A decision from YouTube to change its policies regarding the use of profanity and swearing in the platform’s videos has led to a wave of negative comments from creators as much of their old content has been limited and effectively demonetized.
These changes were rolled out by the Google-owned video-sharing platform in November 2022 and they include restrictions on the words, phrasing, images, and overall composition of videos that seek to make much of the website’s gaming content more advertiser-friendly.
Back then, YouTube expanded the type of content that “may not receive ad revenue” to videos that include sexualized text, obscene language and images, out-of-context dead bodies, in-game violence directed at real-named individuals, the use of profane words in thumbnails and titles, and some other similar wording, phrasing, and imaging scenarios.
Gaming Influencers Among the Most Affected by YouTube’s New Policies
Creators who are in the gaming space are typically recording or live-streaming videos for violent games that depict gory images, mass killing, and violence. Therefore, these rules affect them directly and have resulted in the demonetization of some of their videos – both old and new.
“I genuinely feel like my entire livelihood is at risk if this continues”, commented Daniel Condren, a gaming influencer who runs a channel known as RTGame.
I am absolutely devastated, my Best of RTGame 2022 video has been age restricted to 18+ for no reason and limited. This happened last year for no reason too. @TeamYouTube would it please be possible to resolve this? There is nothing that should have done this. Thank you pic.twitter.com/q6G4E8Hvoo
— RTGame Daniel (@RTGameCrowd) December 28, 2022
Condren first claimed in December 2022 that his “Best of RTGame 2022” video was age-restricted out of the blue by YouTube and that his appeal to the platform was immediately rejected on the grounds that it is not suitable for younger audiences.
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Shortly afterward, many more of his videos started to be placed on “Limited” status when it comes to monetization, meaning that he would not earn money on them. The limitation was imposed on extremely old videos even.
Just a day after, Condren commented that he received e-mail correspondence from YouTube in which they confirmed that the status of the videos will not be restored. The fact that these rules are being applied retroactively remains the most controversial aspect of the situation.
YouTube’s leadership appears to be listening to these claims as Michael Aciman, Google’s Policy Communications Manager, told The Verge last week that they were “in the process of making some adjustments” to the recently-introduced policy to address the concerns brought by influencers like Condren.
“We will follow up shortly with our creator community as soon as we have more to share”, he added.
YouTube Has Not Sent a Clear Message About the Use of Profanity
The problem with YouTube rules is that they are rather ambiguous and are subject to the discretion of either the AI-powered software that the platform uses to flag and limit these videos or the opinion of the human moderator who is in charge of reviewing it.
Condren commented that the e-mail he received from the platform warned him that even if he removes or modifies the portion of the videos that are allegedly violating the platform’s policies, an appeal to YouTube’s decision can only be sent once, meaning that he has already exhausted his chance of making a claim.
In addition, YouTube has not been too straightforward in the past in regards to how they would like to treat profanity. Back in 2021, the platform stated that it will allow videos that use “moderate profanity” within the first 30 seconds” to be monetized.
Creators who took this policy change into consideration probably went on to make content that included words and expressions that are now considered ineligible and are being affected by YouTube’s change of heart somehow unfairly.
Condren even accused the platform’s moderators of using his “light-hearted” intention to reach out to try to solve the issue that led to the demonetization of his videos as an opportunity to flag more content.
He cautioned other creators to abstain from reaching out to the platform as one appeal could lead to a more thorough revision of their entire channel.
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