Joe Mobley on November 21, 2022
YouTube is back to its old tricks, strengthening Sen. Ted Cruz’s argument that Big Tech censorship is the “single biggest threat we have to free speech in this country.”
But, comedic media personality, Steven Crowder, may have just struck the fatal blow to YouTube and other Big Tech platforms. In 2020, Crowder’s streaming show — Louder with Crowder (LWC) — set a new record for election night coverage.
How did YouTube respond?
They pulled the stream down in the middle of Crowder’s coverage.
Two years later, YouTube decided they weren’t willing to risk Crowder’s election coverage garnering yet another massive following. Just days before the election, YouTube suspended Crowder’s account — removing all hopes of another record-setting LWC election stream.
Or so they thought.
Crowder urged followers to watch the 2022 midterm election coverage on YouTube competitor Rumble. Spoiler alert — the stream was huge. Crowder clocked more than 300,000 concurrent viewers, a measure of how many viewers are streaming at any given moment.
Crowder’s success brought the platform’s total concurrent live stream viewership above 500,000.
The stream had a star-studded cast of political figures and cultural icons, including Sen. Ted Cruz, Kari Lake, Ben Shapiro and Michael Knowles. Rumble celebrated the success of the stream on Twitter.
“BREAKING NEWS: Steven Crowder (@scrowder) has already registered over 3M+ total views on Rumble for his election coverage show last night.”
Big Tech platforms are always trying to stay ahead of the competition, launching new features, bringing big names and providing unique content.
For years, YouTube has been the only game in town. YouTube has a massive 3.94% market cap of all social media sites worldwide. Niche down to video platforms and YouTube pulls further ahead, boasting the number one spot for online video platforms.
YouTube’s market share for online video platforms is a whopping 75.8%. Even with these impressive numbers, November 8, 2022, is one of the most important dates in recent history for tech giants like YouTube.
The success of Crowder’s stream — the largest election stream in history — let large companies like YouTube know they aren’t out of reach for challengers. For comparison, CBS News — one of the largest media companies in the world — despite the advantage of being on the flagship platform, garnered just 900,000 views.
CBS News has 4.67 million YouTube subscribers and couldn’t garner 1 million views for their election coverage. Crowder has 5.87 million YouTube subscribers and was prevented from streaming election coverage on YouTube.
On Rumble, Crowder has just over 1 million subscribers and still managed to break through the 3 million plus viewer record. Content creators everywhere know what this accomplishment means, and Big Tech can’t afford to look the other way.
Alternatives to YouTube, among other Big Tech platforms, are gaining traction. Crowder’s success on Rumble is a beacon of light for everyone tiptoeing around Big Tech’s ambiguous rules.
Early in his career, Crowder created digital content for the National Center for Public Policy Research Center. The National Center’s Project 21 Black Leadership Network (P21) has recently had its own battles with Big Tech.
Two of P21’s YouTube videos were taken down. The first aired on Newsmax’s “Wake Up America.” In the video, P21’s Stacy Washington said, “Trump’s impeachment trial should include evidence of voter fraud.”
Washington’s thoughts upset YouTube’s delicate sensibilities. YouTube took the video down, citing its “misinformation policy.” On another Newsmax program — “Common Sense” — P21’s Christopher Arps’ July 16, 2022, interview was taken down from YouTube, citing its “violent or graphic content policy.”
In the interview, Arps said, “most gay Americans don’t support grooming and sexualization of young children.” The National Center appealed both violations. Not surprisingly, both appeals were denied.
After the second strike, YouTube suspended the National Center’s account for seven days. Account suspension is devastating to organizations like Crowder’s and the National Center. Reliable availability is the lifeblood of a content creating organization.
Big Tech holds content hostage with its vague and inconsistently enforced community guidelines. Account suspension means no one on the internet can see your message, rally behind your cause, or even know that you exist.
While YouTube’s market share is too large to be ignored, Crowder’s accomplishment on Rumble signals to creators and organizations everywhere that first amendment rights might soon be recognized on the internet.
Project 21 member Joe Mobley is the host of “The Joe Mobley Show.”
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