YouTube’s sleazy decline into scam promotion

October 14, 2020 0 By administrator

Last weekend, I was watching a sports stream on YouTube. Talented, fearless athletes on the screen, a glass of wine in one hand and a purring cat under the other — you know, those perfect Saturday evenings. If only the stream didn’t keep being interrupted every few minutes by annoying ads. They usually come in a series of two advertisements played in a row, which can be skipped after five seconds. 

Just as I was thinking about subscribing to a paid version to free myself from learning more about flying detergents, half-eaten donuts, striped snickers and the best tampons ever, I saw the following:

“To verify your address, just send from 0.5 to 200 ETH to the address below and get from 1 to 400 ETH (x2 back).”

This tired old proposition, which would offend anyone even slightly acquainted with the world of crypto technology (my grandmother included), was accompanied by a video interview with Binance’s Changpeng Zhao taken from what looks to be some Forbes event. The shot was unceremoniously adorned with Ethereum and Binance logos.

A conveniently ambiguous policy

If I want to publish a video of my little nephew dancing to a pop song, it risks being swiftly blocked for violating intellectual property rights. Is that fair? Possibly.

When an educational stream about cryptocurrencies is organized by Cointelegraph or a crypto vlogger, it risks being blocked for “harmful content,” which has happened several times this year so far. Ridiculous.

If people keep falling for fake Elon Musk giveaway scams offering Bitcoin (BTC) from innumerable fake accounts created specifically to deceive, it is not YouTube’s responsibility. OK, I totally agree; everyone needs to conduct their own research when making any investment decision. But no one seems to be responsible for the advertisements YouTube exposes its audience to either. Atrocious.

The fact that the biggest video-hosting platform of our time shamelessly permits itself to promote scams is deeply unjust. This brings to mind the Roman expression of pecunia non olet — that money does not stink, regardless of whether it is generated via human waste or exploitative practices. Stink or not, an unpleasant aftertaste lingers and will not be easily forgotten.

It is truly sad that one of the world’s most prominent tech companies freely puts its 2 billion user base at risk by promoting scoundrels and fraudsters. Despite all YouTube’s prosperity, the platform hasn’t bothered to implement a sufficient scam-checking process for its sales team. It is grossly unprofessional for such an influential organization to lack clear policies on the advertising content deemed eligible for monetization.

As a journalist, I am very sensitive to any media malpractices that promote bad actors, especially in the delicate area of new technology, where the difference between a promising project and a scam could define the sustainability of the industry. The media’s job is to double-check everything it divulges to the world,…

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