In the last six months, it appears a war has been declared on independent media in America. Just as in other more authoritarian countries, any dissenting voices which challenge the establishment narrative are seemingly being quashed.
It all started in late August 2016. YouTube, owned by Google, updated its terms and conditions as to which videos on their platform could and could not receive advertising revenue.
Here is a screenshot of part of the email they sent to out to all of the content creators on their channel, outlining which videos could be demonetized:
The first thing that strikes me about these policies is the top cause of demonetization – “Sexually suggestive content.” In a world where advertisers will use tits to sell anything from a car to a cheeseburger, that does seem a little hypocritical – at least it does to me.
The second issue that concerns me is with “profanity” rule. That just seems ridiculous. If they followed that to the letter of the law a huge percentage of videos would end up being demonetized. If all the independent channels that used profanity in their videos disappeared, there would only be one channel left – entitled, “Bring back all the swearing!”
And thirdly – anything related to war and political conflict? Surely that would mean everything from CNN, FOX, MSNBC, BBC and other news channels wouldn’t get any adverts on them, right?
In the coming months, thankfully, not much changed. Most publishers just assumed that this was YouTube and Google covering their asses and giving them license to remove the worst offenders. I.E. Channels that promoted extremism and hate speech.
Fast-forward to February 2017 though, and reports began to emerge that advertisements for household products were being shown on YouTube channels which promote terrorism. An article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) a few weeks later then reported that despite concerns, YouTube had apparently not done anything about it.
YouTube faced a backlash from advertisers on the platform as a result. Pepsi, Walmart, Starbucks, and GM along with dozens of other brands pulled their funding for advertisements from the platform, over fear that their company would be shown on a channel promoting hate speech or terrorism.
To rectify the problem after widespread condemnation in the mainstream media, YouTube acted swiftly and with extreme measures.
First, they implemented a rule that no channel with less than 10,000 views would show any commercials whatsoever – any new channel on their platform is now demonetized until they have reached 10k views. This gave them time to assess the nature of a channel before allowing them to benefit from YouTube’s affiliate system.
Then they changed their algorithm to stop adverts being shown on any videos that mentioned a sensitive subject in the title. Any channels which mention ISIS, Syria or Israel for instance, were demonetized.
On the surface of it, this all seemed fine. The last thing an advertiser would want is for one of their commercials showing on a video that promoted terrorism or showed ISIS beheading a hostage. However, there were huge consequences for other channels on the platform which were not guilty of any of these things.
As a result, independent media outlets who report on world and political events were caught up in what is now being called, “YouTube Apocalypse.”
How Have Independent Media Been Affected by the ‘YouTube Apocalypse’?
Almost every channel mentioned in our article on the best independent news outlets were swept up in the melee and also demonetized. Kyle Kulinski, who’s channel Secular Talk has over 500,000 subscribers, had his revenue from YouTube advertisements cut to practically zero overnight.
Kyle believed his channel had been ‘blacklisted’, meaning no adverts were being shown on his channel at all. YouTube denied that they had done this, though, and that no ‘blacklist’ existed on their network.
However, at the same time, one advertiser specifically asked to be shown on Secular Talk and The David Pakman Show when placing an order with YouTube, but their ads never showed up on those channels.
In essence, his channel was in fact ‘blacklisted’ from any and all advertisements on YouTube. Something that YouTube flat out denied.
It wasn’t just Secular Talk that was affected by the changes. David Pakman, Jimmy Dore, The Humanist Report and The Rational National have all made videos about how their revenue had been drastically reduced in a similar way.
In the last couple of months, these channels have started to see revenue return as YouTube ‘tweaked’ its algorithm – however it is nowhere near what they used to receive. Most channels are now reporting their income is 60% less than it was before YouTube Apocalypse.
Now you may think all this is OK. After all, there is no way YouTube can allow adverts to be shown for Verizon on a terrorist channel which talks about ways to get other people to join their cause via the internet – Verizon would be rightly furious.
However, once you start looking at videos on the independent news channels which have been demonetized compared to MSNBC and CNN, you start seeing extremely unusual anomalies.
Videos which could in no way be associated with hate speech or classed as controversial are demonetized on independent news channels, while similar reports on the corporate channels show adverts no problem.
Examples of YouTube’s Random Demonetization
For instance, this 7-minute segment by David Doel, host of “The Rational National”, is demonetized. No adverts are shown on the clip at all, therefore it could get 10 million views and David would never see a penny in revenue from it:
Umm, what the hell? How in the world could that be classed as hate speech or connected to terrorism? Why on earth would that be demonetized? There is no profanity in it and no talk of a sexual nature.
At the same time as that clip is demonetized, clips by Kyle Kulinski and The Humanist Report which talk about the very same subject and draw similar conclusions, are not demonetized – adverts are being played on those clips without an issue.
Now, I don’t know if at any point their segments were demonetized at some stage and reinstated after appeal. However, it is still completely unfair. Secular Talk and The Humanist Report have large amounts of subscribers to their channels. Their income may have been hit massively by the changes, but they have an audience to fall back on and fill the void left by the cut in revenue. Their audience have responded on Patreon, and each have hundreds of people donating a few bucks a month to keep their channels alive.
David Doel though, he is still building his audience and only has less than a tenth of the subscribers the others have – his revenue has been absolutely crippled. If things don’t change, he may have to quit his show altogether.
Watch him talk about the subject in the video below. I honestly feel terrible for his situation – it really does look like he is on the verge of tears here:
Something is Rotten in Denmark….
The examples do not stop there though. I have found multiple situations where independent channels are not showing adverts on innocuous segments, but CNN and MSNBC’s segments on the same subjects are showing commercials no problem.
It all seems extremely “iffy”. If you look at the story as a whole, it is almost as if the entire narrative has been constructed in order to silence dissenting voices.
And when you add into the mix that Google have launched YouTube TV, more fuel is added to the fire. The mainstream news outlets who are being crushed in terms of daily views by the likes of The Young Turks online, have already signed up to the “premium” YouTube platform.
ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN & all of the most popular cable networks have signed up for YouTube TV – so wouldn’t crushing independent media’s revenue on their platform be a wonderful way of promoting the premium service to the giant news corporations?
I’ll let you decide the answer to that question.
I for one though will not be ignoring this. There is way too much coincidence here for it to be just that – a coincidence.
I’ll be investigating this further in the coming weeks and months, and reaching out to the independent channels for examples of demonetization of videos. Adverts are not shown every time a video is played, so It’s difficult to find 100% proof that a video has been demonetized. The only people who can say for sure, are the publishers themselves.
In the meantime, be sure to support any of these independent, progressive news commentators if you can.
We have been Patreons for The Jimmy Dore Show for a while now, and urge any readers to do the same for their favorite independent network if possible. It’s only a few bucks a month, but if only 10% of their subscribers did the same they wouldn’t have to worry about Ad revenue from Google or YouTube, ever.