted.

> Finally, unrelated to my questions, I am genuinely curious: Why do people think Google owes content creators anything? I am asking more in the down-to-earth legal sense, not in the nebulous realm of ethics. Did Google ever promise:

> 1. That you will get money if they show ads on your video?

I'm not a lawyer, but I think that they "promised" as much as any ad network promises to approve your content to show ads.

I think the problem though, is that their own rules that they lay out are obviously not enforced with any consistency. There is probably a case that could be made that it is unlawful, but I'm not a lawyer.

> 2. That they will decide who gets ads/money based on a well defined criterion?

Absolutely not, and that is the problem. Some content creators (well connected people) will always get monetized, while the rest of us have totally arbitrary and secret rules that are very difficult to follow. Some content producers are just completely locked out.

> Essentially, I'm wondering why people think Google owes them anything. What if Google says "We run ads on videos to help pay the bills, and to make a profit. You, in turn, get a nice service. We do not need to pay content creators anything." Has Google ever deviated from that stance? As in are they paying content producers as part of a strategy, or because they are obligated to by their terms of service?

Honestly if Google was just transparent about what their policies ACTUALLY are, that would be fine with me. That's essentially what YouTube did for the first 7 or so years of operation. Then they opened up monetization to all, which spurred a flurry of independent content creators, and it was really cool. Then they decided that they wanted to compete with cable TV, and that they didn't need us anymore, so they decided to drive us away in an underhanded way. Not just that, but they are retroactively demonetizing videos that were fine for many years. It is part of a very clear pattern to pick winners in what they present as an open and neutral platform.

Google should just disclose that there are two tiers to YouTube, and only people that they like will get a guarantee of monetization. But, by not disclosing this fact, they are misleading content creators for their financial benefit.

YouTube's behavior is unquestionably immoral, dishonest, and hypocritical. And probably illegal.


I whole-heartedly agree. Another incident was Jimmy Kimmel's emotional speech about gun control where they left ads on his diatribe but demonitized anyone that pointed it out. Google is literally in a "holier than thou" position regarding fundamental constitutional rights and it's really starting to piss people off and not just conservatives if the Youtube shooting tells us anything. Personally I'm getting off the Google ecosystem as fast as I can, they're no longer pro-free speech in fact they're extremely hostile to it.


Youtube was never set up for free speech since it took advertising. If you want a video network that is free speech it can't take advertiser dollars.


> here are entire classes of content for which the risks of being associated with outweigh the benefits as far as advertisers are concerned. This goes well beyond YouTube; it's affected a lot of network and radio shows as well. The most recent example is Laura Ingraham, e.g. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/laura-ingraham-advertisers-drop.... .

she's a contract employee who has a salary


That doesn't have anything to do with whether advertisers are willing to be associated with her or her content, though. Are you proposing that YouTube start hiring video creators full time?


No, that's what you were proposing indirectly by bringing up Laura Ingraham as an example. She's a salaried employee – as long as Fox News doesn't fire her over this, she sees none of the downside of pissing advertisers off, so there's nothing particularly "risky" about it. The same logic doesn't apply to 99.99% of YouTube creators, who are paid directly by their advertisers.


>Its funny how a lot of people think its totally reasonable to expect YouTube to pay people to watch every video, and yet the people bundling the video think thats unworkable.

It's unworkable because it's impossible to predict what youtube thinks is OK. It's a black box whose outputs are often completely nonsensical. One of my favorite channels is TheReportOfTheWeek: it's just a kid sitting in his car reviewing fast food. There's nothing even remotely rule-breaking in his videos, yet he's been demonetized multiple times.


the vast majority of times when a video is demonetized it's because of a 30second sondbite where some copyrighted music is playing in the background, even if it just the background noise at a mall or a store and would pass any sane non algorithmic test as fair use. And not because the intentional content breaks any rules.

A big part of that is due to the power the copyright cartels of non-creators(aka music and film distribution companies) have brought to bare on youtube due to the amount of music video's being streamed on the platform means that youtube cannot really afford to be a fair use supporter or try to code any fair use awareness into their algorithms(even if it was technically feasible).


I was ready to spec an ML-backed plugin that would use insights and algorithms from cocktail party problem [0] [1] to remove copyrighted audio from muxed video when a quick search for "post-processing audio to remove copyrighted music" yielded among its first few results a YouTube help link titled "Remove claimed songs from videos" [2].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocktail_party_effect

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_separation

[2] https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2902117?hl=en


>> its totally reasonable to expect YouTube to pay people to watch every video, and yet the people bundling the video think thats unworkable.

Talk to full-time youtube creators, the people who pay their rent via youtube vids. It is a precarious existence. Shifts in youtube policies mean income varies wildly from month to month. They dare not risk hiring anyone. On the other hand, youtube's revenues are relatively stable. They control the money and thereby outsource any irregularity to content creators. If anyone is in a position to hire people it is youtube.


>Talk to full-time youtube creators, the people who pay their rent via youtube vids. It is a precarious existence. Shifts in youtube policies mean income varies wildly from month to month.

What you describe is the norm for pretty much every art form. Why are people expecting it to be better with art they post on Youtube?

These people are running a business. That their future earnings will be very much out of their control (i.e. in Youtube's control) was something pretty much everyone knew. If I view this in business terms, they clearly made a very risky gamble and that they're losing is not a surprise.

It's one thing to try to make money on the side via Youtube, affiliate links, etc. It's another to quit your job and work on it full time. If you do, you should own the consequences.


Not really. Art is a hit and miss business, but every artist has a clear understanding of how they will be compensated. They know they are getting a portion of sales, or a contracted fee for a gig. Youtube artists have absolutely no idea how, or if, they will be paid. The rate/likelihood of payment is very much separate from the popularity of a video. Youtube acts like content creators are all casual uploaders of homemade videos. The reality is that youtube's best content comes from professionals who deserve to be treated as such.


I suppose the argument is that, in this case, one company effectively has a monopoly on monetizable distribution for a certain type of content. The somewhat analog is if there were only one gallery in a city that decided on a whim to display or not display certain artists.

But, while true, I'm not sure how different it is from being dependent on fickle public tastes or a major sponsor/patron deciding to pull funding.


It's not about what advertisers don't like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj8n78AuN3w


I'm a fan of h3h3, but this video is misleading. The reason Kimmel and CNN still have ads on their channels is because they have a sales team who negotiates their own ads. Joe YouTuber does not.

In other words, if your sales team is essentially the "black box of YouTube" you are beholden to YouTube's "demonetization algorithm". Kimmel (ABC/Disney) does not.

Negotiating ad deals for every creator is hard, so "bundlers" (even those owned by Disney, like Maker) would rather just rely on YouTube.


The point that is being made, is that when advertisers claim that they don't want to be associated with certain topics, that is a lie. The truth is that they don't want to be associated with certain people.

As I posted in a previous comment, Coca Cola has no objections to having their brand appear every few minutes overlayed over the worst mass shooting in American history[1]

So, it rings quite hollow when people talk about sensitivity of advertisers to where their ads are placed. It is obviously not true.

It is pretty obvious that YouTube is intentionally driving away independent content like H3H3 productions through dishonest and inconsistent policies, in order to turn their platform into just another element of the cable TV cabal.

[1] https://twitter.com/h3h3productions/status/91474720399799091...


>It is pretty obvious that YouTube is intentionally driving away independent content like H3H3 productions through dishonest and inconsistent policies

I don't see how it's obvious YouTube is doing anything. By your own accord, its the advertisers who don't want to be associated with certain people, not YouTube. YouTube very likely doesn't care as long as they get a cut, from the perspective on advertisers they've been dragging their feet.

If those people don't want to pay you via YouTube's black box, then it's you either have to negotiate with them directly or find another revenue stream. YouTubers have been treating advertiser money as a free, unbiased, public money source when it's not - and as advertisers spend more and more, we are going to see them require creators funded by their dollars to stick to their song and dance.

The reason why YouTube is turning into another element of cable TV cabal is because its largely funded by the same source (Turner group makes 60% of their revenue from ads, despite only managing pay-tv only content). It's not surprising that the guys funding medium A, will also want to apply the same restrictions to medium B.

The reason I think the video is misleading, and also what I can't seem to understand why everyone makes this same mistake, is that they frame the issue as something YouTube is doing, and not something advertisers are doing. The billions paid out over the past decade are now going to have strings attached. If you don't want to sell out to "the man", then find another revenue stream and don't depend on advertising.


But this is all being directly facilitated by YouTube. YouTube is removing videos from even having the opportunity to be monetized. This i before the advertisers would even be involved.

The example that is often cited, is that YouTube's official policy is that they won't even consider videos that talk about gun violence for monetization -- except if you are on the secret whitelist.

It is not the advertisers that are clumsily analyzing caption data and descriptions for potentially offensive words. YouTube is very much the party to blame for this. YouTube is suspiciously enthusiastic about this. And there is a very clear pattern of using demonitization as a tool of soft censorship to drive less convenient content creators from their platform.

I think that the platform that YouTube presents itself as, versus what it actually is, is misleading and exploitive. And that itself is bad.


Great insight. I just want to add the nice thing about the internet is that we can build our own platform to meet the needs people currently have.


The video isn't misleading. You are missing the point. It's pointing out that advertisers don't really care about how controversial the content is.

> In other words, if your sales team is essentially the "black box of YouTube" you are beholden to YouTube's "demonetization algorithm". Kimmel (ABC/Disney) does not.

That's the point. Why is coca cola fine with advertising on controversial video on kimmel's TV shows but not on other people's content on youtube?

You could discuss the same topic on youtube and you would be demonetized while kimmel isn't. Why? It can't be because advertisers don't like that type of content. Otherwise, they wouldn't be advertising on kimmel ( tv and youtube ).

Advertisers are advertising in china, saudi arabia, israel, russia, etc. So obviously they have no qualms about image or controversy.

From 2011 to 2016, they didn't have qualms about offensive content on youtube.

So what changed? It's simply a matter of traditional media like CNN constantly attacking youtube and advertisers to get more money for themselves.

That's it. If you applied the same rules on youtube as you did on TV, the entire industry would have to shut down.

Think about it. During the las vegas shooting, CNN shows dead bodies and was exploiting controversial topic for their own selfish ends. Advertisers had no problem showing their ads on CNN during that time ( on TV or youtube ). But if a ordinary youtuber covered the topic, it would be flagged as "controversial" and not advertiser-friendly. But that doesn't make sense since advertisers had no problem advertising everywhere else.

The only reason there is demonetization on youtube is because the likes of CNN has been constantly attacking youtubers and advertisers because they want the ad money coming to them. It's pretty slimey but what do you expect from CNN and the media.


> That's the point. Why is coca cola fine with advertising on controversial video on kimmel's TV shows but not on other people's content on youtube?

They aren't, and there is a high-touch, humans in the loop process to avoid their sensitivity getting stepped on in traditional advertising markets like TV.

YouTube (and high-scale online advertising, more generally) replaces that with one size fits all, relatively low overhead approaches which are necessarily much blunter.

> Advertisers are advertising in china, saudi arabia, israel, russia, etc. So obviously they have no qualms about image or controversy.

Or advertising in those places has relatively little impact on image and produced little controversy compared to the scale of audience it gives access to.

I think Laura Ingraham is pretty good recent evidence that advertisers do respond to controversy in the TV advertising market.


> Or advertising in those places has relatively little impact on image and produced little controversy compared to the scale of audience it gives access to.

That's true of anything on youtube.

> I think Laura Ingraham is pretty good recent evidence that advertisers do respond to controversy in the TV advertising market.

No. That proves my point. The only reason some advertisers pulled their ads from her show is because of outside pressure ( AKA other news organizations and NGOs putting pressure on them ).

As I said, advertisers don't care about content. They care about reach. Saudis can kill gays and ban women from driving. The chinese can pollute and steal prisoners organs. CNN/Foxnews and the rest of the news media can clickbait dead children for ratings. Advertisers are willing to advertise in saudi arabia, china, CNN, etc.

As I said, from 2011 to 2016, advertisers were happy as clams to advertisers on youtube. What changed? The only thing that changed is that large media companies decided to attack youtube and advertisers in order to leech more money for themselves.

Everyone is dirty. It's business. There is no such thing as morality. Do you think advertisers peddling for oil companies or soda companies are moral? Do you think propagandists like CNN/Foxnews/NYTimes/Washingtonpost/etc are moral? Do you think youtube/google/alphabet is moral? Of course not.

It's simply a matter of who has to power to push whom around. The tech industry is too young, too divided and too weak to push back against a media war against them.


> They aren't, and there is a high-touch, humans in the loop process to avoid their sensitivity getting stepped on in traditional advertising markets like TV.

Monetization has nothing to do with branding. Nothing. Advertisers do not care.

When Logan Paul uploaded a video of him gawking at a bloated corpse, it was in YouTube's top trending videos for nearly 24 hours. There was a massive flagging campaign by outraged viewers, but advertisers did not have any objections.

I do not for a second believe that no humans saw what was going on. It was covered in The BBC and The Guardian. And yet the video remained up and advertisers continued to advertise.

Of course Logan Paul is on the secret whitelist, so he could stomp all over the community guidelines and not be punished. YouTube's community guidelines are nothing but an excuse to drive independent creators away from the platform, as are the monetization policies.

All of this talk about controversy is an utter farce.


>It's simply a matter of traditional media like CNN constantly attacking youtube and advertisers to get more money for themselves.

Okay. I agree with you. However the video blames YouTube and thats why it's misleading. I don't particularly care if the advertisers are behaving hypocritically - it's YouTube gets largely the blame for advertisers deciding not to spend their money.

>From 2011 to 2016, they didn't have qualms about offensive content on youtube.

What happened was advertisers went from spending a couple million on YouTube, to now billions and now they want a say in the content. Advertisers always had the majority of the say on YouTube, they just never chose to exercise it. This was always a weak point in YouTube's platform, eventually they made enough money where you either have to sell-out or get-out.

If YouTube had the messaging "advertisers have chosen not to pay for ads against your content", would YouTube still be widely blamed?


And people think Facebook is bad.

Remember DoubleClick, the ad company that did all sorts of scammy and slimy and hacky advertising? Yeah, Google bought them years ago. Now mix in "AI" -- which really means crap arbitrary computer decisions that you have no recourse on.

Yeah, "Do Evil, and dont care". That's their slogan now.


DoubleClick is not the devil. Ok it kinda is. I have been blocking them on my hosts file [1], Noscript, and Adblock+ for years.

But I don't feel that YouTube content is relevant to this discussion (evil-ness of Advertisers). I don't think that YouTube has signed a Contract with (majority) of content creators that they will get paid $XX for YY-hours of viewing (or for ad display). That would have been breach of contract (kinda like when you bank changes your interest rate or your employer your salary without agreement).

I don't really like what Google has become, but it's their rules, and it's a take it or leave it.

Do creators have the guts to abandon massively Google for a couple of months? Similar to going for a strike. Can they make 500 million people not look at cat-videos for 2 months?

[1]: someonewhocares.org/hosts


>Can they make 500 million people not look at cat-videos for 2 months?

We can pretend YouTube is just a twee place to watch cat videos like it was 12 years ago or we can actually realise that the network has evolved over time and people actually go there now to watch personalities not just funny home videos.

I feel YouTube creators might be surprised with just how much power they wield if they did move to another platform en masse.


I'm glad to see this policy. MCN's are a cancer on Youtube. I don't even have a remotely popular channel, and I've still been contacted multiple times by these folks when a small video starts getting legs. Its usually directly tied to reddit, where a few times I've shared a video I made in a specific small subreddit related to the content and it gets a small amount of upvotes. Its really ridiculous.

A good friend of mine has just randomly posted a few videos over the years that when "viral" in certain Reddit subs like /r/lego and he got deluged by emails from various MCN's.

Their entire business model is to find niche, sometimes entertaining videos through reddit and then artificially inflate the views to reap the advertising awards. And unless you're careful as the creator of the video, some of the dodgier ones demand you to sign over copyright to them.

I'm happy to see pirhanas like this be forced out. Its partly because of their shenanigans that Youtube is requiring partners to have at least a thousand subscribers before monetization kicks in now. I have 150ish and its not like that $2 a month was make or break, but there are other up and newcomers that probably liked getting that $20-$40 a month or whatever the amount is and it encouraged them to keep making interesting content.

I'm kind of hopeful that policies like this will help with this problem in the long run.


I wish there was more transparency here from both the MCNs and especially YouTube, but I'm also leery about some complaints from channel owners. Specifically the ones that sound like they feel entitled to the services YouTube provides them (free distribution, tooling, outsourced ad sales, audience, cross promotion, etc) at zero "cost" (not necessarily monetary costs) to themselves.

Creators should feel free to try and lobby YouTube to make things better for themselves (YouTube depends on creators), but please try and steer clear of things that look like entitlement. It's a bad look.

And if things really are so bad, don't distribute via YouTube if the downsides of their policies outweight the benefits. If your content is good and a larger movement starts, that's the strongest message you can send to YT.


From everything I've read/watched from the creators' side, what most of them really want is more clear communication from YouTube about why their livelihood is playing hide and seek seemingly at random. It's not about rights as such.


Freelancers concerned about stability? You don't say.


Correct.

Demonitization is arbitrarily enforced.

There are entire categories of subjects on YouTube that are verboten just because they might come close to mentioning something that might bother advertisers.

Here's another take on it if you don't mind listening to someone speak about YouTube politics over video people playing games.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xARpOT1gnw

tl;dr;

Military history content creators get demonitized for content that's too close to guns.


> steer clear of things that look like entitlement

How is wanting to know why you got pulled entitlement? For example, Justin Rabbit claims that he had no "strikes" against him, but nobody would tell him why his channel was being removed. It's not entitlement, it's just wanting to understand what went wrong maybe so he could fix it, or not do it next time, or whatever.


Why would you be entitled to an explanation? I’m not asking to be rude, and I think it would be a decent service to provide, but it’s also that, a service, not a right.


The word 'entitled' is loaded, and tends to derail these discussions. They want an explanation. To reduce their financial uncertainty. I don't know why every discussion needs to veer straight to legal policy and human rights. We're talking about 'good business' which I hope is still a thing.


I don’t really buy that argument. Google have been impossible to reach when they decided you were bad for their business and this cut you off from their services since the beginning of their company.

So have most companies you interact with. Yet these companies are doing better than fine. They are doing extremely well.

We live in a world where great content services such as GitHub are bleeding money and I think you should keep that in mind when you talk about what is “good business”. I understand the feeling of unfairness, but if you zoom out to the bigger picture, then it often doesn’t matter that much. YouTube is the one of the few profitable content hosting networks of a massive scale.

Maybe part of the reason they are profitable is because they don’t waste too many resources on people who aren’t making them money?


> don't distribute via YouTube

The issue is that even if video hosting can be done 'cheaply' (and it can't if you want speed!), the ad money won't come to a self-hosted video site. Youtube advertisers pay for the large aggregated traffic. The small youtubers won't have enough to bring in the same amount of advertising dollars.

Patreon is the only real way, and even that requires a decent amount of subscribers willing to pay to make viable. Youtube is the only option, which is why the complaining from small creators are so loud right now.


> The issue is that even if video hosting can be done 'cheaply' (and it can't if you want speed!), the ad money won't come to a self-hosted video site.

That's definitely the big barrier to all of this. There's been a few groups trying to build another platform to compete with youtube. So far most of them seem to either have found small niches that are working for them (vimeo et al) or they've got belly up (vid.me, etc.). I'm aware of a ffew that are trying but haven't fully launched yet, such as Linus Media Group's (linus tech tips primarily on youtube) FloatPlane venture, which seems like it's going for more of a youtube-red like model where you pay a subscription fee, and what you watch determines who gets a cut of the fee.

I really do hope that someone manages to get even a modest competitor going for content creators, even if it doesn't smash youtube down it could do a lot to give them a bargaining position on what kinds of content can survive.


>I really do hope that someone manages to get even a modest competitor going

Hey, I did it for cheap.

https://tinydatacenter.com/2018-04-10-ispooge-live.html

It uses a static site generator, CDN for delivery, RasPi's H264 hardware to HLS encode at >1x, and of course Docker. It include scripts to mirror YT playlists and videos.

It's more of a boilerplate site than SaaS/framework/etc. But that's how we do it in Clojure land for the most part anyway. I'm enhancing the RSS and added a Passwordless login and have a history with XMPP.

Features are being driven by taking my own channels off of YT/Twitch as their primary home, and move to the Pi with the POSSE pattern (publish on your own site, syndicate everywhere). There's a video systems compared table + video in the link.


That’s an interesting view on “entitlement.” How about, the reason YouTube is where it is today is because of the content creators since its birth. Without quality content it wouldnt be where it is today. YouTube grew because a large chunk of its early content has copyright infringement and other sorts of material which would be deemed “offensive” by its current standards.

So I would hope that given its history, YouTube would try to fight for the content creators as opposed to fighting for its ad partners.


YT is not doing it for fun though. They get paid because they slap ads around the content the creators provide. What you said here means "don't complain you got fired, steer clear of looking entitled" for some creators.

You wouldn't like to hear someone saying that about you losing your job, would you?


Yes I pointed out that YT needs the creators.

And I was recently told by my employer that due to budget cuts, a bunch of my services were no longer needed. Of course I'm bummed, and I think they made the wrong cuts, but I didn't go around b*tching that they owed me a job.


It's becoming more and more clear to me that Youtube's business model is even less ethical than Uber's. Youtube expects you to produce massive amount of content for them free of charge. You may win the lottery and get paid for your work or not. If you get paid you might decide to make a business out of it. Then Youtube can arbitrarily decide to go back to not paying you anymore. At least with Uber you're going to get paid something.


> Youtube expects you to produce massive amount of content for them free of charge.

I think that's a rather one-sided entitled point of view, and here's why.

YouTube provides a hosting service for video content with no up-front hosting fees. They do charge advertisers to host their content and use a large portion of those fees to run their business, turn a profit themselves, etc. Also, they share a percentage of those fees with the content creator so they have a financial incentive to create more content.

Now, if those advertisers don't like your content they shouldn't be forced to pay for it. The creators only get paid if the advertisers don't disapprove of the message; YouTube is the middle-man in that scenario and basically bears all of the risk for the advertisers and have to "police" the content.

Granted everyone is better off if there is clear communication between all three parties and sure it would suck to rely on that as your sole source of income but that's some of the risk when you're in business for yourself. Content creators are basically throwing a video up on a market and hoping someone will pay them for it, right? Or am I completely off base here?


Please, can we stop saying that this is about advertisers not wanting to be associated with certain things? It is clearly not true.

I really hate to post these links three times in one thread, but I feel it really drives home my point.

This is not about advertisers disapproving of the content that their ads are displayed over. Coca Cola had no objection to spamming people watching coverage of the worst mass shooting in history[1], nor did other advertisers[2]. The evidence clearly shows that they will associate their brands with the worst acts of horror and violence, and YouTube will pay corporate channels to show us horrible violence to an almost fetishistic degree.

And YouTube discloses none of this. YouTube entices people to spend their own time and money creating content, and then misleads them about their monetization policies, and secretly picks winners for monetization. I also think that this gaslighting on their part is part of a concerted effort to "gentrify" their platform, and drive away independent creators, without openly admitting that they are no longer welcome on their platform.

> Content creators are basically throwing a video up on a market and hoping someone will pay them for it, right? Or am I completely off base here?

You are completely off base. For years, YouTube was very loose with their monetization. Now, they are imposing self serving and byzantine rules on independent content creators, which are virtually impossible to follow properly if you are doing anything other than makeup tutorials. Except if you are someone they like, then none of these rules apply.

If YouTube is handling money, then they have a responsibility to be more transparent. Both morally and I think legally.

[1] https://twitter.com/h3h3productions/status/91474720399799091...

[2] https://twitter.com/PhillyD/status/916132444662751259


How different is this really from traditional publishing or TV? There's a lot of upfront development work required to create something that's pitchable. And then a person or a show may be deemed too much of a hot potato to continue with it. It's true that there are more potential channels to monetize than in the case of online video, but no one's owed advertising dollars.


The biggest difference is that Youtube has clearly encouraged small time entrepreneurs, mom and pops, to create businesses relying on the Youtube platform. Youtube will put ads in your video whether you get paid or not. If you do get lucky and get paid Youtube retains the right to destroy your business after the fact with no explanation and little recourse. Since google pays hopefully-maybe-after-the-fact, you are out of luck.

Compare this to traditional media. You make a pilot episode and sell the show. Usually the "you" in this case is a multi-million dollar studio. The network then pays you to produce one or more seasons of the show or they don't. They may decide to cancel your show, but you still get paid.


They've encouraged it in the sense of people are seeing other small time-y video channels making money. So they want to get in on the action. Nothing wrong with that obviously. But it's not unreasonable that they should appreciate they're getting in bed with an elephant.

Most of them don't really have an option if they want to capture an audience and make money but it's the reality of a market where there's basically one buyer.


And with Uber, you can pick up and go to lyft if/when they treat you poorly, without completely losing an audience you spent years building

You might argue that the audience is YouTube’s and not yours, but in practice it doesn’t really work that way on the internet.


For a decade we told you "careful, don't rely on giants like google, they are not your friends, they are centralized, they are a private for profit black box, if it's free you are the product, etc".

Now you wake up and say those investments of your years of work are in jeopardy ?

Google is just google. It's nature is clear from the beginning. Their business model is clear from the beginning. The pros and cons of using youtube and the potential future pitfall were known from the beginning.

And even after that, they demonstrating by their actions that you could have problems with them. Many times before today.

It's like complaining about your weight after years of drinking soda.

Soda is not the problem.


Well you do expect them to host and stream your video for free, no matter the quality and quantity of it, of the size of your audience.

If you want to have control of the deal, use something like dtube, otherwise remember you are __doing business__ with google.


Of course you're doing business with Google. Just like you're doing business with Uber.

Google may arbitrarily choose to place ads in your video and still not pay you for it. The behavior of Google is completely arbitrary with no real accountability. Google has clearly encouraged people to create businesses around Youtube video creation. And yet they retain all the power to destroy your business on a whim with no explanation and no legal recourse.


> please try and steer clear of things that look like entitlement. It's a bad look.

Ugh, "entitlement" as a pejorative. God forbid someone advocates for their own interests.


Creators should feel free to try and lobby YouTube to make things better for themselves (YouTube depends on creators), but please try and steer clear of things that look like entitlement. It's a bad look.

Users are entitled to certain rights when it's a monopoly. And YT is essentially a monopoly.

Think of it this way: Why are you entitled to privacy from Facebook? You can simply stop using Facebook, right?

What's the difference between FB and YT?


A key difference with the FB privacy analogy is that FB tracks you off the site. If YT monetized content that isn't hosted on its own platform, then we might see a similar reaction.


YT is part of google, which definitely follows your YT login around the web and monetizes it, and more effectively than Facebook.


>Users are entitled to certain rights when it's a monopoly. And YT is essentially a monopoly.

YT is essentially a monopoly in what market specifically? You have tons of options to host content you make. They are under zero obligation to provide services to you.

>Think of it this way: Why are you entitled to privacy from Facebook? You can simply stop using Facebook, right?

I don't follow. Please clarify what you mean. I didn't say I'm entitled to privacy from FB. (And FWIW, I don't use FB.)


YT is essentially a monopoly in the small producer content discovery market.

Hosting is not YT’s primary service. Discovery is.


Indeed. It's very much the Amazon model: lose money as long as necessary, even if that's 'forever', in order to be the one key player in the sector and be recognized as such.

The stock market absolutely does not think some schmoe with a Raspberry Pi constitutes 'competition' to YouTube, and I think they're right in that assessment. Sometimes power isn't just 'getting paid money': everybody knows you shop Amazon to buy stuff over the internet, everybody knows you put up videos on YouTube, search with Google, etc.

I think the difference between this and something like MySpace is, the heavy hitters today have figured out they can't risk the slightest betrayal of that 'category killer' instinct. YouTube will function as a monopoly at all costs, no matter how much money they lost, and part of this behavior is so they can retain a lock on the big advertisers even if that's not keeping them in the black: it would be much worse if the big advertisers decided some other platform was relevant, and Youtube was MySpace or Geocities.

Hence, this situation. Right now, it's safer for them to whack a bunch of content creators (and manipulate the climate for what goes on their platform) than it is to alienate advertisers. Not because they're doing that great off the advertisers (it's a failing model), but because they must continue to appear to advertisers like they're the only platform in the world.


>YT is essentially a monopoly in the small producer content discovery market.

You can slice and dice markets until you say anyone has a monopoly. I know this guy who has a monopoly on hair cutting services in the main downtown block in the town I live in, that type of thing. That doesn't mean it is a "monopoly" that regulation would confer any rights to the consumers (which is the sort the upstream comment was looking for).

Same thing for "small producer content discovery market." It's a stretch to say that's some sort of regulated monopoly, or that it should be. YT steers their users towards particular content. So does Netflix, Amazon, The New York Times, Lego, and everybody else. You wouldn't expect YT should have to steer people towards Vimeo videos.


Which section of antitrust law grants rights to users who aren't even paying customers?


If you don't agree with these policy shift I urge you to support projects such as PeerTube[1] any way you can (code, running a node etc.).

[1] https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube


Content creators do not give a shit about privacy. Since PeerTube is not-for-profit nobody will move there.

All they care about the fact that the revenue source was pulled off of them.


Maybe the most open platform will win if the future is Patreon, Twitch, Brave Browser...


Twitch is bought by Amazon long time ago. Brave is closed-source browser so you have no idea what is happening there.

Patreon is amazing tho.


Brave is open source [1] to my knowledge.

[1] https://github.com/brave


Why? There would be no way to make money on PeerTube (and very hard to even get an audience).


and very hard to even get an audience

The question here is whether it's harder to get an audience by being discovered among the millions of other videos on YouTube, or by being discovered among the millions of websites on the internet. If you're competent at marketing it shouldn't really make a difference either way.


d.tube seems a more realistic alternative


I'm just sitting here wondering how far YouTube will go to make the site "Ad Friendly" with all these changes lately. At this rate it wouldn't surprise me if the YouTube Partner Program went back to it's original form, where it was invite only for a select few creators.

But this also highlights the need for creators to diversify their revenue. Don't just rely on YouTube. Offer T-Shirts. Take sponsorships. Open a Patreon. Start streaming on Twitch. Try to get to that point where the majority of your revenue comes from sources outside YouTube.


Live by the hoard.

Die by the hoard.

Seems to me the bed being used is a bed that all have agreed to get into.


You might benefit from using a dictionary.


Yes. Sorry.


Hoard?


I watch a lot of YouTube, probably more than what is healthy, and I happily pay for YouTube Red (ad free youtube). I have no idea how my subscription supports the channels I actually watch. It would be nice if my subscription payment actually was divided among the channels I actually watch. This way I'd automatically be supporting the channels I enjoy simply by watching them, regardless of how ad-friendly they are.


it feels like youtube could avoid a lot of controversy by adding a button to tip/pay creators directly on the site. But the broader issue is that Google, an advertising company, will probably not do it. That's why youtube should break out of google.


Isn't that where they are doing with the "paid subscriptions"? Twitch has that already with the "subscribe" and "bits" buttons.


How can YouTube possibly break away from Google? Hosting costs for YouTube are astronomical, they would’ve never survived without Google absorbing their costs.


BureaucracyTube -- the creators get no support or feedback, the networks get no control over their clients, and the advertisers get played like a fiddle by the loud minority of the easily offended.

Personal agency is dying, and Silicon Valley is, sadly, complicit.


> advertisers get played like a fiddle by the loud minority of the easily offended.

It seems you can replace the first word in that sentence with many others and still accurately describe much of modern society.

I wonder if it was always so? Perhaps the same technology that brings offence to them allows the offended to shout loudly their displeasure with it.


"What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment and death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment, be deaf to all those motives whose powers supported him through his trial, and inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose." -Thomas Jefferson


Why can’t you curse on broadcast tv or radio in the US? Just for one of many examples where the previous “vocal minority” have dictated policy. Why are there blue laws? Why is pot illegal at the federal level in the US? Prostitution?

Religious and “moral majority” types still dictate to a less vocal majority. That this only seems to have occurred to some people when the people complaining include some on the Left speaks volumes. For me, I’d like neither political pole to dictate to the rest of us, but I wasn’t born yesterday so I’m not holding my breath. I’m also not acting like this is somehow new. The only thing that’s changed is that the vocal types with clout aren’t just the religious Right. On the bright side that means more people are empowered, on the downside it now means that two extremes are fighting for power over us instead of just one.


Along the way, our government has been somewhat hijacked.

The 10th amendment of the Bill of Rights says to the effect: ~"The Feds can only do what the Constitution says they can, states have rights to create their own rules, and all other liberties are given to citizens."

If you're imagining the power dynamic between the federal, state, and citizen level, the Constitution was written to give citizens a framework of higher government, while the Bill of Rights was written to explicitly restrict that government's power. (i.e. "government shall make no law" vs. "citizen has rights xyz")

Somewhere along the way people started seeing the federal government as the top of the pyramid rather than a caged beast. Somewhere the beast escaped the cage.


> "Why can’t you curse on broadcast tv or radio in the US"

Because SV has had a holier than thou attitude. SV has promised us it is beyond tradition.

Those previous enemies are obvious. But SV said it would be __less__ of the same.

Where are the jet packs we were promised?? Or was that (empthy) promise just a press release?


I said US, not SV, and contrary to the beliefs of some in a bubble, one is not the other. Silicon Valley is also a place full of different people and companies, so no “it” didn’t say anything, the people and companies there have made a ton of claims and promises, some of which they’ve even upheld.

Fortunately jet packs aren’t one of them, because I can’t think of anything more likely to get people killed on a regular basis, while being terminally noisy and polluting. Of course what serious person believed they were getting jet packs? The same people who still think that flying cars will be in every driveway? Some promises are made just because there are people with money who are stupid enough to believe them, and predatory people can’t resist parting fools and their money.

Don’t take it all so personally, and don’t invest in things like Juicero or jet packs and you’ll be a lot happier and wealthier.


To clarify. To me. YT / Google is a reliable proxy for SV.

I was simply trying to answer the quoted question in that context.

Whether you like and/or agree with the answer is further discussion.


Technology is inherently used to further systems of control. The death of individuality and agency is directly linked to technological improvements. I shudder to think 50 years from now when your every movement/word/thought is known and truly fear for humanity.


Can anyone really keep up with Youtube's policies anymore? Especially when they're partially created and enforced by automated scripts? I keep hoping that the worse this situation becomes the better incentives people will have to move to alternatives. A man can dream.


Modern censorship at work.

People should not forget that Youtube is an extremely left leaning organization and therefore polices videos under that angle.

Most people in tech are left leaning (especially in the Bay area) and as such this is not seen as a big deal, but this censorship is growing and it is one of the biggest democratic danger at the moment.


Absolute BS. The only reason you would perceive YT to be "left-leaning" is that advertisers in general don't want to be associated with alt-right content. YT is merely mirroring the biases of the advertisers.


A 9th circuit judge (inarguably a left leaning court) has stated in a lawsuit involving Google (YouTube) and PragerU (far from alt-right), that claiming YouTube acts in a neutral way is "puffery" (yes that's a legal term).


> A 9th circuit judge (inarguably a left leaning court) has stated in a lawsuit involving Google (YouTube) and PragerU (far from alt-right), that claiming YouTube acts in a neutral way is "puffery" (yes that's a legal term).

No they didn't. The judge wrote that YouTube's marketing statements about hosting a diversity of videos and "giving people a voice" can't be used by the plaintiff to bring a false advertising claim when youtube takes down a video.

The judgement is saying that statements that are obviously "puffery" can't be used as the basis for false advertising, not that claiming YouTube "acts in a neutral way" is inherently "puffery":

> None of the statements about YouTube’s viewpoint neutrality identified by Plaintiff resembles the kinds of “quantifiable” statements about the “specific or absolute characteristics of a product” that are actionable under the Lanham Act. Newcal Indus., 513 F.3d at 1053. Rather, the statements are vague representations about how YouTube is generally “committed to fostering a community where everyone’s voice can be heard” and providing “opportunities” for people from all over to share their diverse “point[s] of view.” Compl. ¶¶ 3, 28.

> The statements do not say anything specific about YouTube’s “mission” to “give people a voice,” and make no concrete and measurable guarantees or representations about the “opportunities” made available for people to express themselves “no matter where they are from or what their age or point of view.” Id. ¶ 28.

> As a result, the Court concludes that these statements are neither “[]likely to induce consumer reliance,” Newcal Indus., 513 F.3d at 1053, nor “capable of being proved false,” Coastal Abstract, 173 F.3d at 731, and are therefore non-actionable puffery under the Lanham Act.


Prager's lawsuit claims that YouTube's censorship is violating their first amendment rights. This is simply bullshit, since first amendment rights don't apply to a private company like YouTube. YouTube has the right to remove / restrict whatever it likes on it's own site.


I'm curious: currently I'm sure Youtube relies on the "Safe Harbour" clauses to not be liably for what people post. But once they actively curate the content (and not just for Terms of Service violation but for actual content), does this not mean they would lose this protection?


Your comment is all good and well, but while the tone is dismissive/combative, its content doesn't interact with peterhandlaw's point.

Just so you know :)


I'm just practicing my first amendment rights /s

It also does, since I was providing the content of the lawsuit that he happened to fail to mention.


The context of the lawsuit is irrelevant to the courts statement on puffery aside from being the initiating reason the statement on puffery was made (which we already knew).

The court could have made the same statement without Prager filing the suit and it would still be accurate. The context doesn’t change the fact of the statement. So again, your providing context does not change or challenge peterhandlaw’s point r.e. Puffery.


For the record, the utility arguments and size and such put aside (rabbit hole not relevant per say), in general, I don't think a private company should be compelled into any speech (including this lawsuit, which, as of now I probably disagree with.)

So to conclude, your context / commentary, although appreciated, does not change my statement.


Source?



What about the ban of any gun related videos? Isn't that political censorship? Did you already watch Youtube CEO's (Susan Wojcicki) comments on anything political?

Youtube is a private entity and they don't have any obligation to be neutral. They only have to pretend to be.


Youtube didn't ban "any" gun related videos.

Go there and search. There are plenty of gun related videos, as well as plenty of videos complaining about youtube banning gun videos.


Everything I've read has stated the bans and deletions will go in affect at the end of this month. Down to the wire but if true there will be a lot of "where is your god now?" examples to this idea that YouTube won't enforce its own rules: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/7667605?hl=en


Those rules don't ban everything gun related though, just selling and modification. Although if Forgotten Weapons gets caught up in that because they're for auction that would be a real shame.


It wipes out reloading channels which is shame though.


There should probably be a GunTube website then.

There's nothing new here though. "Guns" are a special category of product that were already excluded from many online sites, e.g. eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, and more. That's why you have GunBrokers, Bud's Gun Shop, Armslist, etc.; there's a whole parallel ecosystem of sites related to guns that exist because the biggest sites in those fields don't allow guns. Having a separate video site would fit well into that paradigm.

For another parallel, look at porn.


full30.com is angling to be that


It also isn’t true, or Taofledermaus, and Kirsten Joy Weiss wouldn’t be showing new vids most weeks.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rN2Hkmjt3QA


>People should not forget that Youtube is an extremely left leaning organization and therefore polices videos under that angle.

As I read the article, Youtube is dropping accounts based on potential copyright liability issues or insufficient advertiser appeal. I suppose you must have read between the lines to find the part where it's all really about Youtube's leftist ideology.


An extremely left leaning organization run by a huge multinational for-profit conglomerate? Perhaps you should look up characteristics of far left organizations. I don't think you know what that term means.


Oxford defines "left leaning" as "Sympathetic to or tending toward the left in politics." Just because an organization is run by "a huge multinational for-profit conglomerate" doesn't preclude it from leaning to the left.

I'm too lazy to try and find a more recent source, but a 2010 CBS report showed that, of the top 15 recipients of donations from Google execs, 12 of the donations were to Democrats (accounting for about 90% of the donated dollars in the shown group). Sure, that's individuals and not the org, but it clearly indicates that leadership leans left... which means the org does too.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/google-political-donations-wher...


56% of donations in 2017 went to the Republicans, and the article below states that while those working within may be "left leaning," the business is moving towards the Republican side of the fence.

It's also worth mentioning that the Democrats are right wing to the many nations in the rest of the world.

http://www.siliconbeat.com/2017/01/13/google-and-facebook-gi...


And democrats somehow equals extremely left leaning? Huh.


The 1st Amendment is a protection against the government censoring speech. Any private or public company has the right to set its policies as it sees fit, as long as no other laws are violated, such anti-discrimination laws (which do not protect political alignments).


Let's forget that the adpocalypse has affected LGBT channels:

https://www.autostraddle.com/why-is-youtube-demonetizing-lgb...

Atheist channels:

https://www.holykoolaid.com/is-youtube-censoring-atheists/

And the person who tried to kill YouTube employees was a vegan.

It has nothing to do with YouTube and everything to do with advertisers actually having control of what they want their ads to appear on.

Somehow everything is a conspiracy against "conservatives." It's so sad that the Party of Reagan has resorted to miring itself in constant outrage. This is an extremely dangerous mindset, this is how you get people to shoot up pizzerias due to nut job conspiracies.

http://www.fox5dc.com/news/man-with-rifle-enters-comet-ping-...


why are you making this a partisan issue


You can't just take up any horrible position you feel like and require everyone to help you spread it or else they're radically left-wing. For example, I don't think YouTube is going to ban someone for suggesting that we privatize fire departments or for suggesting that universal healthcare is unworkable or for posting an impassioned defense of monarchy, even though these are ideas that radical leftists would view as terrible. As far as I can tell, the people YouTube acts against (where people see left-wing bias) aren't simply suggesting right-wing ideas, they're doing much more harmful things like promoting bigotry and harassment. You can't hide those things behind the label of "right-wing" to pretend like opposition to them is just political partisanship.




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