YouTube is rolling back some of the changes that it introduced in November last year that effectively demonetized videos that included profanity and swearing in response to the severe backlash that the platform received from creators.
In a recent update, the video-sharing platform said that all videos that include the “usage of moderate profanity” at any given point will still be eligible to be monetized while those that include “stronger” profane words such as the f-word will also be cleared to display limited ads.
Before this modification, any videos that included swear or profane words within the first 15 seconds were automatically ineligible to be monetized, meaning that no ads would be run on them.
YouTube Acknowledges That They Went Too Far with the November Update
“Upon reviewing our own enforcement data, we found that the profanity policy resulted in a stricter approach than we intended”, commented Conor Kavanagh, YouTube’s head of Monetization Policy, in a video shared on the Creator Insider YouTube channel. He added: “We are no longer treating all profanity equally”.
These changes come nearly two months after the platform said that it was revisiting the changes it had made to the rules back in November in response to creators’ outcry.
Back then, influencers complained about the retroactive component of the rules as many of their past videos were instantly demonetized when the changes were rolled out. This was seen as an unfair practice by YouTube as the use of swear words was not forbidden back when the videos were put up. YouTube promised to review all of the videos that were affected by the November measures.
In response to these claims, Conor further explained that the platform needs to review old videos every time they make these changes as new adverts are being displayed on them despite when they were published.
Therefore, creators will still be vulnerable to retroactive changes in the monetization status of their content if they are violating any of the old or new rules regarding the platform’s advertiser-friendly guidelines.
The video-sharing platform owned by Alphabet (GOOG) further clarified that the use of music that contains swear or profane words will not make a video ineligible for the monetization program. The reviews will be performed within the next 2 days and creators will be notified if a change is made to their status during that period.
Meanwhile, the use of this kind of language in titles, thumbnails, and other highly visible text will remain banned and would still disqualify a video when it comes to producing revenues.
Creators Will Probably Welcome the Change but the Rules Remain a Bit Vague
Even though creators will probably be happy about YouTube’s decision to roll back these changes – at least partially – the language and specifics of the rules remain relatively vague and could still lead to misunderstandings and wrongfully-flagged videos.
When policies like these are ambiguous, creators usually have a hard time fighting the content moderation system if they feel their content has been unfairly demonetized. For example, YouTube has not shared a list that categorizes profane and swear words in terms of their severity. This leaves the decision of what “moderate” or “strong” is to human moderators who may have different opinions about the subject.
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In addition, creators that repeatedly use profane or swear words throughout the entire video may still be subject to demonetization. Again, it remains unclear the level of frequency that the platform would be deemed as too much.
Meanwhile, any videos that have received a limit ads yellow icon or that have been considered ineligible due to other violations of the platform’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines will maintain this status even if no profane words are expressed at any point.
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