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Why did YouTube spotlight a scammer and an accused abuser in its inaugural ‘Made on Youtube’ event?

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In its efforts to remain family friendly and attract advertisers, YouTube has often struggled to please its wide and diverse community of creators. The brand’s first “Made on YouTube” event, which took place this morning, appears to have been an attempt to strengthen this relationship by showing creators how much YouTube cares about their work and revenue streams. Unfortunately, the event proved that they still had a way to go.

The event opened with montages of famous content creators making their first YouTube videos, hitting subscribers’ milestones, and saying nice things about all the opportunities YouTube has given them.

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All the usual suspects appeared – YouTube favorites Mark Robert, Marquis Brownlee, Simon Gertz, Binging with Babish, artists Dua Lipa, Lizzo, and Conan Gray, the highest-grossing creator on the platform, MrBeast, and streamers TommyInnit, Dream and Valkyrae. But two pretty amazing faces are also included: ACE’s Austin McBroom and comedian Joss Johnson.

It’s hard to explain how incredibly strange and out of touch these choices are, because both are parts of the platform YouTube prefers to pretend they don’t exist.

Screenshot of Austin McBroom staring at a big screen TV watching his subscriber count has reached 2 million.

Screenshot of a clip of Austin McBroom used during a Made on YouTube event. Cut from the ACE family video “2 Million ACE FAMILY MEMBERS!!!” Published in 2017. McBroom stares at a large TV screen waiting for the channel to reach two million subscribers.
Credit: YouTube / ACE Family

Screenshot of Jos Johnson's video.  Johnson appears to be seated, as you can only see him from the chest up.  He was wearing a baseball cap and red shirt to a trellis of green plants behind him.

Screenshot of a clip of Gus Johnson used during the Made on YouTube event. Cut from a video posted in 2021 called “Thank You 3 Million! (Q&A too)” and heard Johnson say “That amazes me, so thank you!”
Credit: YouTube/Joss Johnson

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The ACE family is notorious for a string of failed business ventures and deceptive selling practices, and has been called out loud by the YouTube community since at least 2018. A lack of attention to YouTube in the past few years that you would be aware of its notoriety.

But, let’s say you’re not on YouTube much. Simply put, searching for “ACE family” on Google brings up snippets featured with questions like “What is the controversy over the ACE family?” and “How much debt does the Ace family have?” Below is an Insider report on the family’s suspicious business dealings.

Screenshot of the ACE family's Google search results page, which includes an excerpt asking

A Google search for “ACE family” returns a featured snippet with the questions “What is the ACE family argument?” and “How much debt does the Ace family have?”
Credit: Google

Meanwhile, Gus Johnson was a celebrity creator until late last year when his ex-girlfriend Abelina Rios accused him of emotional abuse and neglect because she had an ectopic pregnancy that nearly killed her. Rios was part of the content on the Johnson channel between 2018 and 2020, and their videos together are still on the channel. As Newsweek summarized, Johnson apologized for his behavior, which Rios did not accept.

Since then, Johnson’s channel has been a hit with subscribers and viewers after Rio announced its side of the story. He has lost over 350,000 subscribers since Rio’s video was posted. Which makes it all the more weird that YouTube highlights him in a festive mix of creators.

Screenshot of two graphs from socialblade: Johnson's weekly subscriber count and see gains.  Both retracted in October 2021, after the Rio video was published.

Johnson’s channel weekly subscriber gain and viewership, which plummeted after his ex-girlfriend shared her story of emotional abuse in October 2021..
Credit: Socialblade

So, what the hell happened here?

It’s no secret that YouTube is in a constant battle against its ignorance of its own platform. But showing their cards at this event, in particular, is embarrassing. Introducing McBroom and Johnson may be one thing for advertisers interested in a creator’s shining facade than the intricacies of their reputation in the YouTube community. But it’s totally different to spotlight McBroom and Johnson at an event for creatorsespecially to convince content creators that you understand them.

The selection proves how out of touch YouTube is when it comes to issues in their community, and why an event like “Made on YouTube” might remain unclear to the content creators who are supposed to provide their services.

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