YouTube Slammed by Creators Over ‘Ad Inappropriate’ Content Policy, Which Google Says Hasn’t Changed

YouTube logo light Youtube youtube
Courtesy of YouTube

YouTube is facing a backlash from creators angry that the video giant is blocking advertising from running against content it deems inappropriate — while the Google-owned video giant says it has not actually changed its policy.

The furor spawned a trending hashtag on Twitter, #YouTubeisoverparty, with creators expressing displeasure over the situation.

Popular YouTuber Philip DeFranco, who has 4.5 million subscribers, is one of the leading voices expressing irritation about the service’s pulling ads for violating its terms of service. He said ads were disabled recently for 12 of his videos apparently because they included “excessively strong language” or covered “controversial or sensitive subjects,” thereby running afoul of YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines.

“By taking away monetization, it is a form of censorship,” DeFranco said in a video posted Wednesday, while he also acknowledged that YouTube is within its rights to enforce ad policies as it wishes.

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Does YouTube Ad Policy Equate to Censorship? Give Me a Break

According to YouTube, it hasn’t changed its policy about what content is deemed advertiser-friendly. Rather, it recently adopted a new notification process that alerts creators via email when their videos have been found in violation of the policy, whereas they previously would have had to check an individual video’s analytics dashboard to see that information.

Ironically, YouTube started issuing the notifications in an effort to improve communications and transparency with its creators about the policy, which has been in place since YouTube began serving ads on the site. As part of the change, YouTube now offers a formal way to appeal decisions about videos found to be inappropriate for advertising.

“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 to our creators,” a YouTube rep said in a statement.

In July, YouTube roiled its creator base after many saw a sudden drop in their subscribers counts, which the service said happened after it fixed a bug that prevented accurate figures from displaying on the channels. YouTube also has been the target of complaints by creators that their videos have been disabled by bogus copyright claims; the site earlier this year adopted a policy that will let videos continue to generate ad revenue while ownership disputes are evaluated.

Other YouTube creators tweeted humorous or infuriated takes on the brouhaha over the ad-inappropriate content issue:

Gizmodo first reported on the YouTuber ire about the perceived shift in policy.

In addition email notifications about ad-inappropriate content, YouTube will now displays a “$” icon in the video manager section that will appear as yellow with the messaging “Not advertiser-friendly” if it’s in violation.

According to YouTube, to determine which content is ineligible for advertising, it uses a combination of automated checks (such as video title, metadata, and visual imagery), as well as content flagged as inappropriate by users or advertisers, which are able to control where their ads appear on YouTube.

Google’s YouTube advertising policy says content that is not “advertiser-friendly” includes: 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; 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.”

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  1. Ozzie Wozzie says:

    DEAR YOUTUBE TEAM.

    I have no problems with rules however ridiculous it maybe, but if you have made it clear, I will abide by it to the last letter.
    The problem is your stupid automation robots whom you have not programmed properly or having bugs which YOU people are unwilling to admit.

    for example, I have one buffalo video which is not flouting any rules at all. Initially it was tag inappropriate but on appeal and review by humans, it was passed and ok for like 4 years, suddenly when youtube release another automation, the same video gets condemned again. Obviously youtube has a bug they are not willing to admit. To add insult to injury, they now requires 1000 hits before they review, which is rather suspicious, proving the comments by Anonymous that they are taking the 1000 hits for themselves and not sharing with the creator.

    Youtube, why dont you just close shop but allow us to bring our videos to any successor of youtube.

    cheers

  2. Anonymous says:

    YouTube still runs ads on “ad-inappropriate” videos, they just don’t give a share of the ad revenue to the video creator. It’s incredibly easy to test, too: find a video that someone has complained about being de-monetized, temporarily turn off your ad blocker and NoScript, open it, if you don’t see ads immediately then reload it a few times until you do. YouTube is not removing ads from these videos, they’re just removing the revenue sharing and keeping it all for themselves. I think this point is very important because everyone who is screaming about the mass monetization pulls is not aware that they’re NOT pulling ads despite calling it “not appropriate for advertising;” they’re just taking money away from the creators.

  3. Everyone should simply use The 8 App, you get 80% of all of the advertising that goes near your feed, video or otherwise. Revolutionary idea…apparently!

  4. Krumbus says:

    Nothing is being censored, you just can’t make money off of your content anymore which is up to the companies paying for the advertising and the controller of the content vehicle, youtube. Start your own youtube, with blackjack and hookers.

  5. When you build your brand/company on someone else’s platform be prepared for them to pull the rug out from under you. People haven’t learned from examples of Facebook and Twitter doing it. If they were smart they’d have an email address for every subscriber. That list could generate more money than they get on YouTube. Plus if YouTube pulls something like that they just move and take their audience with them.

  6. Norman Bryn says:

    THIS CENSORSHIP–nearly 70 years after major TV network idiocy was born–is a throwback move which will give Vimeo and other challengers the leg-up very quickly. The first rule of Broadcasting is no viewer, no sponsors. We’ll see how YouTube reacts when Ad Revenues plummet as bored viewers desert them in droves. Media Suicide in the making….

  7. EricTheEpic13 says:

    So from how it sounds, instead of just turning off ads revenue for videos, now they tell the creators AFTER the fact, like ‘hey, by the way, we’re still playing ads, but y’all ain’t getting no money…’

  8. goatsandmonkeys says:

    YouTube was better before the ads. I’m fine if the commercial crap goes away.

    • realtanala says:

      Your comment makes no sense. If the commercials go away and the content creators are not being paid, the content creators will go away as well.

  9. enrgodinez says:

    If they keep enforcing this I seriously hope people leave YouTube.

  10. enrgodinez says:

    This is more SJW bullshit.

  11. Nickolas says:

    Screw that, everybody in my subs has satire and offensive content, I’m pulling my YouTube red subscription if this is gonna happen.

  12. word_crimes says:

    Load of bull.

  13. Bivv says:

    I like to think that they changed the enforcement because of people getting ‘triggered.’
    Honestly, those people need to grow up.

    • Hermes says:

      How would advertising revenue have any relation to people objecting to content? The content isn’t being removed, the creators just can’t make money off it. This isn’t censorship, this is enforcement of advertiser preferences. I don’t think family oriented companies want their ads over porn or violence. It’s all about advertisers wanting to control the audience they market to, nothing to do with censoring content.

      • People who are aganst the sight of the nude form are literally against themselves. They that are aganst the sight of sexual activity are against their own sexual body. There are categories for many things on Youtube. Why leave out what has been left out? It is not possible to please everyone

      • enrgodinez says:

        Porn? Violence? You do realize even so education would loose monetization just because they have “sexual content” oh and I forgot where’s the porn on YouTube? Fucking idiot.

      • Enrique Godinez says:

        Seriously? Yes it is censorship. You’ll have to be a moron to be ok with this.

  14. bensnow97 says:

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

    This is a serious problem. Refusing monetization for talking about controversial events would significantly dampen the reaction of the YouTube community to important problems like net neutrality or the copyright strike process on YouTube itself. Many YouTubers with large audiences do it professionally, often not just by themselves, which means the main income for them and their businesses is YouTube. This new “advertiser-friendly” policy is equivalent to a “controversy tax”, which would most definitely count as a serious reduction of freedom of speech if it was done by the government. How is it suddenly okay if it’s done by a company, for profit?

  15. feldon30 says:

    The policy may not have changed (although the last line absolutely was absolutely added recently, easily confirmed by screenshots), however the enforcement has.

  16. I will say this as simply as I can hoping I am understood. We need to be godly. Godly people do not think enforce. Godly people don’t say inappropriate. Where is that in God’s law?

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