Social Media Giant Under Fire Over “Ad-Friendly” Content

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YouTube has come under fire from both advertisers and creators on the site as issues with “family friendly” content have arisen.

YouTube is a United States based company that was started in 2005 by three former Paypal employees, and was purchased by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion.

The site now struggles to pay creators with an increase of advertisement restrictions, limiting video monetisation.

The restrictions began after advertisers (including McDonalds, the British government, Toyota, Verizon and Australian company Holden) found their commercials on videos containing drugs and alcohol, sex, violence, mature subjects and profanity.

YouTube has since added that videos containing “hateful content, inappropriate use of family entertainment characters,” and “incendiary and demeaning content” will be demonetised.

Previously YouTube’s policy with placing advertisements on videos was less strict. When videos were reported due to content that wasn’t “ad-friendly” the video would be demonetised and advertisements would be removed.

Since YouTube received concerns from advertisers they began broader demonetisation, in which they take away advertisements if any red flags appear and later review the video if the creator submits an appeal.

On June 1st YouTube released a statement clarifying what the added restrictions meant for the community:

“While it remains the case that videos that comply with our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines can remain on the platform, our advertiser-friendly content guidelines focus on what is specifically eligible for advertising. Content that does not comply with Adsense Policies and our ad-friendly guidelines will not be eligible for advertising.”

While this has ensured that advertisers only have commercials playing before videos that they do not object to, in some cases it has taken away 70% of ad revenue from creators.

Many have voiced their outrage with the site and explained the situation to their viewers over their channels.

One such YouTuber to speak out is Felix Kjellberg. Kjellberg is better by his channel name, PewDiePie. At the top of YouTube, he has over 55 million subscribers, beating the second most popular creator by more than 13 million.

Kjellberg has held the position of most subscribers since 2013.

While money is not an issue to Kjellberg, who confirmed he earned around $4 million in 2013 (in August 2013 his subscriber count was only at 11 million), he has shown his disdain for the lack of communication from YouTube to its creators.

In a video titled “YouTube Made A Mistake”, Kjellberg criticised the sites new restrictions, saying he would continue doing what he was doing but that it was unfair to smaller creators.

“It’s not about the money, it’s about what’s fair and what’s right.

“It’s just not fair, something is clearly f***** with the system.”

Philip DeFranco is another creator with a large presence on YouTube who has taken issue with the site.

DeFranco is a social commentator, who frequently communicates with YouTube about issues on and involving the site. He commented on YouTube’s statement in which they promised better communication with creators and notifications about when videos would no longer be eligible for advertisements:

“If you’re a long time viewer of the channel, you know several months ago I looked at all the videos on my catalog that had been demonetised. And now in addition to that I got dinged ten more times. I had ten videos demonetised and I didn’t receive a single email.”

DeFranco is one of many YouTube creators to begin expanding his brand away from the site since the demonetisation of videos.

Many creators for whom YouTube is a career but do not have the same sort of presence that people like Kjellberg do, have begun asking their viewers to support them through sites such as Patreon and Twitch.

This relies on viewers donating money to creators instead of advertisers paying creators per view. Creators have also had to up incentives for viewers to donate, such as giveaways, special newsletters, Skype meetings and signed posters.

YouTube has yet to produce a solution to the mass demonetisation, and as time passes more creators are announcing projects varying from the site.

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