YouTube announced yesterday that it was instituting a ban on cat videos in response to growing identification of the website with feline content. A statement posted on the popular video-sharing company’s website yesterday read, “As a worldwide community of content producers, we are committed to maintaining an open and inclusive online environment; however, due to the unforeseenproliferation of feline-oriented content, we have decided to take the step of banning further uploading of cat videos to the site for the indeterminate future.”
To enforce the ban, the company has developed sophisticated “feline identification software” to automatically screen video content for cats at the data upload stage and deny any videos that contain at least 40% feline content. They have also added a “report cat video” button to all new videos being uploaded and designated a small team of “cat video search specialists” – already being dubbed “the pound” by critics – to troll for any contravening content that makes it through the earlier detection process.
Internet expert Gwendolyn Georgia calls the move “unprecedented, but necessary” to protecting their brand identity. “YouTube was at risk of losing the dynamic diversity of content upon which it was founded to a group of widely-dispersed, but well-organized cat enthusiasts who were relentless in their upload habits. This is a segment of the population who, frankly, has little better to do with their time – being disproportionately unemployed and often having shunned the social world of their own species.” A “cat video” search on the site yielded 1,840,000 results.
In response to the ban, rival public video sharing site Vimeo has tried to capitalize on the opportunity by positioning themselves as a more “pet-friendly” site to attract the disillusioned YouTube members.
Ms. Georgia is keen to watch the transition unfold and she’s not sure that YouTube is done with their selective content purging just yet, “there’s rumours swirling on the internet that baby videos may be next.”
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