YouTubers claim the site’s over now that “advertiser-friendly content” seems to have a broader definition
The sometimes wonderful and often terrifying world of Youtube is currently up in arms as prominent vloggers claim “YouTube is over” because of the company’s policy that disables ads on potentially dicey content. While the website’s policy outlining advertiser-friendly content has been in place for a long time, YouTube just recently started directly notifying creators when their videos are having ads pulled via notifications in their video analytics board. This was intended as a move towards transparency in the process of demonetization, but has garnered criticism from YouTubers who are now more aware of advertisements being pulled and consider it “censorship.”
One of the many popular YouTubers affected by this policy is Philip DeFranco, who runs a channel that satirically comments on everything from memes to scandals and has taken a more recent foray into serious news. Despite the fact that his station has accumulated as many as 4.5 million (and counting) subscribers, DeFranco received a notice Aug. 31 informing him that his videos would no longer be monetized due to “graphic content or excessive strong language.”
YouTube first put the policy of demonetizing videos into place to ensure advertisers weren’t promoting potentially violent, racist, or gratuitous videos, but when the vague terms in the policy apply to DeFranco’s frequent use of “beautiful bastards” and other non-violent swearing patterns, it poses the question: Is this an issue of censorship? Many YouTubers say yes.
The defunding of DeFranco is not the only case getting YouTubers riled up. The trending hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty features complaints from central YouTubers and consumers alike, speculating on where the lines of “advertiser-friendly content” are drawn in the sand.
While there is obviously a very real need for YouTube to monitor the funding of content that promotes hate-speech, the policy (which again, hasn’t in itself changed) can also be applied to content that contains controversial subjects in general. This means an independent news channel such as Young Turks reporting the Syrian refugee situation can potentially receive the same demonetization as an account posting videos that feature accused rapists.
While YouTube’s policy of pulling funding from videos that don’t fall under the umbrella of “advertiser-friendly content” isn’t new in itself, the widespread awareness due to their new notification system has the internet talking, and people largely aren’t happy. Does this mean YouTube will be forced to hunker down and make it’s policy more specific, delineating clearer lines on what is and isn’t compatible with advertisers? The jury is out on that one.