Major internet corporations have been dominating the news lately, for reasons ranging from bad to worse. On April 3rd, we saw an angry YouTuber, whose name I choose not to mention, shoot up the headquarters of YouTube. The clearest motive that authorities have for this shooting is the fact that the shooter had her YouTube videos demonetized, and was outraged about it.
This week we are watching Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, give a congressional testimony regarding security issues, and censoring, on Facebook.
I state all of this to paint an accurate backdrop for what is happening and has been happening, in social media and internet culture.
I was devastated to hear about the shooting, and suicide, surrounding the YouTube headquarters. When the news was unfolding, I was wondering what the possible motive could have been. Maybe it was a terrorist attack? A disgruntled employee? I couldn't reason why someone with a handgun would go into YouTube's HQ, fire a few shots, and then kill themselves. Then the news came out that the shooter was an avid YouTuber, focusing mainly on vegan issues and exercise, that had recently found out she was demonetized (i.e. wasn't allowed to make any more money off of ads on her videos).
Her motive was now clear, and it's something that has been bound to happen for a long time.
No one should solve issues like this with violence, but YouTube and Facebook have been playing with fire for a long time, in terms of restricting their users. The issue of demonetization has been hitting dissenting voices on YouTube, like Dave Rubin, Philip DeFranco, Steven Crowder, Blaire White, and many others, for years now.
We had the issue, titled "Adpocalypse," pop up last year. "Adpocalypse" was a situation where YouTube tried to appease advertisers by implementing wide algorithms that demonetized videos deemed "hateful". The problem with these algorithms is that they would demonetize videos that didn't deserve to have their ads pulled. YouTube was notoriously silent about rebuttals to this new policy change, all while still supporting obvious jerks (but obvious cash-cows) like Logan and Jake Paul.
This same type of issue was brought up with Mark Zuckerberg this week, regarding the conservative duo Diamond and Silk being deemed as "unsafe to the community" on Facebook. There has been a lot of speculation about the way Facebook has been promoting and diminishing certain types of media or voices on their platform, and it has been pissing a lot of people off.
Again, I'm not trying to say that the shooting at YouTube was justified. The shooter was mentally ill, as well as being enraged by her demonetization, and this isn't the proper way to react. But, YouTube and Facebook need to learn a lesson from everything being laid at their feet right now.
Both companies have manipulated the ways their platforms work because they have obvious leanings (and not just politically).
Someone like Philip DeFranco, who has a very unbiased news-clip show, gets demonetized easier than someone like Logan Paul, who literally mocked a dead body on his channel, because Philip isn't as big of a payday as Logan. This is the kind of stuff that makes people want to switch platforms, form their own sites, rebel against YouTube/Facebook, or just plain shoot up the businesses.
If YouTube and Facebook want to preserve their websites they need see what everyone else is seeing. Pointless changing rules and constant baseless censorship is going to be the downfall of social media if it isn't fixed soon.