For those who are unaware, Youtube currently has an extensive array of policies for content creators (which you can view here). These are called the YouTube’s Terms of Service. Basically, these are regulations that Youtuber’s must follow to be eligible to make a profit from their content. These regulations must be followed in order to be advertiser friendly. Content that is considered “not advertiser-friendly” includes, but is not limited to:
- Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor
- Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism
- Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity 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
If content creators fail to abide by these set of rules, involving formal regulations, guidelines and censorship, Youtuber’s risk having their videos demonetized. This threatens the livelihood of many big creators, as Youtube is their source of income.
Sounds pretty clear, right? Just abide by the rules and regulations and continue to earn an income from your videos.
These regulations have been made active since 2012. Content creators have been made unaware of these terms and essentially feel ripped off, lied to and ultimately deceived. The ‘dodginess’ continues with some more sly moves from Youtube. Recently, five years worth of de-monetized video notifications flooded into creators’ inboxes. I can’t be the only one thinking that this is unfair to content creators, and oh, way too late! These unclearly stated policies seem to be forging a wedge between the once sense of community between content creators and the other big guys, Youtube. Successful Youtuber Casey Neistat explains this well:
Well known Youtuber PewDiePie expresses his opinion and a run down on the newly enforced policies too. You can watch it unfold here:
Another element to this whole saga is the process used to approve “advertiser friendly” content. Youtube strongly relies on technology to determine whether a video may or may not conform to these guidelines. These technologies, according to Youtube’s Advertiser Friendly Content Guidelines include:
- Automatic checks: We have trained systems that automatically check features of a video, like the video title, metadata, and visual imagery, to decide how appropriate the video is for general advertising.
- Community flags: We depend on our user community to flag inappropriate videos to us for our review.
- Advertiser controls: Brand advertisers have tools in their campaign settings to control where their ads may appear on YouTube, including targeting and/or excluding by audience demographics, topics, category, and content appropriateness. If we receive a complaint from an advertiser whose ad served against your video, we reserve the right to disable monetization on your video if we determine that it did not meet our policy guidelines.
In summary, these ‘technologies’ are all just a bunch of algorithmic filters. How fair and accurate is this approach?
There is a light at the end of this tunnel for Youtuber’s who have their income compromised by not meeting these regulations – if your content is deemed non-monetary you are able to request a video review. According to Youtube themselves, the “review time depends on a variety of factors, such as video and channel performance, the history of videos you’ve submitted for monetization, and the eligibility of your content”. I’d like to see how effective and fair this process is.
Berndt, K 2016, Youtube Logo, viewed 21 September 2016, < http://nouw.com/katrinberndt/stop-the-youtube-drama-25129593 > .
Internet Creators Guild 2016, ‘ YouTube De-Monetization Explained’, Internet Creators Guild , viewed 21 September 2016, < https://medium.com/internet-creators-guild/youtube-de-monetization-explained-44464f902a22#.vjba3388r>
Youtube 2016, ‘Advertiser-friendly content guidelines’, Youtube, viewed 21 September 2016, < https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6162278?hl=en>