There are numerous video-sharing platforms on the internet. YouTube is one of the best video-sharing platforms on the internet, with 30 million subscribers as of 2020, and has the most extensive online video catalog. Technically, the YouTube platform is 13 years and above, as stated in the platforms’ terms. However, YouTube has been faced with complaints of its violation of the children’s privacy law. There was also a call for the platform to change how it handles content for children.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) fined YouTube $136 million for settling the allegations against it for collecting children’s data without their parent’s knowledge or consent. YouTube paid a further $34 million to New York state for other similar allegations against it.
Google’s YouTube is also famous for tracking viewers’ history and collecting data like IP and email addresses. Is all lost? Are there video-sharing platforms on the internet that value users’ privacy?
Video sharing platforms that value your privacy
Some of the video-sharing platforms that exist in this data collecting era include:
Almost a year ago, Rumble was a normal YouTube ‘look alike’ with home recordings of people’s pets, friends, and family. Rumble is a Canadian video-sharing platform with headquarters in Toronto. A technology entrepreneur from Canada, Chris Pavlovski, founded the platform in 2013, with the platform’s user count rapidly rising since July 2020. The count grew from 1.6 million to 31.9 million by the end of March 2021.
BitChute is a social video hosting platform that was launched in 2017 as YouTube’s alternative. This platform aimed to allow the video uploaders to escape the rules enforced by YouTube. BitChute focuses on prioritizing the content creators.
It aims at providing the creators with a platform that they can use to express their ideas freely. BitChute does not depend on ads, and users typically send payments to the video creators, which means the site does not collect user information.
Vimeo Inc. is a video hosting, sharing, and services platform headquartered in New York. Vimeo aims to deliver high-definition videos across various devices. Vimeo provides privacy, and they do not sell data to third parties. Your account is protected via top-quality security, and you are in control of who watches your Videos on and off the platform.
Gab launched in 2017 and is a platform that allows its users to share their videos and other content. Gab makes the free flow of information a priority and promotes individual liberty and free speech. Gab does not collect information from children below the age of 18. If they discover they have children’s data, including names, postal or email addresses, they delete that data and any accounts the minor holds.
Twitch is a video live streaming service focusing on video game live streams. This also includes sports competition broadcasts, creative content, music broadcasts, and real-life streams.
Other Ways of Staying Private Online
Since you cannot be a hundred percent sure that you are safe when online, here are some other ways to stay safe:
Use a VPN
Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is one of the surest ways to stay anonymous online. Getting a VPN will do several things for you. First, it hides your IP address and hides your location. Most of these platforms mine data such as IP addresses so that they can send you ads depending on your location. When these details are masked, sites cannot track you or bombard you with ads.
Secondly, it encrypts all your communication. This means that no one can intercept your data in transit. For example, when you make online payments, you enter sensitive details such as credit card numbers; with a VPN, that information is highly encrypted.
Enable Your Privacy Settings
Both marketers and hackers love to collect information, and they can easily get this data by monitoring your social media use and browsing habits. Both mobile OS (operating systems) and web browsers have settings that allow you to protect your online privacy.
Major social media platforms like Facebook have settings you can use to enhance your privacy. However, these platforms are sneaky, and ensure these settings are hard to locate so that they can continue collecting your data for marketing. Find these safeguards and enable them.
Guard your private information
Hackers use our social media profiles to steal passwords. If you have set a security question for resetting your password, the information you post on the platform will sell you out. Lock your privacy settings and be wary of connections from strangers.
So many people have lost accounts on YouTube due to hacking. Ensure you have a unique and robust password that is alphanumeric and has a few special symbols incorporated into it. This makes it harder for anyone to crack your password and steal your account.
Use the two-factor authentication that allows you to use your normal password and an OTP (One-time password/code) sent to a trusted device like a mobile phone. This makes it impossible for a hacker to take over your account as they will need the OTP to log in or change the password.
YouTube may be the biggest video-sharing platform at the moment, but with its privacy controversies, its time is limited. As a result, more people are becoming more aware of their privacy rights, and they are moving away from YouTube to other safer alternatives.
You need to be more proactive in keeping your data safe by using VPNs, enabling privacy settings, guarding your private information, stronger passwords, and other safety measures. These video-sharing platforms are fun to interact with, but they also have their dangers, which we need to be aware of, and keep our information secure.