During 2017 YouTube got into a lot of trouble with advertisers and big partners who removed their ads from the platform ( some even came out of Google’s search engine ) after they discovered that their products and services were related to controversial content , some quite improper. As the network did not have any protocol, they linked the ads to those with a large audience and never bothered to check the content of the videos, even going so far as to promote pirate channels .
Gradually YouTube has been mended, from channeling shows and series 24/7 as promising more human moderation to refined ( although it still leaves much to be desired ), but needless to say that content producers would also be forced to adjust. Thus, a number of new rules came into force and basically any minimally controversial or violent video, whether real or fictional and apology to illicit or licit drugs, pimping and other undesirable content lost monetization without loss and / or lost visibility .
These days, trying to track the progress of inflammatory right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones and his cult conspiracy show Infowars is a bit like playing whack-a-mole. On the other hand, many creators of decent, quality content have been hampered by tightening the rules for monetizing their channels and by restricting the introduction of external links in videos , limiting them to a description that no one reads. So many channels have stopped making money and can not even divulge other ways to make money with their projects because YouTube does not want to and uses such a strategy as a demonetization and / or visibility reduction criterion. Or even that .
Facebook recently suspended Jones’s personal account, in what appeared to be a shift away from CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s permissive statements regarding Infowars and other loci of misinformation on the site. One of the most recent and viralized strong was the youtube video in which Jones stated categorically that David Hogg, one of the survivors of the recent Florida shooting that killed 17 people was … an actor. The attraction gained prominence in the “In High” tab when this happened, a series of other channels followed the same line and fed YouTube with similar videos that exploded in popularity. In retaliation YouTube not only hit a strike on Jones’ channel and vanished with the video from the highlights area, but deleted a number of other channels that surfed the wave. However, as humans are human several others have been deleted without guilt .
On the other hand, last week YouTube has decided to turn its attention to a very popular and highly criticized channel, the channels based on conspiracy theories. Of these the most notorious is the InfoWars, presented by the folkloric ( to say the least ) Alex Jones, a cardiac nut who defends the alt-right agenda tooth and nail but in the most crazy and absurd way possible with strange and insane statements, you know where you are from. But no sooner had Facebook and YouTube users celebrated these wins than reporters and Spotify users noticed that the audio streaming platform was continuing to host episodes of Infowars — and describing Jones as a “media analyst and seasoned radio broadcaster.”
Holy shit. Really, @Spotify?
Alex Jones has been responsible for harassing parents of Sandy Hook children, Vegas shooting victims and threatening to kill the Special Counsel. And you’re now hosting his podcasts?? https://t.co/dAIYiNKdXP
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) July 30, 2018
Users also voiced concerns and spoke out about the show. One Twitter user claimed that Spotify told her if her idea submission to remove the show got at least 100 votes, the company would look into it. At press time, it had nearly 700. Some musicians whose work is hosted on Spotify also spoke out.
Hey @Spotify@spotifyartists@SpotifyCares how do I go about getting my music pulled off of your service? I can do without the extra $0.09 a year it pays me to no longer be associated in any way with destructive people like @infowars.
— Chris Mezzolesta (@ChrisMezzolesta) July 30, 2018
But the Pandora’s Box was opened: as soon as the controversy surrounding such videos became virulent, CNN played on the fan and exposed the fact that Jones’s channel network was regularly monetized with ads from top companies like Nike, Acer, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Expedia, Alibaba, Mozilla and even the NRA, among many others. As soon as the case took on major proportions, most of these companies and institutions ( even the Mormon Church and UNHCR, an NGO that collects funds for Rohingya refugees were on the list ) have announced that they have placed The Alex Jones Channel, the main channel of the InfoWars Network and the others In their “blacklists”, an internal relationship that prevents YouTube from linking the ads of such client on a particular channel.
Officially, YouTube did not explain how Jones’ channels and other conspirators made money on a regular basis ( we all know, the platform only cares about money and audience and does not care if they’re educational videos, nuttellers or crazy people ), meanwhile stands for freedom of content creators while being aware of the situation: it has already implemented a notification that alerts the viewer when a channel is sponsored by some state agency and may contain partial information in order to combat government propaganda .
As advertisers, those who hold the money do not want to see their ads related to freaks on call, YouTube may well develop a similar tool to alert the user that the content of a particular creator is controversial or politically aligned with interests of groups or institutions; as none of this fits as a violation of the Terms of Service channels such as Alex Jones are hardly banned ( he now has two strikes plus one and goodbye but he should not arrive) because of the massive amount of views it raises, unless it spells out some other nonsense, but the platform has to stop more advertisers from running, so new and better tools can be created to let the partners know who is selling their products and services, and carry out the selection on their own.
On Wednesday, August 1, Spotify deleted selected episodes from its repository of Infowars podcasts, citing violations of its hate speech policy. Many episodes of the podcasts still remain available on the site.
Anyway, it is certain that from now on Alex Jones and company will make less money with YouTube.
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