Nebula as a YouTube alternative

Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by Nebula, I just have used it for a year and I have strong beliefs in favour of privacy, and new, sustainable internet that’s welcoming for everyone, which is why I’m posting this.

I think would be a great addition to revive the Video Streaming - Privacy Guides page. Recommending only the LBRY desktop client, with a warning as well, is pretty unhelpful. The platform itself also doesn’t contain much content, and doesn’t pay creators properly (see The Linux Experiment’s video on this: “being paid in Monopoly money through their crypto token that loses value every single day is not a replacement for a stable revenue source”), and then there’s the whole other “problem” (depending on how you look at it), which is that they have absolutely no moderation so, by mainstream standards, the platform is basically unacceptable (The Linux Experiment also wrote a blog post on this)

How does Nebula compare to LBRY, and PeerTube, and YouTube front-ends? Nebula is a platform created by and owned by the creators on it. It primarily promotes education content, but also how other content. Its business model is based on subscriptions; users sign up and pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to watch videos from their favourite creators sooner, with no ads, and, for the part that concerns Privacy Guides, they watch these videos while having their privacy respected.

Nebula’s privacy policy is rather open-ended, rather than legal text. This makes it understandable to everyone though. I encourage you read it (Privacy Policy | Nebula), but it broadly states that they will not collect unnecessary data or sell that data to anyone. This is important because Nebula is the only video-sharing platform with a proper business model that also respects your privacy. You can debate the privacy improvements of PeerTube and YouTube front-ends, but for creators, they both mean the same thing: no revenue.

While ethics is not per se a part of Privacy Guides’ recommendations, I’d like to think this website, while promoting privacy, open source, and human rights issues (pride), we would also promote sustainable business models for services. Nebula is a platform that has one, and that respects privacy. From this perspective, I believe it should be recommended over other options such as LBRY (which, from an ethical standpoint should also be removed, in my opinion) and PeerTube. It is understandable that not all creators are on it, so YouTube front-ends should still be recommended for users who can’t pass up YouTube.

Thank you to the Privacy Guides team for all you’ve done, and I look forward to your opinions, and the opinions of the community on this!

If this proposal is not accepted, I believe the video streaming page should simply be taken down, for the reasons described above concerning LBRY.

I think Nebula is a great addition to Youtube, and would love to see it recommended on PrivacyGuides

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In light of LBRY’s shutting down, and the removal of the video streaming page (Remove video streaming section by mfwmyfacewhen · Pull Request #2239 · privacyguides/ · GitHub), I believe this has gained new relevance.

cc @anon30510143

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I don’t really understand how nebula is more private. It even requires an account and payment in order to use it. Frankly, it’s less private than even YouTube. Definitely not something we would recommend on the site.


It’s not anonymous. It requires payment because that’s the only way you can pay creators without an ad-based monetisation model. It is private because it doesn’t collect user data, a big improvement over YouTube, whose business model is based entirely on collecting user data.


I’m sure it’s a great platform, a lot of the creators on there are people I like and watch. But there’s just no privacy benefit. We want the site to focus on software with some technical privacy protections rather than relying on the privacy policy. I would absolutely use Nebula over something like Netflix though just from the quality of the content.

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I disagree with this. What is the technical benefit of the different front-ends recommended? They could just as easily be collecting user data as Nebula could.

And, is it not also a good idea to promote platforms advancing privacy? Nebula is a first of its kind; it pays creators and does not violate user privacy (as you point out, so they say at least).

If we recommend Nebula, it may encourage the creation of other privacy-respecting streaming services or other services. And it’s a sustainable business model for creators.

The front-ends recommended on the other hand, do nothing to address the core problem of YouTube being a privacy-invasive ad-based platform.

Nebula is the only alternative for it for creators. And by using front-ends, creators get nothing. This is why I think Nebula should be recommended.


The frontends allow you to either view content without an account when the main platform would normally require it or allow you to view content without Javascript enabled, since Javascript is a major way you can be fingerprinted on the web and disabling it in your browser helps reduce it. There are several frontends which we don’t list because they don’t meet these criteria.

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These frontends hurt YouTube creators because they receive less ad revenue.

Nebula should be listed; it’s good for both creators and viewers, and it does respect user privacy.

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The method a platform uses to pay people is out of scope for PrivacyGuides. I’ve already laid out that it requires an account to use which makes it trivial to track what users watch. Again, I like it as a platform but it’s honestly not much different from say Netflix in terms of privacy.


Netflix is horrible for privacy. Netflix is publicly traded, and they will do anything to make more money; they don’t care about us or our privacy.

They say that they don’t do this in their privacy policy. But, apart from that, what reason would they possibly have for doing this? The platforms makes money from subscriptions, not ad revenue or the selling of data. And if it were discovered that they did sell data, the platform and its creators would receive a lot of backlash.

We all know Netflix tracks people. It’s probably in their privacy policy itself. And they’re not a small platform. They’re not owned by the creators on it.

Nebula is. Nebula has no reason to track anyone, and they publicly say they do not.


Nebula cares about its creators and users and has a sustainable business model that doesn’t rely on selling user data or showing ads down viewers throats.

This is the way to make a sustainable platform; even YouTube is pushing its YouTube Premium subscription. But that doesn’t change the fact that YouTube is horrible for privacy and censors content.

A lot of YouTubers that I know post some exclusive content on Nebula because on YouTube, the content that they post doesn’t align with YouTube’s censorship guidelines, and the videos would be taken down.

This was recommended purely because it could be used without JavaScript, and directly, (not odysee), but with the client. It was possible to shift coin to LBRY tokens, from say Monero and then they could be sold while maintaining user privacy.

It’s also worth noting at the time that LBRY was added it was “big enough” that a lot of YouTube creators were actually mirroring content on there, which was part of the initial motivation to add it in the first place.

As they’ve ceased operations we’re not recommending that anymore. There is unlikely to be any further development, and any that is done will be a fork.

While there may be some privacy there in terms of policy, I think it would be nice if you could pay a year ahead and use a cryptocurrency to do that.

There are plenty payment for product models or subscription models to services which don’t sell your data, but I don’t really think it makes them notable enough to be added to the site by itself. As the page doesn’t exist anymore that would literally just be a advertisement for this one particular service.

What I would be curious about is if we can create a page with a collection of services, with decent privacy policies, and form a criteria around that.

Open ended means ambiguous in the context of a privacy policy, which is not a good thing. I think what you mean to say is that is clear and doesn’t include legalese to increase ambiguity.

Youtube frontends would never be added to that page as they are just frontends.

The main reason we don’t add PeerTube, is because while it is a federated service, there is nothing stopping a particular instance from profiling usage, or doing whatever they want. Many do not even publish a privacy policy.

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