If you’ve been on YouTube lately, you might have seen an influx of videos claiming YouTube is censoring material. Censorship, however, may not be the correct descriptor for what’s happening.
So what is happening?
YouTube has created a content management system for demonetizing videos. Those ads that play before a video starts? These new guidelines will flag certain videos to prevent ads from playing beforehand, preventing monetization for those videos, which for many YouTubers can mean trouble, since creating videos is how these YouTubers make their livelihood.
While not technically censorship, many YouTubers are claiming these new demonetization guidelines are equal to it because it’s how they get their livelihood. And there’s newfound concern that they will have to adapt their content to meet the needs and wants of advertisers, in turn forcing them to “willingly” censor their videos. Will cursing in videos prevent monetization? Controversial topics? So far some videos containing either of these elements have been flagged and demonetized.
While it’s true, creators can still post whatever they want on YouTube (within certain guidelines, such as no nudity), and creators can appeal the demonetization decisions, it may become difficult to sustain a YouTube career if your videos are constantly flagged for inappropriate content for advertisers.
I’m not sure if YouTube is right or wrong here with its new content management system, but right now I think it should be up to advertisers to take the initiative to decide what content they want to be associated. Right now when you sign up to advertise on YouTube, you pick keywords associated with your business or brand, but maybe YouTube should also allow organizations to choose keywords they don’t want to be associated with as well.
My final thoughts: every video should be available for monetization; it’s just up to advertisers to decide what content they want to associate with.