Since the beginning of this year, YouTube has found itself in the middle of ongoing controversy surrounding “inappropriate content” and “hate speech” on the website. The issue particularly gained prominence when PewDiePie was called out for what many considered an “anti-Semitic” joke on his channel, resulting in YouTube and Disney’s Maker Studios distancing themselves from the vlogger. Sometime later, YouTuber JonTron’s comments on immigration and other topics thrust the website back into limelight, resulting in Yooka-Laylee developer Playtonic removing his voice from the game.
In the midst of the controversy, a number of multinational companies – including PepsiCo and Wal-Mart – pulled their advertisements from YouTube due to concerns that they were being displayed on videos and channels that contained objectionable content. Facing a potential loss of millions, YouTube had no option but to respond swiftly.
A week ago, YouTube outlined some changes in its monetization policies, promising to crack down on hate speech and inappropriate content. Long story short, the process isn’t going smoothly.
A plethora of YouTubers – high profile and small, both – have reported that they’re taking revenue hits as YouTube demonetized their videos without a warning. Kotaku has published an in-depth report with comments from quite a few vloggers who allege that they weren’t given any warning and say that they’re struggling to make sense of the “vague” new policies.
Some are accusing the website of waiting for issues to blow up before it responds. Many understand why advertisers would want to control where their ads are placed, but are of the view that this is something YouTube should have looked into a long time back, prior to the recent controversy.
For those who have built careers out of hosting videos on YouTube, including dedicated gaming channels, the move is disastrous.
It remains to be seen how YouTube resolves this.
Have you been affected by YouTube’s new policies? Let us know.