Controversial Content on YouTube Now Ripe for Monetisation
In a surprising move, YouTube recently updated its Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines. The catch: the platform relaxed its policy on content that revolves around touchy and controversial subjects, along with some caveats.
For topics like abortions, eating disorders, and sexual/domestic abuse, content creators can now earn revenues for discussing said topics, provided the discussion doesn’t go on graphic detail.
While this policy relaxation is music to the ears of content creators, especially those who are passionate about such campaigns and topics, it requires companies to be auspicious in choosing (1) which YouTube content creators to work with and (2) choosing which content to place their ads on. Since controversial topics can either attract good or bad press, companies are urged to consider the risks judiciously.
But why did YouTube make the change now, you ask? Turns out, the move came as a result of feedback gathered from creator communities who receive yellow icons on their content when they merely reference controversial topics. For these communities, the new set of guidelines is a welcome change for those who sincerely want to get behind issues that matter to them. It will also enable the creators to discuss these topics for educational purposes, without getting censored or restricted.
So what level of graphic-ness is allowed? For example, content guidelines on eating disorders prohibit mentions of triggers like binge-eating, hiding and hoarding, and abusing laxatives. As such, content along these lines will not receive ad revenues.
According to Conor Kavanagh, YouTube monetisation lead, "We know that covering topics like these can be a helpful resource to users, so we want to ensure that, wherever possible, controversial issues discussed in a non-deive and non-graphic way aren't disincentivized through demonetization." He said that these changes will give flexibility for creators to explore previously difficult topics and still earn from the content, so long as the treatment is educational (explainer and survivor stories) and responsible. For more information, you can visit the Best Practices page and scroll down to the “Add context to your videos” segment.
In the Best Practices page, adding context to your video content helps YouTube to make the right monetisation decisions. The video sharing platform acknowledges that the algorithms and system don’t always get the assessment correctly. However, if a content creator feels that his or her video content gets flagged incorrectly, he or she can ask for a human review. Or for those braver souls out there, they can just turn off ad revenues for their content that may not be advertiser-friendly.