YouTube has been blowing up lately with drama over "ad-friendly" content. I decided that I should take a stab at this topic, because it ties in so well with what I normally talk about in my videos and articles. Before we jump into my thoughts though, I think it would be beneficial to catch up on the story so far.
YouTubers Get Notified
Youtubers Get Angry
YouTubers Notice Double Standards
When it comes to my thoughts on this matter, I'd like to start off by saying that agree with Philip Defranco when he says:
YouTube is, of course, well within their rights here.
There has always been censorship in the workplace. In the same way you can't mouth off to your boss on a regular basis and expect to continue receiving payment from that boss, YouTube has the right to determine the etiquette standards for getting paid on their platform. I am not saying that I believe their policies are right or proper for the current landscape of content creation, but they do have the right to set the standards however they see fit.
The one bit of the policy that I really can't get behind is the last bullet, which seems to target new channels. It states:
Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.
If they stick to their guns and enforce this, it will effectively destroy every news channel on YouTube. Those creators will either be forced to find other forms of monetization, or they will have to start censoring their news. The first option leading to less content, due to the creator spending more time establishing other forms of monetizations. The second option leading to the channel becoming just as frustratingly unbalanced as the traditional news networks we all hate.
It really all comes down to risk versus reward. Those in charge of this policy over at YouTube had a conversation about the risk of losing advertisers and the risk of losing creators. Could they get away with relaxing their policies without advertisers running for the hills? Even if they did run for the hills, would that open up the platform for more open minded advertisers to work with the content creators? By creating more firm policies, would the platform become more attractive to advertisers in such a way that the reward would outweigh the risk of losing creators to other monetization platforms like Patreon?
It's all just theory until we see it in practice. Will this cause more and more creators to rely on sponsorships and Patreon pages? Will this result in massive loses for YouTube? Will people calm down and life move forward as if this never happened? It remains to be seen. One thing is clear though, YouTube is maturing. They are making difficult decisions in the interest of seeing the platform grow and evolve. We will just have to wait and see if they have made the right decision.