- Users reacted angrily after adverts were stripped from their videos
- They claim they are being effectively censored by the rules on content
- YouTube says its ‘advertiser friendly content guidelines’ have not changed
- The policy was introduced in 2013 but it is now alerting users to breaches
YouTube has been accused of censorship after it emerged it has been removing the ability for users to make money from their videos if they express politically incorrect or offensive views.
Users of the video sharing site began noticing the adverts had been stripped from their content after receiving alerts from the site saying they had breached their ‘advertiser friendly content guidelines’.
These state that videos containing sexually suggestive content, violence, inappropriate language, promotion of drugs or controversial or sensitive subjects will not be monetised.
YouTube has been accused of censoring its users with its ‘advertiser friendly content guidelines’ which allow it to strip adverts from videos found to be offensive, violent, sexually suggestive or promoting drugs (guidelines pictured)
WARNINGS ON INTERNET FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Freedom of speech online is being restricted or is threatened in at least a dozen countries, it has been claimed with the publication of a new report.
The trend is alarming policymakers who see the internet as a valuable tool for encouraging debate and free expression.
A report on internet governance by the Global Commission on Internet Governance, warned a growing number of countries are considering introducing laws to restrict freedom online.
Released at a ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico, organised by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the report said ‘the future of the internet hangs in the balance’ and warns of dangers of intrusive surveillance, rising cybercrime and fragmentation as governments exert control online.
China and Iran have long had restrictions in place on the use of the internet and the kind of material that can be posted online. Tanzania and Ethiopia recently passed laws restricting online speech.
But according to Reuters, there are moves to introduce limits on internet use in several other countries including Brazil, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bolivia, Kenya and Nigeria.
The report’s authors said these moves threatened to criminalise conversations that would otherwise be protected under the countries’ constitutions.
YouTube insists it has not changed its policy on which videos will have adverts attached to them since 2013 but has merely improved the way it communicates with its users.
But many have been angered after the change meant they discovered their videos had been stripped of their ability to make money from adverts.
They claim they have been effectively censored as the policy dictates what kind of content they can make money from.
Philip DeFranco, who runs a channel where he discusses current affairs and pop culture, found 12 of his videos had been demonetised.
Other channels like Seeker Daily have apparently had adverts removed from 150 of their videos, including one about freedom of the press.
Mr DeFranco said he was baffled by how YouTube was making decisions about what was deemed to have breached its advertising-friendly guidelines or not.
He said one he did about YouTube vlogger Marina Joyce was stripped of adverts but did not contain anything offensive.
He said: ‘I appealed a bunch of videos, a lot of them got reinstated but one was denied. I went through the tags there was nothing offensive.
‘When I looked at the content, I did talk about potential drug abuse and how that could be a bad thing, but does that break their guidelines?’
In an earlier video after noticing his videos had been demonetised he claimed YouTube was essentially ‘shutting down’ his channel by making it harder for him to make money.
He vowed: ‘I’m not going to censor myself.’
Initially when YouTube content creators began noticing adverts had been stripped from their videos it sparked a large backlash as rumours circulated the company had introduced a new policy.
However, YouTube says the policy has been in place since 2013. Instead it has simply changed the way it alerts users when their videos are deemed inappropriate for moneterisation.
YouTube users like Philip DeFranco have reacted angrily to the change, saying that it amounts effectively to censorship. He said 12 of his videos had adverts removed but he has since appealed the decision and some of them have been reinstated
YouTube says its policy it designed to ensure adverts appear on content appropriate to all audiences, although some inappropriate content is allowed for newsworthy or comedic videos where the aim it not to offend or shock (policy pictured)
For some YouTube users, revenue from their videos has become a major source of income and has even allowed some to turn it into a full-time job.
A statement from YouTube said it had now aimed to make it clear to users that their videos were being demonetised in their video manager.
The most noticeable change is that there is a yellow $ icon in video manager to indicate if content is not deemed as being ‘advertiser friendly’.
Users can then appeal this and ask for a review to have their content re-monetised.
YouTube insists its ‘advertiser friendly content guidelines have been in place since 2013 but that it has improved how it alerts users if their content is found to have breached this
Youtube: This isn’t a policy change, its just a notification/appeal change.
Me: So before you were just turning off ads and not emailing us?
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) September 1, 2016
YouTube now alerts users if their videos have been classed as not advertiser friendly with a small yellow dollar sign (pictured). They can then appeal the decision
A spokesman for YouTube said: ‘While our policy of demonetizing videos due to advertiser-friendly concerns hasn’t changed, we’ve recently improved the notification and appeal process to ensure better communication.’
YouTube insists its policy is aimed at ensuring content with advertising is appropriate for all audiences.
However, it does say that some inappropriate content can still be approved for moneterisation if the context is newsworthy or comedic and intended to inform or entertain rather than shock or offend.
Most watched News videos