Youtube is trying to silence vapers. We in the vaping community use Youtube to engage with other vapers around the world. We talk about new flavors, get excited for tanks, mods, and talk about strategies for vaping advocacy. But those days may be coming to an end.
Youtube is now a contested frontier pitting the content creator against an ambiguous algorithm that even Youtube regulators have trouble answering just how it works. This has been big news for a while, but the question remains: do we have the means convince Youtube to return to the way it was or do we have to find new alternatives? For vaping content creators the latter may be the very grim reality.
Youtube’s regulations have been problematic for a while now. Not only do they not defend freedom of speech and expression, but they are unapologetically doing just that to appeal better to advertisers while ignoring the livelihood of creators. In addition to the community guidelines being incredibly vague, they also seem to be enforced arbitrarily: ignoring content creators the algorithm favors while striking other channels with relatively no explanation and limited means to appeal the strike.
But it is official: Youtube is no longer safe for vaping. Content creators that specialize in promoting vape products have been specifically targeted and struck. And just like baseball, Youtube has a three strikes you’re out policy.
It goes further than that, because Youtube is also actively suppressing vaping videos from your recommended feed and instead pushing you content that is pre-approved by their algorithm. So, these predatory regulation tactics are not just directed at the content creators themselves, by restricting their means to advertise their own videos, but they are directly preventing us from viewing the content we enjoy by restricting our feeds.
These reinvigorated attacks against vaping content are most likely spurred from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids who have brought a letter to the FDA about the dramatic rise in usage of JUUL e-cigs among teens and state explicitly that social media plays a large part in marketing specifically geared at children.
JUUL denies these claims, there is no evidence of the company selling products to minors through these social platforms. JUUL actually restricts sell of their products to anyone under 21, despite individual state laws that may allow sell of e-cigs to 18 year olds.
But the claims levied against JUUL have now made an irreversible impact on Youtube, with many content creators scrambling to find new sources of income in the face of advertisements being yanked from their vaping channels. Youtube has become an inhospitable environment for all content creators, never knowing where their next strike may be coming from and never getting a direct answer as to why their advertising right were removed.
With the state of Youtube as it is however, I think this is vaping’s last stand. Either content creators and viewers alike use their collective bargaining to turn the tide or content creators will have to find another platform with which to make a living: many vaping channels have turned to Twitch and Vimeo already. Youtube needs to accept that adult content should also be ad-friendly, after all adults watch ads too, and as long as that issue is unresolved the vaping community on Youtube will suffer.
Here are some in depth articles on this topic listed below:
- More anti-vaping papers appear as YouTube joins JUUL hysteria: https://www.vapingpost.com/2018/05/28/more-anti-vaping-papers-appear-as-youtube-joins-juul-hysteria/
- Is YouTube Erasing Vaping History?