Is YouTube starting to have censorship? A new policy change has taken the video sharing website by storm, stating that any video that is deemed inappropriate will be demonetized.
YouTube’s new policy states that“Content that may be acceptable for YouTube under YouTube policies may not be appropriate for Google advertising”, meaning the videos would not pay the creators for their videos. The content that was deemed inappropriate includes; Swearing, sexual jokes, and controversial topics such as celebrities and natural disasters.
Despite this new public information, this policy is not new—YouTube has been doing this since 2010, but did not originally let creators know that they were losing money on certain videos. Their reasoning behind this was because they didn’t want to create conflict with their ad sponsors. Youtuber Philip Defranco criticized Youtube saying that YouTube chooses their sponsors over their users. “It is very concerning,” said Defranco in response to the policy. After he questioned a representative of YouTube, Philip Defranco found out that it was not a policy change but a notification update, which means that YouTube has been taking money without telling the people they were taking money from. There has been a huge amount of backlash from users of Youtube.
This isn’t the only thing that YouTube has done that received criticism from its users. A new program was announced called “YouTube Heroes.” The whole premise of this new program is adding captions to existing videos, getting rid of inappropriate comments and flagging videos (including many at a single time).
There are five tiers within Youtube Heroes––each with its own rewards and abilities. Zero to nine points are required to reach level one. As a reward, the user acquires access to the “Hero Dashboard”. At level two, ten to ninety-nine points are required to get access to “hero hangouts”, which are video chats that feature other “heroes”. They also get invitations to go to learn at exclusive workshops. At level three, 100-399 points are required to have the ability to mass-flag videos, essentially moderating content in the YouTube community. The program eventually increases to level five with a requirement of a thousand or more points. Here, the user can test features before they are released and can apply for the “heroes summit”––which from the ad––looks like a party at the top of a mountain for Heroes only.
This has bothered users and Youtubers alike because many have been YouTubers for over ten years. Yet, most still can’t contact YouTube staff directly and the rewards are something that makers still cannot get access to. The “YouTube Heroes” program has been criticized by one famous YouTuber––PewDiePie––who said it is “Almost like being a real youtuber, without putting in any of the effort.”
Those who support this program say that this is a good idea because then Youtube can focus on making the website better for other people. Many say that there needs to be a force that can do something about the “toxic” personalities of some users, and the “Youtube Hero” program attempts to do just that.