The recent blow of heat felt by the producers of contents related to the cryptoactifs on YouTube, represents only the last demonstration in date of a series of intimidations emanating straight from the powerful GAFAM.
If things are back to normal on Youtube, the platform pleading the error, the episode is indicative of issues that go beyond the simple discomfort of a temporary interruption of service.
From Facebook to Google, via Apple, these last two years have been marked by several symptoms which industry players would do well to take the real measure.
Without seeing the opportunity to migrate to truly decentralized and formally incurable solutions, this is a whole part of the crypto industry to which GAFAM will never allow the opportunity to take the slightest scale.
Crypto influencers on Youtube, collateral victims of an algorithmic misunderstanding
It was a bit of a drama for the end of the year: on Christmas Eve the crypto YouTube channels were silenced, one after the other. Started in the United States, what looked like a relentless erasure operation was starting to spread around the world.
Stupor and tremors for the owners and editors of said channels, helpless in the face of the outright erasure of their production. In some cases, years of work were wiped out for no apparent reason.
France was not spared, the influential Belgian YouTuber WhaleTamer recovering, so to speak, a blank page when opening their account.
Plot? Message to the whole industry? Beginning of the end of the Inca world? The wildest rumors were starting to circulate, before YouTube finally reassures everyone: it was all “just a mistake”, a little algorithmic dud! And to restore the situation by resuscitating content flown from a code snap, somewhere in California. After 48 hours of the most scary, everything was back to normal and everyone could return to their view counters.
Strategy, conspiracy or incompetence?
If the explanation of the algorithmic error is heard, it leaves one wondering about the power left in the hands of some digital giants of essence private, all powerful and generally escaping the slightest counter power effective. The functioning, even the very survival, of entire economic sectors is thus left to the discretion of a single actor, pursuing specific objectives.
However, if the producers of content related to lolcats or Halloween food recipes can continue to spread without asking too many questions, what of the blockchain and cryptoactive, partly made up of recent actors who for some, precisely call for the end of the centralized reign of GAFAM?
This type of questioning is necessarily accompanied by an easy drift: easily fall into the debilitating rut of the conspiracy theory : “Youtube is afraid of crypto! The proof, they close all the chains ”.
It is however necessary to put into perspective: evolve full-time in a sector – in this case the blockchain industry and the emerging crypto-economy – causes cognitive bias, a “tunnel effect” which makes us forget how small our community is and its impact is still very limited, reported to the environment of giants like Youtube, or its digital cousins.
However, this precaution of analysis being taken, it is not useless to replace the events of the past few days in a more general scheme. Indeed, if the GAFAMs may not yet be trembling with terror in the face of the “competition” born of the era of decentralization, Google and others will also do nothing to promote its growth, apart from close supervision.
You will find a little below the opinion on the subject ofOwen Simonin aka “Hash“, Main French-speaking crypto influencer on YouTube.
GAFAMs, at war with the crypto industry?
Maybe not in 2020, maybe not before years, but there will come a time when the American leaders of the digital industry will be forced to absorb or fight the new emerging models likely to nerdy them, all as they themselves nerdy “the old world” in the early 2000s. It is in the order of things and it stems from an economic Darwinism which has always existed: adapt or disappear.
However, few candidates are as relevant to carry this disruption as the technologies of Distributed Registers, accompanied by their panel of innovations (disintermediation, “trustless“, Internet of value, decentralization…). Be sure: this danger has not escaped GAFAM who base part of their supremacy on their capacity to anticipate, and neutralize any threat that would be existential for their economic model.
As such, a little reminder of the show of force that materialized the friction with the young crypto industry.
Facebook’s ban on crypto-related ads
Remember, it was very early 2018, Facebook decided to blacklist all advertising (and in particular the famous “sponsored content” of our news feeds) promoting crypto products, and more particularly ICO. Argument invoked: lconsumer protection faced with risky financial products, which will make anyone who uses the social network smile every day, literally riddled with more scammy sponsored ads.
Recently, the giant with the blue thumb indicated to have softened its policy on the matter, authorizing the contents with character recognized as educational or informational (for having had the pleasure of practicing the exercise, however, I challenge anyone to succeed in “placing” a sponsored publication in close or close contact with the blockchain, or the lesser unhappy token).
It was also tasty to note that last July, false ads for fraudulent cryptocurrency sales sites Libra, quietly passed the filter and appeared in the sponsored content of the network. Thank you Facebook for protecting your community.
And since we are talking about Libra, it is easy to understand to what extent Facebook will be less inclined to favor a cryptomonetary sector than its own giant and hegemonic project intends to dominate in the coming years.
The Google algorithm, the life and death of content
If you’re reading this, it’s most likely because Google put it to your sagacity at one time or another. Therein lies the paradox: Google has such an unrestricted control over the information distribution network that content producers find themselves standardizing their production, no longer to please a readership, but to ensure the good graces of an obscure SEO algorithm. These two objectives are sometimes contradictory…
However, this algorithm does not come out of thin air and does not act randomly, it conforms to the instructions encoded in Mountain view, Google headquarters, by strategists all that is most human. And as Google employees, working for the sustainability of their business and not for the common good, these men in the shadows have – very literally – the right to life and death over millions of content producers.
A site like Bitcoin for example, structures its business model on its ability to attract advertisers, themselves seduced by a heavy traffic. If this traffic is conditioned by the quality of the content, it is above all by that of its SEO, however these two concepts do not necessarily overlap. If the subject of funds goes far beyond the crypto sector, the ecosystem of crypto media tasted all the evil in mid-2019.
Thus, on June 10, 2019, the famous American crypto media CCN throws a stone into the pond by announcing (falsely) its own closure, because ofa 71% drop in traffic following an “update” of Google Core. Other important media of the scene, CoinTelegraph and Coindesk then also report traffic reductions of 25 to 35%.
When the main French crypto media, they were also variously impacted in the same proportions.
Again, the situation will eventually normalize. The message is clear, however: the future of information on the crypto-ecosystem cannot be discussed on the premises of Consensis, of Coinbase or writing CoinTelegraph, but close to a server room in a California basement.
Coinbase, kicked out of AppleStore, Metamask fired as a messy by Google
It’s very recent, and it’s the latest proof of GAFAM’s love for the blockchain industry, this time it’s Apple who takes care of bringing the good news: the app Coinbase is expelled from the Apple Store app store. It’s all the dApps who are threatened by what looks very much like a cleansing campaign of everything that the store has decentralized applications.
The GooglePlaystore is not to be outdone, announcing to general amazement and at the same time, delister the famous Ethereum wallet MetaMask. Simple coincidence of calendar, it is possible. Surrealistically, this is the policy of banning apps from cryptocurrency minings who is invoked to explain this sudden blacklisting. The situation, once again, will be resolved a few days later.
Lack of decentralized alternatives
On the occasion of what should be called the “YouTube Gate“It didn’t take long for the main people involved, the Youtubers, whether they were experienced amateurs or more professional, to call in one way to migration to less centralized solutions, less easily censored, more in line with blockchain standards and values.
The problem – and Guillaume Chanut was still talking about it a few days ago in his paper on protocols from a web 3.0 perspective – the conditions for a massive migration to alternative solutions are still far from being met.
Platforms in beta version, ergonomics deficit and above all confidential audience, nothing currently exists that is able to seriously compete ergonomics, the power and the famous UX (User Experience), Facebook or YouTube.
Only perhaps immediately powerful platforms, like the future social network VOICE of EOS could potentially have sufficient critical mass to constitute a possible option.
The opinion of Owen Simonin, @Hasheur
Whether or not you are a YouTube follower, if you have been interested in crypto for more than 2 hours, it’s hard not to know Hash a.k.a Owen Simonin in the city.
The young entrepreneur who runs the eponymous YouTube channel lines up 136,000 subscribers, making it the most followed French-speaking crypto influencer. As such, Christmas week must have been most trying for him. Asked, he kindly shared his feelings about the episode of YouTube Gate:
“I don’t believe in the conspiracy theory, which would see YouTube attempting an offensive against the crypto community, through its influencers. Already, because YouTube would not have the slightest regulatory basis to conduct such a purge, and then the platform has not the slightest interest in playing on this ground, vis-à-vis its image and the importance of keep influencers on its centralized platform … even if they advocate more decentralization! “
Hasheur who closely followed the course of events is convinced of this: once again the whole community was the victim of the collateral damage caused by a handful of scammers, a true cancer of the crypto industry that only a strong immune system can fight.
“Around Christmas, we saw a proliferation of phony YouTube channels, promoting basic scams like“ we double your Bitcoins ”. Significant amounts have been lost by victims of these scams, who have likely reported mass videos. The Youtube algorithm is clearly set to ban videos without distinction, in reaction to this epiphenomenon, which has therefore massively impacted all crypto content, including the most legitimate. “
However, Owen agrees that the episode was once again revealing of the power concentrated in very few hands of a hegemonic platform like Youtube:
“This is the whole paradox: influencers appreciate and cannot do without Youtube for its broadcasting power, resulting from its monopoly situation. “
” This monopoly is problematic, particularly for our community which advocates more decentralized solutions for many aspects of everyday life, including the dissemination of content. The concern is that the alternatives to YouTube are light years away from the visibility offered by Google’s video platform, even in the centralized alternatives. For example, DailyMotion drains 50 to 100 times less traffic, so imagine blockchain-based projects, at the confidential size, when they are not simply abandoned, due to lack of audience … “.
However, Hasheur does not despair of seeing the emergence of solutions combining decentralization and power of diffusion. As such, he laughs at the very recent announcement by the young boss of TRON, Justin SUN, never overdue for an opportunity:
“Justin SUN,” by chance “has just announced the acquisition of D-Live’s, a fully decentralized content delivery platform. We will now see if the product will meet the stated ambitions ”.
If the year 2020 is regularly designated as that of the massive influx of institutional investments, there are no solid reasons to imagine that Shared Registry technologies will quickly give birth to viable alternatives to current centralized solutions.
Indeed, only a massive migration of users would be likely to modify the current centers of gravity, and only a strong incentive could allow this switch. The model therefore clearly remains to be created.
And on this complex path to walk, no help, no compassion will be expected from GAFAM not frankly ready to loosen the grip of a centralization that has propelled them masters of the world in a decade.
Nice to meet you, it’s Hellmouth! Editor-in-chief of Bitcoin, the crypto media you are honoring to survey right now (well done, you have taste).
Crypto-enthusiast of the second hour, nothing is more important to me than supporting the global adoption and democratization of the treasures that the blockchain offers us.
I write articles between two cocktails in Tahiti, my adopted island, and do not hesitate, if the opportunity arises, to feast on a plump scam or a little too enterprising Ponzi pyramid.
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