One of the most popular video-sharing social media platforms, YouTube, has agitated the crypto world. Reports reveal that the platform is aggressively deleting crypto-related content published by some of the biggest influencers in the cryptocurrency industry.
According to Reddit and Twitter threads, YouTube abruptly started deleting several cryptocurrency videos on December 23.
Chris Dunn operates a YouTube channel that has more than 210,000 subscribers. On Monday, he noticed that the platform had deleted all of his videos that mentioned cryptocurrency. After confirming that YouTube was deleting crypto-related videos, he tweeted:
“@YouTube just removed most of my crypto videos citing ‘harmful or dangerous content’ and ‘sale of regulated goods’… it’s been 10 years of making videos, 200k+ subs, and 7M+ views. WTF are you guys doing @TeamYouTube?!”
The YouTube Christmas For Crypto Influencers
Dunn is not the only person affected by the sudden ban. On December 24, the host of YouTube channel Crypto Beadles, Robert Beadles, tweeted that YouTube shut him down temporarily. His channel has at least 89.3 thousand subscribers. The tweet read:
“Hey peeps! @YouTube @YTCreators has shut us down for a while. Guess free content and never taking a penny for any content is bad? We’ll post on my Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram going forward all accounts are under Robert Beadles there. God Bless #censorship #youtube #bitcoin”
Although it seems like the Crypto Beadles YouTube page is up and running again, not many of the influencers have been lucky so far. Ivan on Tech has over 210,000 subscribers and has also been affected by this ban. He got one strike and took the precaution of setting all his videos to private. He commented:
“This is an attack not only on crypto, but on the entire notion of free speech. Centralized platforms have become way too big and powerful for their own good and their deplatforming is the reason decentralized platforms will conquer.”
Omar Bham (@crypt0snews) sent out a Tweet on December 24 showing the names of all the users who have recently been banned from YouTube for publishing crypto-related content.
Why The Bans?
YouTube is yet to release a public statement on the matter. This lack of comment has left the affected users speculating on the reason for this abrupt crackdown. After sharing the list, Bham tweeted that it appears YouTube is deleting crypto channels with links to any external websites or exchanges that are listed in video descriptions. He added:
“It seems that a reason why YouTube would have to go after crypto channels is any links to external websites/exchanges in video descriptions.”
Although these are just assumptions, Bham may be onto something tangible.
Rachel Siegel who manages Crypto Finally said that she was not affected by the ban on crypto-related content. However, she thinks that it appears to be a targeted attack. She commented:
“Tech censorship has been getting a lot of public spotlight lately, and as we continue to grow as an industry I can expect we will continue to see more mass bans and crypto content takedowns.”
Siegel said that she never links to external websites or exchanges in all her videos. Interestingly, while some of the channels are not yet censored, more reports keep arising on Twitter on channels that have been affected by the latest ban. @TheMoonCarl published:
“The YouTube purge has now reached my channel! One video from 27th of January 2019 “broke the rules” because it was “Harmful and dangerous content”. Sure, #Bitcoin is harmful and dangerous for the banks, but this is just ridiculous.”
Before tweeting, Carl had said that he hopes it is just a mistake on the side of YouTube because if it is not, it could be a case of major censorship. Major influencers have seen their videos deleted. The videos did nothing more than enlighten people about the power of Bitcoin. Carl thinks that it is just a matter of time before his channel is also closed.
While the influencers are yet to determine why YouTube us banning crypto-related publications, @TeamYouTube replied to Bham’s tweet. The company said that it was looking into the matters raised in the list of crypto influencers that have been banned. However, the social media company has remained silent since then. Bham added:
“That thread with Team YouTube was the extent of any direct responses that I’ve heard of. Team YouTube last updated us by linking to the regular YT community guidelines, and a reminder that we can appeal videos with a strike. Several YouTubers appealed, and had their appeals rejected, with no clear reason again as to why the video directly violated guidelines.”
Is There A Solution?
Even though YouTube is ranked as the 2nd most popular social media site after Facebook with at least 1.9 billion users, crypto influencers are seeking alternatives for sharing their content. Notably, blockchain-based social media platforms seem attractive to the crypto community.
For instance, LBRY is a sharing platform that uses the blockchain technology to enable users to publish content and get paid. This platform helps its users monetize their content with its in-built payment system.
Monetization is an essential aspect for many YouTubers. Statistics show that many YouTube channels generate six figures annually and that amount is increasing by 40% yearly.
Bham has been uploading crypto-related material since 2016. He says that a ban like that makes the channel unable to livestream for up to 90 days which heavily impacts the user’s income.
“This has happened to me, and plummeted my income, since I relied heavily on real time engagement for my shows.”
Nevertheless, while LBRY provides a monetization system and a YouTube platform that enables YouTubers to republish any of their content to the LBRY network. But, many YouTubers are not yet utilizing this platform.
The host of YouTube channel NBTV, Naomi Brockwell, said that her channel that has more than 30,000 subscribers is not yet affected by the ban. She thinks that time has come for users to consider decentralized platforms like LBRY:
“I haven’t been affected by the youTube ban yet, but I would just add that we’ve had alternative decentralized platforms like LBRY for a long time with limited support from YouTubers. Hopefully, this is a wakeup call.”
Interestingly, the YouTubers who use the decentralized platforms say that their audience is limited on these channels since most already know about blockchain and cryptocurrency. Siegel of Crypto Finally explained:
“In addition to YouTube, many creators including myself are using decentralized content platforms such as DTube, Steemit, Minds, LBRY, Bitchute & Bittube. While these platforms do solve the issue of censorship and takedowns of our content, it unfortunately still does limit our audiences. Hence it limits everyday people from getting involved in crypto in the first place.”
Apart from a limited audience in the decentralized platforms, several other challenges still need to be resolved. Regulations, privacy rights, copyright protection, and many other issues must be resolved before major YouTubers shift content to the decentralized platforms.
The founder and CEO of Binance exchange, Changpeng Zhao, commented about the dilemma on Twitter stating:
“It may be time the crypto community takes a stab at its own blockchain-enabled censorship-resistant social media platform. Lots of challenges though, spam, scam, trolls, incentives, copyright, token economics, governance, stickiness, privacy… But It’s about time!”