From IndieWeb

YouTube is a video hosting silo that has known issues. If you are looking for the IndieWeb YouTube channel, it is called IndieWebCamp.


Why post on YouTube

  • distribution
  • discovery
  • monetization - YouTube shares ad revenue with creators if enrolled in the Partner Program
  • YouTube provides multiple encodings of videos to support low bandwidth viewers
  • videos are viewable from a wide variety of devices including ones that don't have a web browser, (e.g. smart TVs or the YouTube app on Apple TV)
  • YouTube autogenerates captions for videos, and creators can also upload captions in multiple languages
  • Benefit from good YouTube video player UX such as
    • Description-text-driven video chapters displayed as segments over the timeline — easier to publish and update than internal chapter metadata
    • Scrubbing/timeline hover thumbnail shows what part of the video you’re navigating to for quick skimming
    • Player remembers your last playhead location per-video, restores on refresh

Why not

Why not to post on YouTube

A few summary reasons why NOT to post on YouTube:

  1. Dislike of YouTube and/or Google as companies and how they monetize content in general
  2. YouTube hosting of hate videos (specifically high traffic anti-gay videos during Pride month 2019)
  3. Associating your content/posts (by way of sidebar, autoplay, and after-viewing recommendations) with conspiracy theory or other shallow sensationalist (limbic hijack) content
  4. Embedded player loads huge (~2MB?) amount of javascript even before the user decides to play a video

See Criticism for more and for citations for the above.

How to

How to export your data

Youtube has the following content from users:

  • video posts
  • list of subscriptions to YouTube channels
  • comments on videos
  • likes of videos
  • history of videos watched

Has anyone successfully exported all of these? In what format(s)?

Any luck importing to your own site (PESOS)? Or start POSSEing instead?


Limitation: the OPML just links to XML feeds (not sure if it contains actual data about the channels you are subscribed to)


  • Does YouTube have feeds for users to download their content?

How to create a subscribe link

YouTube supports a special link to your channel which will prompt the viewer to subscribe to your channel when visited.

  • find the URL to your channel
  • add ?sub_confirmation=1 to the end of the URL

For example:

Clicking that link will pop up a subscribe confirmation over your channel page.

How to embed with privacy-enhanced mode

YouTube allows embedding videos without using cookies that track viewing behavior, using domain

Privacy Enhanced Mode allows you to embed YouTube videos without using cookies that track viewing behavior. This means no activity is collected to personalize the viewing experience. Instead, video recommendations are contextual and related to the current video. Videos playing in Privacy Enhanced Mode won’t influence the viewer's browsing experience on YouTube.

YouTube Help: Manage video embedding options - Turn on privacy-enhaced mode

From a YouTube video, click the share icon, then embed. At the bottom of the popover window, check the option "Enable privacy-enhanced mode." This will change the domain in the embed code that you can copy.


Permalink UI

Here's an example screenshot of YouTube's UI as of 2013-286 with apparent features

Live permalink:


  • video as primary content - just below "YouTube" banner with search box (scrolled off the top)
  • name of video below the primary content, ellipsed at width of video content.
  • author with photo, name, number of videos posted, subscribe webaction and subscriber count, clustered and left-aligned under the video name
  • counts related to the video, right-aligned with right edge of video, including:
    • views count
    • thumb up down counts
  • thumb up "Like" thumb down props/unprops webaction buttons
  • tabbed navigation among
    • About Share Add to Transcript (menu? icon) Statistics (bar chart icon) Report (flag icon)
  • Share section appears to be the default which itself has subsections for:
  • Comments section with count in parentheses next to heading "(0)"
    • Sign in link prompt "to post a comment!"

Atom feeds

Unlike many silos, YouTube makes atom feeds available for all channels.

Feed discoverability has been a problem, but URLs are easily mapped to their feed equivalents by hand:


Subtitle Editor

YouTube provides tools for creating subtitles and translations for videos.

Videos can accept community contributions of subtitles or translations. After a translation is submitted, the owner can review the contribution and request changes, make changes themselves, or publish it.


How to delete your account


Has anyone deleted their YouTube account? What's the process? How long do they hold your data anyway? Etc.

See also: delete your account

How to POSSE


Is anyone POSSEing to YouTube?


Allows harassing content with homophobic/racist slurs

For two years, Vox Media’s Carlos Maza has been the target of homophobic and racist abuse from a right-wing YouTuber with three million subscribers. On Tuesday, the online video giant informed Maza that the abuse does not violate its policies.

YouTube later announced they were suspending monetization on the channel:

Update on our continued review–we have suspended this channel’s monetization. We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies. archived


Content Deletion

YouTube has been known for deleting content that has been posted there:

Content Reappropriation

YouTube has also re-appropriated content without permission, transferring ownership to big media companies claiming copyright:

Content ID

YouTube's Content ID system automatically scans all uploads against a database of content submitted by "content owners".

This system has been subject to many kinds of abuse, as well as some clever workarounds.

Copyright Claim

Copyright claim on unmatched audio
  • on 2015-08-07 Aaron Parecki livestreamed an event which was recorded to Youtube
  • on 2015-08-10 Aaron noticed that Youtube placed ads on the video because of a copyright claim.[1] The part of the video in question was from timecode 0:05 to 1:56, the very beginning of the livestream, where the video is mostly dead air.
  • the same day, Aaron filed a dispute on the claim
  • on 2015-09-02 Aaron checked back on Youtube (since no notifications were being sent about any of this) and noticed that the copyright page now showed a link "Appeal rejected dispute". He submitted an appeal to the rejected dispute. [2] [3]
Copyright claim on video
  • on 2016-01-03 Aaron Parecki posted a video on Youtube that was original music with a mashup of The Office trailer and scenes from
  • within minutes, Youtube sent a notice that the video was no longer available for viewing due to a copyright claim on the contents of the images
  • the same day, Aaron filed a dispute on the claim based on "fair use"
  • within a few hours, NBC Universal responded to the claim

Copyright claim on licensed work
Copyright claim on white noise

Link Wrapping

YouTube links outbound links from posted content in URLs.

Unequal treatment of indie artists

  • 2014-06-19 YouTube won't block music videos from Indie labels, but it won't pay them either

    [...] Labels who haven't signed up to the website's new terms, the majority of which are independents like XL Recordings, will have their artist channels blocked in the next few days. ... labels who won't sign up to the paid tier are also kicked out of YouTube's ad-supported monetization scheme. So while we may still be able to find Lotus Flower on a Radiohead fan's channel, the band itself won't get a single penny.

    [...] YouTube isn't even playing fair, offering "highly unfavorable and non-negotiable terms" which undercut the fees paid to Spotify, Rdio and Deezer, as well as being less generous than the money paid to the major labels like Warner, Sony and Universal. [...]

    Emphasis added.
  • 2015-01-22

Lack of 3rd party copyright claim challenge

If you embed a YouTube video in one of your posts, and at some point in the future the video is taken down with just static in its place and "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by ...", then there is no way for you as a 3rd party to evaluate and challenge the copyright claim.

Real world IndieWeb example(s):

Poor Safari Support

In Safari 10.1.2, browsing a YouTube video URL (e.g. [4]) results in a black background where the video should be with the following writing in white text in the middle:

Your browser does not currently recognize any of the video formats available.

Click here to visit our frequently asked questions about HTML5 video..


Requires Javascript

Videos do not play if javascript is disabled. No message or alternate player is shown on Embedded videos display a message "Try watching this video on, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser."

Example from

Age verification

Some videos require age verification in form of photo ID or credit card.

See Also