With YouTube Censoring Content, Blockchain Technology Offers a Plausible Alternative


If you are a regular YouTube vlogger, then it is highly likely that you have encountered its stringent content-filtering algorithms. In recent years, the platform has gained notoriety for censoring content that does not agree with what its terms "advertiser-friendly guidelines."

But these algorithms are frequently erratic, banning or demonetizing content that often doesn't even remotely violate its policies. Now, with blockchain technology entering the field, these issues could soon be a thing of the past.

The Content Problem With Internet Giants

Just a few months ago, YouTube admitted that its algorithms were flawed, after it appeared that the platform was promoting offensive content and hiding suitable material.

Disturbingly, the erratic censorship is not solely due to flawed algorithms. There is reason to believe that the people behind the platform may also be deliberately blocking content that does not align with their political and social ideologies. In 2017, YouTube received public backlash for censoring content from hundreds of LGBTQ publishers and hiding it from viewers.

Similarly, an investigation by The Guardian found that the platform was consistently promoting conspiratorial and divisive content damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign before the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Virginia Senator Mark Warner warned that algorithms such as the one used by YouTube may be gamed by bad actors to promote vulgarism or inhibit freedom of expression.

On the flipside, YouTube has also gotten heat from some claiming that it is censoring conservative voices on the platform.

Unfortunately, when a company is as large as YouTube, with approximately 185 hours of content uploaded every 30 seconds , mistakes and problems are bound to occur and issues will fall through the cracks.

The YouTube case is not an isolated one. Recently, many centralized content-sharing platforms have been in the limelight for the same reasons. Big players such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon have received their fair share of criticism, mostly for political censorship , at times even facing lawsuits as a result.

Why Content Creators Should Consider Decentralized Platforms

Imagine a video-sharing platform upon which advertisers can hire content publishers and pay them directly. Unlike the traditional model in which a third-party company decides which ad goes to which content, the blockchain-powered model enables brands to choose directly which content their ads will appear with.

The benefits to this approach are mainly the elimination of intermediaries lowering advertisers' costs and increasing the margin both for them and for content publishers. Also, third parties don't have a say on what content should or shouldn't be monetized since brands directly decide with which content to place their ads.

Perhaps the most exciting project in the space working on such a solution for the vlogging industry is a platform known as AQER. Through blockchain technology, smart contracts and artificial intelligence (AI), the project aims to connect brands with relevant vloggers, facilitate direct transactions and protect content from copyright infringement. But what is even better about this project is the fact that its approach leverages already-existing video-sharing platforms such as YouTube and builds on them.

AQER provides a platform on which brands can filter content on various traditional platforms to identify those that are relevant and contract them to promote their brands. This means that instead of relying on the conventional monetization methods, content publishers get paid directly by advertisers. Consequently, this approach addresses the problem of censorship through demonetization .

A project known as Verasity is also exploring a decentralized solution for the vlogging industry. As opposed to AQER, Verasity, in collaboration with Akamai Technologies , is building its own online video platform on which vloggers can post content and directly connect with advertisers. Verasity is focusing on giving power back to content consumers by enabling them to choose whether or not to see advertisements and rewarding them when they decide to do so.

Current video-distribution platforms such as YouTube bombard viewers with irrelevant ads and have often been blamed for harvesting user data without consent. With Verasity enabling transparent, peer-to-peer interactions between publishers, brands and viewers, the issue of censorship could become a thing of the past.

AQER and Verasity are not the only solutions aiming to decentralize the video-sharing industry. Projects such as Viewly, VideoCoin, Theta and are already in place with similar solutions, albeit ones that may not be as advanced as the other two. As blockchain technology continues to gain mass popularity, there is no doubt that online content will advance toward decentralization.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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