SteemIt’s CEO Ned Scott doesn’t believe in censorship; a stance that has won him and his platform fans in recent months.
The appeal of video platform, DTube, which runs on the Steem blockchain database, is almost directly tied to what many creators allege has been happening on YouTube for more than a year: the “YouTube Purge,” an alleged condemnation of right-wing political channels, pro-gun advocates and conspiracy theorists, that’s led to claims of censorship on Google’s video platform.
As YouTube attempts to crack down on content it deems hateful, bullying or promoting dangerous conspiracy theories, people are looking for alternatives. DTube is a decentralized video platform with little to no moderation that uses cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to pay its users. BitChute is similar, but whereas DTube takes much of its design inspiration from YouTube, BitChute looks like an older version of LiveLeaks. The creators of BitChute describe themselves as a “small team making a stand against Internet censorship because we believe it is the right thing to do.”
BitChute and DTube don’t rely on advertising revenue. Instead users can send peer-to-peer payments.
The front page of BitChute greets visitors with videos on very specific topics: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, censorship and conspiracy theories like “PizzaGate.” Conspiracy videos capitalize on recent tragedies, alleging that survivors of the Parkland high school shooting are crisis actors. DTube isn’t much different.
It’s the type of content that, if they were on YouTube, advertisers wouldn’t want their ads placed on. YouTube has filters for some of its biggest advertisers to help ensure their ads don’t appear on videos they don’t feel comfortable with. Those filters include “Tragedy and Conflict;” “Sensitive Social Issues;” “Sexually Suggestive Content;” “Sensational & Shocking;” and “Profanity & Rough Language,” according to CNN. YouTube isn’t taking these videos down. Type “PizzaGate” into YouTube’s search bar and you’ll find more than 205,000 results, but the chances of these videos being monetized are much slimmer.
SteemIt CEO Ned Scott told Polygon that because YouTube is so reliant on advertisers, the company has to worry about those concerns when thinking of how best to run its platform. SteemIt takes a different approach; one that DTube, which runs on Steem, seems to echo.
“If someone reports a video for infringing on copyright, it’s our legal responsibility to take the video down and investigate, which we’ll do,” Scott said. “But we aren’t policing content.”
Thanks to their laissez faire moderation, DTube and BitChute are becoming home to controversial and disturbing topics. And some of DTube and BitChute’s biggest proponents are notable voices speaking out against the purge on YouTube.
SteemIt CEO Ned Scott sent Polygon a statement after this story was published, saying, “Steemit ensures the website is compliant, and that there are systems in place that allow things like hate speech to be flagged and removed.”