YouTube Defends Pulling Ads from Creators’ Videos

YouTube has defended its decision to pull advertisements from creators’ videos, saying that although there has been growing concern regarding potential “censorship” on the site over the past week, their policies regarding monetizing advertiser-friendly content has not changed.

Many fear that YouTube is looking to effectively control what kind of content is posted to the site in order to make it more attractive to advertisers, after prominent content creator Philip DeFranco revealed that monetization had been pulled on around 40 of his videos as a result of their content. Though this policy has always existed on YouTube, the company recently updated its Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines so as to provide a less ambiguous overview for creators, with content that is considered “not advertiser-friendly” as follows: 

  • Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humour
  • Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism
  • Inappropriate language, including harassment, swearing and vulgar language
  • Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items
  • Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown

In a video titled ‘YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do,’ DeFranco explained how he believed his videos have had their monetization stripped as a result of his channel covering raw news topics, which invariably contain much of the above content. As a result many content creators have expressed consternation that these changes may fatally affect their channels, though YouTube has not responded to these fears by insisting that the site hasn’t officially changed its stance towards what content it deems advertiser friendly.

In a statement released to the BBC, a spokesman for YouTube’s parent company Google said: “While our policy of demonetizing videos due to advertiser-friendly concerns hasn’t changed, we’ve recently improved the notification and appeal process to ensure better communication.” This would suggest that the demonetization of many of DeFranco’s videos isn’t a result of YouTube changing its policies, but rather the site enforcing existing policies that were previously only vaguely outlined by the company. Now alongside informing a creator via email that their video has been demonetized as a result of it featuring content that isn’t advertiser-friendly, creators have now been given access to a brand new appeals process that makes it easier to appeal these decisions.

However, despite the insistence that this policy update hasn’t resulted in a change of attitude in terms of what content can and can’t be monetized on the site, content creators understandably remain concerned over what this means for the future of the platform. Unfortunately, it was always an inevitability that YouTube would one day turn its eye towards the content that it allowed to be monetized, with other video sharing platforms such as Twitch having introduced stricter content policies in order to ensure that advertisers wouldn’t be turned off from featuring their brand on the site. It remains to be seen whether Philip DeFranco is right and the site will now begin enforcing stricter policies in order to dissuade certain content from being hosted on the site, but according to Google that isn’t the case and it’s business as usual for content creators.