Video Sharing: An Ocean of Troubled Waters for YouTube

| June 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

Video Sharing and YouTube!

Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has made great strides in video sharing. The designers had in mind a platform to enable people share their videos with the world. The site attracted investors and before long, it was very popular. Google later bought the website for $1.65 billion in 2006.

The scope of videos on YouTube has grown as the site continues to gain popularity. From the early crazy stunts, pranks and videos of interesting locations, today there are a myriad of videos of varying content including, TV shows, presidential debates, musical performances and instructional material. You will also find uncensored war footage, home videos of funny happenings, music videos and promotional videos for products including advertisements. Anything goes into YouTube as long as it is a video.

Video Sharing: To upload videos onto YouTube, you just need;

  • A Google account and then sign in to YouTube. You will then select a video to upload and you are set. You can optionally record a video directly from your webcam or create a slideshow of videos.
  • There are privacy settings for the videos you upload. Tags, descriptions and titles can be added to the posted videos. You have the option of also posting the video on other Google platforms and social media such as twitter, Facebook and Google+.
  • Add the thumbnails and put it on a playlist if you choose.
  • Your subscribers can be notified about the new video or if you choose, they will not be.
  • The final step once you are satisfied that the video is ready for all to view is clicking on the publish button. If you do not publish it, the video will not be visible to the public.
  • Once the video is uploaded, you will receive a notification in your email. There is the option of forwarding this email to friends so that they too can view the video. There is the option of opting out of these emails.

The ease of publishing videos on YouTube has led to controversy being stirred. There are both copyright issues and social issues pertaining to morality and ease of governance in maintaining social order. The way videos are viewed by users on the site and their ranking has also attracted criticism from a large bulk of the YouTube community.

  • In copyright infringement, there are numerous cases where YouTube users have posted videos that are parts of movies, music videos and TV shows without express permission from the owners of these videos. This is copyrighted material that requires consent to be given for sharing and spreading of the videos to happen. This happens thousands of times on a daily basis as YouTube does not have a pre-screening of the videos before they are posted and appear on the website.
  • Another controversy is one running within the YouTube community itself. The big corporations have the capacity to get their videos onto the top of lists in the website using various methods such as paying for it and partnerships with the website itself. These include CNN, the NFL, BBC, CBS, NBC and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks. They also have large subscription lists. There have also been accusations of these corporations using their large budgets and even underhanded methods to push out the other smaller YouTube contributors.
  • The other controversy is with governments of various countries. A practical case is where the government of Turkey blocked out access to YouTube in late March, 2014 due to its contribution in fueling social unrest. It becomes easy for people to share hate speech and anti-government material with the freedom and anonymity afforded by YouTube. Some of the information passed around may be wrong and with an aim to just stir people into discontent. In as much as it is an infringement on the freedom of expression, governments have a role to maintain law and order for the good of its citizens. The government of Turkey removed the block on YouTube in the country in June the same year but the question of whether YouTube should be allowed to have anti-government video content still remains.

It is a great thing and an avenue for expression of the freedom to information and free expression that YouTube gives people. The controversies that have arisen however threaten the video sharing site and need to be addressed before they lead to its fall or the rise of competitors for YouTube. In the meantime, let us go on expressing ourselves and enjoying the anonymity and freedom offered by YouTube.

The author is a social media analyst and professional freelance photojournalist. She works at Essay Jedi writing informative articles from his many years of experience as a journalist.

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