YouTube has recently taken down a lot of sites, many conservative ones. In general, Alphabet Corp., the parent of both YouTube and Google, has been on a Jihad against Conservative sites lately. Hiding them in search results and taking down their video channels. Folks need to know about the alternatives.
One of these alternatives is PeerTube. There’s a good write up about it here:
PeerTube: A ‘Censorship’ Resistent YouTube Alternative
BY ERNESTO ON JUNE 23, 2018
YouTube is a great video platform that has a lot to offer to both consumers and creators. At least, those who play by the rules. For creators, there is a major drawback though, one that put a spotlight on the alternative ‘free-libre’ software PeerTube this week.
On Tuesday we reported that several YouTube channels had all their videos blocked worldwide. This included those belonging to MIT OpenCourseWare,’ the ‘Blender Foundation,’ and many others.
Luckily there are some alternatives that put creators in control again. PeerTube is one of these options.
When the Blender Foundation had all its videos blocked by YouTube earlier this week, a decision was taken to give this alternative a try. In a matter of hours, Blender had a fully operational streaming site, one which they had complete control over.
This prompted TF to take a closer look at PeerTube and what it has to offer.
Put simply, PeerTube allows anyone to set up their own video streaming site. This can run independently, but it can also be linked, or federated, with other PeerTube instances to create a broader reach. All with P2P steaming support.
The first version of PeerTube launched last year. It’s operated by the small French non-profit organization Framasoft, and thus far it hasn’t really broken through in English-speaking countries. The Blender Foundation’s problems, while very unfortunate, may change that.
“Blender’s example illustrates our main goal: autonomy, independence from external platforms. When you centralize videos and attention, you gain power over the users. Our approach goes the other way,” Framasoft’s Pouhiou tells TF.
PeerTube comes with built-in WebTorrent support. This means that viewers also contribute their bandwidth, which can come in handy if a video goes viral.
To ‘federate’ with other PeerTube instances, the software uses the ActivityPub protocol, which is also used by the popular social networking software Mastodon. This helps to grow the video library if needed, but it’s entirely optional.
Going to the PeerTube site:
Take back control of your videos
A decentralized video hosting network, based on free/libre software
There “how it works” page is here:
How it works
Everybody can host a PeerTube server we call instance. Every instance hosts its own users and their videos. It also keeps a list of the videos available of the instances the administrator chooses to follow in order to suggest them to its users.
Every account has a globally unique identifier (e.g. @email@example.com) consisting of the local username (@chocobozzz) and the domain name of the server it is on (framatube.org).
The administrators of a PeerTube instance can follow each other. When your PeerTube instance follows another PeerTube instance, you receive the videos preview informations from this instance. This way, you can display the videos available on your instance and on the instances you decided to follow. So you keep control of the videos displayed on your PeerTube instance!
Why is that cool?
Servers are run independently by different people and organizations. They can apply wildly different moderation policies, so you can find or make one that fits your taste perfectly.
By watching a video, you help the hosting provider to broadcast it by becoming a broadcaster of the video yourself. Each instance doesn’t need much money to broadcast the videos of its users.
Basically a bittorrent for videos. Unfortunately, it would not work with the old (very old) version of Firefox on my Mac and suggested I use a newer one, which I can’t install on this machine. They do list many potential sites (called “instances”) using it here:
Overall it looks like a nice way for DIY video sharing, but not a direct competitor kind of service for YouTube.
A Direct Competitor To YouTube
I’ve already posted some links from BitChute. It looks to me like a fair number of conservative folks, censored at YouTube, have already moved there:
From a year ago, so no doubt far out of date on the size of growth.
BitChute Launches in Response to YouTube Censorship
Posted on August 29, 2017 by Mountain★Republic
A new video streaming site called BitChute is being touted as the most promising alternative to YouTube. This year, increasing political censorship on YouTube has caused unease among its user base. Demonetisation and shadow banning has left popular uploaders with dwindling income and a bleak future.
Unlike YouTube, BitChute doesn’t rely on servers to store a huge amount of video data. Instead, BitChute uses a decentralized torrent based system, with users sharing streams from their own computers. The “Bit” part of the name is in honor of BitTorrent, and it’s the first torrent client that operates in an ordinary web browser.
Because BitChute avoids the huge overheads that YouTube is beholden to, it could be a very serious contender. In January 2017 they had 100 users. Now in August they have around 20,000. It may be inevitable that people migrate away from sites that are deemed to have a political bias. With existing platforms, search engines and sites now being owned by huge monopoly companies like Google, people with a desire for free speech are looking for the next big thing.
And that just might be BitChute.
Here’s the top page of BitChute. Lots of good stuff to choose from there already:
But is there more? Oh yeah.
There’s A Wiki For That!
There’s a surprisingly large number of them. I make it about 56 at the moment, plus 8 X-rated sites. Then they list 2 providers of commercial video site building systems, then 16 “Enterprise Providers”
Listed here are video hosting providers exclusively serving businesses wanting to share video content internally with employees or externally with customers, partners, or prospects. Features may include limiting access to authenticated users, tracking of user actions, integration with single sign-on services and a lack of the advertisements normally present on public sites. Among sites in this category are:
Not much use for us non-business types.
And then 3 Open Source options:
GNU MediaGoblin (software)
Plumi (software to create video sharing site)
There’s also a link to a “comparison” page for video sharing options:
The comparison page doesn’t attempt to compare most of those listed in the “list” page, so be advised it’s limited.
Clearly I can’t review all of them here. Heck, I can’t even visit all of them in any reasonable time.
Many of them are familiar names that have added video sharing or have been around but not dominant: Flickr (Yahoo), Vimeo, YouTube itself, Facebook, LiveLeak, Metacafe, Myspace, Photobucket, Reditt, Twitch and more.
The point here is simple: There are a LOT of already existing and already in use places to host a video. Plus a couple of P2P options (one of which seems to already be gathering critical mass as a censorship free zone).
So, OK, what to do?
Well, first off, I’m going to be hanging out at BitChute a lot more. I’ll not be bothering with the other “Corporate Left” sites like Facebook or similar as they have already demonstrated they are kindred spirits with YouTube in the censorship of Conservative and alternative views; plus I’m fond of promoting P2P as a more “tamper proof” alternative technology.
Second, I’m going to be looking over some of those other services. Leaving out the ones, like Aparat that are in other languages (Persian) that I don’t know and / or those that are housed in non-free countries (Iran).
Even with that, there are a great many sites to check out.
As anyone tries one and has an opinion, please feel free to let the rest of us know!
It is rather pleasant to realize there’s a huge number of options and a large variety of choice!