YouTube plans to amend profanity rules that sparked backlash from creators •

by Ana Lopez

YouTube’s gaming community pushed back to the company this week after some creators saw their old videos being demonetized out of the blue.

The culprit is a new company policy introduced in November to make certain types of content more advertiser-friendly. That change, made to YouTube’s Ad-Friendly Content Guidelines, revised the platform’s approach to profanity and violence.

The good news is that while we don’t quite know what the company will do yet, YouTube appears to be listening to creators’ concerns.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard from a lot of creators about this update,” YouTube spokesperson Michael Aciman told “That feedback is important to us and we are in the process of amending this policy to address their concerns. We will be reaching out to our maker community shortly as soon as we have more to share.”

In November, YouTube expanded its definition of violence beyond real-world images, including in-game violent content “focusing on a real named person or acts created to create shocking experiences (such as brutal mass murder).” The company said blood in “standard gameplay” was fine, but only after the first 8 seconds of a video. The whole section left a lot of room for interpretation, for better or for worse.

The changes to the blasphemy policy were more drastic. YouTube announced that it would no longer count “hell” and “damn” as profanity words, instead lumping all other profanities together instead of differentiated by severity (e.g. words like “shit” and “fuck” would now be treated the same way). Further, “profanity used in the title, thumbnails or in the first 7 seconds of the video or used consistently throughout the video may not earn ad revenue,” the new policy said.

If the swearing starts after the first 8 seconds of a video, it still qualifies, but some changes would affect a huge amount of videos, many of which were made long before the changes were announced. Creators took notice of the new policy, which went into effect at the end of December, when they saw some videos come with new restrictions that limited their reach and eligibility for advertising.

YouTube creator Daniel Condren, who runs RTGame, research into the consequences of the policy change on his own channel in a video that has been viewed over a million times this week. Condren has struggled with the enforcement changes in recent weeks after seeing about a dozen videos demonetized and his appeal request denied.

“I really feel like my whole livelihood is in jeopardy if this continues,” Condren wrote on Twitter. “I’m so upset that this is happening and there’s nothing I can do to fix it.”

YouTube hasn’t responded to our follow-up questions about how it plans to change the policy, but we’re certainly curious to see if the platform reverses enforcement for old, previously published videos that creators might rely on for revenue.

In light of emerging regulations targeting social media’s relationship with underage users, the company is clearly trying to make its massive amount of videos more age-appropriate (and advertiser-friendly). But retrofitting age restrictions and new monetization rules on a platform like YouTube is a delicate balance — and in this case, the changes had a rapid, sweeping impact that left creators little time to adapt.

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