About a month ago, YouTube had announced that videos about coronavirus would not be eligible for ads under its guidelines. The video platform said the coronavirus outbreak fell under its monetization ban on videos concerning “sensitive events,” which YouTube describes as “usually an unforeseen event in which there has been a loss of life.”
Now, YouTube has changed its stance. In an open letter to creators, CEO Susan Wojcicki said Wednesday that YouTube will selectively begin running ads in coronavirus-related issues.
“In the days ahead, we will enable ads for content discussing the coronavirus on a limited number of channels, including creators who accurately self-certify and a range of news partners,” Wojcicki wrote, adding that YouTube plans to expand monetization to more creators and news organizations in the coming weeks.
Wojcicki explained the decision to change the policy on demonetizing coronavirus videos like this: “It’s becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, and we want to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way.”
As YouTube removes COVID-19’s status as a “sensitive event” in its advertiser-friendly guidelines, creators will receive a notification when their channel is eligible for monetization.
Separately Wednesday, citing concerns over coronavirus, YouTube canceled the in-person Brandcast event scheduled for April 30 in New York and announced that it would stream the marketing presentation online instead.
YouTube has taken steps to help users find authoritative sources of news and information about COVID-19, according to Wojcicki. The site’s homepage directs users to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other local authoritative organizations worldwide to help YouTube visitors find updates. YouTube is surfacing trusted sources of info on coronavirus in search and recommendations, she said. In addition, YouTube is donating advertising inventory to governments and non-governmental organizations in regions affected by the virus epidemic.
On the flip side, YouTube is actively working to reduce coronavirus misinformation. The Google-owned video service will “quickly remove videos that violate our policies when they are flagged,” according to Wojcicki, including those that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits. Wojcicki claimed that “From the very beginning of this outbreak, we’ve worked to prevent misinformation associated with the spread of the virus.”
Meanwhile, Google also is working to promote authoritative info about coronavirus (and demote conspiracy theories and misinformation). The search engine’s SOS Alert feature provides users with the latest news plus safety tips and links to more information from the World Health Organization. Google Ads is blocking ads aiming to capitalize on the virus outbreak, including a ban on all ads for medical face masks.