Things at YouTube seem to be heading downhill. The user-generated video platform has been wildly popular for over a decade but once TikTok arrived on the scene, YouTube began to lose power. It attempted to counter TikTok’s juggernaut influence by releasing “YouTube shorts,” a reactive move that mimicked the short-form phone format.
It seems that this move didn’t work as TikTok is still threatening YouTube’s dominance. YouTube’s latest high-profile departure has some speculating that things may be worse than many understand.
According to the New York Post, veteran executive Robert Kyncl is leaving the company after more than 12 years on the job.
“After 12 incredible years, I’ve decided to move on to the next challenge soon,” Kyncl tweeted. “Working alongside creators, artists, media and music companies to transform media has been a privilege.”
As reported by the Post, this departure comes at a very turbulent time for YouTube:
Kyncl’s exit comes as YouTube faces slowing growth and increasing competition from TikTok within the coveted Gen Z demographic.
A Pew research poll published this month showed that a whopping 95% of US teens said they use YouTube, making it the most popular app or site in the survey. But YouTube was followed by TikTok, which was used by 67% of teens, as the Chinese-owned app eats up an increasing share of young people’s time online and threatens Big Tech mainstays like YouTube and Meta’s Instagram.
It’s not clear what Kyncl will do after he leaves YouTube. He’s not yet announced that he’s accepted a position somewhere else as of this writing.
This also arises amid a huge controversy rising on YouTube concerning famous YouTubers Markiplier and CoryxKenshin.
Kenshin, a black creator, noticed that his videos were becoming demonetized and flagged for age restriction despite very similar videos from other creators not receiving the same treatment. This lead him to create a video that went very viral calling out YouTube for what is either favoritism or racism and sparked other creators to weigh in with their frustrations about YouTube’s system as well.
Many, including YouTube’s biggest names, made it clear that YouTube’s algorithm was highly unfair to creators, especially smaller ones, and that YouTube abuses its users in various ways. This includes forcing them to consistently upload content or risk the system lowering them in the rankings.
Markiplier, arguably one of YouTube’s most popular uploaders, also had a recent problem with YouTube which used his image to promote the “Game On” event but then proceeded to cut his contribution to it after working hard for the event. In protest, Markiplier uploaded his and his team’s contribution to his channel under the title “YouTube Cut This Content.” The video was an interactive YouTube came utilizing analog horror elements, which has become famous across YouTube and is frequently portrayed by Markiplier.
YouTube’s list of issues is a mile long and its scandals aren’t any shorter. YouTube is often blasted for its political bias and will censor even those in the medical community for disagreeing with leftist narratives on medical issues.
This has all amounted to a platform that is currently shooting itself in the foot while it’s running a race with another video platform that is swiftly catching up to it.
Whether or not Kyncl’s departure had anything to do with foreseeing YouTube’s best days being behind it or not we’ve not yet seen, but the smart money is on that being the case.