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Is YouTube REALLY Censoring Creators?

If you don’t know too much about me, I have had a decently popular channel, “Friday Night Cranks” on Youtube for the past 9 and a half years. Throughout those years I have had an openly passive aggressive / love hate relationship with them. I was suspended in 2009 for 2 weeks because a video I uploaded had the word “Pedophile” in the title. They didn’t have a problem with the video or even the channel itself, they just built automated systems to check for keywords that were in titles, descriptions, and tags. The suspension disabled my ability to upload future content while they reviewed my channel. After the two weeks, my upload function was restored, and to much of my surprise, not a single video was touched on my channel.

That was 7 years ago… Since then they have put a lot more “Act now, ask later” functionality into their systems from their featuring of videos, partnership applications content ID copyright strikes, and monetization approval system. I don’t blame them for having such systems.

Why?

500 hours of content is uploaded to Youtube EVERY MINUTE. There is no way for a group of people to monitor every single video that gets uploaded without them spending millions upon millions of dollars every single year. BUT they did build systems that flag videos, and a smaller group of people can review those videos.

Creators have been getting emails the past week or so letting them know that Youtube is no longer going to monetize videos of theirs along with links to the videos. This means that there will be NO ADS ran on those videos which means Youtube + the creator of that video would no longer make money off of that video. The creators can appeal the decision and a person at Youtube will decide if they will run ads on the videos. They see these videos as not advertiser friendly and will not run the ads on those channels.

Videos have a higher chance of having their ads removed if they meet the following criteria..

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, swearing and vulgar language

Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items

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

That means pretty much every creator is in danger of having their ads removed, BUT does that mean Youtube is censoring its creators?

 

No. No they are not.

They not deleting videos, just choosing to not run ads on them which they are allowed to do. It is their website and Google runs their own advertiser platform. If they started deleting the videos they didn’t like I would agree 100% they are censoring creators. But they are not.

You may be saying to yourself, “But Jared, people make their living off of Youtube, and if they cover current events and they are not that popular they could go broke from making videos that are not ad friendly.”

And to that I would say to you, “You are wrong”.

IF and only IF someone’s sole revenue comes from Youtube, then yeah they can be pretty screwed. But if they are not making content that Youtube (Google) chooses not to associate itself with, that is their right to do so. Youtube is a company and their job is to make their investors money, not You. We all know this. While I think it is dumb for Youtube to choose to make less money, they are definitely showing they value their advertisers more than their creators. But this isn’t the first or last time this will happen so we should all be used to being thrown under the bus by now. I am.

I have always thought since I joined the partner program back in 2008, that it was stupid to rely on Youtube as my only revenue for $. I opened an online store, sold apps, published books, found my own sponsors, and even viewer funding my projects. If people feel like they are getting screwed from Youtubes changes, then they need to find other outlets for revenue so they can continue to express their opinions. Some people may find that since they are not making money from videos, they no longer have those opinions or feel the need to make certain kinds of videos. Those people shouldn’t be creating anyway.

While I still feel that Youtube is allowed to remove ads on any videos or channels they want, I know they are pissing every content creator off in the process. There has yet to be a better alternative to Youtube for creators. I feel that the time is coming though. How I feel about Youtube is how I felt about Myspace way back in the day. I used it because it had what I needed, but the second something better like Facebook came along, I was out of there and never looked back.

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