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 dead body to YouTube; 2019 ushered in loot crate controversies and harmful stunts by prime personalities like Jake Paul who took half within the Hen Field problem by driving whereas blindfolded, resulting in fundamental policy changes on the firm. These occasions had been solely throughout the first few weeks of every 12 months, too.
2020 was a lot quieter. The 12 months has passed by with out a cascade of egregious misdeeds and public relations disasters. That’s to not recommend YouTube had an ideal 12 months; the corporate faced ongoing misinformation plagues on its platform, confronted intense scrutiny for its lack of motion round governing the platform during the federal election, and continues to be determining how one can deal with a number of issues with movies that includes children. YouTube didn’t have an excellent 2020, nevertheless it wasn’t pushed by a endless whirlwind of creator chaos.
It might have been elements 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 widespread stars from throwing parties at their Los Angeles mansions). Prank movies reliant on collaborations or journey diaries that may go astray had been pressured 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 artistic sketches that didn’t require them to be in one another’s house on a regular basis, and Logan Paul largely targeted on his podcast that information in his California house.
If YouTube had a quieter 12 months, a part of that’s as a result of TikTok exploded in 2020. YouTubers additionally turned to TikTok as a strategy to proceed making movies, staying on individuals’s radars, and having enjoyable inside a brand new ecosystem. Distinguished YouTubers like Trisha Paytas, David Dobrik, James Charles, and Cody Ko have all been posting to TikTok recurrently, constructing large 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 had 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 year long. A pair of widespread TikTokers was charged by the city of Los Angeles for throwing events in a mansion, high-profile breakups and dishonest scandals turned part of the “TikTokpocalypse,” and the potential for every part 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 his or her antics. It was a endless cascade of pranks gone dangerous, senseless stunts, and pretend drama spun as much as generate a whole bunch of tens of millions of views. It labored. Between 2016 and 2019, YouTubers had been continuously within the information for the mistaken 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 variety of money, no boundaries, and associates 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 bought fortunate — individuals weren’t in a position to get into the identical hijinks they may earlier than. The corporate has tried over time to mitigate poor conduct, however what helped the platform this 12 months is the factor that, paradoxically, helped creators develop within 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 manager needed to discover a strategy to transfer previous the countless headlines about antics carried out by widespread creators on her platform. 2020 confirmed what a 12 months of sensibility might do.
YouTube hasn’t grown up; its stars are nonetheless bickering with one another and moving into boxing matches with Floyd Mayweather. And YouTube creators had been caught in numerous scandals this 12 months. Previous movies of Shane Dawson utilizing blackface and derogatory language resurfaced, resulting in his channel being demonetized for a time frame. Jenna Marbles left the web altogether after racially insensitive videos resurfaced. Magnificence mogul and YouTuber Jeffree Star discovered himself in a world of drama over alleged inappropriate past behavior. Jake Paul, nicely, continued to be Jake Paul.
The platform’s tradition didn’t change in a single 12 months — however by happenstance, YouTube was now not the one child on the block individuals had been taking note of. Within the early days of the pandemic, YouTube felt like old-school YouTube once more. Minecraft movies, all the time widespread, 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 stuck at home and trying to work. It was a quieter interval for YouTube’s creators and a bizarre second for anybody who’s tracked the positioning’s tradition. For as soon as, I’m not recurrently speaking a few extreme incident to which a creator contributed. As a substitute, the best issues YouTube confronted this 12 months had been on the coverage aspect regarding misinformation and polarizing content material — in some ways, issues of YouTube’s personal making.
I’ve little question that when YouTubers can begin hanging out with one another there’ll be extra headlines about antics. However for the primary time in just a few years, a 12 months is ending with out a YouTuber’s cataclysmic information cycle because the story of the 12 months throughout the creator neighborhood. I genuinely didn’t assume it was attainable.