All eye-rolling at YouTube’s attempts to encourage community aside: When viewed in the context of PewDiePie’s extremely high level of influence over followers who are in turn deeply committed to waging meme war in his name, his alt-right ties become even more concerning. In essence, YouTube’s most influential personality is using his platform in ways that carry the potential to push millions of his already devoted followers toward online extremism. They’re already deploying the same tools of memeified, joking harassment and brigading that the alt-right is known to deploy — tactics rooted in the kinds of online trollishness that can seem purely jovial and harmless right up until it becomes something more.
The choice of the name www.youtube.com led to problems for a similarly named website, www.utube.com. The site's owner, Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment, filed a lawsuit against YouTube in November 2006 after being regularly overloaded by people looking for YouTube. Universal Tube has since changed the name of its website to www.utubeonline.com. In October 2006, Google Inc. announced that it had acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in Google stock, and the deal was finalized on November 13, 2006.
YouTube has enabled people to more directly engage with government, such as in the CNN/YouTube presidential debates (2007) in which ordinary people submitted questions to U.S. presidential candidates via YouTube video, with a techPresident co-founder saying that Internet video was changing the political landscape. Describing the Arab Spring (2010– ), sociologist Philip N. Howard quoted an activist's succinct description that organizing the political unrest involved using "Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world." In 2012, more than a third of the U.S. Senate introduced a resolution condemning Joseph Kony 16 days after the "Kony 2012" video was posted to YouTube, with resolution co-sponsor Senator Lindsey Graham remarking that the video "will do more to lead to (Kony's) demise than all other action combined."
The Pentagon’s admission, relayed to the Senate, came a week after The Atlantic revealed “errors in accounting” in how the U.S. had tracked and billed the Saudi-led coalition for refueling costs—a service that was among the most visible and controversial elements of support as civilian casualties grew. Washington’s support began in March 2015 under President Barack Obama, without explicit congressional authorization, and continued under the Trump administration, amid growing outrage in Congress over Saudi conduct. That changed last month when the Pentagon said it had ended aerial refueling at Riyadh’s request. The Pentagon’s acknowledgement puts a number to at least part of the expansive assistance that the U.S. provided to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen over the last few years.
Additionally, in response to PewDiePie’s rec of the E;R channel, its owner described PewDiePie as producing “redpilled content.” And it’s easy to see why. Before declaring in 2017 that he would stop making Nazi jokes, PewDiePie made a whole lot of Nazi jokes. Even since then, he’s produced a long line of “satirical” videos and commentary that his alt-right followers have praised as examples of his “dropping redpills” on the rest of his fans.
Another focus for the viral video platform has been supporting the many creators who have flocked there to create videos. Actress and comedian Grace Helbig, whose channel has 3 million subscribers, joined the site three years ago to start her show because of the creative freedom. “There are no gatekeepers,” said Helbig, who appeared onstage with Wojcicki.
Other, more intense measures could help, too. For example, how about restricting toddler videos to the YouTube Kids app? Toddler content could, in effect, be forbidden on the main platform. If video makers wanted their work on the YouTube Kids app, they’d have to agree to have it only on the Kids app. This might hurt their view counts initially, but it would keep kids in a safer environment, and in the long term would protect the brand from the inevitable kid-related scandals. The issue of inappropriate videos popping up in YouTube Kids has received a good deal of national press—but society can live with a tiny sliver of bad things slipping through the company’s filters. It’s a small issue compared with kids watching billions of videos on regular YouTube. Why worry about the ways a kid could hurt himself in a padded room, when huge numbers of kids are tromping around the virtual city’s empty lots? (Ducard said that YouTube knows families watch videos together: “That’s why this content is available on our main YouTube site and also on our YouTube Kids app.”)
YouTube has a set of community guidelines aimed to reduce abuse of the site's features. Generally prohibited material includes sexually explicit content, videos of animal abuse, shock videos, content uploaded without the copyright holder's consent, hate speech, spam, and predatory behavior. Despite the guidelines, YouTube has faced criticism from news sources for content in violation of these guidelines.
Some YouTube videos have themselves had a direct effect on world events, such as Innocence of Muslims (2012) which spurred protests and related anti-American violence internationally. TED curator Chris Anderson described a phenomenon by which geographically distributed individuals in a certain field share their independently developed skills in YouTube videos, thus challenging others to improve their own skills, and spurring invention and evolution in that field. Journalist Virginia Heffernan stated in The New York Times that such videos have "surprising implications" for the dissemination of culture and even the future of classical music.
YouTube Play Buttons, a part of the YouTube Creator Rewards, are a recognition by YouTube of its most popular channels. The trophies made of nickel plated copper-nickel alloy, golden plated brass, silver plated metal and ruby are given to channels with at least one hundred thousand, a million, ten million and fifty million subscribers, respectively.
User entitlement -- A key to the plan of scaling up and eventually figuring out how to make money is free services for users. The minute you charge people, most walk off, particularly when they've been trained to assume that services should be free. YouTube has clearly told people that they should expect free video streaming, even if it has considered an ad-free paid subscription service. Getting consumers to change their behavior after they've become used to not paying is next to impossible.
I worry about these questions a lot, and I wonder if our 21st-century American institutions are up to the challenges they’ve created with their market successes and ethical abdications. Even so, when I visited Chennai, I felt okay about the media future we’re heading into. The toddler videos that ChuChu is posting on YouTube are cultural hybrids, exuberant and cosmopolitan, and in a philosophical sense they presuppose a world in which all children are part of one vast community, drawing on the world’s collective heritage of storytelling. That’s a rich narrative rootstock, with lots of lessons to teach—and right now who’s better poised to make the most of it than ChuChu and companies like it, especially if they can learn from the legacy of American educational TV?
In October 2015, YouTube announced YouTube Red (now Youtube Premium), a new premium service that would offer ad-free access to all content on the platform (succeeding the Music Key service released the previous year), premium original series and films produced by YouTube personalities, as well as background playback of content on mobile devices. YouTube also released YouTube Music, a third app oriented towards streaming and discovering the music content hosted on the YouTube platform.