YouTube’s Power Comes From Its Creators, And It Can’t Forget That

By: Michael Baker

YouTube has announced a new set of guidelines to impose on creators making harmful or heinous to viewers, the YouTube community, or their advertisers.

YouTube had a tumultuous year in 2017, rife with complaints from their community of creators. YouTube changed their monetization policy following complaints from advertisers sighting ads rolling before videos that they thought weren’t inline with their company’s values. This belayed the concerns of advertisers, but it led to waves of algorithmically demonetized videos for creators large and small. Creators formed a united front and demanded more transparency from the executives at YouTube when it comes to their livelihoods.

One creator, Logan Paul, has particularly drawn criticism from not only the YouTube community, but society at large. YouTube was forced to act after Paul posted a video featuring of a suicide victim in Japan’s ‘suicide forest.’ Their initial steps were to remove his Google Preferred program (a premium ad program) and to shelf his YouTube Red series. After an all too short hiatus, he made a ridiculous return video proving he didn’t learn his lesson. Just a few short weeks after swearing he had turned a new leaf, Paul uploaded a video of him tasering a dead rat, made jokes about eating 1 Tide pod per retweet, and gave a sick fish CPR before swishing it around in water like a toy boat to “get oxygen circulating through his lungs.” It is important to note that Paul’s content is especially concerning given that his audience skews young.

This final straw broke the metaphorical camel’s back and forced YouTube to release a guideline to prevent further harm to the broader YouTube community. If a creator is found to be posting content that is harmful to the YouTube community, they will be penalized accordingly.

The full list of steps listed on the YouTube Creators Blog:

  1. Premium Monetization Programs, Promotion and Content Development Partnerships. We may remove a channel from Google Preferred and also suspend, cancel or remove a creator’s YouTube Original.

  2. Monetization and Creator Support Privileges. We may suspend a channel’s ability to serve ads, ability to earn revenue and potentially remove a channel from the YouTube Partner Program, including creator support and access to our YouTube Spaces.

  3. Video Recommendations. We may remove a channel’s eligibility to be recommended on YouTube, such as appearing on our home page, trending tab or watch next.

It is worth mentioning that these punishments will only be used as a last resort and are not necessarily meant to be permanent. Once a channel has deleted or altered the content deemed harmful they will be able to re-enter the YouTube Partner Program.

The steps outlined above are an important first step in creating a harmonious YouTube community, but more importantly a safe YouTube community. These changes have been met with open arms by the creator community as we move towards a more transparent YouTube.

YouTuber Casey Neistat has an interview with Robert Kyncl, the Chief Business Officer (CBO) of YouTube, premiering on Monday February 12, 2018 to discuss the future of YouTube for creators.

YouTube’s power doesn’t come from it’s ability to let us upload videos to internet — lots of websites offer that same service. The power comes from us, the community of creators. They need to remember that and continue to act in the good faith of the creators.