YouTube to Revise Profanity Rules Following Creator Outcry

YouTube’s gaming community rebelled this week after some creators’ old videos were suddenly demonetized without warning.

The company’s November policy change revamped YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines, making certain types of profanity and violence more acceptable.

The good news: YouTube is responding to creators’ concerns, even though we’re not yet sure what the company will do.

“We’ve been listening to our creators and taking their feedback into account while making adjustments to this policy,” said YouTube spokesperson Michael Aciman. “We’ll have more info for them soon. Stay tuned!”

In November, YouTube broadened its definition of violence to include not only real-world depictions but also in-game content “directed at a real named person or acts which are designed to shock” (e.g., brutal mass killing). Gore in standard game play was allowed after the first 8 seconds of video, leaving room for interpretation – for better or worse.

YouTube announced a drastic update to its profanity policy, lumping all profanity together without any differentiation based on severity. Words such as “shit” and “fuck” now fall under the same guidelines. Additionally, videos with profane titles, thumbnails or within the first 7 seconds may not be eligible for ad revenue according to new policy regulations.

If swearing occurs within the first 8 seconds of a video, it is still eligible for monetization. However, these changes have significantly impacted many videos which were created prior to the announcement of these new policies. Creators began noticing their videos being subject to restrictions that limit reach and ad eligibility at the end of December.

Daniel Condren, the YouTube creator behind RTGame, recently released a video discussing the effects of policy changes on his channel. The video quickly gained traction and has been viewed over 1 million times. Recently Condren has seen numerous videos demonetized and appeals have been rejected – this is something he’s had to come to terms with in recent weeks.

Devastated to report: 6 more of my videos were suddenly limited overnight, including my Best of 2020. No notification from @TeamYouTube – this is genuinely awful. #Youtube

“We are delighted to announce that RTGame Daniel has been nominated for Best Streamer at the upcoming 2022 TwitchCon Awards. We invite you to join us in celebrating this incredible achievement and show your support by voting for him!”

Cheers! 🎉 RTGame Daniel is

“My livelihood is on the line and I’m powerless to fix it,” Condren tweeted, deeply troubled.

We asked YouTube follow-up questions about how they plan to adjust their policy, and we’re keen to know if the platform will relax enforcement of older videos that creators rely on for income.

Facing new regulations designed to protect young users, YouTube is attempting to make its vast library of videos more child-friendly and attractive for advertisers. Balancing age restrictions and monetization policies on a platform like YouTube is tricky; the recent changes happened quickly, giving creators little time to adjust.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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