Between the Pewdiepie controversies, Logan Paul’s disastrous video where he stumbled over and then filmed a suicide victim, and the platform’s relevance to various members of the alt-right, YouTube has not had a good couple of years. Now, the site is hoping to counteract its worsening reputation as a platform for hate by funding videos that counter it.
According to the Guardian, YouTube is putting $5 million into a “Creators For Change” program that sponsors videos that encourage people to open their minds.
The programme “encourages and educates creators about using the platform positively for social change,” says YouTube. It was launched in 2017, and has so far worked with 39 creators across the world. In the coming year, the company says it will “engage more creators in the programme, arm the wider YouTube community with new tools and education on how to create change and empower more young people to use their voices to encourage positive social messages.”
Behind the scenes, YouTube has taken other steps, such as now having a human being review channels that are added to its highly-coveted advertising program, Google Preferred. It’s also repeatedly “demonetized” the platform, although the site often targets LGBT content as well. And, of course, there are YouTube’s reporting tools, although those seem to work better in theory than in practice.
Still, this raises an important question: Can’t YouTube just ban the worst of the worst? They’re a private platform, not a government operation, and are under no obligation to give hate a voice. They can just boot whoever they want and there’s little, if anything, those getting the boot can do about it. Silicon Valley often tries to argue it’s “just a platform,” but owning a platform comes with responsibilities, and if YouTube really wants to fix its problems, it needs to embrace them.
(via The Guardian)