YouTube is facing widespread criticism, after releasing a controversial statement in response to its site-wide issue concerning pedophilic content.
Concerned YouTuber and mother Jessica Ballinger reached out to the site for comment on February 21, after noticing that a number of videos featuring her five-year-old son had been demonetized.
YouTube’s response to the post garnered mass backlash, as the site claimed that offensive comments could result in the demonetization of a video - even if the video’s content is in line with its terms of service.
MY 5 YEAR OLD SON: does gymnastics and is a happy, sweet, confident boy.
youtube: NOT ADVERTISER FRIENDLY
(This happened yesterday— I find the timing on this very, very disheartening for the @YouTube community) pic.twitter.com/pewLkljFpI
— Jessica Ballinger :purple_heart: (@BallingerMom) February 21, 2019
“With regard to the actions that we've taken, even if your video is suitable for advertisers, inappropriate comments could result in your video receiving limited or no ads,” Team YouTube wrote.
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Although Ballinger claimed that she heavily monitors her comments section, the site went on to clarify that their new policy is “an abundance of caution” in response to concerns of child predators across the platform, as brought up by YouTuber 'MattsWhatItIs' in a chilling video during mid-February.
(2/2) With regard to the actions that we've taken, even if your video is suitable for advertisers, inappropriate comments could result in your video receiving limited or no ads (yellow icon). Let us know if you have any questions.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) February 22, 2019
Although YouTube claimed that it is working on improving its moderation tools to remove problematic comments, many top creators in the space were not pleased with this development, expressing concern that such a policy could be abused.
Waking up I see: Companies pulling ads due to pedophilia comments
Youtube placing limited ads and hiding/removing comments and deleting and flagging channels for it.
Also see youtubers totally unaffected and only worrying about the potential their own money could be touched. :vomiting:
— CinnamonToastKen (@cinnamontoastk) February 22, 2019
So now YouTube can punish creators by disabling the comment section & demonetizing videos if the comments aren’t ad friendly? if this is true, every youtuber needs to start looking for a new job. There are hardly any videos on youtube that lack vile comments. how is this fair? https://t.co/qOgWkwQ8Q6
— Colleen Ballinger:reminder_ribbon: (@ColleenB123) February 22, 2019
YouTuber Philip DeFranco reached out to the site for comment, who “unofficially” answered that this policy would not take place on a “broad spectrum,” but rather only in “hyper-specific situations” such as Ballinger’s.
Regarding the @TeamYouTube tweet that has the community freaking out right now.
I reached out to YT. Don’t have an official statement yet, but 1. It sounds like this isn’t policy for every video on YT and 2. It’s likely comment disabling will be preferred over demonetization. pic.twitter.com/q7dpuztDxq
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) February 22, 2019
Additionally, DeFranco stated that YouTube is prioritizing disabling comments over demonetizing videos.
Team YouTube has since clarified that this policy is strictly in relation to content that “endangers minors,” and is in no way in response to general, “hateful” comments.