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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki denies using keyword blacklists: “We don’t have any list of blacklisted words”

Numerous reports have suggested that YouTube uses keyword blacklists that affect monetization and search.
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In September, a group of YouTubers released a blacklist of keywords that would instantly get YouTube videos demonetized if used in the title. This was the latest of several reports about YouTube blacklists this year.

However, in a recent interview with YouTuber Juanpa Zurita, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has denied that the company uses blacklists.

During the interview, Wojcicki was asked: “What exactly are the blacklisted words? Is there a way that those could be handed to the creators? Is that possible?”

“We don’t have any list of blacklisted words,” Wojcicki responded.

She added “We have guidelines for what we enable ads to run on” but that they’re “subjective” and whether a word will be allowed depends on “the context of what’s happening in the video.”

Wojcicki’s answers appear to contradict the findings of the YouTube demonetization blacklist that was released in September. This blacklist suggested that using specific words such as “female,” “restaurants,” and “Minnesota” would result in a video being instantly demonetized.

Several former Google engineers, including Mike Wacker, have also said that YouTube has used blacklists to manipulate its search results via a file called “youtube_controversial_query_blacklist.”

According to Wacker, this file could be manually manipulated to switch to an alternate algorithm that essentially censors and suppresses politically “sensitive” topics.

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