YouTube as a Free-Marketplace of Ideas

Trevor Nelson
BCA 332 Trevor Nelson
2 min readFeb 4, 2021

What does YouTube allow creators to post?

YouTube has become one of the biggest video creating platforms in the world. During that process, YouTube has strictly stuck to their rules and guidelines. Whether it’s keeping copyrighted content off the platform, or making sure content creators are posting clean content, sometimes people may ask what is their goal? An article I read, it talks about PewDiePie and him making some racial comments in his videos. PewDiePie argued that they were not racial comments and that YouTube didn’t understand the context of his videos. With how big of a fan base, PewDiePie has, YouTube decided not to take it down. There was another occasion where the famous YouTuber was in a race to 100 million subscribers with an Indian music record label company, T-Series. PewDiePie’s fans became very active in the campaign and started the slogan “subscribe to PewDiePie” this started to get used in a violent way and what was supposed to be a “fun and positive” campaign turned into racist and hate. PewDiePie ended the campaign once it reached this point.

Managing hate speech and racial comments is a very important strategy to social media and many other business’s around the world. I support the article when it says that “YouTube is exercising a neoliberalist interpretation of freedom of speech by its actions”. People can post whatever they desire on YouTube, if you are posting content that isn’t hateful to another person or group. YouTube also wants creators to have connections with their audience so some jokes can be okay if they are in your YouTube community. Some topics can be bigger than others and YouTube wants everyone to be able to support their opinion without hate. When PewDiePie released his “Death to all Jews” video YouTube did not take it down because both the creator and the audience adapted the jokes to their liking. Having said that, PewDiePie did however lose sponsorship on some of his videos and advertisers as well.

With all the popularity that YouTube has gotten over the years, they still want to be a freedom of speech platform. If a content creator makes a joke, it is alright to do so if you don’t upset your fan base. There are some topics that are more popular than other’s when it comes to racist and hate speech. These rules apply for everyone and not just PewDiePie when YouTube wants to become a free market place for ideas. If there is someone doing more harm than good on their account/channel YouTube will not hesitate to remove him or her from the platform. YouTube, like all other platforms, want as many users as they can get. If content creators can understand the rules and guidelines the platform has put into place regrading censoring any hate speech or racial terms, YouTube can then become a place with endless ideas.

References:

  1. Hokka J. PewDiePie, racism and Youtube’s neoliberalist interpretation of freedom of speech. Convergence. 2021;27(1):142–160. doi:10.1177/1354856520938602

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Trevor Nelson
BCA 332 Trevor Nelson

I’m a junior at Central Michigan University and I’m getting my degree for Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts.