Problems with YouTube & the Internet Creators Guild: Technology & Politics | Summary and Q&A

February 3, 2017
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Problems with YouTube & the Internet Creators Guild: Technology & Politics


The Internet Creators Guild (ICG) presents itself as a support system for creators but fails to address the power dynamics and capitalist nature of YouTube.

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Key Insights

  • 😥 The ICG lacks democratic control, with directors appointed rather than elected by the members.
  • 👻 YouTube's capitalist structure allows for the extraction of surplus value and limits creators' full value and control of their content.
  • 🙈 The ICG's focus on individual creators ignores the material and political conditions that enable their success.
  • ❓ Google's ownership of YouTube contributes to gentrification and exploitation, and creators are complicit in these issues.
  • ❓ The ICG does not address the broader political and social implications of YouTube's structure.
  • ✊ The separation of technology and politics is impossible, as technology shapes power dynamics and distribution.
  • 💁 Providing information and advice is insufficient to solve systemic problems; radical change requires dismantling oppressive structures.


welcome to overanalyzing vlogs where I think too much about something oh do i I want to talk about being a youtuber and some things about it that bugged me slightly a while ago I wrote an article for novara media in which I talked about the business side of YouTube and in it I speculated that there might be such thing as a youtube trade-unions of d... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are some issues with the Internet Creators Guild (ICG)?

The ICG is not a trade union and lacks democratic control, as directors are appointed, not elected. Members can give feedback but have no say in the organization's decisions.

Q: Why is the ICG's stance on collective bargaining problematic?

The decision to abstain from collective bargaining is made by the directors and not creators collectively, undermining the potential for creators to address and solve their own issues.

Q: Does YouTube's structure reflect capitalist principles?

Yes, YouTube profits by selling ad space on creators' videos and keeping a percentage for themselves. It remains a capitalist platform, even if creators technically retain ownership of their content.

Q: How does the ICG benefit certain individuals and groups?

The ICG's top members and board of directors gain visibility and enhance their personal brands. VidCon, a for-profit event run by Hank Green, offers discounted tickets to ICG members, benefiting both parties.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The ICG claims to represent and support YouTubers, but it is not a trade union and requires payment to join.

  • The organization is controlled by appointed directors, limiting the voice of the members and potential collective bargaining power.

  • YouTube's capitalist structure, where creators license their content to the platform for ad space, perpetuates an inherently antagonistic relationship.

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