The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has been rapidly spreading around the globe, so it’s become a hot topic in the news. If you’re a creator on YouTube, though, you might not want to talk about it, as YouTube recently, quietly announced that it will demonetize any videos talking about coronavirus.
As of February 11, YouTube announced via its Creator Insider channel that the platform was treating coronavirus as a “sensitive topic.” Buried around the 4:30 mark of the six-minute video, YouTube’s Tom Leung confirmed that all videos talking about the coronavirus on YouTube will “be demonetized until further notice.”
This falls under the company’s policy on other sensitive topics such as armed conflicts, certain deaths, mass shootings, and others. That policy exists to protect the platform’s advertisers.
The coronavirus outbreak certainly fits under the “global health crisis,” and if we’re looking at things from YouTube’s point of view, this probably helps out everyone by slightly curbing the spread of misinformation.
However, creators aren’t happy about this. As the Verge details, many creators have avoided using the word coronavirus during this time for fear of being demonetized. This is all while they are providing useful information to their audiences, too. Linus Tech Tips, for example, recently published a video regarding how the virus outbreak may affect PC components for the next few months, but there’s no mention of coronavirus directly for fear of demonetization.
Just avoiding the word coronavirus may not protect all YouTube creators, either. Another creator behind the Nintendo Prime channel mentioned on Twitter that multiple videos on that channel were demonetized with one just mentioning “that thing that started in China.”
YouTube often exempts news channels and similar channels from this policy partially because they provide their own ads on the platform, something a few creators haven’t been happy with, either.
As mentioned, this policy is probably not the worst thing Google could have done, since it will likely lessen the number of misinformation videos out there, but it’s also hurting creators who are pushing legitimately helpful videos in this chaotic time.
More on YouTube:
- Judges rule as a ‘private forum,’ YouTube is not bound by the First Amendment
- Report: YouTube grabs 70% of total time spent watching streaming services on mobile
- YouTube kills off its classic desktop interface for good next month
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