YouTube video makers protest as ads are stripped from 'inappropriate' content

Leading YouTubers accuse platform of censorship for disabling adverts on content not considered to be ‘advertiser-friendly’

YouTube video makers are up in arms after finding out that many of their videos are being stripped of advertising by Google because of “inappropriate” content.

A number have publicly complained they are being censored after they began receiving messages informing them that some videos were not “advertiser-friendly”.

However, their initial ire appears to have been misplaced – or at least come far later than it should – after YouTube revealed that it had not changed any of its policies but merely begun making the process more transparent.

The furore was originally sparked by YouTuber Philip DeFranco with a following of more than 4.5 million subscribers who released a video titled YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do. In it he said he had received a message informing him a video had been “demonetised” because of excessive offensive language.

Philip DeFranco’s YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel

He said: “I love YouTube, obviously it looks like they are well within their rights to do this it’s their damn website. It is also incredibly fucking concerning.”

“Many times on my show I have talked about things that aren’t great. Just horrible things. By taking away monetisation it is a form of censorship.”

Though the bulk of the most successful YouTubers make only a minority of their money from ads shown before their videos, the 55% cut offered by Google is still a core source of income for many.

He linked to YouTube guidelines which list a broad range of content not considered “advertiser-friendly” including sexual humour, partial nudity, inappropriate language including harassment, violence and the promotion of drugs.

It also lists “controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown”.

Other well known YouTubers such as Hank Green of the VlogBrothers also shared demonetisation notices.

However, in a statement Google said it not changed the way it has decided which videos are appropriate, but has instead begun more actively informing video uploaders when they are removed from the programme.

The statement said: “While our policy of demonetising videos due to advertiser-friendly concerns hasn’t changed, we’ve recently improved the notification and appeal process to ensure better communication.”

It also said it was now offering YouTubers an easier way to appeal against the decisions.

DeFranco later weighed in again, criticising Google for not making it clear that videos were being demonetised earlier, and asking whether the high number of successful appeals indicated that the process was flawed.

Youtube: This isn't a policy change, its just a notification/appeal change.
Me: So before you were just turning off ads and not emailing us?

— Phil DeFranco @ PAX (@PhillyD) September 1, 2016

Given that many of the new appeals are putting ads back on videos, how much Ad money has Youtube incorrectly denied creators in the past?

— Phil DeFranco @ PAX (@PhillyD) September 1, 2016


Jasper Jackson

The GuardianTramp

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