In the past few weeks, the Wall Street Journal has published several articles detailing the current state of YouTube and its relationship with its creators. In prior months, it seems YouTube and its partners have taken a stand against “offensive” and “hateful” content as many content creators have lost monetization due the off-beat nature of their videos.
For those unaware of how monetization on YouTube works, creators can choose to be compensated for their videos if they allow ads to play before and after their video starts. YouTube and its creators are almost completely funded by ads, as the companies who allow their advertisements on the site pay when a viewer watches the video for 30 seconds or clicks on the ad itself.
But recently, companies have been stripping away the very thing that creators need to finance themselves and their content. In an effort to notify the companies that incentivize YouTube, writer for the Wall Street Journal, Jack Nicas, has published several articles notifying said companies of the content on which their advertisements play.
Nicas provided screenshots of advertisements playing on racist videos, expressing the dangers of associating one’s product with such deplorable content. This has caused an uproar in the YouTube community as YouTube has taken to fixing the problem by demonetizing any video with offensive content.
But these videos are not the only ones experiencing money problems. YouTube’s most profitable and biggest personalities have also taken a hit as any video regarding a controversial topic has been demonetized or even restricted. According to Nicas’ Twitter account in a post on March 24, 2017, companies such as Pepsi, Walmart, Starbucks, GM, Dish and FX had pulled their ads from the website in an effort to distance themselves from offensive videos.
YouTube personality and news commentator Philip DeFranco has made a very promising career on the website with over 5 million subscribers. Subsequently, DeFranco receives millions of views on each video where he explains news that is relevant to the world as well as YouTube. Now, he’s facing massive demonetization. Looking through his previous body of work he found that he has at least three pages full of demonetized videos. Typically, these videos are political in nature and may reference offensive content which is more than likely the reason why YouTube has taken to demonetization.
Moving past DeFranco, some content creators such as Jenna Marbles and Ethan Kline also known as H3H3, have also lost demonetization. The difference between them and DeFranco being that they are simply entertainers and in some cases video bloggers who rarely address controversial topics unless they believe it to be absolutely necessary.
Just looking at this issue on a surface level, it seems as if these companies have been largely manipulated by the Wall Street Journal into attacking what many believe to be the mainstream media’s competition. YouTube being an outlet gaining a large amount of revenue from millions of viewers from around the world due to content creators who have little to no background in entertainment or journalism. But it’s very possible that is only half of the problem.
Taking under consideration the cut throat nature of business within the industry it might be possible that top companies are using the idea that YouTube is full of offensive content as an opportunity to pull their ads from the website and defame the site as being entirely controversial thus making their parent company Google unappealing to advertisers.