Okay, that headline above is pretty striking and shocking but sadly it’s the truth. I found something on Google’s video sharing site, YouTube, that annoyed me and I want to share it with you.
On YouTube, in order to watch music videos you have to watch the vast majority of those videos on a channel called VEVO, created by several major record labels and Google. Each music artist who has music under the ownership of one of the three major record labels (Universal, Sony, and EMI) has their music on YouTube. For example, music by Michael Jackson will be under the name “michaeljacksonVEVO”. Only Warner Music Group, which is one of the big four major record labels, has refused to allow their music on YouTube.
This VEVO service was introduced into YouTube back in November 2009 and officially launched a month later. Prior to this agreement, the music videos on YouTube, uploaded by the average user, were routinely targeted by the record labels who would send out legal requests to have their material removed from Google’s video sharing website. Eventually, they agreed that instead of fighting about having the material on the website, they could instead strike up a deal.
Google met with the record label executives and after several negotiations they came up with VEVO. VEVO would allow the labels to have their music on the site under their own official channel. It became a joint venture between Google and the labels. Google loved the fact now that since the music videos were on YouTube and on official channels, they could start charging advertisers a lot more money to play their ads on those videos; prior to this agreement, advertisers where resistant to placing their ads on videos uploaded by the average user of the site.
This was great for Google because now they don’t have copyright owners handing them legal requests to take down their videos anymore and they can now make big money off these videos. Google and VEVO spilt revenue on their joint venture.
But in the eager desire to cash in, Google often forgets about ethics. As long as Google can make that extra dollar, it does not care how it was obtained. I will give you a few examples:
Under these official music videos, there are commercial ads bordering the videos. These ads let people know about other music or it promotes artists managed by the record labels who are involved with VEVO.
That Michael Jackson “Black or White” video screen capture that I took (scroll down to the bottom of this article to see it), has one of those ads bordering the actual video. It is advertising a new song by rap artists Jay-Z and Kanye West, which was uploaded to YouTube just this past week.
Now, imagine wanting to just relax and lift your spirit by listening to some old classics by the late Michael Jackson. His song “Black or White” is about looking past race and accepting all people for who they are. It’s a great song to listen to any time of the year, but especially on Black History Month.
So there you are on wanting to peacefully enjoy the video, but then right there in front of you in large letters is the N-word! I mean Google – are you kidding me?!?
Millions of people watch videos on YouTube and recently Google came out with new numbers saying it streams over a billion videos per day. This is a huge exposure and it also means the audiences comes from all walks of life, from all over the world, and are of all ages.
With this much exposure, why is Google so irresponsible with what it releases on its site? We know that in rap music the use of the n-word, gay slurs, and use of sexist terms to demean women is rampant. It is part of the culture of rap music and it’s extremely controversial. But at least there was still a clear escape from it. If you did not want to be exposed to that then you can get away from it and don’t have to listen to it.
You would not hear explicit music and the use of the n-word on mainstream broadcast television or on mainstream radio – so why does Google lack standards of its own? Why must people, young children, be exposed to the n-word and make it seem like it is a mainstream word that everybody uses or approves of?
If they did not think that the n-word would be offensive, then they would not have censored out two letters from the word to put on the site, as if it makes it any less offensive. They obviously knew it would offend people, then why have the word up at all? Disgusting.
This is also around a time when Google is developing a product called Google TV so that they can tap into the television market to gain even more advertising revenue. With such low standards and ethics from Google, let’s hope their project fails. The Google TV project has already lost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ironically, just this past week, Cary Sherman, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America wrote an op-ed piece published in the New York Times harshly criticizing Google. Mr. Sherman condemned Google’s abuse of its platform on the Internet to use its websites to make political statements and he made a clear distinction between Google’s lack of standards and standards mainstream broadcast networks voluntarily adhere to:
“As it happens, the television networks that actively supported SOPA and PIPA didn’t take advantage of their broadcast credibility to press their case. That’s partly because “old media” draws a line between ‘news’ and ‘editorial’…Google [does not] recognize the ethical boundary between the neutral reporting of information and the presentation of editorial opinion as fact.”
Google has gotten in trouble before with the ads it places on its websites. Just last summer, the United States government forced Google to pay half a BILLION dollars to settle a controversial case surrounding the selling of illegal drugs. I will discuss this further in future posts.
I have also seen advertisements on Google’s YouTube homepage of half naked people wearing barely anything. Again, this is a site visited by all age groups. It seems to me that Google pays very little care for the children that access their sites daily. I have written on here before about the Google employee who was caught harassing and going through private information of 4 young children.
Google was also recently made to apologize to a concerned parent who complained to the Federal Trade Commission after Google asked for the social security numbers of young children to be submitted in order to be eligible for a “Doodle” contest.
Google also recently allowed children as young as 14, to participate in a program that would allow Google to access the computer information of those children. All activity those kids do on the internet would be sent to Google and, in exchange, they will be given a $5 dollars gift card every three months.
It’s obvious to me that Google lacks basic decency, standards, and ethics. Shame on you, Google! Shame – On – You!