Vimeo Plus Review: No Free Speech. Not Even For Paying Customers
The Vimeo Plus account that I paid for was just disabled without warning, email notification, strikes or any cogent explanation. I create high quality content about health, supplements, mindset and philosophy; none of my content is very political or could be construed as hate speech, violent or discriminatory.
I promptly emailed Vimeo asking for more details, stating…
It’s going to be costly and time consuming for me to replace all the videos on my website using the vimeo player. Egregious violation of free speech, customer trust and decency aside the least you can do is refund what I’ve paid for the service.
I have had a Vimeo account for a long time, paid for premium membership twice and I’d uploaded a lot of videos that I embedded on my website and elsewhere around the web. Their embedded player is very good and worked well for my purposes. It’s a huge inconvenience to say the least to go through hundreds of pages on my website and replace the Vimeo videos with Youtube videos.
Vimeo didn’t respond to my email, I tried to contact them via social media, tried emailing a few more times and finally after a month they responded:
We also forbid content that displays a demeaning attitude toward specific groups, including:
Videos that offer seduction training or teach Pickup Artist (PUA) techniques
A second person from Trust and Safety clarified further
These videos are not consistent with the spirit of our Community Guidelines (which form part of our Terms of Service) which prohibit content that contains “discriminatory” speech; we have defined this as speech that makes “derogatory or inflammatory statements about individuals or groups.” We also reserve the right to remove content that would tend to damage Vimeo’s reputation or goodwill (Terms of Service, Section 6). The overall goal and philosophy of your videos present a reductive and ultimately disrespectful view of women.
I do personal development content, I did a series on how men might get into meaningful happy relationships. I’m not a commercial pick up artist, I don’t have any kind of seduction training product. I did a video where I pretend to Daygame approach my wife and ask for her phone number. This is a chivalrous and totally consensual way that guys can get girlfriends. You can watch my video with my wife, I don’t say anything that could be remotely construed as sexist, I describe and portray a respectful and effective way that men and women could connect and potentially fall in love.
I don’t see why Vimeo doesn’t have a warning system. Or better yet an algorithmic system that warns if I’m uploading something that breaks the rules. Vimeo has all the money in the world to create an algorithm that detects meta data and could notify me if a video might be breaking the rules. Then I’ll know to just delete it and store it elsewhere. I’ve had a vimeo account for a long time and the “no pickup artist stuff” rule was not in the community guidelines when I signed up for an account. Vimeo changes their terms of service all the time. I can’t afford an attorney to decipher the rules every time Vimeo changes them.
Professional vloggers like myself are increasingly unhappy with Youtube because Youtube kills channels that Youtubers have worked very hard on for years in a callous, cavalier and often very random fashion based upon really poorly defined community guidelines that are applied selectively.
I paid money for a Vimeo plus account because I thought Vimeo would show me a modicum of respect as a customer and that I wouldn’t have to worry about them randomly deleting my content without warning. If you go to a restaurant, pay for a meal and then they have to kick you out of the restaurant (for whatever reason) they always explain as you’re being kicked out what you did wrong and they almost always give you your money back. Why doesn’t Vimeo show the same human decency to its paying customers?
It’s important to point out how “soviet” Vimeo’s behavior and policies are. I just finished reading this really well researched and engrossing historical novel about NKVD soviet spies in Europe and it illustrates how the soviets maintained a tyrannical grip on the people by keeping everyone deathly afraid of expressing an opinion. In the soviet times if you were even rumored to have dissenting opinions you would be interrogated and tortured by the NKVD. They would NEVER tell you what you actually did or said wrong, they wanted you to admit that you did something wrong deserving of punishment (hopefully incriminating someone else…) Thus everyone living under their tyranny just learned to stay silent and never express an opinion on anything remotely interesting. People would talk about the weather, repeat the soviet party-line slogans and not much else.
Vimeo could easily create an algorithm that would tell vloggers like me if we were engaging in behavior that could risk account suspension. I’m imagining a risk “temperature bar” that would tell us if we were getting close to violating the rules.
There’s a good reason they don’t have this obvious and helpful feature, they want us to be afraid of expressing interesting opinions. The soviets in big tech are different from the soviets you read about in history in that they don’t (yet?) have the authority to torture and kill us; the worst they can do is “digital depersoning” which still serves as a significant incentive to self-censor and stay away from really interesting ideas. They’ve created this environment where you never know when you’re going to say the wrong thing and have your content deleted without warning. They are doing everything in their power to dumb the conversation down as much as possible and encourage conformity.
Someone considering a Vimeo Plus membership might say…
Well it’s kind of unfair that they deleted your very reasonable content but I’m not going to upload any questionable content. I don’t do pickup artist videos so I shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Well, how long before they change their terms of service again and forbid the reasonable subject matter of your content? Political correctness knows no reason, if some crazy person somewhere on the internet is bothered by something you say about something you’ll be subject to having your content deleted on these platforms that don’t give a damn about free speech or their customers. There’s lots of documentary film makers that host their films on Vimeo, what if someone interviewed in your documentary in a moment of unguarded frankness says something politically incorrect (or something that may be considered politically incorrect in the future)? All the blood, sweat and tears that your poured into your documentary film and the love that your audience has for it will be callously disregarded by Vimeo’s Trust and Safety team who will take 5 seconds to look at your content before making a snap judgement and hitting the delete button. It used to be that in the past you had the freedom to express your opinions in the public space, if your opinions were wrong, hateful or offensive most people would just ignore you and others could use their free speech to make a persuasive counter argument.
A silver lining is that Trust and Safety did finally offer to refund me for my Vimeo Plus membership after I explained that my content was the furthest thing from being a misogynistic rant which is nice but doesn’t come close to the cost in time of replacing my vimeo videos on my site.
I’ll add that Vimeo hosts a bunch of pornographic (and borderline pedophilic) content so they have a ridiculous double standard when it comes to censoring my kind of personal development content. People used to question the morality of hoteliers because hoteliers actually made a lot of money selling porn on the rooms televisions (for $19 a scene!) to their lonely guests.
Vimeo is like a hotel that sells porn and then kicks you out for having sex with your wife!
Originally published on LimitlessMindset.com