YouTube and The Issues of Gun Channels

YouTube has been coming under fire recently for some of its actions that many feel are bordering on censorship. While YouTube in the past has been harshly criticized for its handling of fair use policies as well as the abuse of its Content ID and flagging systems to take down reviews and critiques of movies and music and well as political debate. However, the most recent wave of criticism is a bit different.

The most recent controversy came when YouTube vlogger Philip DeFranco, who operates one channel with almost 5 Million Subscribers accused YouTube back in August of 2016 of trying to shut down his channel, even at one point suggesting that there might outright political censorship for his refusal to support a certain, grossly unpopular, presidential candidate. While many channels are just now starting to see YouTube crack down on everything from “Skin Care Tutorials” to people expressing negative views on Islam. This has prompted a new backlash against YouTube called #YouTubeisOverParty that has gained traction on Twitter and social media. However, while a new crop of people are taking issue with YouTube, firearms related channels have been chafing under YouTube for much longer.

Back in January of 2016, one of the largest firearms channels on YouTube was terminated. Hickok45, the popular YouTuber whose videos I thoroughly enjoy saw his account terminated, twice, before being reinstated. Not because of anything he did on YouTube itself but because of the policies of another Google project, Google Plus.

Recently in an extension of the #YouTubeIsOverParty, it seems YouTuber and maker of DIY guns and impromptu weapons, Royal Nonesuch is seeing his videos being demonetized at an alarming rate. You can hear him below, explain his issues with YouTube’s demonetization of his channel.

YouTube incentivizes its users to create content, upload it to the site, and then get ad revenue from this content. However YouTube can disincentive certain kinds of content that it deems “not advertiser friendly”. However when YouTube can vaguely and inconsistently use this policy to make it more difficult for certain kinds of content to be made and be profitable on its platform it amounts to a form of soft censorship.

For those who are serious about firearms related videos I highly recommend an alternative, Full 30 is dedicated to nothing but firearms related videos and is far and above a better platform for people like us who care about firearms. While I doubt we will see YouTube go away anytime soon, the trend towards making it more difficult to create certain kinds of content on YouTube is a startling change that worries me greatly. It’s started out with just a subsection of YouTube’s users, but now it seems to be expanding into a soft form of censorship into other kinds of content.

What we need to do is come together, no matter what our political affiliation and affirm that if Google is to remain in such a position of media and search dominance it needs to remain a fair and impartial platform.