Independent creators that cover the news on YouTube are already heavily disadvantaged by the site’s algorithms which boost “authoritative sources” (legacy media outlets that YouTube has deemed to be trustworthy) by as much as 10x in search and recommendations.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, YouTube doubled down and committed to raising up authoritative sources that cover the coronavirus while automatically demonetizing independent creators for merely mentioning the virus.
After facing mass pushback from creators who feel it’s unfair that their ability to earn revenue on videos is being stripped when they talk about one of the world’s biggest news stories, YouTube said it would reconsider coronavirus demonetization.
Today YouTube announced that it would be updating its policies around coronavirus monetization but many Twitter users have slammed the changes and argue that YouTube is now creating “literal double standards” when it comes to who can talk about the coronavirus.
Under the new rules, YouTube will be enabling ads for content discussing the coronavirus on a “limited number of channels, including creators who accurately self-certify and a range of news partners.”
However, critics of the policy have pointed out that YouTube is “picking and choosing who gets to talk about coronavirus” and added that when CNN and other news channels report on the coronavirus, they stay monetized.
In addition to this selective monetization of coronavirus content and the boosting of authoritative sources, YouTube is also diverting views away from independent creators by driving users to “government sources” via information panels for coronavirus content.