Some YouTubers are reporting that there is censorship running rife within their content creation corner, specifically regarding the Vic Mignogna content that they produce, which all kicked off earlier this year after the anime voice actor was hit with some spurious allegations of misconduct that resulted in him being fired from Funimation along with him retaliating with a lawsuit.
YouTuber Hero Hei published a short four minute video showing that his videos covering the ongoing Vic Mignogna drama have had a major drop-off in viewership and the videos are also now being demonetized.
Now it’s hard to get a proper gauge on what the demonetization looks like unless you can compare it with other non-Vic Mignogna content, and then find out the average views of the Mignogna content versus the average views of non-Mignogna content to see what the drop-off rates are (if there are any), and compare it over the period of time where the suspected filtering and censorship has taken place. Right now it’s hard to tell if this is YouTube targeting Mignogna content or if they’re targeting YouTubers like Hero Hei.
Nevertheless, this isn’t just a Hero Hei issue. He mentions that other YouTubers have also experienced something similar, and he was talking about this very topic in a two-part series with Jeremy from Geeks & Gamers.
But talking about suppression and censorship among a small circle of content creators might seem like a conspiracy theory to people on the outside looking in.However, Matthew Robert Patrick did a recent video about YouTube’s multi-layered suppression and censorship algorithms.
The video, published on The Game Theorists channel on June 23rd, 2019, covers YouTube’s practices to suppress and demonetize content it considers to be “mature”. This issue isn’t necessarily new, and Maximilian Christiansen informed the community about YouTube’s algorithm targeting “mature” content and either age-restricting it to lessen the views, or auto-demonetizing the content if it features blood, explosions, or certain kinds of violence even before Mortal Kombat 11 released.
What might be new to some people is that YouTube has an additional filter on top of what advertisers already use to rate content. This other filter will rank content based on who it feels the content is appropriate for at a certain age.
Another interesting thing that the video brings out is that even when you self-censor with bleeps and noises to curtail the language that YouTube finds offensive, they can still penalize the video for that. So even self-censorship isn’t enough to stave off the algorithm’s demonetization or lowered recommendation filter.
This makes things even worse for some content creators because even if you don’t use profanity, even if you don’t show lewd images, or violent content, or even quote what YouTube considers to be “hateful content”, there’s also what’s called “borderline content”. Now this is something that YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki mentioned during the Re/Code event, where she talked about having independent “Raters” who rate content that affects the algorithm, and ultimately decides not to recommend that content to the broader audience. This is all part of a wider discussion about YouTube and Google’s censorship practices, as covered by Tim Pool.
Hero Hei suspects that notifications aren’t even informing his subscribers about the content that YouTube is suppressing, but it could be a mixture of multiple filters in place: limited recommendations, auto-demonetization for what the algorithm considers “borderline content”, and the possibility of certain channels being added to the shadow-ban list, which Google uses to suppress the visibility of certain kinds of content.
While it’s easy to dismiss these claims as conspiracy theories, the fact that Project Veritas actually outed Google via e-mails and documents having a political bias that they use to censor, manipulate, and suppress content definitely adds weight to the claims that certain topic matter on YouTube – such as positive coverage of Vic Mignogna – could be getting purposefully targeted and suppressed.
Given that Google hasn’t been honest about any of its censorship practices, the only way we’ll truly find out who they target and why is possibly through the discovery phase of the current lawsuit targeting the company for hiring discrimination.
(Thanks for the news tips Ebicentre)