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NewPipe - a free YouTube client
newpipe.schabi.org
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The NewPipe project recently had a few debates on advertising, its ethics and how Team NewPipe decides whether or not a certain form of advertising is acceptable. In this article, we present our position on advertising in general, show the difference between ethical and unethical advertising, and explain why we do not intend to support technologies like SponsorBlock.

TL;DR

A PR implementing SponsorBlock was implemented for NewPipe. It uses a system that allows users to tag parts of videos, so that they are skipped automatically for other viewers. The idea is to skip sponsored segments.

The NewPipe team decided to not merge the PR and support SponsorBlock, since their main goal is to protect user privacy, and that sponsored segment don’t infringe on user’s privacy. Since they don’t view advertising as an issue in itself (though the associated tracking is), they don’t want to be gatekeepers of Youtube Advertising.

@Axaoe
75M

I feel that’s a pretty fair take all things considered (unless I’m missing something not covered here like past issues or the like).

I have yet to try SponsorBlock but in general don’t mind an in-video sponsor message vs an ad.

@koalp
5
edit-2
5M

I think privacy isn’t the only problem with commercial advertisement. In my opinion, most commercial advertisement are anti-information, as they use people feelings and fallacious arguments to sell goods and it plays a big role in the consumerism. And for this issue that I have with advertisement, in-video adds are even worse, as they denature the information provided in the video by adding “useless parts” and are difficult to avoid.

But as they say, their main goal is to protect privacy. Therefore, I understand their argument but would like to have a plugin system to add this feature.

riccardo
25M

As far as I know, the SponsorBlock guys have been linking an updated version of their fork (with the SponsorBlock integration) since the PR was submitted. They update it as soon as new NewPipe releases are published. You can find the link in the PR

I see this as similar to how the Tor browser bundle doesn’t include ad blocking. Tor is already seen as potentially malicious by many sites, so might as well let websites get ad revenue from Tor users so they are less likely to block Tor nodes. If you’re using Tor, you’re not likely to be followed beyond your current session by tracking in those ads so it isn’t as much of a privacy concern.

Newpipe is trying to keep YouTube viewing private, and while they actively get rid of YouTube’s share of advertising, they aren’t interested in getting rid of non-invasive advertising simply because its advertising. I see this as a pro-YouTube content creator move, as ultimately its a project focused on YouTube and content creators are what make YouTube special. Not that newpipe users are even a blip on the radar for them though.

ufra
4
edit-2
5M

Thanks for tldr. Not sure if that long piece was intentionally confusing or maybe unorganised.

I had to go read SponsorBlock since it was assumed you know what it is.

I get and respect not wanting to be in the work of maintaining potentially tangled advertising policies and functionality, but their self-appointed role of deciding what ethical ad systems are was really annoying. Have never used it and probably won’t ever start after reading that.

What’s wrong about them deciding what ethical ad systems are? They addressed the issue clearly, stating that it was because yt ad system is privacy invasive, while in-video are not, which is quite logical on the tech side.

ufra
2
edit-2
5M

That’s basically what I said, I respect their reasoning and decision. What I don’t like is stuff like this of course business:

Donations are, of course, the most ethical funding system. They allow the community to directly support their favorite producers. If the donations are recurring, they allow for long-term sustainability and help creators plan their future better. Unfortunately, most of these donations are handled by proprietary, closed and profit-oriented platforms like Patreon (although there are alternatives like Liberapay and Open Collective).

while on their front page they have:

Your donations cover a majority of our costs F-Droid, Weblate, Sentry and other companies offer their services to open source projects for free Like the idea? We hope so! But don’t forget, a lot of time and energy goes into this, and we share it with you. We offer you ways to support our work by donations - so we can get some extra snacks during work!

Are donations of course more ethical than getting a grant from a non-profit or a good local government?

I personally don’t want to hear developers telling me about what of course is an ethical funding system.

Wait, are those two paragraphs supposed to be contradicting each other? I don’t get it :| Also

I personally don’t want to hear developers telling me about what of course is an ethical funding system.

That’s fair, but devs are completely free to express their opinions and state their reasons to reject a PR, ethical or not. That comment sounds way too similar to “I don’t want politics in my music” whenever musicians state their political opinions through their platform.

Ethics and politics have a close relationship with FOSS, whether you like it or not. I mean, you’re on Lemmy.ml, whose devs openly state is an antifa instance.

In any case, you, or anyone for that matter, can always fork the project and accept that PR.

ufra
1
edit-2
5M

That’s fair, but devs are completely free to express their opinions and state their reasons to reject a PR, ethical or not

Completely agreed. I found their expression overly declarative and somewhat hypocritical. By the same token, if a musician wrote a long rambling piece about how DCMA was the most ethical way to support musicians, I probably would have a similar response.

Dreeg Ocedam
creator
25M

Yeah, I didn’t know where the article was headed until the last paragraph ^^

art
35M

In video ads aren’t bad. A lot of creators are adding chapters showing where the ads are.

A place to discuss privacy and freedom in the digital world.

Privacy has become a very important issue in modern society, with companies and governments constantly abusing their power, more and more people are waking up to the importance of digital privacy.

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