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YouTube Details New Policy for Punishing Rogue Creators, After Penalizing Logan Paul

YouTube formally adopted new penalties it will enforce against creators who post disturbing or violent videos — the same day it sent internet millionaire Logan Paul into the demonetization penalty box.

The measures, outlined in blog post Friday, include potentially suspending offending creators’ participation in advertising, original productions and video recommendations. They’re intended to show that YouTube is serious about curbing odious content, after numerous advertisers froze spending last year over hate videos and kid-inappropriate content.

The Google-owned video service outlined the steps to crack down on “bad actors” after announcing earlier Friday that it was temporarily pulling advertising from all of Paul’s channels, citing a pattern of behavior in his videos that made them unfit for advertising. His most recent offense: a bizarre video in which he shot a Taser at a dead rat. YouTube had previously removed Paul’s channels from the Google Preferred premium ad program, after he uploaded (and then deleted) a video showing the body of a person who died from a suicide.

In the past, YouTube’s response to such situations was sometimes “slow and didn’t always address our broader community’s concerns,” Ariel Bardin, YouTube’s VP of product management, acknowledged in Friday’s blog post.

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“When one creator does something particularly blatant — like conducts a heinous prank where people are traumatized, promotes violence or hate toward a group, demonstrates cruelty, or sensationalizes the pain of others in an attempt to gain views or subscribers — it can cause lasting damage to the community, including viewers, creators and the outside world,” Bardin wrote.

YouTube has long maintained Community Guidelines for what it considers acceptable content — banning, for example, pornography, spam and gratuitous violence. It also has a set of advertiser-friendly guidelines that spell out which videos are ineligible for ads. And creators already face potential penalties up to having their channels terminated if they violate YouTube’s terms of use.

In addition to those, YouTube found the need to establish the new policies to prevent “widespread harm” to the YouTube ecosystem, according to Bardin. The possible punishments cover three areas:

  • Premium Monetization Programs, Promotion and Content Development Partnerships: YouTube may remove a channel from Google Preferred and also suspend, cancel or remove a creator’s YouTube original series or movie.
  • Monetization and Creator Support Privileges: YouTube may suspend a channel’s ability to serve ads, ability to earn revenue and potentially remove a channel from the YouTube Partner Program, including creator support and access to YouTube Spaces.
  • Video Recommendations: YouTube may remove a channel’s eligibility to be recommended on the platform’s home page, trending tab or “watch next” feature.

Bardin emphasized that YouTube believes “strongly in the freedom of expression” but said the video platform must weigh that against its responsibility “to protect the entire community of creators, viewers, and advertisers from these rare but often damaging situations.”

YouTube expects to issue the penalties against rogue creators “only in a rare handful of egregious cases,” Bardin continued. The aim of the new policy is to help YouTube prevent “the actions of a few from harming the broader community.”

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