Content Creators Protest Due To New Profanity Rules of YouTube

Gita Fitria Ramadani . January 16, 2023

Picture: freepik

Techspace - The gaming community has criticized YouTube for enacting new rules restricting profanity and violent content, mainly targeting unscripted gaming videos like "Let's Play" of M-rated games. Even worse, the policy makes their videos look like they broke the new rules and makes it harder for them to make money on the platform.

The rule changes in question were initially implemented in November 2022. According to the blog post announcing them, YouTube now treats all profanity equally and may demonize its use in titles, thumbnails, or the first seven seconds of a video. The platform's approach to violence and profanity was overhauled entirely due to that change to its advertiser-friendly content guidelines.

The good news is that, although we have yet to determine what the company will do, creators' concerns are being considered.

According to a spokesperson for YouTube, Michael Aciman, who spoke with TechCrunch, "In recent weeks, we've heard from many creators regarding this update. We value your feedback and are working on making changes to this policy to address their concerns. As soon as we have more to share, we will contact our creator community shortly."

YouTube expanded its definition of violence in November to include in-game violent content "directed at a real named person or acts that are fabricated to create surprising experiences (such as brutal mass killing)" in addition to depictions of violence from the real world.

The business stated that gore was acceptable in "standard gameplay," but only after the first eight seconds of a video. There was much room for interpretation throughout the entire section, for better or worse.

It made more drastic changes to its policy regarding profanity. YouTube announced that all other filth would be grouped rather than differentiated according to the severity and would no longer consider the words "hell" and "damn" to be profane.

Additionally, the new policy states that "profanity used in the title, thumbnails, or the video's first seven seconds or used consistently throughout the video may not receive ad revenue."

A video is still eligible if the swearing starts after the first eight seconds, but some of the changes were going to affect a lot of videos, many of which were made long before the changes were announced. Around the end of December, creators began to notice the new policies, as some videos were subjected to new restrictions that restricted their reach and ad eligibility.

The issue is that the new standard is being applied retroactively to videos created before the policy change. This adds up for channels that have been on YouTube for years and have made money from old videos.

Users like Daniel Condren, who runs the game-focused YouTube channel RTGame, have publicly voiced their dissatisfaction with YouTube's lack of communication during the policy change. 

Condren, who has more than 2.7 million subscribers, recounted a situation in which a video was flagged and age-restricted without explanation for a nearly 20-minute video. After submitting an appeal to rectify the situation, he was denied within ten minutes.

Condren claims that after escalating the situation, he observed a widespread flagging of approximately a dozen videos. He tried to demand through the same channels, but they were denied immediately.

Condren eventually informed him that these older videos were being age-restricted and demonetized due to these new guidelines after being directly contacted by YouTube. He claims these older videos were involved because he escalated the situation with the original video.

As evidenced by screenshots in his YouTube video, a YouTube representative told Condren, "As you are aware, all content available on the platform must follow these guidelines, regardless of when it was uploaded or when the policy was implemented."

Condren wrote on Twitter, "I genuinely feel like my entire livelihood is at risk if this continues. I'm so upset that this is taking place and that I don't seem to be able to fix it."

The company is attempting to make its enormous collection of videos more age-appropriate (and advertiser-friendly) in response to the emergence of new regulations that target social media's relationship with underage users.

However, it is difficult to strike a balance when retrofitting age restrictions and new monetization rules onto a platform like YouTube. In this instance, the changes had an immediate and widespread impact, leaving creators with little time to adjust.

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