YouTube: ‘Inappropriate Comments’ Could Result in Video Demonetization

BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

Google-owned platform YouTube announced, Thursday, that “inappropriate comments” left by other users on content creators’ videos could result in the video becoming demonetized — ineligible for advertising revenue.

After a mother complained on Twitter that YouTube had demonetized videos of her son doing gymnastics, YouTube replied, “Hi there–for reference, over the past few days, we’ve taken a number of actions to better protect the YouTube community from content that endangers minors… With regard to the actions that we’ve taken, even if your video is suitable for advertisers, inappropriate comments could result in your video receiving limited or no ads (yellow icon).”

In response to the mother then claiming that she moderates the comments on her videos, YouTube added, “Just to be super clear, we’re not saying anything is wrong with the actual video and thank you for doing a great job moderating the comments section. These recent actions are due to an abundance of caution related to content that may endanger minors… Not all channels do moderate and we’ve had to take an aggressive approach and more broad action at this time.”

YouTube’s announcement that comments could now lead to demonetization prompted heavy criticism from YouTube content creators, who are already struggling to earn advertising revenue on the platform, which now only monetizes “family-friendly” content.

“So now trolls can just post vulgar comments and take away the income from creators they do not like?” asked YouTube content creator Luke Rudkowski.

“Ahaha this is the beginning of the end. How easy it is now to wreck a YouTuber’s career, just leave insults on their videos and THEY get punished for it!” noted rapper Dan Bull.

“If this is our new reality we’re going to need the ability to restrict comments from accounts under 1-4 weeks old,” declared YouTube content creator Philip DeFranco. “Sounds like this is prime for weaponization. Also it would probably be best to have an official blog post instead of my tweet as a reference for this change.”

YouTube’s decision to consider comments when monetizing videos appears to be a direct response to reports of pedophile commenters on the platform.

This week, major companies, including McDonald’s, Nestlé, and Epic Games pulled advertisements from YouTube after it was revealed their adverts were being placed on videos which had become hives for pedophiles.

According to Wired, pedophiles were making sexually explicit comments on videos of “children showing their exposed buttocks, underwear and genitals,” and “little girls playing Twister, doing gymnastics, playing in the pool and eating ice lollies,” which received millions of views.

“Comments beneath scores of videos appear to show pedophiles sharing timestamps for parts of the videos where exposed genitals can be seen, or when a child does the splits or lifts up their top to show their nipples,” Wired explained, adding, “Some of the children in the videos, most of whom are girls, appear to be as young as five.”

However, YouTube has frequently censored and sanctioned conservative channels on the platform, and the change in policy could lead to further demonetization of conservatives.

In August, YouTube demonetized the channel for conservative news site Western Journal, and in 2017, YouTube demonetized the majority of videos from Diamond and Silk.

Mike Cernovich, Ann Coulter, Carl Benjamin, Dave Rubin, PragerU, and Infowars have also faced problems with YouTube, with the platform deleting Infowars’ account last year.

In January, PragerU filed its second lawsuit against Google for censoring conservatives on YouTube.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.

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