Ethics of YouTube Frontends?

This has been a topic which has bugged me for a bit and I’m interested in other’s opinions. With the recent Google crackdowns in YouTube alternatives, I’ve been reconsidering what I use for viewing video creator content.

Currently I’m using 4 different video services to view video content. Listed in order of preference, they are Nebula, PeerTube, Odysee, and Invidious. I’ve particularly liked Nebula’s cost, the cut they give to the creators, and their privacy policy. There are almost no other platforms like it. The closest I can find is DropOut. I use all of these services to maximize privacy, but as I get older and have the income to support creators, I’ve tried to consider how I can view video while providing revenue to the creators. Invidious in particular, and to a lesser extent Odysee and PeerTube, don’t have a clear monetization path (and in PeerTube’s case does cost someone to host the video).

I’m probably going to end up dropping the bottom three services and then signup for YT Premium and use a VPN to mask my IP. This would eliminate the need for the other services and allow me to support creators the same way I do on Nebula. Albeit at more cost for less privacy than Nebula :frowning: .

What are your stances on YT frontends (NewPipe, Invidious, FreeTube, etc)? What are your thoughts on the impact it has on creator revenue? I don’t have the income to sign up for everyone’s Patreon, but want to make sure I am not a silent revenue void for them either.


I recommend looking at Louis Rossmann’s video.
Youtube does not give a flying fuck about its creators or its viewers. If you want to support creators, donate to them or buy their merchandise or something.


Personally, YouTube, is literally the last Google service, I use. I am subscribed to around 160 channels, and I constantly have something on in the background. If it’s not the radio, it’s likely a YT video from my sub page. This means I get a lot of value from BOTH Google, and the creators. Morally I also believe in funding good work. In the belief that Premium helps fund both (from what creators have said), I subscribe. I do not like it, but there is no good alternative for all 160 channels. I sometimes also give a small amount to creators, outside YT. Avoiding Patreon, and preferring something like Librepay.

When I do watch, it’s mostly via the browser, with ad/script blocking enabled. Sometimes with Piped, or NewPipe. I’ve also made sure to go through and tweak every tracking and privacy setting possible.


Here’s the thing, your YT Premium subscription does not make any meaningful contribution to a channel’s compensation. And to reward you for your payment, YouTube gives you a middle finger by not letting you watch a ‘downloaded’ video if you don’t connect to the internet for 3 days. They actively restrict your ability to view content how you wish to. You aren’t supporting creators, you are further funding Google’s greed and shitty practices.


I’m sorry, are you going to host billions of videos, with more being uploaded, or streamed, every minute. Are you going to do this while supporting 4k, and keeping everything stable. Like it or not, hosting and development costs money, and neither are cheap. Imagine if nobody funded YT, and they kept loosing money. The platform could be shut down, and billions of hours of content would be lost, along with many jobs in and outside of Google. It would be a disaster, akin to a library burning.

Are the apps and the service perfect? I never said it was. I support Piped, NewPipe, YouTube-dl, and so on. Just because you support one thing, does not mean you cannot support another.

I’m too a fan of Nebula (and sam denby stan). I’ve never really taken a look at their privacy policy before, but looking at it now I wish it was more thorough. It doesn’t mention any specifics about what is collected; they just make blanket statements. It’s almost more a marketing doc than an actual legal doc.

For example, many customers sign up through the Curiosity Stream bundle — what data is shared with CS? They state, “we won’t share with third parties beyond the technical requirements of third-party services,” but what does that really entail? I do tend to trust the team behind Nebula, so I’m not necessarily concerned; I just wish they provided a more thorough account of what data they handle and how it’s managed.

And off-topic a bit — it would be really cool to see Techlore on Nebula. I have no idea the logistics and possibility of that, but as it stands there’s practically zero privacy-related content on there.

1.this is a completely different argument tough. at first you are talking about creator’s contribution. now you are talking about Youtube justified monetization. louis rossman. if YT provides a shittier then what you get from pirating content. then morally speaking its completly ok (tough im not even certain it qualify as piracy given that this content is not locked behind a paywall to begin with) my opinion if YT will go bankrupt it might acutally be a good thing. it may give alternative platform (some which are more free speech. and pro privacy) a better chance to thrive due to the power vacumme

Okay I have a lot of things to say here…

As a creator opposed to invasive revenue models, it’s a tough position for myself—especially when realistically the number of people willing to dish out $5/m+ seem restricted to less than 1% of our consistent viewers. It’s a bit depressing how even just 5% of our viewers (still a massive minority) would nearly 5x our income and enable us to do some really incredible things. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the amazing patrons like yourself —we just need more of ya!

As a result of the situation, I’m forced to explore additional revenue models to keep us expanding, some of which I’m 100% behind—like Go Incognito Premium and our 1-1 coaching, but it gets tricky with things like ads.

I believe the types of ads YouTube chooses to run are problematic, invasive, and privacy-intruding, so I cannot blame people for using alternatives to bypass them. We actively enable this by uploading to platforms like PeerTube. But we ironically still rely on the large number of people who view our content on YouTube with ads enabled. If everyone stopped watching our content with ads, it would really damage us, and I doubt many of those people would support us via other methods to make up for the loss.

For better or for worse, YouTube and its revenue model has dramatically dropped the entry point for people to make content creation profitable, ourselves included. And without individuals going out of their way to support creators, as you’ve had, eliminating ad revenue would genuinely hurt creators.

Hard disagree. YT Premium almost always pays creators better than ads, and it does so without directly enabling an invasive industry. While YT Premium still supports Google, ads support both Google AND the invasive ad industry. I think more people moving to YT Premium would not only pay creators better, but it would signal to companies like Google/YouTube that the world is willing to invest in less-invasive services. This is similar to how I feel about buying Google hardware for things like flashing Custom ROMs, it signals to companies like Google that there is real money to be made from their hardware, rather than their advertising industry. At least in theory of course.

From what I’ve read, Nebula has an insanely clique situation where you need to know a content creator already on Nebula, and they need to ‘recommend’ you onto the platform. If you look online, you’ll see there’s no application or FAQ or any basic information about how creators can apply into the program.


Lots of good discussion here. I have a few thoughts on some of the replies.

This hits at the crux of the issue. I can be against an advertising company and yet pay for a service they provide because there is no other good alternative. I think whether using the service itself or using an add blocking alternative really depends on how strongly you are against ads or for paying for the services you engage in. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer, just which stance is more important for you to take.

Yeah, I tried to look for a more legal document on it but couldn’t find it. Interestingly, I did find it on their store privacy policy, which is what I expect for someone who doesn’t care about collecting your data except for some site analytics, but uses other third party services which are more invasive by default.

Thank you @Henry :heart:, I do try to directly support the creators which provide the content I really enjoy and would be very sad to see disappear. However, I don’t have the time and energy to look up every person I watch and follow and make sure I have done something to contribute to them. In some rare cases, there isn’t a way to just hand a creator money and the only way is to buy their merch (LTT comes to mind here). As someone who likes to accumulate as little as possible of physical possessions, there is no good way for me to support those creators outside of YT premium.

Hmm, that’s unfortunate. Although, I can understand why they’re doing it that way. Wendover made a good video (YT link) on the service creation. TLDR; they are bootstrapping a video hosting service where there have been several notable failures in this space. I think the need to be recommended is a way to establish a trust chain without a team. However, it does have the side effect of being a exclusive club :frowning:.


That’s just a generic Shopify privacy policy. This Shopify site has almost the exact same wording, for example.

Google is not blocking frontends, And they can’t.

If you like to use invidious, check out my instance and has high security enhancement as well:

WAF for attacks
Added Hide Invidious instance behind proxy server (for escaping DMCA requests)
Captcha for Login/Register to prevent spambots
Encryption at rest
Encryption in transit
Only Using TLS 1.2/TLS 1.3 (Harden enhancements, Perfect Forward Secrecy)

We use CDN to speed up video processing so you can watch your videos anywhere in the world without lag or slowdown.

High Uptime:

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Google is not blocking frontends, And they can’t.
They are absolutely trying to block them and shut them down.

Lol, Invidious ain’t shutting down they are not scared unlike most of these “privacy frontends”. This is why I prefer invidious over piped fuck the law… Invidious has moved to their own Gitea for backup, but GitHub is still up in case they get DMCA to get removed!

That doesn’t at all debunk my point.
Youtube sending legal threats is still an attempt to get the invidious project shut down, no matter how bullshit and baseless the threats are. Their altering of their systems to block privacy frontends is still part of their attempts to force users to use their official site. The success of their efforts is another matter.

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Yep, I understand your point. But People got to understand people think differently and will not comply with laws, so you don’t have to worry about some privacy instances will go down and if they do, it’s open source and someone else will take over, and the cycle repeats… :slight_smile:

I don’t think YouTube is actively trying to block private frontends, I think that they just make changes to their website and it causes privacy frontends to stop working. I don’t really think it is that worth their time to block them especially when such as small percentage of users actually use them.

Personally, I pay for YT Premium, because I watch a lot of YT videos, but I don’t follow any specific creators (and I don’t want to bother trying to get ad blocking running on my TV). If I only watched a handful of channels, I’d try and support them outside the platform instead. It’s certainly not ideal to directly support Google, but the fact of the matter is that you kind of have no choice because that is where creators choose to host videos. Ethically, I think the only options are to watch YouTube with ads/Premium as intended, not watch YouTube at all, OR support every creator you watch outside YouTube.

Something I’ll add is that if you just want moral absolution from using a frontend or adblocker, you don’t necessarily need to support every creator you watch on an ongoing basis. If you make a one-time donation, or buy merch, or something like that, you’ll have almost certainly paid them more in that one transaction than you’d ever personally have contributed to them via AdSense. Over the course of a year or two, even supporting hundreds of creators you follow this way is probably financially feasible for a lot of people.

Floatplane, probably.

Well, even ignoring the fact that YouTube directly told Invidious to shut down, they are experimenting with blocking adblocking extensions on the main website, so there is certainly other evidence that they are actively trying to block clients which don’t generate revenue.

The message of this video itself is fine, but I find a lot of the comments there very discouraging. There’s a lot of talk about how people should just be posting things to YouTube for fun like they did 15 years ago, and that creators like LinusTechTips are entitled for trying to turn it into a job. The amount of high-quality, informational content on YouTube is actually literally insane, and I think some people take it for granted. I just watched some Veritasium videos which were basically full-fledged documentaries, that type of content could have been a network TV show just 15 years ago. Not supporting YouTube creators at all—as some commenters there seem to suggest, not Rossmann himself—is not an option.


I think the ethics are muddy. On the one hand you could just say that using a frontend is akin to piracy. You’re using a service that requires a form of payment (watching ads) and instead using that service for free. However, it doesn’t feel like YouTube/Google offer a good alternative. If by paying for premium all tracking was removed then I think it would almost be a no brainer to pay for it. But as it stands Google is double dipping by directly receiving your money and then still building an ad profile on you.

I think the correct option is to find ways of supporting creators in other ways. If they offer their videos somewhere else, Peertube/Odysee/Nebula/Floatplane I would go support them there, either paying to access the content or donating/buying merch. If you can only get the content on YouTube then supporting them elsewhere and using a frontend is probably justifiable, though you’re still using a service Google provides without them getting paid if that matters to you.

I see a general consensus of the best and most private path is to use the privacy frontends while contributing to the creator in other ways.

If you have the time and energy to do so, by all means this is the most righteous path. I just find that it would entail making that a second job for the variety of creators I watch. In a lot of ways, internet video has supplanted traditional television video for me, particularly from YouTube.

In my ideal world there would be a video hosting service where viewers could pay for only 1080p content and most of your subscription would go to the creators you watch. As somewhat of a minimalist, I don’t want to be buying a lot of merch. Nebula is currently the closest, even with some of the flaws detailed above.

I looked into FloatPlane. My take on it is that it is video Patreon. There is no way to have one subscription for all access and you pay per creator for a specific tier. If you absolutely love one of the channels, it is the best way to support them without buying stuff. I did a quick search and most of the FP creators also have a Patreon, so you could choose your platform there.