Rating:Not Explicit

The Brief: YouNow has hit the market as a live-streaming app that's truly streaming your entire life. It's more than a Snapchat video or Instagram Stories; users are broadcasting everything they're doing, to extreme measures.


We’re no stranger to new apps breaking the internet and popping-up everywhere you look. YouNow has hit the market as a live-streaming app that’s truly streaming your entire life. It’s more than a Snapchat video or Instagram Stories; users are broadcasting everything they’re doing, to extreme measures.

Whether the user is lonely, trying to become social media’s next fifteen-minute icon, or they’re just plain bored, this app is extremely popular among teenagers. Think back to the dawn of Chatroulette, where you hopped online with a stranger, sometimes cam-to-cam, and tried to make friendly connections. Now take out the second party in that scenario: it’s a one-way view into someone’s entire life, and it’s being widely used.

How Large is the Platform?

So far, YouNow is blasting about one-hundred million live videos per month. Normally, you have social media engagement in short bursts, like 280-character tweets or a two-paragraph Facebook post. YouNow is encouraging long-term streaming sprints, sometimes for up to two days at a time.

For those of us well past our late teens and early twenties, we’re constantly focusing on how to retain privacy, prevent Alexa from recording every conversation we have, and even producing laptops with hidden webcams. Privacy is a constant battle, and we’re watching the younger generation willingly cast aside their privacy for an online viewership.

Concerns About Privacy and Perversion

In a world of shrinking privacy, more and more things are becoming normalized. If you sent messages about every meal you ate and updated your location constantly back in 2001, people would think you were absolutely mental. Now, it’s commonplace to use Facebook’s check-in or post thirty tweets in a day regarding your activities and what you’re doing.

With a primarily teenage audience for YouNow, it’s an even farther leap into willingly throw away privacy. For parents, there’s the concern of their child’s well being, and protecting them from online threats, strangers, and keeping them as safe as possible. With YouNow, everyone is a viewer, even if they have unjust intentions. Teenagers are leaving their devices on while they sleep with the hashtag #SleepingSquad, which any potential predator or peeping Tom simply being labeled as a “viewer.”

Users can also interact with the streamer, give gifts, and chat. It takes all the danger out of stranger, and promotes online interactions that aren’t exactly kosher, or could turn into forms of grooming. It all depends on how you look at it, and YouNow does have some features enabled that terminate and prevent certain age ranges from streaming.

This girl, Ally Hardesty, is a YouNow streamer that’s also been a victim of swatting and doxing, a prime example of how privacy has dwindled so far with live broadcasting platforms.

YouNow’s Child Safety Attempts and Broadcast Terminations

YouNow has restrictions on who can and cannot be on camera, with an age rating of 13+. If you have anyone in your stream, even if they’re simply sitting in the background, you have to have verification that they are thirteen or older. If not, YouNow might just end your broadcast without warning.

On top of that, users in the viewing stream can vote on whether a broadcast should end or not. This showcases disinterest to the streamer, and while it’s a tactic best suited to keep content on the app that viewers actually enjoy, it has negative effects on the streamer.

YouNow Might be at the End of the Line

There’s been a lot of talk that YouNow is about to end after a decent run (in popular app time, at least). Much like when Vine ended, many Viners headed to YouTube to continue and expand their viewership. There’s a lot of speculation that when and if YouNow ends, YouTube live-streaming is going to end up with all those users and traffic.