YouTube has been changing its terms of service on many fronts. Initially, it would seem like the Google is killing channels left and right and hurting creators. Why is Google creating terms of service that hurt its own products?
Lowering Their Overhead Costs
One of Google’s changes in 2019 was a section that means “we can ban you if your content is not commercially viable.” Why would they do this? They have AI trying to screen thousands of hours worth of content uploaded every hour. This hardly keeps up with the volume. And the bandwidth to upload this content and data storage comes at a cost to the company. By saying they can ban people uploading massive amounts of data they can’t monetize, they both cut the amount of content being uploaded and start to cut down the volume of content on their site.
Compliance with COPPA
COPPA stands for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This 1998 law is aggressively being enforced against Google and its platforms like YouTube. Creators are potentially fined up to $42,530 per violation, and Youtube could theoretically be sued for allowing the content in the first place. By requiring content creators to flag content that is not kid-friendly and banning people who are not family-friendly, Google reduces their legal liability if the FCC does come after a creator and/or the hosting site.
The Long-Term Market Position
Google has a massive amount of money. They can afford to take losses on YouTube for a while. However, hosting video is expensive. They’re already acting to cut costs, but the marketing money per video is being reduced. If Google/YouTube culls many channels, there is now less video competing for limited ad revenue. The revenue per video is now higher and approaches profitability. It also drives more people to movies for pay to watch, and Google/YouTube wants to be more like Netflix.
The Political Reasons
We can joke that Google has abandoned its motto “do no evil”. However, the real issue is that they’ve redefined “good”. They consider far left values “good” and all other viewpoints “bad”. By demonetizing people like Steven Crowder and Stefan Molyneux, they discourage content creators they can’t outright ban without raising freedom of speech concerns. This is on top of their stifling of content they don’t like such as putting up “fact checking” interstitials under the videos and limiting the social media sharing options of creators not in line with Google’s political values. In these cases, they consider giving up the ad revenue a moral cost to be borne by the company. That such people move to Bitchute or other platforms doesn’t bother them, since these platforms are smaller and Google discriminates against them in search results.
The company demonetizing creators that don’t toe the company’s line (think PewDiePie) while claiming their content is offensive is also a way to keep creators in line. You can cut off their income and stifle their search engine rankings, falsely claiming you have to in order to make advertisers happy. This has the side benefit of keeping second tier talent compliant with the company’s political mandates such as “don’t interview X” and “don’t talk about subjects Y and Z”. The only people who can literally afford to ignore these mandates are already rich like Dilbert creator Scott Adams.
Another issue is that the company just wants to be a simple content provider. Come here to watch adventure movies and kid cartoons. They don’t want the platform to be the digital equivalent to talk radio. Removing political figures and commentators removes politics from the site. Officially, it about becoming more family-friendly. Politically, it is avoiding controversy but especially removing those Google elites don’t like. It has the side benefit of avoiding potential legal action in the EU and states like California that say if we call it hate speech, you have to remove it and police everything new being uploaded.