Progressive commentator: YouTube has become 'healthy means' to critique mainstream media

Progressive commentator Peter Coffin said Tuesday that YouTube has evolved into a more "mature" platform for politics and become a "healthy means" to challenge the mainstream media.

"The skepticism that YouTube sort of built a reputation for platforming - not necessarily the best stuff in the world - I think is finally sort of started to mature into an actual healthy means to criticize establishment sources and establishment power in a way that is actually poignant nowadays," Coffin, who runs a left-leaning channel under his own name, told Hill.TV.

"What I've seen in the last few years is the best era of political YouTube," he later added.

Though Coffin emphasized that the video-sharing platform has come a long way, he said that not all of the company's policies are conducive to users. Coffin, in particular, pointed to a new YouTube policy that requires creators to indicate whether a video is intended for children.

"There's certainly been issues recently about this sort of weird change towards 'child-friendly content' or labeling your content not child-friendly when it's not really either," he said. "When you're making political content it's almost an irrelevant thing."

A spokesperson for Google declined to comment on Coffin's remarks. 

Coffin's comments come after YouTube formally announced last week that it plans to require all creators to label whether or not their content is made for children. That means starting in January 2020, YouTube will limit data on those videos as well as remove popular features like comments and notifications.

YouTube stated in the announcement that it made the platform change "to comply with the law." The change is part of its larger rollout of a separate YouTube site dedicated to hosting videos for children.

In September, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and New York's attorney general announced that YouTube's parent company Google would have to pay a record $170 million to settle charges over its violation of children's privacy laws.

It marked the largest ever imposed fine on a website for violations of the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires companies to obtain parental consent before collecting data on children under the age of 13.

-Tess Bonn