Can YouTube Continue to Avoid Controversy Among Heightened Tensions?

If you compare the YouTube of today to what it was like just 4 years ago in the year 2017, you would notice a very different kind of place with all things having been considered and taken into account. During that year, misinformation, conspiracy theories and other questionable videos were rife on the platform, and that is where Roomba came in to try and clean things up and make it so that YouTube could become even more advertiser friendly than it might have seemed previously.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that Roomba is essentially a group of people, including YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and it’s main purpose was to prevent YouTube from having to go through the same kind of regulatory scrutiny that companies like Facebook were frequently struggling against. And the truth is, while Roomba might have been somewhat late to the party, it has regardless managed to protect YouTube from quite a bit of scrutiny with all things having been considered and taken into account.

The thing to note here is that under CEO Susan Wojcicki, YouTube has managed to increase its value to around a staggering $1 trillion that it would be worth today if it was an independent enterprise. Even though Google CEO, and Wojcicki’s boss, Sundar Pichai has had to go in front of congress to answer a lot of questions, Wojcicki has been able to avoid this, although it should be noted that this might not be the case as YouTube starts to come under fire for things that people have taken issue with for quite some time.

Many senators are starting to note that YouTube has a lot of the problems that Facebook has, and this is important because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up making regulators take notice of the video streaming platform. The past few years have been tumultuous to say the least, what with two controversial presidential elections as well as a global pandemic that made misinformation and fake news even more common than they might have been previously.
While Facebook has been known for responding quickly, YouTube tends to do things at an almost glacial speed. For example, around a month after the election results were announced, there were still some videos promoting the idea that the election was rigged. The fact that YouTube waited so long to crack down on these videos is not exactly a good sign, and it might indicate that Wojcicki is not going to be able to fly under the radar for much longer.

Another example of this can be seen in the fact that Donald Trump’s account on YouTube was one of the last of his social media profiles to be banned even though the former president was accused of inciting violence and had his Twitter and Facebook profiles banned long before his YouTube channel was taken down.

YouTube’s CEO often takes a lax approach to such matters under the guise of free speech, but the problem with this is that the real reason might be that YouTube wants to continue building its content library. Things are changing really quickly, and while YouTube has been thought of as a wholesome hub for content there is a lot more under the surface that many people would take issue with so it might just be a matter of time before this house of cards starts to fall.

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

H/T: Insider.

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