Is the Polish Central Bank creating Youtube propaganda?
Poland’s Central Bank, Narodowy Bank Polski, has been accused of paying content creators on Youtube to make videos slandering cryptocurrencies, according to reports.
One popular Polish Youtuber, who has one million subscribers on his channel, received roughly $30,000 from the Central Bank of Poland.
The payment was received in collaboration with the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, to “portray cryptocurrencies in a negative light.”
Marcin Dubiel, whose video “I lost all my money” failed to disclose the payment its viewers.
The video, that’s received half a million views, tells a story in which Dubiel claims he lost all his money due to cryptocurrency.
In the video, Dubiel initially portrays cryptocurrencies as an easy way to get rich.
He then “loses all of his money” due to cryptocurrency investments, and is left unable to pay for a date at a restaurant.
In the video’s description, there’s a hashtag #uważajnakryptowaluty, that relates to a website by the FCA and Poland’s Central Bank.
The website claims that virtual currencies are risky, have no guarantee, and are not classified as currency.
Social media campaign
It may sound like a wild conspiracy theory, but the National Bank of Poland has openly admitted that they carried out the campaign.
In a statement from the NBP, it confirmed that “it carried out a campaign on the issue of virtual currencies in social media.”
They refused to provide any further comment on the matter, however.
They also failed to explain why their paid advertising wasn’t disclosed in the video by Marcin Dubiel.
Dubiel, it seems, was also only one of many Youtube video creators that received payments.
Among others was Planeta Faktów, with 1.5 million subscribers on its Youtube channel.
A gray area
Although undisclosed advertising maybe against Youtube’s policies, the legality of the Polish Central Bank’s actions is unclear.
Usually, it is illegal for contractors or state actors to engage in propaganda aimed at their own citizens within a democracy.
Whether the video in question can be classed as propaganda is indeed a gray area.
The storytelling, however, seems to be extremely biased and is clearly aimed at scaring people away from investing in crypto.
Once scene even portrays Dubiel as a victim of an evil criminal, who laughs as he counts the cash that he’s “taken” from the Youtuber.
The narrative then twists the knife further when Dubiel’s girlfriend dumps him after their date when the restaurant he takes her to doesn’t accept crypto, leaving her to pay the bill with fiat.
The campaign has caused outrage in the crypto community, with one analyst blasting the central bank’s actions as “low down and dirty.”
Mati Greenspan, a senior market analyst at trading platform eToro, said in a statement:
“It’s one thing to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) or talk it down if it’s bothering you, I can respect that.
“But to start a smear campaign using social influencers and not disclose the payments, that’s just low down and dirty.”