The YouTube Creator Crisis: An Open Letter to the YouTube Community
Over the past few years, YouTube creators have been going through a difficult time around demonetization, content takedowns due to fake DMCAs, and censorship. We’ve seen this situation unfold especially with cryptocurrency content creators, whose cryptocurrency-related videos began disappearing not too long ago. Alongside this, algorithms have been making YouTubers’ lives a misery by disrupting the normal intake of content by their usual followers, even if they are subscribed.
This trend is continuing, as many YouTubers - especially recently - are experiencing a difficult time using the platform with many accounts being stolen and held hostage by hackers alongside all of the aforementioned concerns.
YouTube has a difficult role as a platform; where do they draw the line and intervene? The majority of the aforementioned issues were not a result of intentional action towards creators by YouTube, but instead occurred as a result of numerous updates to improve the user experience on YouTube.
Why is Binance talking about this?
Recently, we have been receiving an increasing number of reports about YouTube creators who are falling victim to account hijackers who reach out via a direct message or email, disguising their communication as a proposed sponsorship with a malicious file attached. Once the file is opened, the hacker gains access to the YouTuber’s account and takes over control.Once the account is under the hacker’s control, the YouTuber may be blackmailed to purchase his/her own channel back from the hacker, or the account may be falsely rebranded as a popular cryptocurrency project, such as Binance or Binance Academy (or other cryptocurrency exchanges and projects). Once the account is taken over and rebranded, the hackers post a video which boasts a cryptocurrency giveaway.
These are SCAMS.
And, they are harming our industry. Binance Academy is a non-profit educational platform that provides free educational content to newcomers to the crypto and blockchain ecosystem. With the recent onslaught of YouTube hackers, we are now being falsely accused of maliciously hijacking creator accounts and scamming their followers.
Binance has never hijacked any YouTube channels, nor have we ever purchased any. We would never compromise our ethics in this way and are also victims of these hackers. As content creators ourselves, we want to do everything in our power to help affected YouTube creators regain control of their channels and content.
Comments from various users on the Binance Academy YouTube Channel. Screenshot obtained 6th Feb, 2020.
I am a YouTuber, what can I do to protect my account?
Turn on 2-step verification for your Google account.
Review third-party apps that have access to your google account.
Never open or download an attachment from an email or instant message. It is recommended to use Google Docs, Google Drive or DocuSign to share files and contracts.
Use a password manager to generate and store complex passwords.
Update your password once every 90 days at a minimum.
I’ve fallen victim to this scam already, is there anything I can do?
Contact us at email@example.com, and we will do everything in our power to help you regain control of your Youtube account.
We will provide signed statements that these accounts are in breach of the Binance copyright and that we don’t authorize the use of our brand under these circumstances, requesting YouTube to restore access to the previous account owner. We will confirm that these accounts are impersonators and have been taken over by malicious actors.
What can YouTube do to prevent this from continuing?
The hackers are breaking several YouTube Community Guidelines, including impersonation, copyright and scams. Unfortunately, right now, it seems YouTube is struggling to keep up with these rapidly evolving scam tactics. YouTube has complex algorithms in place to prevent these things from happening, but it’s impossible to exhaustively counteract this.
The SmarterEveryDay channel even has a relevant series on how algorithms can be bypassed by malicious actors.
As such, we’d like to ask the greater YouTube community to come together to voice our concerns.
What can you do?
As this is such a large scale issue, creators are struggling to get in touch with the right people at YouTube to resolve these issues. We need to combine our voices so that everyone can be heard at once.
Google LLC, D/B/A YouTube901 Cherry Ave.San Bruno, CA 94066USA
Fax: +1 650-253-0001
Send a letter voicing your concerns to Youtube.
If you are a creator, contact the YouTube Creator support team
Tweet at @TeamYouTube on Twitter