Why YouTube Creators Want You to Boycott YouTube

The #YoutubeWalkout movement is hoping to get YouTube to remove a controversial provision from their terms of service

Photo by: Szabo Viktor / Unsplash

There is corruption in the government, the Middle East is in turmoil, and YouTube creators are mad at YouTube.

Any day you choose to read that sentence, all of those statements will continue to be true. And in a lot of cases the anger at YouTube is unjustified or misguided. Their algorithm is way too complicated to expect an easy fix. Conservatives who shout about bias and censorship because of demonetized videos are ignoring the equal weight of demonetization across the political spectrum. And while copyright strikes are often frivolous and harmful, that is fraught legal territory that YouTube can't be expected to navigate perfectly—though hopefully they're working to improve. But the YouTube Walkout this week is different, because in the latest issue there's not a lot of room to give YouTube the benefit of the doubt. In this case, they definitely suck.

About a month ago YouTube updated their terms of service to include, among other things, a clause stipulating that if your channel was deemed "no longer commercially viable," they could "terminate your access or your Google account's access to all or part of the service." The absurdly vague terms involved have been interpreted in any number of ways, any one of which could reflect YouTube's actual intent. Are they setting things up to delete Neo-Nazi accounts and channels devoted to traumatizing children? Or the collected crust of weird pseudo-p*rn living in their loopholes? Or are they preparing to oust creators who make their money through Patreon and your 12-year-old cousin who makes Pokemon-unboxing videos?

The truth is, it doesn't really matter what their intentions are. The language is so vague that they can decide to turn it against anyone they want to down the road. Maybe next week there will be a purge of white supremacists, but the week after Youtube could use this clause to delete accounts that are critical of the government, or accounts that are critical of Youtube itself.

Considering the number of legitimate, hard-working creators whose livelihoods are tied to their YouTube accounts, it's no wonder there's been a backlash. That's why you might not see so many new videos this week, particularly from YouTubers with a political bent. Creators are participating in a Youtube walkout from December 10-13. And they're asking you to participate by staying off the site until this weekend. If enough of us can stave off our Youtube addiction by just opening a book—or, you know, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Veoh, Twitch…—we may be able to push YouTube to treat their creators better and maintain the openness that we love about their platform.

So please—just until Saturday—stay off YouTube.


Who Is Nine-Year-Old Drumming Sensation Nandi Bushell?

The little prodigy is blowing our minds with her covers.

Nandi Bushnell

If you're at all in tune with the music side of Twitter, you've likely come across a video of this girl's cover of Nirvana's "In Bloom."

This is Nandi Bushell, a tiny 9-year-old rock extraordinaire. According to her social media run by her parents, she lives in Ipswich, England, a riverside town about 65 miles northeast of London. "I can jam to Nirvana In Bloom all day," Bushell wrote along with the clip. "Nirvana are in my top 5 bands so far. I just found out Dave [Grohl] also played with Jack Black in Tenacious D, Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age!!!! The film school of rock is the best film in the world." (My favorite part of the caption is that she specifies "top 5 bands so far"—she's plenty aware of how young she is and how much she's yet to discover.) Her chops give Grohl a run for his money as she thrashes along perfectly on beat. She gives the track her own twist with ferocious screams and facial expressions, proving that she's not only adorable, but already way more badass than we'll ever be. Even with her immense talent, the highlight of the video might be her beaming smile at the end: the face of a kid who's simply having a blast.

And people are having a blast watching. Bushell posted the video on Monday, November 11; by Friday afternoon, it amassed almost eight million views, almost 50 thousand favorites, and over 10 thousand retweets, not to mention countless responses cheering her on. "In Bloom" might've gained Bushell wider attention on Twitter, but this isn't her first rodeo. She's also very active on Instagram, where she's covered anything from "Chop Suey" by System of a Down to Prince's "Kiss" and Billie Eilish's recent No. 1 hit "bad guy." She's been posting these covers since she was six, and her videos have caught the attention of Zildjian and Vic Firth—cymbal and drumstick brands, respectively—who have each sent her shiny new gear so she can keep rocking out. The pros are catching on to her gift, too: within the last year, she's performed with Lenny Kravitz, hung out with Roots drummer Questlove, and her videos have been shared by Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, just to name a few. Most recently, she was featured in a Christmas commercial for British retailer Argos and is taking up guitar, too.

Basically, there's no reason not to be obsessed with Bushell. We're so inspired by how much she's accomplished in her short nine years, and we can't wait to see where her drumming takes her next.