The news that a content creator who was demonetized and censored by YouTube snapped and went homicidal at the company’s headquarters points to an ugly, systemic problem. YouTube creators have been asking for over a year for YouTube to communicate honestly and fairly with its creators, demanding an explanation for why some channels are demonetized and others with similar content aren’t.
Here’s a recent example: Mandy O’Brien has a popular body language channel on YouTube with over two hundred thousand subscribers. She’s funny and smart and provides good insight into human behavior. While she seems to like Trump, her videos are not terribly political. Most of them center around breaking news stories and reading the unspoken communications given off by interviewees on the news.
Her channel, Bombard’s Body Language, was targeted for deletion by YouTube. It all began after the Parkland school shooting, when O’Brien made a video about the body language of the untouchable David Hogg. The video was deleted by YouTube for “bullying,” but still exists on Vimeo. The strange part is, she is debunking the conspiracy theory that a reporter was telling Hogg what to say.
O’Brien’s conclusion is that Hogg’s social and emotional immaturity (because he is still a developing minor) leads to his halting speech and mistakes — which is completely normal for a teen his age. She believes he was not coached but that he isn’t as good of a speaker as we’ve been led to believe and he needs to practice before he speaks.
This video was flagged as “bullying,” giving her channel one strike. Shortly after, another video of a Parkland shooting witness was flagged for the same issue. The most controversial thing O’Brien said in this video is that the teen is emotionally immature, which makes her smile under stress. O’Brien was defending the students she was accused of bullying! Strike two.
Then, in a bizarre twist, they flagged an old video she had made of an Australian woman accused of drug smuggling because O’Brien called her “stupid.” This was the third strike and O’Brien’s channel was deleted.
She fought the deletion and YouTube reinstated her channel without the David Hogg video, but republished the other two. They offered no explanation for the change of heart. PJM reached out to YouTube several times for a comment on this situation and received no response. It’s unknown why YouTube has an email address for press to contact them when they do not respond to it. Not even Facebook is this bad at public relations. (In fact, Facebook is the best of the social media giants in responding to press.)
YouTube’s continued refusal to publicly address these deletions, bannings, and demonetizations has led to seething anger among content creators and subscribers, which may have now spilled over into homicidal behavior by Nasim Aghdam (we don’t yet know for certain what Aghdam’s motive was).
While there is never an excuse for shooting innocent people, Aghdam’s frustration with YouTube highlights ongoing problems that must be addressed by the company: mass deletions, loss of livelihood, and censorship. They seem to think they don’t have to answer to anyone, including the press, about the asinine business decisions they keep making that suppress the First Amendment and oppress their own content creators.
Most people like O’Brien (who are sane and normal) take their content elsewhere, like to Vimeo and Bitchute, but the psychological games YouTube plays with them are maddening! Deleting videos, then reinstating, demonetizing then remonetizing… this goes on and on with no reasonable explanation.
Robots send form letters informing you of your disappearing videos. Despite the fact there’s an entire office building full of people at YouTube, there are no people ever available to talk about how your channel may have been caught up in an algorithm it shouldn’t have been in. Years of your work then disappears and no one at YouTube cares to investigate why or communicate with you about what happened. It’s sadistic.
YouTube has a terrible business model that treats its content creators (and the Constitution) like garbage. It should be abandoned en masse and investigated.