As I talked about here, everyone hates free speech. Both the left, the right, and the elites are extremely uncomfortable with the concept that on the internet, you can say pretty much whatever you want. A few months back, I talked about YouTube’s strange, Nazi-like crackdown on free speech over there. In the last few months, this is grown even worse.
As some of you may already be aware, back in April the mainstream media showcased a blatantly racist video that had only a few views and subscribers, and demonstrated that YouTube was showing corporate ads on this video. Many of these big corporations screamed at YouTube and some pulled their advertising.
YouTube freaked. They created an algorithm that de-monetized any video that had any “controversial content.” The problem was the algorithm was way too broad. “Controversial” could mean that you had “ISIS,” “Syria,” or even “Russia” in the title of your video(!).
The result was that thousands of political YouTube channels, both on the left and the right, had 90-95% of their income wiped out overnight. This included many of the channels I watch on a regular basis, again, on the left and the right (I make sure to consume both left and right content to make sure I’m getting the entire picture). This included The David Packman Show, Secular Talk, The Amazing Atheist, Louder With Crowder, and many others.
YouTube content providers made panicked videos, showing graphs of their drops of literally 95%+ in their YouTube income pretty much overnight. Since most content providers are not very good businesspeople, these guys were in big trouble. YouTube was their only income stream in their business (unlike an Alpha 2.0 business where you always make sure to have multiple income streams and never rely on once source), so they were really screwed.
They were forced to use a new website called Patreon, where you ask your viewers to pay a few bucks a month, voluntarily, to keep their shows on the air, since YouTube won’t pay these people anymore (or as much as they were getting before). Even though these guys all made the mistake of relying 100% of their livelihoods on an external, corporatist entity like Google (which owns YouTube), I felt sorry for them.
So these guys all started using Patreon and things more or less returned to normal (except they all now beg you to sign up to Patreon and give them money on most of their videos, which is sort of sad). You would think that was the end of it.
But no, it got even worse.
Now Patreon is starting to ban content creators and are kicking them off of their site. The first victim is right-wing commentator Lauren Southern. You can watch her video here where she gives all the details. As you might expect, Patreon kicked her off her page for something she said they didn’t like. They didn’t even state specifically what she said that was the problem. Watch the video; it’s pretty incredible. Most of her income has now evaporated. Again.
Like Google and YouTube, Patreon is a left-leaning company, based in hyper-left-wing Silicon Valley, so Lauren will not be the last right-winger to be banned, but indeed the first of many. To be fair, many left-wing sites were affected by the YouTube de-monetization too. We’ll now see the ratio of left-wing vs. right-wing content creators who are going to start being banned from Patreon, the last place YouTube content creators were able to go if they wanted to maintain their incomes.
Obviously I disagree with both the left and right on most political issues, particularly their shared addiction to irrational leader-worship. That doesn’t matter in thise case, because I’m also a free speech absolutist. You should be allowed to say whatever you want to say on the internet, even if other people or even most people find it offensive.
Twitter, Google, Patreon, etc are private companies and they’re free to ban or de-monetize whomever they like, but this ongoing saga clearly shows how much effort the elites are putting toward stifling any kind of speech that threatens their power. Expect all of this to get worse. Much worse.
Eventually, there will be new alternatives to YouTube, Twitter, Patreon, etc, but this will take time. In the meantime, it will be harder and harder for content creators to speak in their voice, and for you to get all sides of issues and events that you need to form valid opinions.
Enjoy the decline!