YouTube began the previous couple of years off with nothing in need of catastrophic headlines about a few of its creators.
2017 noticed Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg obtain international criticism for a video during which he displayed anti-Semitic imagery; 2018 discovered Logan Paul importing footage of a useless physique to YouTube; 2019 ushered in loot crate controversies and harmful stunts by high personalities like Jake Paul who took half in the Bird Box problem by driving whereas blindfolded, resulting in basic coverage adjustments at the firm. Those occasions have been solely inside the first few weeks of every year, too.
2020 was a lot quieter. The year has passed by and not using a cascade of egregious misdeeds and public relations disasters. That’s to not counsel YouTube had an ideal year; the firm confronted ongoing misinformation plagues on its platform, confronted intense scrutiny for its lack of motion round governing the platform throughout the federal election, and continues to be determining deal with quite a few points with movies that includes children. YouTube didn’t have an incredible 2020, however it wasn’t pushed by a endless whirlwind of creator chaos.
It might have been components introduced on by the pandemic and the arrival of an unlimited new rival that helped YouTube. The pandemic made it more durable for creators to get collectively to movie (though that didn’t cease a few of YouTube’s extra well-liked stars from throwing events at their Los Angeles mansions). Prank movies reliant on collaborations or journey diaries that may go astray have been compelled to rework into movies that could possibly be filmed inside. Members of the “Vlog Squad,” one in all YouTube’s hottest collaboration teams, labored on inventive sketches that didn’t require them to be in one another’s house all the time, and Logan Paul mostly centered on his podcast that data in his California dwelling.
If YouTube had a quieter year, a part of that’s as a result of TikTok exploded in 2020. YouTubers additionally turned to TikTok as a method to proceed making movies, staying on individuals’s radars, and having enjoyable inside a brand new ecosystem. Prominent YouTubers like Trisha Paytas, David Dobrik, James Charles, and Cody Ko have all been posting to TikTok usually, constructing huge audiences and even partaking in TikTok’s first creators program to earn extra income.
Focus shifted to TikTok and a brand new class of creators who have been experiencing meteoric rises to mainstream fame. Addison Rae, Charli D’Amelio, Chase Hudson, Josh Richards, and numerous others discovered their method into the highlight — and it was TikTokers whose questionable conduct was highlighted all through the year. A pair of well-liked TikTokers was charged by the metropolis of Los Angeles for throwing events in a mansion, high-profile breakups and dishonest scandals turned a part of the “TikTokpocalypse,” and the chance of every thing disappearing after President Trump referred to as for TikTok to be shut down despatched the creator neighborhood right into a panic.
For years, YouTube has been the middle of younger creators doing dumb issues and receiving international press for their antics. It was a endless cascade of pranks gone dangerous, senseless stunts, and pretend drama spun as much as generate tons of of thousands and thousands of views. It labored. Between 2016 and 2019, YouTubers have been continuously in the information for the improper causes. The heyday of bizarre content material on YouTube that attracted comedy lovers and individuals who lived on-line was changed by a brand new period of youngsters with entry to a number of money, no boundaries, and pals all attempting to generate profitable views on each video they posted.
YouTube didn’t introduce a slew of recent insurance policies that instantly made each creator on the platform begin behaving. YouTube received fortunate — individuals weren’t capable of get into the identical hijinks they might earlier than. The firm has tried over the years to mitigate poor conduct, however what helped the platform this year is the factor that, paradoxically, helped creators develop in the first place: making collaborations in very public, packed areas turned practically not possible to do. CEO Susan Wojcicki as soon as referred to the interval between early 2017 and mid-2018 as YouTube’s “growing up years.” The govt needed to discover a method to transfer previous the limitless headlines about antics carried out by well-liked creators on her platform. 2020 confirmed what a year of sensibility might do.
YouTube hasn’t grown up; its stars are nonetheless bickering with one another and entering into boxing matches with Floyd Mayweather. And YouTube creators have been caught in numerous scandals this year. Old movies of Shane Dawson utilizing blackface and derogatory language resurfaced, resulting in his channel being demonetized for a time period. Jenna Marbles left the web altogether after racially insensitive movies resurfaced. Beauty mogul and YouTuber Jeffree Star discovered himself in a world of drama over alleged inappropriate previous conduct. Jake Paul, properly, continued to be Jake Paul.
The platform’s tradition didn’t change in a single year — however by happenstance, YouTube was not the solely child on the block individuals have been being attentive to. In the early days of the pandemic, YouTube felt like old-school YouTube once more. Minecraft movies, at all times well-liked, appeared to soar much more as individuals had extra time to play and make movies; individuals returned to day by day vlogging; and lo-fi chillhop streams turned hangouts for individuals caught at dwelling and attempting to work. It was a quieter interval for YouTube’s creators and a bizarre second for anybody who’s tracked the web site’s tradition. For as soon as, I’m not usually speaking a few extreme incident to which a creator contributed. Instead, the biggest issues YouTube confronted this year have been on the coverage aspect referring to misinformation and polarizing content material — in some ways, issues of YouTube’s personal making.
I’ve little doubt that when YouTubers can begin hanging out with one another there’ll be extra headlines about antics. But for the first time in a number of years, a year is ending and not using a YouTuber’s cataclysmic information cycle as the story of the year inside the creator neighborhood. I genuinely didn’t suppose it was doable.