YouTube began the previous couple of years off with nothing wanting catastrophic headlines about a few of its creators.
2017 noticed Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg obtain international criticism for a video wherein 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 high personalities like Jake Paul who took half within the Chicken Field problem by driving whereas blindfolded, resulting in fundamental policy changes on the firm. These occasions have been solely throughout the first few weeks of every 12 months, too.
2020 was a lot quieter. The 12 months has passed by with no 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 the way to deal with a number of issues with movies that includes youngsters. YouTube didn’t have an incredible 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 infinite 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 fashionable stars from throwing parties 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 may very well be filmed inside. Members of the “Vlog Squad,” one in every of 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 principally centered 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 solution to proceed making movies, staying on folks’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 massive audiences and even partaking in TikTok’s first creators program to earn further 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 means into the highlight — and it was TikTokers whose questionable habits was highlighted all year long. A pair of fashionable TikTokers was charged by the city of Los Angeles for throwing events in a mansion, high-profile breakups and dishonest scandals grew to become part of the “TikTokpocalypse,” and the potential of every part disappearing after President Trump referred to as for TikTok to be shut down despatched the creator group 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 unhealthy, senseless stunts, and pretend drama spun as much as generate a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of views. It labored. Between 2016 and 2019, YouTubers have been consistently within the information for the fallacious 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 mates all attempting to generate profitable views on each video they posted.
YouTube didn’t introduce a slew of recent insurance policies that immediately made each creator on the platform begin behaving. YouTube received fortunate — folks weren’t capable of get into the identical hijinks they may earlier than. The corporate has tried over time to mitigate poor habits, however what helped the platform this 12 months is the factor that, sarcastically, helped creators develop within the first place: making collaborations in very public, packed areas grew to become 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 chief needed to discover a solution to transfer previous the infinite headlines about antics carried out by fashionable 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 have been caught in numerous scandals this 12 months. Outdated 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 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 not the one child on the block folks have been listening to. Within the early days of the pandemic, YouTube felt like old-school YouTube once more. Minecraft movies, at all times fashionable, appeared to soar much more as folks had extra time to play and make movies; folks returned to day by day vlogging; and lo-fi chillhop streams grew to become hangouts for folks 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 have been on the coverage aspect regarding 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. However for the primary time in just a few years, a 12 months is ending with no YouTuber’s cataclysmic information cycle because the story of the 12 months throughout the creator group. I genuinely didn’t suppose it was doable.