YouTube’s Demonetization Plague

YouTubes Demonetization Plague

Kyndra Peterson, Co-Editor In Chief

YouTube; the well-known platform for videos, shorts, and live streams, has recently begun to show less and less respect and appreciation for its creators of all types and genres. As a far too frequent viewer of YouTube myself, over the years I have noticed YouTube beginning to not respect creators, however, without these same talented YouTubers there would be no platform at all. When YouTube apprehensively announced the new changes to the community guidelines and rules, it specifically targeted the use of profanity. YouTube is extremely unorganized with this new guideline in place and the company has left it very open to interpretation with no set amount of words allowed or not. The lines need to be outlined when these new policies are being HEAVILY enforced, there cannot be a reluctance to communicate like what is, and this has been happening with YouTube for quite some time. As Moist Cr1TiKal, a well-known Youtuber Vet who has been around on the platform since 2006 explains, the profanity policy has been made significantly more strict, there used to be a sort of system with different tier levels of profanity. Some words and phrases obviously would be treated differently or more profanely such as the “f word” compared to the word or an unseeming strange insult or phrase that is not considered to be close that that said tier list of words. Not only are they targeting videos *typically at random* to check for profanity, but they are also going through and combing old videos from BEFORE the guidelines changed to demonetizing LARGE portions of YouTuber’s channels. If a “curse word” is said within the first 15 seconds, that was typically an immediate money loss with no questions asked and no chance of change.

Before this is looked deeper into, first the word demonetization must be defined so it is made clear how much this is affecting the content creators that many of us have grown up to know and love within the last decade. Demonetization is defined by the Oxford Languages Dictionary as “the withdrawal of a coin, note, or precious metal from use as a legal tender.” How does this apply to YouTube then? Content that is deemed unsuitable (for any reason they feel violated the YouTube community guidelines) for regular advertisers (with or without a paid sponsor) will no longer be able to bring in revenue for as long as it is on the platform unless manually reviewed by a YouTube manual reviewer after getting past the bot reviews that determine if the appeal can attempt to make it as far as a manual reviewer. Even then, the video is unlikely to go back to being monetized (being able to make money off of it) due to how the system is for not only demonetization but also appealing strikes. This means in basic terms, the YouTuber can no longer make a profit off the videos they are creating.

Within most videos on YouTube’s platform, there is an option when you click on the video that says “Auto-generated captions” which essentially means that YouTube will try its best to provide you with accurate captions for any reason. Due to the captions in question being auto-generated, it is without fail going to misunderstand words or caption the wrong thing. How does this apply to the new policy you may ponder? The caption systems have been down to mistakenly caption wrong words as curse words or words pertaining to incognito mode websites. Given this mechanical option is put out by YouTube, they also use this system to monitor inappropriate language usage. Many family-friendly channels that don’t even say the words are getting demonetized by the automatic system due to these captions which means once again, no profit for the content creator and not even by their own doing at that. The chances of getting the video re-monetized or monetized at all are slim to none even if a manual reviewer gets around to checking the video.

YouTube is not only cracking down on profanity though with its changes, but the platform is also mercilessly targeting violence of ANY type whether that be gaming (one of the main types of content), real-world vlogs and content, animations, books, pictures, or topics. The vagueness of the violence policy change is making it extremely difficult for creators to be able to discern what is now allowed to be put on the site. Even showing the smallest panels and photos get entire videos unprofitable. This wave of demonization has hit harder and in the most unprecedented manner than could have ever been predicted. It is as though the site is no longer supporting its creators and wants them to conform to this YouTube Kids standard (a separate app SPECIFICALLY meant for children) when most of the watchers for many of the channels being affected by this, have grown with the platform and are more than capable enough to handle what is being said, or they can simply unsubscribe and not watch videos from the creator if they don’t like what they see.

This being most YouTubers’ full-time job and main income source, this isn’t truly helping the platform in ANY way. This (looking at the profanity rule changes specifically) only restricts content creators more with their passion and how they create.