Content creation on YouTube has been receiving more and more interest from politically active parties recently. More and more people are talking online to voice their opinions and often hold opposing views than the ones supported by mainstream media channels.
In the wake of an era where people are not afraid to go as far as call biased reporting “fake news”, the demand for media to cater to the voices of those least represented by mainstream media has led to an increase in political activism online. This demand, is covered by many by providing direct financial support to their favorite content creators. And many people are grasping that opportunity by dedicating their time and efforts to producing high quality content.
Just recently, numerous new and independent news outlets as well as independent content creators and reporters have surfaced left and right. Crowdfunding is helping creators maintain their independent status while continuing to bring out news and stories that one wouldn’t catch on mainstream media. But for such operations to continue, the facilitation of financial backing is vital.
Patreon, a service founded in 2013, is a tool for creators to provide exclusive subscription based services and content to their fans in exchange for their financial support. While it predated the recent independent news and internet media craze, it still managed to become the number one platform through which all content creators, including those with political incentives, continued using for crowdfunding.
However, the political leaning behind the recent wave of independent internet media outlets wasn’t exactly on par with services predating it. While Donald Trump continues to blast mainstream media outlets as “fake news”, several online services continue to ascribe to a more politically correct culture, which one could say is the exact opposite of what many of the newly sprung independent content creators stand for.
While YouTube continues to provide a platform for non-politically correct content creators, it sure makes their life harder than the ones touching on strictly non-political topics. Just last year, YouTube lashed out some “advertiser friendly” content guidelines which started being enforced more widely recently. What this means is that creators with political content not in par with Google’s views could essentially stop receiving revenue from advertisements as they’ve begun getting blocked in videos deemed not to be “advertiser friendly”.
This once again highlighted the need for crowdfunding and community support for independent projects to remain afloat, but this time it was more serious. With YouTube throttling advertising revenue to creators that held politically incorrect views, there was now a bigger need for direct users support. Almost all YouTube content creators touching on political topics began asking their supporters for financial support through Patreon. Incidentally, people didn’t mind doing so in the spirit of helping to keep their favorite creators independent from potentially malicious influences.
However, Patreon didn’t take long to also start showing biases towards more politically correct views. Several content creators have gotten banned from the platform for supposedly violating Patreon’s Terms of Service. A recent and notable ban was the one of Lauren Southern, a Canadian right wing journalist who recently gained notoriety for her coverage of events in US and Canada. The ban came after Southern supposedly took action in one of her reporting videos that were against Patreon’s ToS. However, YouTubers from all sides rushed to her defense; calling for free speech and questioning the service’s neutrality.
One of the YouTubers that questioned Patreon was Tim Pool, an independent journalist who gained a lot of attention after catering to Donald Trump’s call for reporters to actually visit Sweden to see if his comments regarding the country were true. Tim Poo, crowdfunded his trip to Sweden and went on to point out many of the biases in mainstream media about Sweden. Tim Poole was amassing more than $5000 in subscriptions per month through Patreon before announcing in a recent video that he’s supporting his fans moving away from the platform after recent controversies by providing an alternative.
Tim created his own donation page for fans to use and urges other creators to do the same. Tim, now accepting bitcoin, pointed out that Patreon’s “middleman” service isn’t all that much for what it’s charging both users and creators in fees.
But aside from this example worth pointing out, there are numerous smaller but up and coming YouTubers that are partly relying on cryptocurrency to fund their efforts to bring out content. And just recently, several projects using bitcoin have started being developed to cater to the demand of uncensored crowdfunding made for online content creators. We’ll see such services coming out soon, but bitcoin could surely be playing a vital role in supporting independent media and several content creators are starting to show appreciation to it.
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