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YouTube's 'ad-friendly' content policy irks content creators

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YouTube's 'ad-friendly' content policy irks content creators

YouTube seems to have updated the way handles objectionable content on the platform. According to media reports, YouTube will now be more stringent with content creators who do not toe the line with such creators being put in its ‘no ad’ list. Defaulting content creators will be informed about their transgression; however, it does not seem the core content guidelines have undergone a change.

This has not increased YouTube’s popularity among many in the content creator community with quite a few worrying about the fact that the stricter enforcing of guidelines could hinder creativity and expression.

YouTube content creator Philip DeFranco, who has more than 4.5 million viewers posted this video on his channel, in which he highlighted where exactly the confusion, and, hence, the outrage was stemming from. According to DeFranco, though YouTube claims that it has only improved the notification mechanism for videos that it feels are not ad-friendly due to their content, it has been blacklisting videos without informing the creators for months.

By late last week, the hashtag #Youtubeisdead was trending on Twitter with many from the community taking to the microblogging platform to express their feelings.

Here, it should be kept in mind that only those videos that are deemed “ad-inappropriate” are not allowed to be monetised; basically YouTube does not allow any ads to be placed on it, this blacklisting does not apply to the whole channel. So, the content creator can still earn money from other videos in their channel.

Does this affect Indian content creators? While YouTube did not reply to an email asking for clarifications, experts give their take.

“The fact is, YouTube has always had this policy. In fact, over the last five years, they have regularly disabled advertising on content deemed offensive or derogatory. All they have done now is become transparent about which videos have this monetisation disabled. The system of detection itself isn't perfect and YouTube works to resolve these cases through manual efforts with partners. In summation, nothing that we don't already know that YouTube did, only difference is that they are now calling this out,” said Sameer Pitalwalla, CEO of Culture Machine.

Gurpreet Singh, Co-Founder & COO at One Digital Entertainment also agreed that though the system of putting videos that does not adhere to YouTube’s content policy in the no-monetization category has been in existence for a long time, YouTube has started notifying creators whenever their content is blacklisted along with a new process of appeal for content creators who feel that their content has been wrongfully blacklisted.

Speaking about complaints that the review process is felt by many to be ambiguous, he said, “This is a known issue with YouTube. It is not only about monetization. It has happened to us too earlier where we had content getting pulled down. But after notifying them, they have always removed it from the blacklist and apologized. Earlier it was more about adult content but right now politically sensitive content is also getting affected. I think news content would be the most affected by this. It is very subjective. How does one decide what level of violence is fine?”

With platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube attempting to better sanitize their content to make them more attractive to advertisers, it is not seem surprising that differences of opinion between the more “politically incorrect” creators and the platform will crop up again in the near future.

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