Sunday, July 28, 2019

Not Messing Around: YouTubers Join With Europe's Largest Trade Union To Fight The GOOG

From Vice, July 26:

The YouTubers Union Is Not Messing Around
The YouTubers Union has joined forces with Europe's largest trade union to fight for a fairer platform.
The YouTubers Union, a community-based movement fighting for the rights of content creators and users, has joined forces with IG Metall, Germany's largest union and Europe's largest trade union. Together, they have launched a joint venture called FairTube and sent a letter of demands to YouTube accompanied by a video explaining their concerns, demands, and plan of action.
The move is one of the most significant organized labor actions taken by creators on the platform, and puts some actual union power behind what has thus far been a nascent and disorganized movement.

In recent years, YouTube creators have consistently spoken out about changes to the massive platform that they say they are rarely consulted on that affect their ability to make money. For example, YouTube has repeatedly changed how it handles copyright takedown requests (allowing copyright holders to assert copyright on and monetize videos that they didn’t upload, for example.) YouTube has also controversially “demonetized” or issued content warnings to some innocuous channels. One of the creators leading the unionization charge, Jörg Sprave, has had his popular slingshot videos removed by YouTube.

"We aren't demanding things that cut into profits or are unrealistic. We want fairness. We want transparency. We want to be treated like partners. And we want personal communication instead of anonymous communication," Sprave told Motherboard.

In a video announcing the move, IG Metall’s Vice President Christiane Benner, Sprave said that the partnership meant “a completely new time begins. It is no longer the case that we are helpless against Youtube. With the IG Metall, we have a strong, strong partner.” Benner added, “We know from experience that together we can achieve a lot."

Sprave traced the origins of the problems leading to this recent move back to changes in YouTube’s relationship to advertisers following 2017’s “Adpocalypse.” In 2017 major advertisers organized a boycott of YouTube after learning their ads were running alongside "extremist content” videos and demanded the Google-owned platform implement "brand safety controls.” While the changes kept advertisers on the site, they also changed YouTube channels make money from ad revenue.

According to Sprave, the door was now open to more threats of advertiser boycotts as a tactic to gain leverage over Youtube. "Advertisers want control over content that they are displaying against like in magazines,” Sprave told Motherboard. “YouTube previously did not allow this but caved in after the companies threatened to leave."

This year, another Adpocalypse looms as YouTube has failed to address predatory behavior on content featuring children. And yet, YouTube’s net ad revenue has consistently grown every year since 2017 and from around $7.8 billion to $10.5 billion this year, according to projections by Vidmob, a market research company.

Sprave said that Google has transformed YouTube from "a platform to a curated network." In response to the first Adpocalypse, YouTube introduced a series of brand safety controls that allow businesses to opt-out of running ads against certain videos based on the video’s categorization.
"Tick-tock, the clock is ticking"...


HT: MetaFilter