Finding a YouTube Alternative Without Censorship

Written by
Special HQ
December 31, 2021

By now you are probably aware of YouTube’s community guidelines which place limitations on language, visuals, and content itself. Over time, YouTube has adjusted its rules regarding censoring specific topics. In some cases, like hate speech and COVID-19 misinformation, censorship has been forefront and largely transparent in regards to regulation from Google. In another regard, creators know to censor vulgar language on their channel at the risk of becoming demonetized.

A major shift happened in December of 2017, referred to colloquially as “AdPocalypse”, when YouTube’s automated content policing tool started demonetizing content that could be identified as “Not Advertiser-Friendly.” Content in question included a variety of language, themes, and jokes that were deemed not family friendly which led large advertisers such as Pepsi to remove their ad spend.

Creator Felix Kjellberg, better known online as PewDiePie, is a channel featuring video games, vlogs, comedy, music videos, and more. In October 2020, Kjellberg alleged that his content was shadow-banned on YouTube, with shadow-banning defined simply as content not appearing on YouTube search results. Although this claim was denied by YouTube, Kjellberg and his followers have been critical of YouTube’s content policing and spread that dialogue to other YouTubers and netizens across the web.

In a recent case, in June of 2021, MIT Technology Review and Reuters reported that YouTube removed videos of a human rights group that documented testimonials of the Uyghur genocide.

These are merely a few examples of how censorship policing has affected YouTube content and creators in a variety of spaces. In this blog we will dig deeper to uncover how this could affect your channel. This impacts all creators - because your content can be “fine” one day and gone the next, impacting your lifestyle and income with no warning.

Non-Advertiser Friendly Content

Let’s take a step back and define what “Not Advertiser-Friendly” content is and why it’s important for creators of all spaces to be aware of these regulations.

YouTube has built out an overview of community guidelines that, if breached, are subject to action taken by YouTube, such as demonetizing content, removing content, shadow-banning, or deleting of channels. Click here to review the full policy.

The community guidelines may have a lot of information, but many topics remain ambiguous and are subject to debate, such as inappropriate language, firearms-related content, controversial issues, or sensitive events. The example cited about the Uyghur genocide is an example of a sensitive event that could be in violation of these community guidelines, but a newsworthy topic.

A few years ago, YouTube channel Demolition Ranch, received a notification from YouTube that several of their videos would no longer receive monetization. Creators took to Twitter to share the news, which sparked followers' outcry at this update. Although the videos remain viewable, Demolition Ranch lost out on earning monetization revenue for some of the content they created.

A hard truth about YouTube: it can monetize any content hosted on its platform and not share the proceeds with the creator of that channel. In November 2020 the updated terms of service stated that YouTube has the “right to monetize” all content on its platform. This means they have the ability to start placing ads on videos from channels that are not part of the YouTube Partner Program, which is set up to share ad revenue with the creators.

The Algorithm and Censorship

Working the YouTube algorithm is a continuous revolving door that creators work to understand. Just like any advice on working the YouTube algorithm in your favor, the most critical piece is to prioritize remaining true to your channel over trying to appease the algorithm at large.

How does the algorithm play into censoring? The truth is, at a certain level many creators will face some kind of restrictions, such as reducing content’s appearance in an already saturated landscape. YouTube also has a poor system set up to combat copyright trolls, and unfortunately takedown requests frequently occur, even when you’re the creator. Discover best practices on how to play the algorithm game from our recent blog.

Platforms without Censorship

It can feel overwhelming reviewing the community guidelines and critiquing every content piece you create, but don’t let it stop you from producing the content that is true to your channel and resonates with your audience. YouTube is an excellent tool to reach new users and build audiences, but depending on your channel’s niche, it may or may not be the right place for ad monetization.

There are many platforms that cater to specific themes, however they tend to embody stereotypes. A few examples are Patreon which is commonly associated with donations, or how Liveleak is associated solely with gore, or how Nebula or CuriosityStream is education, and so on.

Special.TV is a platform that exists without these associations, for all creators to create the exact content without censorship or limitations on monetization based on channel category or content. Discover how you can own your channel here at Special.TV with an early access application.

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