YouTube Makes Massive Change That Has Creators Fuming

YouTube has dramatically changed its advertiser-friendly content guidelines, causing users on the platform to be demonized for using profanity. In recent years, YouTube's content policies have changed to meet the needs of advertisers. Where YouTube once allowed users to post freely, users now have to follow a set of rules to earn money. Advertising on YouTube depends on the type of content allowed on the platform, and advertisers can fine-tune the videos in which their ads appear. Companies like Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Adidas, and HP are just a few of the brands that have pulled advertising from YouTube because of offensive content. To ensure the platform's longevity, YouTube enforced new guidelines and cracked down on offensive content.

A massive policy change has recently seen content creators lose monetization, confusing these users. Prior to this policy change, creators were required to refrain from harsh profanities, such as "f—" within the first 30 seconds of their videos. However, a new policy states that creators cannot use obscenities during the first 8-15 seconds of a video, but that isn't the part of the change causing the most trouble.

According to the gaming and monetization section of the YouTube Partner Program guidelines, videos can be monetized if "profanity does not occur throughout the majority of the video." The advertiser-friendly content guidelines say, "Occasional use of profanity (such as in music videos) won't necessarily result in your video being unsuitable for advertising." Many content creators have been confused by these ambiguous guidelines, which do not provide a concrete reason for demonetizing their videos. YouTube users are uneasy about what qualifies as a "majority" of their video, and the word "necessarily" leaves YouTube with the option of removing monetization at any time. Several content creators have reported mass demonetization from YouTube without warning. These include MoistCr1TiKaLLS MarkRTGameStan from Poland, and more.

MoistCr1TiKaL spoke out about the "no swearing" policy, saying, "The policy is, if you say any swear word or anything less than proper in the first eight seconds of a video, you instantly get demonetized for it no matter what. There is no wiggle room. If you say anything that's not squeaky clean, 'Weenie Hut Junior,' and you let that rip in the first 8 to 15 seconds of that video, well, you're just getting blasted."

He continued, "It's just very confusing what's actually triggering this new demonetization wave that's sweeping through like a plague." MoistCr1TiKaL cited RTGame as an example, who is not a creator known for frequently using profane words. Still, he has fallen victim to YouTube's new policy. "It doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. It's not as clear as these rules seem to think that it is."

Many creators are reporting that videos dating back 10+ years are being demonetized due to "Extreme Profanity," and even private videos are being flagged. YouTube has not responded to the outrage from creators as of writing. YouTube may be seeking advertisers who require a family-friendly environment and is enacting policies to accommodate that. In response to the increasing popularity of video sponsorships, creators have retreated from midroll ads, reducing platform profits. Creators appear more upset with the lack of communication YouTube provided prior to the policy change than the policy change itself. The response could have been much less severe if YouTube had informed creators in advance and given them time to make necessary changes to their content.