YouTube Creators Chafing at Ad-Friendly Policies

Platform's Revised Notification System Shines Light on Brand Safety Concerns

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Philip DeFranco talks about getting caught in YouTube's ad ban.
Philip DeFranco talks about getting caught in YouTube's ad ban. Credit: Philip DeFranco via YouTube

YouTube has revised its approach to nixing ad revenue to any controversial video creators as it hopes to keep brands from appearing against objectionable material.

The problem with the YouTube community is over what it considers "objectionable."

On Wednesday, YouTube video creator Philip DeFranco, with 4.5 million subscribers, said he was put on the no-ad list after he mocked "political correctness."

Google has not changed its policies regarding what videos are ad-ready and not, but it is more open with the creators when they cross the line, according to YouTube. It now sends channel owners a notice when a video is marked as unfriendly for advertisers and there is a new appeals process.

"While our policy of demonetizing videos due to advertiser-friendly concerns hasn't changed, we've recently improved the notification and appeal process to ensure better communication," a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.

The new openness about infractions has scared some creators on the network, who fear the policies are too strict and could hinder their free speech.

However, only the offending videos are put on a list of videos blocked from ads. Channels still generate revenue from videos that are not considered unsafe for brands.

Still, YouTube personalities have been criticizing the seemingly strict guidelines. The hashtag "YouTube is over" was trending on Twitter on Thursday.

Mr. DeFranco took to Twitter to voice his dismay: "I'm confused, because my content isn't ad-friendly, but 'Syrian boy covered in own blood' is."

Others were making fun of the ad-friendly guidelines with satirical tweets, like this one, claiming YouTube was penalizing minor infractions like negative video game reviews.

The video site is just the latest to find itself embroiled in a social media battle with voices that oppose "political correctness" or claim free-speech violations over any pushback to their activities on a given platform. Last month, right-wing advocate Milo Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter for allegedly leading a bullying blitz against "SNL" and "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones.

Twitter, YouTube and other sites are looking to make their platforms safer places for brands, in general, as advertisers are becoming more concerned their messages will appear alongside inappropriate content.

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