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[dupe] YouTube Demonetizes Anti-Vaccination Videos (techcrunch.com)
78 points by Udik 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 46 comments



this is the third repeat-appearing article in 24 hours?


Sorry, didn't know that. Link to previous discussion:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19230245


Can you delete this one?


I 'd like to suggest the word demonyzes for its double entendre


Are there any notable movements to move away from YouTube coming from or supported by content creators?

A lot of content creators have voiced concerns over demonetization and/or false positives regarding copyright violations but I've rarely heard anyone talk about collectively moving to a different platform without centralized control.


There is no other platform. No one else could afford to run youtube. Google is practically giving it out for free. Video hosting is too expensive.


Some are mirror-ing their stuff on Bitchute and similar services but no one is giving up YouTube as far as I can tell.


I'm guessing YouTube bans videos that promote self-harm and harm to other humans? At what stage does anti-vaccination material cross that line?

Governments already ban certain ways of promoting smoking and alcohol use in an effort to reduce harm. Why should anti-vaccination material be considered differently when people not being vaccinating can be directly linked to the death of others?


Fair point, but junk food does way more damage than not vaccinating. Yet there's no crackdown on McDonalds


There is a crackdown on falsely promoting junk food as healthy or promoting it to people who don't know better (namely children). Maybe not on YouTube, but in various countries' legislation.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6154600.stm

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB106919100053167300

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmbills/110/0... (Section 3)

It's not really a fair comparison, though. The main issue with anti-vaccination content is dangerous misinformation, not simply promoting something harmful. The other issue is that the people who fall for this content aren't usually the ones who get hurt, their innocent children are. It would only be a fair comparison if there were a large movement of very influential, powerful, and famous people posting "vegetables cause autism, and Burger King cures it" videos out there to hundreds of millions of viewers and a boom in child obesity tied directly to parents viewing them.


Yes but the line between good and bad food is not as clear as the difference between vax and no-vax. Moreover some countries (eg France) already have restrictions on junk food advertising.


Disproportional comparison that misses the point entirely.


A major difference is not vaccinating yourself can cause the death of others.

How you encourage healthy eating and moderation is also a very complex topic in comparison. Vaccination is a much more binary choice (you vaccinate or you don't), and is highly effective.


This comes at a very important time, with measles outbreaks occuring around the world from Brooklyn to Japan. It is horrible because it puts at risk the lives of those who are too young to receive the vaccine. I completely agree with Google but I think that the government and/or healthcare workers need to make a bigger effort to teach the public about how vaccines work and how safe they are for the person receiving them.


Is this censorship?


How so? They are still free to post their videos, it's just now they can't profit from making videos which will end up killing people, that sounds reasonable to me.


It's worth noting that YouTube have both a blacklist and a whitelist for advertising. Most videos that get "demonetised" are still eligible to earn ad revenue, but advertisers have to specifically opt-in to advertise against these videos. A small proportion of videos and creators are completely ineligible to earn revenue because they explicitly violate YouTube's ToS (usually on copyright grounds). Channels also require a minimum number of subscribers and views to be eligible for monetisation. This strikes me as a sensible compromise.

Most content creators are frustrated by the lack of transparency and the often arbitrary nature of demonetisation, but they see it as essentially necessary to safeguard their livelihoods. YouTube didn't start demonetising videos apropos of nothing, they did it as a specific response to an advertiser boycott in 2017. To a great extent, demonetisation saved YouTube from economic failure.


It's a good decision, but it shouldn't be Google's place or role to make such decisions.


Why not? They provision the adverts, collect the payments and take a cut. It seems reasonable they should be able to decide not to do those things. On the face of it the alternative is to coerce them into doing so against their will. What is the argument for doing that?


Also, as the article mentions, a number of advertisers "said they will take action to prevent their ads from running in front of anti-vax videos"

Google could let the market solve this problem, but ultimately brands don't want to manage their own blacklists, they want to put their ads on platforms where they don't have to.


It's incredibly easy for youtube to exclude certain ads from certain channels.

> they want to put their ads on platforms where they don't have to.

Are they going to change platform? To what?


> Are they going to change platform? To what?

The most likely immediate switch is not to a new platform but to a whitelist of the top 100 or 1k channels. Because of the Pareto principle, these channels get the majority of views anyway, and it's easier to manage a 100-1k whitelist than to blacklist every long-tail channel with content you don't like.

You could argue that this is no different to YouTube in the short run because they still get the ad dollars, but it's in their best interest in the long-run to make the long tail inventory viable.


People are trying various escape hatches in the responses but it obviously is.

First, censorship can be carried out by non-state actors. Second, they treat these videos differently to intentionally limit their reach and appeal.


You can call this censorship if you like, but it's not the kind of censorship the government imposes. Anti-vaxxers are perfectly welcome to start their own website. No penalty is imposed when they share their misinformation. This is closer in spirit to a newspaper refusing to publish someone's letter.


Except this newspaper publishes all letters from all comers making it fairly obvious censorship.

"Start your own website" is a brush-off when faced with corporate cenosrhip. People have tried it. Daily Stormer had several domains pulled, Gab had payment processors and Google Play ban them.

There is a very real problem with corporate harassment for views their management finds worthy of targeting and people are dismissing it because they like the targeting. For now anyway.


Youtube does not publishes everything that is uploaded what are you talking about?

Youtube doesn't accept porn for example, which is why people that want to share entirely legal videos of consenting adults having sex created their own platforms to do it. You never hear complaints from them about being censored. Because they were not.

When did it became acceptable to go into someone's house, start shouting about some crazy religion, then act surprised crying censorship and oppression when they finally ask you to leave?


Just because you have freedom of expression doesn't mean everyone is obligated to listen to it and pay you money for it.

"Freedom of expression" is just that, the freedom to voice your opinion. It's not the "Right of attention".

Furthermore, like any freedom there are limitations when your freedom starts endangering the freedom of others. We don't allow hate speech and death threats, so where does anti-vax fit in?


I like the way Eric Weinstein put it.

“I don’t believe that we can afford to take a neutral stance anymore. I don’t believe that we should optimize for neutrality..” -@jack

Glad to hear it. And, because you just changed your view on neutrality, I just changed mine on anti-trust, eminent domain and tech platforms.

https://twitter.com/EricRWeinstein/status/109545757231478784...

It's true. These platforms don't owe users a freedom to voice their opinions.

But since they're making editorial decisions, we, as a society, don't owe them protection from libel laws for example. And we should definitely look into monopolistic practices of VISA and Mastercard because it's much more serious than some microblogging site.


> People have tried it. Daily Stormer had several domains pulled, Gab had payment processors and Google Play ban them.

I don't see this as a "problem," per se. There are no guarantees in life that you will have unfettered access to services like this, particularly if you use them in a manner the providers deem against their terms.


Would you react in the same way if they were demonetising videos about something you consider fair and legitimate? For example gay rights? The problem here is not whether we consider anti-vax as a legitimate battle, but if we're comfortable in giving a private company the power to decide which opinions should be promoted and which should be silenced.


The real problem here is having a single company that's so big and powerful that they have the power to impose censorship.

We either need government regulations for these companies or they should be split up. This problem goes further than freedom of expression.


Please don't equivocate gay rights and anti-vaccination. One is a trait many people are born with that does not harm others; the other is a choice that can and often does harm others.


If this is censorship then everything is censorship.

"You can't smoke in my house" "call all the papers I'm being censored!"

If you want to have a real discussion about it you have to concede that there are degrees to everything. Which is why some form of, according to your definition, censorship are illegal and some are not. What youtube is doing here is entirely supported by the constitution. There is not even a gray area, or a maybe or a second interpretation, nothing.

Youtube is entirely within their rights, as is every one else, to decided what they want to host, share and promote on their platform, spending their own resources mind you as hosting and transferring videos costs a lot of money, and specially they have the right to decide with whom to enter into a financial contract, which is what they are doing here. I will argue forcing them to agree to pay or promote someone they are not legally required to is censorship.

Otherwise, if you can't or won't realize there are degrees of what you call "censorship" and not all is the same then there is no point in having the discussion.


Is Google a state?


You can still watch videos. They are not censored. There is just less incentive making them.


I think it definitely is. Creators depend on Ad-Revenue so taking that away when they publish something you don't agree with is censorship. Also Google doesn't have to be a state to engage in censorship, anyone can be a censor i.e a parent who prevents their children watching shows with a gay character.

I think the Anti-Vaccination movement is misleading and eventually harmful to public health.

That said I think censorship should be something that should take place (if it has to) in a public office, not in a corporate boardroom.

Here is what Google should have done. If you google anything related to depression google suggests suicide prevention hotlines. If facebook notices a popular article in your timeline it follows it with a snopes link to check if it is real. In other words Google should place a banner/ad/link that educates people on the real facts concerning Anti-Vaccination.

At the end of the day, Google own their platform and can do whatever they want, but is it the right thing to do? Or better yet is there a better way.


Censorship is not about the right to make a profit, it's about the right to publish.


I think that is a brittle and somewhat superficial definition of censorship.

Here is the Oxford dictionary definition:

> The suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security

Note there is nothing there about "rights".


YouTube hasn't suppressed or prohibited any of those items. The videos are still there. They just don't have ads targeted at them.


Nothing about profits either.


These vidoes are not being suppressed or prohibited though, not even on Youtube. It's just that Google is declining to provision ads, collect revenue, distribute it and take a cut. It seems to me that has nothing to do with censorship, or even editorialising.


They are being suppressed. Google will show a warning before them and deny creators usual benefits.


Antivaxxers tend to do their proselyting for free. What this may discourage is that professional trolls meddle with it because they promote any "oppressed" outlandish claim to optimize for clicks (and therefore ad revenue).


I actually know one person who earns "consultancy fees" from the mothers whom she first "as a friend" convinces that their babies are "in danger".

There are really people who earn real money by scaring the mothers. And Google is a big part of the problem with their "you will surely want more of the same" algorithms: the "friendly approached" mother googles only once for these topics, sees one of the "anti" videos and then gets from Google many "recommendations" for more and more "anti" stuff, every time she is interested in anything else.

The Google "recommendation algorithms" are the real and huge problem, not only their "monetization".

The same happens with other topics where many lies are involved and the actual harm ensues.


I'm torn. On one hand it's great, this is a group we all hate and it's good PR for YouTube.

On the other hand they also like to demonetize anything containing anything close to curse words or talking about anything too serious.


...Unless it serves the agenda.




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