It all started on August 31, when YouTube personality Philip DeFranco tweeted this.
Which led many to question what in the world he was talking about?
Recently, YouTube changed its terms of service and began demonetizing videos based around new “advertising-friendly” guidelines. These terms include, but are not limited to: “sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humour; inappropriate language, including harassment, swearing and vulgar language; and controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.” The YouTube Community Guidelines have similar restrictions, but are not entirely the same as what is being sent to YouTubers.
Sound like any personal favorites?
The new changes in policy make it very limiting for YouTubers to talk about much of anything, no matter the size of their channel. Some YouTubers were hit harder than others and some not at all. DeFranco, an opinion and news vlogger with 4.6 million subscribers, had 12 videos demonetized.
Seeker Daily, a news channel with 1.1 million subscribers, was hit by the demonetization over 150 times. Then there are channels such as Blanfire, with a mere 184 subscribers, but was hit 180 times. Despite minimal channel viewings and subscribers, YouTube still found videos unfit for advertising. On the flipside, Jenna “Marbles” Mourey, known as one of YouTube’s first and original creators, baring 16.4 million subscribers, had zero videos demonetized.
Mourey, pondered on why she had not been a victim of demonetization in a recent podcast by saying that, “Maybe because I am in some top percentile of creators, maybe they are giving us more leniency?” Something to consider for sure.
Back when the policies were first changed, an algorithm was created that looked at the metadata of videos and others factors and then made the decision of what is “advertiser-friendly” and what is not. A talking point is that YouTube has actually been demonetizing videos since 2012, but they are just now informing YouTubers when one of their videos has been demonetized.
YouTube released a statement saying, “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 with our creators.”
Many YouTubers are contemplating major life choices involving the loss of money. Tana Mongeau tweeted last Thursday that “it’s like I would be sitting on the decision of pay my rent and eat but compromise who I am or the opposite. I’m devastated.” Yet the consensus seems to remain the same and most YouTubers will not be changing their content, despite the lack of pay.
Although by definition, YouTube is not censoring videos, yet they are making it clear what they would deem as appropriate content and what should be monetized. Mourey, in a recent podcast, offers the idea that any channel discussing controversial issues or stories that are not usually on the nightly news will either not be made in the future or the discussion will decrease significantly.
“I feel like it’s a little ridiculous just because part of YouTube is people sharing opinions and people discussing things,” Mackenzie Taylor, a freshman at IUPUI said, “It’s just that YouTube was supposed to be an open forum where you can discuss anything and bring people together from different places, but now the discussion is so limited that it’s hard have an open conversation without risking getting your income taken, which is a big deal for a lot of YouTubers.”
Sophomore Ashlee Gibson added, “It’s supposed to be a safe place for your opinions.”
The opinions were taken to Twitter as the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty made its way through social media, with fans and YouTubers alike sharing their voice on the issue.
YouTube has been through some major changes in the past week. YouTube as a whole may lose not only money, but creators from the lack of advertising. The entire debacle opens the idea of an entirely new video sharing platform to be created.
Could this be the beginning of the end? Only time will tell.