Is YouTube Ethical?

YouTube is an online video sharing and social media platform based on America. In 2006, YouTube was bought by Google for $600 million and since then has been one of the most popular streaming platforms. It is also the second most used site, only after Google itself. With growing popularity, the concerns around the exposed content YouTube provides has also risen, given the fact that anyone who is 13 and above can login to it and have access to every content. The question of whether YouTube is ethical has sparked suspicions and led even led to many lawsuits. Let us take a look at further details.

Is YouTube Ethical?

What is the Ethical Code?

The code of ethics is simply the set of moral indulgences and principal behaviors of an institution towards the betterment and keenness to make the best possible decisions for the common good. The ethics codes are what bind a company to remain honest to its customers, help them reach maximized favorable contents and overall provide a harmless environment. For digital media sharing companies too, there are set of codes that they need to follow.

Why do we Question YouTube’s Ethics?

Lawsuits have become a daily thread for YouTube, in many different countries such as Thailand and German. In Thailand, a lawsuit was filed against YouTube owing to some content posted on the platform that was apparently insulting to the Thai King. There was even a nationwide ban on the site for five whole months.  

From Germany, YouTube has received numerous complaints about contents that preached Nazism and racism. YouTube has always been a free flowing site, its content being lucid a non-censored most of the times. However, in the recent trends this is starting to become a problem as more and more people find content has seem offensive to a certain community. 

Brian Banner, a Washington DC Attorney states, ““Service providers like YouTube don’t want to exercise any control. They just want to provide a service without verifying what the content is.” It might be crucial to state that the company itself is placed in a tough spot adhering to personal interests of thousands of community across the world, when in the primary objective of YouTube was to be “a playground where creativity is flourished and sentiments are sentiments are expressed through collective behavior”(Chu,2009).

Thus, YouTube has go through some very rough patches to choose between ethical and unethical because the evaluation might differ largely based on different communities.

Ethics code by YouTube

  • Copyright: Copyright laws are for protecting the people and companies on Internet who produces and distributes contents. This includes music, films and all original content produced. YouTube thoroughly protects the copyright of the individual, ranging upto even copyright strike wherein the owner can file a valid legal takedown of their content from the copied one. 
  • Creators therefore feel satisfied and safe in the platform than anywhere else, and YouTube has continued to protect the right of the creators. It uses automated measures such as copyright strikes, Content ID and Content Verification Program for the same.
  • Privacy: Generally, privacy is the right to be free from social surveillance and to determine how or to whom their personal information will be shared. YouTube’s privacy policies clearly states that a person must be “uniquely identifiable” for the content produced. 
  • At the same time, YouTube is subjected to legally obliged to not “sell your information” to anyone. Your activities are protected from any third person server. YouTube uses personalized recommendations and search results including ads with the information they collect, the ones for which we give permission for as a user. 
  • Community guidelines: YouTube is a diverse platform, with more than thousand communities from all over the world. Thus it is very important that certain guidelines are followed so as to not hurt the sentiment of anyone. Sensitive content such as nudity, spam and deceptive policies for luring in people, violent content and misinformation are severely punishable under YouTube’s community guidelines.

Is YouTube Ethical?

The question about the ethical efficiency of YouTube is sometimes  gullible and leads to controversies. For example, in one of the allegations against YouTube was censoring of a video that showed bullying to a school student who suffered from autism. While on one hand this could be mentally demeaning and even harmful for other children to watch, it was also taken as an example as to how the society still faces bullies and the immediate need to eradicate it. The group of student’s bullies was also punished. Various such cases such as over speeding video posted leading to arrest, re-assignment of racist person due to viral video on YouTube have led to societal awareness. 

The most burning issue regarding YouTube’s ethics is the fact that mere 13 year olds are exposed to contents that they probably should not see, the most recent being the lawsuit worth $3.2 billion claiming that YouTube exposes children well under 13 to targeted advertising. Thus although in todays’ world YouTube is a non-discard able media outlet, it is also a moral obligation for YouTube to go to some extend of more strengthened policies for protection and censorship of content based on community guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.Why are business ethics important?
A.Ethics are guidelines that protect the society from harm and provide betterment and healthy methods. It makes the society peaceful, harmonious and a better place of dwelling. It also increases the passion to remain truthful and increases mutual trust in each other. In business, the ethics code is to keep a trustful relationship between the company and consumers and protection of mutual interests. 

2.What are the ethical issues in digital business? 

A.The ethical issues in digital business are personal information security, copyright infringement, consumer privacy, advertising on ethical websites and using of artificial intelligence for advertisement. 

Is YouTube Ethical?

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