Content Creators Working for the Algorithm

Creators who produce content for big online platforms, from video game livestreamers on Twitch to adult content producers on platforms like OnlyFans, often find themselves forced to share a lot of data, putting their privacy and security at risk while being given limited information as to how this data is being used.

A black female content creator at her desk in front of a camera with an ominous black box with data points and an eye on one face looking at her behind her shoulder

Having already attracted huge popularity before the Covid-19 pandemic, the production of content for online platforms has become a real career choice for more people than ever before. Whether it's publishing educational content on YouTube, comedy on TikTok, news on Snapchat, video games on Twitch or adult content on OnlyFans and similar sites, the options to make a living from an online platform have multiplied. Many companies now offer creator funds or have dedicated massive amounts of money to redistribute to creators who are willing to establish themselves on their platform to produce content.

But creating content is not risk-free. Many platforms don't limit the data they collect to what the users consume but usually extend this to collect to creators' data. This is in addition to the data that creators might already be providing as part of their content. Currently, very little is shared with creators about how this data is used to make decisions about them and influence content promotion or demotion as well as other internal decisions. Creators usually have to blindly accept rules in order to be able to use the platforms and have limited ways to challenge decisions or exercice control over their data.

Privacy International has undertaken research with content creators to better understand how their privacy and security might be put at risk through their relation with digital platforms. We also tried to understand what can be done to improve relationships with platforms as well as creators' security and privacy, limiting the negative impact of platforms' decision making, in particular when done with automated means.

Click here to read our research on content creators's privacy and security and their relationship with platforms or scroll down to watch the security and privacy tips shared by content creators.