YouTube censorship: what’s all the big fuss about?

YouTube Esther Vargas Flickr

If you haven’t heard by now, YouTube content creators have been up in arms this week as their old videos will no longer gain revenue through YouTube’s advertising. The move on YouTube’s part is the result of non-compliance with the video-sharing website’s old but “new” advertising policies.

YouTube’s advertising policies state that content containing the below are “not advertiser friendly”.

This was posted by well-known YouTuber and one of the loudest voices hitting back at YouTube for their actions, Phillip DeFranco. Many creators, like Franco, have been hit with notices about their older content being demonetised by the site’s “improved” notification system.

The previous system had no notifications put in place for demonetising videos — it was up to the creators themselves to check their analytics for any changes to their videos’ income status. This meant that for an undetermined amount of time, content creators might not have been making any revenue from their content and would be none the wiser.

Other content creators such as McJuggerNuggets, have confirmed that more than several of their videos have been deemed unfit for advertising. Content creators were up in arms at this, thinking it was a devious move by YouTube to censor them. However in a tweet posted by YouTube, it claimed that it just improved the notification process.

This speaks to an age-old problem content creators have faced.

Media firms and publishers have slowly been giving in to the influence of advertisers as they are a large source of revenue. As the saying goes, “it’s just business”, albeit an extremely personal matter for creators, as ads are one of the few ways for them to draw an income for their work.

Patreon, a crowdfunding site which allows individuals to donate to their favorite creators, will probably become a more widely-used source of revenue. One of YouTube’s most prominent gaming journalists, Jim Sterling, uses Patreon and as a result has barely been affected by the issue.

Another major complaint from content creators is that bots are in charge of scouring the streaming site. This often resulted in content receiving false positives and being flagged when they shouldn’t have been.

Human review processes are costing YouTube after its bots mistakenly demonetised advertiser-friendly content

ETC News has also sent every video which was demonetised in for review. This process saw their demonetised videos overturned by a human review process. Essentially, YouTube is fixing the errors its bots made through a human review process, which undoubtedly would set them back a few dollars.

What’s more, content centred around positive information regarding sensitive topics (such as depression) have been flagged as inappropriate.

Featured image: Esther Vargas via Flickr 



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